Psychology Research

Psychology faculty at UTPB specialize in Social, Cognitive, Health, Developmental, Sports, Counseling, and Clinical Psychology. Students in the Psychology Program at UT Permian Basin collaborate with faculty mentors to investigate exciting research questions about human behavior! Students at both the undergraduate and graduate level are invited to conduct research with faculty support. To find out about specific faculty research interests, visit the faculty bios.

Faculty Research

J.C. Ausmus, PhD

Dr. Ausmus's research focuses on the intersection of eating disorders/disordered eating, the psychological impact of social media, and college student/student-athlete mental health.

Wei-Ju Chen, PhD

Dr. Chen researches minority health disparities, stress and coping, emotion, genomics, autism spectrum disorders, and cancer prevention. 

James Olson, PhD

Dr. Olson has broad research interests, including past work on residential burglary. His current research is examining “caring” behaviors by instructors in the classroom.

Justin Vollet, PhD

Dr. Vollet’s research focuses on social underpinnings of the development of students' academic engagement (with a primary focus on socialization through peer group interactions), and on the development of peer relations throughout childhood and adolescence (i.e., social aggression and peer victimization).

Student Research

Undergraduate and graduate students are invited to contact faculty members about specific opportunities to conduct independent research projects that align with faculty research interests. Students may take advantage of the following opportunities to conduct research in the psychology department: 

  • Senior Honor’s Thesis - Undergraduate
    • Available to students who have completed PSYC 3304 (Psychological Research Methods) with a B or better. Students should seek an individual faculty mentor to supervise their senior thesis. 
  • Independent Study - Undergraduate
    • Students may approach faculty about completing a research project together for course credit through PSYC 3391 (Independent Study). 
  • Master’s Thesis/Master’s Project
    • Masters students will complete a thesis or project in collaboration with their committee chair. 
  • Independent Research – Graduate
    • Master’s students may design, conduct, analyze, and present a research project for course credit under the direction of a faculty member. Course credit is available as PSYC 6391 (Independent Research). 
  • Graduate Assistantships
    • Each year the department awards graduate assistantships to a few students. As a part of their duties as a graduate assistant, students may assist faculty with ongoing research projects.