Student Research Opportunities

Student Research Opportunities

The University of Arizona College of Veterinary Medicine Research Faculty seeks motivated candidates to engage in student research experiences. Opportunities are available for DVM, graduate and undergraduate students.

DVM sTudents

research opportunities

the Veterinary Summer Scholars Program

The Veterinary Summer Scholars (VSS) Research Program will offer incoming Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) students at the University of Arizona College of Veterinary Medicine a unique opportunity to gain hands-on research experience in a range of disciplines across multiple colleges at the University of Arizona before embarking on their formal veterinary education. The program will be guided by the values of the College and be responsive to the College’s mission and vision of enabling adaptive problem solvers and innovators to deliver compassionate care and tackle the most significant challenges.

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Additional Research Opportunities 

Positions for DVM students include:

  • Volunteer positions (5-10 hours per week, 1st, 2nd, 3rd years)
  • Selectives (2nd year, 3-week blocks)
  • Elective (3rd year, 4-week blocks).

For more information, contact Assistant Dean for Research, Dr. Samarpita Sengupta.

Email Dr. Sengupta

UnderGraduate Students

Research Opportunities for Undergraduates

Undergraduate students at the University of Arizona can engage in research with Arizona CVM research faculty through volunteer positions, enrolling in directed research credits, or participating in a mentored summer research experience. Students are accepted from a variety of colleges and programs.

Visit the Undergraduate Research & Inquiry Collaborative for more information

Graduate Students

Graduate research opportunities 

Positions are available for prospective Ph.D. students interested in working with Human-Animal Interaction UA-CVM research faculty. Ph.D. students are mentored by Arizona CVM faculty but complete their degree through the Psychology program.

For more information, see the list of Frequently Asked Questions (below Available Positions) and visit the Psychology department's website,

Psychology Department Site

Frequently Asked Questions

The University of Arizona College of Veterinary Medicine (UA-CVM) houses the largest faculty group dedicated to studying how the human-animal relationship can affect the health of animals, humans, and our communities. Currently, UA-CVM research faculty consists of:

Prospective students who wish to pursue graduate study under the mentorship of these faculty will complete their degrees through the College of Science’s Psychology Ph.D. program. Thus, prospective students will apply through the Psychology PhD program (not CVM), and will indicate a desire to work with a specific UA-CVM faculty. Below, we outline some frequently asked questions (FAQ) about this process.




The Psychology Ph.D. program provides concentrations of study in three distinct, but interactive, areas: Clinical Psychology; Cognition and Neural Systems (CNS); and Social Psychology. Further, the program offers two formal minors: Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine and Neuropsychology as well as a custom minor option. The Custom Minor can be tailored to individual interests and specialties, including a minor in human-animal interaction.

Your concentration should reflect your research interests and area of study. Dr. MacLean and Bray’s students, who study canine cognition, may be more suited to the CNS pathway to pursue coursework in animal learning, behavior, and neuroanatomy. Dr. O’Haire and Rodriguez’s students, who focus more on the human side of human-animal interaction, may be more suited to the social pathway to pursue coursework in stress, emotion, and identity. While there are no restrictions regarding advisor and concentration pairing, the clinical psychology area has many additional requirements for clinical training, and in most years would not have an opening for our students. Ultimately, you should work with your faculty advisor to select the best concentration of study for your interests, research, and career goals.

You will have a co-advisor within the Psychology department and a UA-CVM advisor serving as your primary mentor and subject matter/day-to-day advisor. Your application should indicate your first choice of the UA-CVM faculty that you are interested in working with as well as any Psychology Department faculty that you have interest in having as part of your advising team. However, your UA-CVM mentor and the Psychology Department can also help identify the faculty members best suited to support your Ph.D. once you are admitted to the program.

Students will primarily be on the University of Arizona’s main campus. Students working with Dr. MacLean have dedicated space in the Haury Anthropology Building where the Arizona Canine Cognition Center is housed. Students working with Dr. O’Haire have space in the “HAI House” on main campus. Students working with Drs. Bray and Rodriguez have space directly across the street from the HAI House in a dedicated HAI research space hosted by the Arizona Historical Society Museum.

Your coursework will largely depend on which concentration of study and minor track you choose to pursue. Students have the choice of several electives to cover the breadth of scientific psychology requirements and/or to satisfy minor requirements. You may also take courses offered by the College of Veterinary Medicine and in other colleges across campus. See the Graduate Handbook for the Psychology Department for details on required courses for each concentration.

Applications are only accepted for the Ph.D. program. You will complete your Master's degree requirements on the way toward earning your PhD (in your 2nd year), but there is not a terminal Master's degree offered.

No, we currently do not offer any dual degree options.

Students are funded as either a Research Assistan, a Teaching Assistant or are funded on a fellowship. Assistantships come with a stipend, a full tuition waiver, and individual health insurance. Departmental support is usually available for up to 5 years.

Students are encouraged to apply for internal and external graduate fellowships (e.g., Graduate Fellowships in Psychology, UA One Health Fellowships, NSF GRFP, NIH T32, etc.). Additional financial aid information and resources can be found here. 

UA-CVM will provide salary support of ~$35,000 per year for doctoral students, which includes a 20 hours per week of a Graduate or Teaching Assistantship position during the academic year and 35 hours per week in the summer.

You will indicate in your application your desire to work with a specific UA-CVM faculty. We encourage you to reach out to faculty you are interested in working with beforehand.

All applicants are required to have completed at least a BS or BA degree, but due to the interdisciplinary nature of human-animal interaction, undergraduate degrees may range from anthrozoology, psychology, animal sciences, biology, zoology, sociology, anthropology, epidemiology, public health, or other closely related fields.

Our research groups are inclusive spaces for students with a variety of research/academic backgrounds. However, due to the research-intensive nature of the program, previous research experience is a plus. Having scientific writing experience, especially having at least one peer-reviewed publication (either first-authored or co-authored) is also an advantage, as students are expected to lead and contribute to many research publications during their PhD. You can find additional advice for applying for the PhD program in Psychology here.

Admissions requirements are determined by the Psychology department, which requires a GPA ≥ 3.0, a Statement of purpose, 3 letters of recommendation from professors (2 of whom are in psychology or a related field), and a UA Graduate College online application. International students must also submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores and a financial guarantee. The GRE is not required for admission to this program.

All applications are due by December 1. If your application has been selected during the first round, you will be invited to participate in a virtual interview. After the interview, you will be notified of the status of your application. Final decisions are made by April 15th.

Ph.D. Students

The HAB (Human-Animal Bond) Lab is recruiting Ph.D. students for the 2023-2024 application year.

The BRAY (Behavioral Research Across Years) Lab is recruiting Ph.D. students for the 2023-2024 application year.

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Students should be highly motivated and interested in the general functioning of a productive research group, science communication and human-animal interaction.  They will be expected to work a minimum of 10 hours a week.