Prospective Students

Thank you for your interest in joining the Speech and Cognitive Development (SPOG) Lab at UCLA! 

Opportunities for Undergraduate Students 

We are always open to accepting new research assistants into the lab. As part of the SPOG Team, you will provide critical infrastructure and will be a valued member of our community. We accept undergraduates from all academic backgrounds, although we most commonly work with students from Linguistics, Psychology, Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Data Science, Cognitive Science, and Communication Sciences and Disorders. Depending on experience and interests, lab research assistants can gain hands-on experience analyzing data (including developing skills in data science, experiment programming, and natural language processing/machine learning), conducting research studies and collecting bio-behavioral data, and engaging with child participants and their families. Past mentees have presented at scientific conferences and co-authored publications. 

Many of our students receive course credit for their work in the lab or are eligible for work study arrangements. To apply to work in the SPOG Lab, please send a copy of your CV, transcript, and a brief description of your background and research interests to You must commit to at least 6 hours of work per week, all of which must be in-person your first quarter. Academic year appointees must commit to two consecutive quarters. 

Paid research opportunities for undergraduate UCLA students:

UCLA also offers several mechanisms to fund undergraduate research. The Speech and Cognitive Development Lab is housed within humanities, but because much of our research concerns behavioral health and child development, many students who have paired a linguistics degree with a STEM degree are eligible for funding mechanisms in the sciences as well.

Dr. Cychosz cannot provide guidance on which mechanism(s) you should pursue for funding. Students must have committed at least one full year of work in the Speech and Cognitive Development lab for Dr. Cychosz to be able to support your application for a funded research opportunity and provide a letter of recommendation. If you are interested in pursuing a funded research opportunity, please 1) ensure your eligibility, 2) outline a project idea complete with title, and 3) email this information to so that the lab can advise your application. 

If you are a student at another university, including international students, please read this page for full instructions on engaging in research in our lab:

Opportunities for Graduate Students 

Dr. Cychosz accepts PhD students through the UCLA Department of Linguistics. Most questions concerning graduate admissions to the lab can be answered by exploring the department’s Graduate Admissions Page

If you are interested in graduate work in the lab, including co-mentorship (across departments), please email Dr. Cychosz a copy of your CV and a brief explanation of your research interests to see if the lab would be a good fit for you. 

Systemic barriers to graduate education 

Applying to graduate school can be prohibitively expensive. Fortunately, the UC system waives graduate application fees for students who are eligible. See here for more information. (Dr. Cychosz took advantage of this when she applied to graduate school!)

In addition, the UCLA Department of Linguistics does not consider GRE scores as part of its admission criteria. Do not pay for these expensive test prep services and do not waste your time taking the tests (to enter our program) which either do not, or only weakly, correlate with success in graduate school and instead are more strongly correlated with applicant privilege

Finally, there is a hidden curriculum in graduate admissions, often only accessible to people with insider knowledge due to socioeconomic, racial/ethnic, and/or institutional privilege. Here are some resources available to help you navigate the world of graduate admissions and write a competitive application. A lot of these resources are tailored towards psychology, but many of the criteria are similar for the type of linguistics that we do. (The lab credits Dr. Rachel Romeo at the University of Maryland for collecting these resources):

For students interested in applying for linguistics graduate school in the next cycle, please check out this resource created by UC Berkeley graduate students! Graduate students will review your application materials and provide guidance during this difficult process.

Opportunities for Postdocs and Research Associates

We do not currently have openings for postdoctoral researchers, but Dr. Cychosz always welcomes discussions about postdoctoral fellowship programs (NIH NRSA, NSF SBE) with interested students. The UC system also has an exceptional postdoctoral training program (President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program) which you may be eligible for. If interested in any of these opportunities, please email Dr. Cychosz a copy of your CV and a brief explanation of your research interests.