Questions about available positions should be directed to Dr. Tommy Sprague.

Tommy Sprague
Psychological & Brain Sciences

Joining the Lab

The Perception, Cognition and Action Lab, directed by Tommy Sprague, Ph.D, is recruiting its first generation of scientists.

The Lab is committed to providing world-class training in thoughtful experiment design, computational approaches to modeling and analyzing neural and behavioral data, and effective communication of scientific results.

We are committed to open and reproducible science, and to fostering a collegial and friendly atmosphere for scientific exploration and training. We believe that science is better when we all work together, and when diverse voices join forces to tackle exciting and important problems in cognitive computational neuroscience.

The ideal trainee would bring computational skills in a programming environment they feel comfortable with, be willing and excited to learn new analysis and data acquisition techniques, find gratification in trying new and challenging experiments, and be an enthusiastic problem-solver. Dr. Sprague has a strong background in MATLAB, so can most effectively train students using that environment, but any computational background is welcome (Python, Julia, MATLAB, Java tend to be the most useful, but once you’ve learned one language, the next one is much easier).

When positions are not available, you are still welcome to get in touch to learn more about the lab - see instructions below. Dr. Sprague is also available to meet at conferences.

Graduate Studies

The lab trains students via the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at UCSB. For information about the graduate program, including application information, see here

The lab will not be recruiting new PhD students for consideration during the Fall 2024/Winter 2025 admissions cycle.

Interested students should email PI Tommy Sprague directly. Please send a brief description of your background, research/academic experience, and research interests, as well as a resume or CV. Dr. Sprague is happy to provide further information about the lab and our planned research goals.

Postdoctoral Fellows

If you're interested in learning more about possible postdoctoral opportunities in the lab, please contact PI Tommy Sprague.

Research Specialist

There are presently no open positions for Research Specialists in the Sprague Lab. Information about future positions will be posted here when positions become available.

Undergraduate Research Assistants

The Sprague Lab considers applications from motivated, meticulous, and reliable volunteer research assistants to help with running behavioral, eyetracking, and EEG experiments. Opportunities are available for further training, including independent research projects. This is a great way to gain research experience before applying to post-baccalaureate research programs or PhD programs. Typically, research assistants are supervised directly by PhD students, so the availability of positions depends on the needs of each PhD student each quarter. 

To be considered for a volunteer position, submit an application here. Applications are reviewed quarterly (typically the last week of the quarter), and you'll be contacted if we'd like to conduct a follow-up interview. In the questions in the application, try to address how training in the lab will help further your career goals, and emphasize any unique skills you might bring to the group (e.g., programming, statistics, modeling, etc). 

Unfortunately, more students will apply than we have room for, and we cannot take new students every quarter. 

What to know when contacting Dr. Sprague

Dr. Sprague is happy to meet informally, either in-person at UCSB, at conferences, or over teleconference software, to discuss available opportunities and provide advice about how to structure a successful application. It’s most helpful to include a brief description of your background, why you’re interested in a given opportunity, a statement of your research interests, and what you believe makes you especially qualified compared to other candidates. Including a resume or CV can also be useful.

Admission to the lab is competitive, and while all qualified candidates will be given equal consideration, not all can be offered positions.

The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic by law.