Honors Program in Psychology

The honors program in Psychology offers students the opportunity to work in depth on an empirical project during the senior year.  These projects usually involve 3 course credits, one in the fall semester and two in the spring; in some cases that order can be reversed. Be aware that the thesis fulfills a seminar requirement in the area of your thesis, so that thesis writers need to take only one seminar in a different area for the psychology major.

Information regarding the research interests of faculty members of the Psychology Department can be found here or on their individual web pages. During the spring semester, juniors will receive an information packet that will include more details about each faculty members areas of interest and expertise. In some cases, specific research projects that a faculty member would like to see carried out are described, and specific course prerequisites necessary to pursue honors work in a given area are listed. Students should read the descriptions and talk with all faculty members whose research areas they find exciting. They will be asked to submit a list, specifying order of preference of possible thesis advisor. The faculty meets as a group to make decisions about which students will be accepted into the honors program and who their advisor will be. The general criteria that the faculty uses in making its decisions are:

  • background in the area
  • ability to work independently
  • appropriate writing skills
  • high level of motivation
  • perseverance.

It is advantageous and sometimes necessary to have had a course with the professor in whose research area one is interested.

Early in the spring semester junior student majors will be sent information about professor research interests and their availability for thesis supervision. Juniors will also receive instruction on how to sign-up for the honors thesis program for their senior year. The thesis project is both intensive and demanding but it is also rewarding and often filled with new learning experiences, therefore students should carefully consider their commitment to this year-long 3-course-credit experience. Due to limited availability, thesis enrollment cannot be guaranteed to all applicants in all years.