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Earn $ from university-sponsored surveys/experiments

by Nicole on February 25, 2009

Most leading universities have graduate programs where the masters and doctoral students need to survey a cross-section of the population to prove (or disprove) a theory. By signing up with these university sites you can make money or earn prizes.

These are usually very interesting surveys and I have participated in experiments regarding my views on race and politics among many other topics. Many of the surveys pay with Amazon e-certificates that you get very quickly after completing the survey (TIP: log into your amazon account and under “your account” add the gift card code to “apply a gift certificate/card to your account”. That way there is no losing the email). Others give you a percentage (say 1/10) chance of winning a prize. I have won many gift cards through these lotteries – they usually give pretty good odds!

I check these sites often as they usually don’t email about experiments. I say experiments but really it’s just reading some material and answering questions – you answer from the comfort of your home and they interpret the results! Here are the ones I am a part of:

Stanford Graduate School of Business Behavioral Lab

UCLA Anderson School of Management Behavioral Lab

eLab at the Yale School of Management

Columbia University Center for Decision Sciences

Psychological Studies at Harvard University

Lewis & Clark College Behavioral Health & Social Psychology Lab – take survey to sign up

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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Christina February 25, 2009 at 6:11 am

It’s great that you posted these, and I hope some of your readers decide to sign up! In about a month, I’ve made $35 in Amazon gift cards just from these surveys, and $10 in gift cards from swagbucks. :)

2 Suz February 25, 2009 at 8:48 am

Cute Blog! Any more info on these programs. I’m skeptical unless I’ve heard about them in other places as well. Never heard of any of them besides Swagbucks before.

Looks like you’re off to a good start with your blog. By first glance I would’ve thought you’d been here awhile. The blog archive gives away the age of the blog.

3 Nicole @ Nicole's Nickels February 25, 2009 at 9:07 am

Hi Suz! Thanks for the compliment about the blog! There is other information about these university survey sites – if you look under surveys on slickdeals you’ll find a lot of information. Also, the sites are linked from the actual university website and are a part of the university. They are legit, the surveys are fairly short and you get paid quickly! Let me know if you sign up for any of them and how it goes…

4 Centsible Savings February 25, 2009 at 10:14 am

I’ve done a few of these here and there, and the money does come! I remember getting a piece of mail from ETSU and almost throwing it away thinking it was junk mail. My husband was like, “Wait! It has those teary-offy thingies on the envelope, that always means it’s a check! It was!

5 Kimberley H February 25, 2009 at 11:36 am

This is great information. Thank you for sharing it! A couple of the University sites are using Sona Systems. When you go to register for the next one, it says you can’t use an email that is already registered in the system. After I registered for the first one, how do I sign up for the next university if they are using the same Sona system? Can I share a Sona account amongst them? Or, do I need to get a separate Sona account for each one? Which would mean using a different email for each one – I don’t have that many email addresses. And, can you legal do this (have several accounts with them)? Thanks for your help!

6 Anonymous February 25, 2009 at 1:16 pm

You mentioned finding more info about these surveys at Slick Deals. Could you post a link, I have never heard of it before. I have really been enjoying your site!

7 Nicole @ Nicole's Nickels February 25, 2009 at 5:24 pm

Hi Kimberly! I use the same email account for all Sona-based systems so I’m not sure what the problem is. I don’t think there should be an issue since Sona is just the software the university uses to faciliate the survey program. You can sign up for different email addresses using a web-based email service, such as gmail or yahoo.

8 Nicole @ Nicole's Nickels February 25, 2009 at 5:25 pm

As far as slickdeals goes, here is a link – but also a warning that it can be quite addictive!
This is a link to the forum pages where people list surveys, deals, coupons, freebies, etc. It is a great resource! Let me know what you think.

9 Sandi and Jedd February 26, 2009 at 12:38 am

Thanks for this list! I’ve been a member of the Stanford one and was able to join all the others!!


10 MaryAnne February 26, 2009 at 12:09 pm

Thanks for sharing, these look great!

11 Laura February 26, 2009 at 1:11 pm

How does the Harvard site work? They had a drop down list that had lists of classes and times and a for pay only. Do we select for pay if we are not local? If you select a class and time does that mean you need to be there physically?

12 justusseven February 26, 2009 at 4:44 pm

Love your blog. Thanks for the links!

13 Nicole @ Nicole's Nickels February 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm

Hi Laura! Yes, select for pay only. If you’re not an enrolled student at Harvard you can’t get class credit. When you sign up for surveys it will list a date and a time – you just need to make sure you have the survey done by that time. There should be instructions once you get to that point regarding the deadline. Enjoy!

14 Laura February 26, 2009 at 5:27 pm

Okay.. thank you :)

15 Sandra February 27, 2009 at 9:57 am

Thank you Nicole!
I had no idea you could earn money doing these. lol

I have a blog ( for everything I do to make money online, but was unaware of these. I hope it is OK if I post this on my blog and of course I will give you the credit.

16 Anne February 27, 2009 at 11:21 am

Great information! Thanks for posting. Every little bit helps.

17 Nicole @ Nicole's Nickels February 27, 2009 at 5:34 pm

Hi Sandra: Yes, please post the information on your blog. Thanks for the link!

18 February 28, 2009 at 2:10 pm

for some reason I am unable to create a link from your site to my post, so here it is ENJOY!
your post did help my list become more complete

19 Anonymous March 17, 2009 at 12:14 am

I’m having issues logging in to these. I have been given a password and everytime I enter it is loads back to the login page saying my authentication has expired. What am I doing wrong?

20 Nicole @ Nicole's Nickels March 17, 2009 at 4:18 am

I’m not sure. I would either contact tech support for the site, start over and sign up again or clear the “cookies” from your computer and see if that works. Hope it does!

21 Vermonter April 1, 2009 at 12:11 pm

Thank you so much! I’ve already earned a $5 Amazon e-giftcard. I linked this post on my blog today.

22 Lawrence April 15, 2009 at 4:36 pm

It is great that you are posting for university research. We researchers appreciate it! I’d like to let your readers know about two additional sites we run at UC Riverside. the eLab Global Panel and the eLab eXchange. Links to both can be found at

We are getting ready to field some studies that will require lots of people, so we can use all the help we can get. We typically offer entries into a cash drawing as a prize with odds around 1 in 100 of winning. If you have any quastions feel free to contact me at

23 Anonymous May 4, 2009 at 10:37 pm

I still don’t understand the Harvard one. You have to go to all of the classes to get the money? How does it work because I live in Indiana. Also the one’s that are by invite only, do you ever get invited?

24 Nicole @ Nicole's Nickels May 5, 2009 at 4:30 am

The Harvard one lists some on campus (which you can’t do from Indiana) and some are online only (which you can do from anywhere). You’ll just need to sort through the list to find the online ones. Yes, I do receive invites from them on occasion to complete a study.

25 ash June 13, 2009 at 11:39 am

I am an international student on a F-1 visa from greece,can I participate in the studies and survey sites too?I yet haven't been able to figure that out?can you please help me.
i love you blog,as an student you have really helped me save money.I love the way your blog gives a stepwise guide which are really easy to follow even by newbies like me.

26 Nicole @ Nicole's Nickels June 13, 2009 at 6:55 pm

Hi Ash: I'm not sure if your status affects your ability to do the surveys and studies. I would try signing up for them and read their eligibility requirements and terms and conditions. Of course, if it's prohibited then don't do it and if they ask a question relating to immigration status be up front. Just know that any money you earn is considered income and is taxable in this country.

27 Danielle July 17, 2009 at 9:17 am

I linked to this post in my blog today. Here is the link for your review:

28 Brown Thumb Mama August 14, 2009 at 12:04 pm

Thanks for the great tip! I've found a few more universities that do experiments:

29 Terri Weston August 25, 2009 at 6:04 am

Nicole, hubby went to UCLA and USC, he will join the UCLA one and our Grandson went to Columbia so my Daughter and I plan to go to Columbia site.
LOVE your bog thanks so much for the valuable info to earn some bucks and save some.

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