The University of Texas at Dallas School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences


What are Research Exposure Credits (REC)?

Some core undergraduate courses in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences require enrolled students (majors and non-majors) to earn Research Exposure Credits, or REC, in addition to other course requirements.

Credits can be earned by participating in studies found on the Sona website. If students do not wish to participate in studies, they may earn credits by completing the Alternative Assignment/Research Review (see question below).

NOTE: If students have any concerns that may interfere with participating in studies, please contact us directly.

Students may begin earning credits as soon as the first day of the semester. Credits must be completed by the designated deadline each semester.

Information regarding this requirement will be provided by course instructors at the beginning of the semester. Additionally, students are responsible for visiting the BBS Information Center in eLearning for specific details on REC requirements every semester. If you do not see this in your organizations, contact us at [email protected].

What happens if I do not complete the REC requirement?

Students who do not complete the requirement will have reduced course grades. A student’s grade will be lowered by one-third for each credit not completed by the deadline. For example, if a student earned a B+ in the course but only completed one credit, the grade would be lowered to a B. If the student did not complete any credits, the B+ would be lowered to a B-.

How do I create an account in Sona?

All students will receive an email with their account information within the first few weeks of the semester. Please be patient as the system updates. If you do not receive login information by the third week of the semester, contact us at [email protected] with your NetID and REC course(s).

You may access the Sona system here:

If you are requesting a Researcher account, please contact us directly via email.

Note: Students are responsible for managing their profiles. Accounts should display correct names, NetID, credits, and course/section numbers. If any information is incorrect, students must contact Sona support.

What courses have the REC requirements?

  • PSY 2301 – Introduction to Psychology
  • PSY/CLDP 2314 – Lifespan Development
  • PSY 2317 – Statistics for Psychology
  • PSY/CLDP 3310 – Child Development
  • PSY 3331 – Social Psychology
  • PSY 3360 / CGS 3325 – Historical Perspectives
  • PSY/CGS 3361 – Cognitive Psychology
  • PSY 3392 – Research Design and Analysis
  • PSY 4343 – Abnormal Psychology
  • CGS 2301 – Cognitive Science

Note: Please check eLearning for any updates on courses that may not have REC requirements every semester.

How many credits do I need to earn?

Students must earn 2 credits per REC course, not to exceed 6 credits per semester. If you are enrolled in 4 or more REC courses, you only need to earn enough credits for 3 courses. Please refer to the BBS eLearning page for more details.

Students may begin earning credits as soon as the first day of the semester. Credits are NOT automatically assigned to courses. Students must assign credits from studies to courses of their choice. Additional information is available on eLearning.

Note: Please check eLearning for any updates on credit requirements every semester.

How can I split credits between my courses?

If you participate in a study and want to split the credits between your courses, you must contact us directly at [email protected].

I don’t see many studies in Sona, will there be more studies opening?

Yes! Studies and timeslots are continuously becoming available – but they fill up quickly. We suggest you subscribe to the weekly Sona email for notifications of available studies. Instructions to subscribe or unsubscribe are available in eLearning.

Some studies have restrictions, why is this?

The Sona Committee has received some excellent questions about studies posted that focus on particular groups of people. We’re glad you are asking. Most studies have no restrictions on who can participate. It is important for us in the BBS research community to give all BBS students an opportunity to understand how research is conducted. When studies have restrictions on who can participate, these restrictions are called exclusionary criteria. These criteria depend upon the goals of the research project and participant health, safety, and demands on participants.

In BBS, we have some researchers interested in gender, others in culture, others in romantic relationships, others in language, and others in children or older adults. Each of these examples involves a narrowing down of the participant pool, and at any point in time, you may see these interests reflected in exclusionary criteria. Researchers are ethically obligated to narrow the scope of data collection to the specific sample that they need to answer their research activities that benefit participants or society.

If you have any questions about your ability to participate in a study, or would like to learn more about a study that does have restrictions, please contact:

What is the policy on rollover credits?

Unused credits DO NOT rollover into future semesters.

I’m under 18 years old and don’t qualify for studies, what can I do?

Please look into the Alternative Assignment/Research Review to earn your credit(s).

What is the Alternative Assignment/Research Review?

The alternative assignment, or Research Review, is another option for students to earn credits to fulfill the REC requirement. If you select this option, you will be required to write a paper on an empirical research article with specific guidelines. Articles must be from approved journals relevant to topics associated with the class. You can access articles and journals electronically at the UT Dallas library.

Please visit the BBS Information Center in eLearning for guidelines and requirements of this assignment. If you cannot access eLearning, please contact us at [email protected].

Where can I find more information on REC requirements?

All information regarding REC courses can be found in the BBS Information Center. This is accessible through eLearning/Blackboard for all students enrolled in BBS courses. If you do not see this in your organizations, please contact us.

Who can I contact for REC or Sona support?

For all REC or Sona concerns, please contact [email protected].