Psychology Department

Honors in Psychology

The Psychology Honors Option provides psychology majors with the opportunity to supplement their Psychology Degree by conducting a substantial, independent, empirical project under the supervision of a Psychology faculty member.   This proposal does not affect existing Psychology Major requirements and allows individual faculty members to decide whether or not to participate in an Honors Thesis Project.

To be eligible for the Honors Thesis, students must have a minimum Psychology GPA of 3.5 AND a minimum overall GPA of 3.3.

Psychology with Distinction Application form

The core components of the Honors Option are:

  1. Completion of the Psychology Honors Option entails a two-semester sequence of courses:  an Honors Guided Reading (PSY 475) and an Honors Thesis (PSY 476).  Each of these courses is worth 3 credits.  These 6 credits may not be used to fulfill any other requirements of the Psychology Major.
  2. These two courses must be completed sequentially (first Honors Guided Reading, then Honors Thesis) in consecutive semesters.  The Honors Guided Reading can begin no sooner than the second semester of the junior year, or after at least 75 credits have been completed.
  3. The student must have completed PSY 324 prior to beginning the Honors Guided Reading.   In addition, the Advanced Seminar must be completed prior to or simultaneously with the Honors Guided Reading.
  4. The student must submit an application for admission to the Psychology Honors Option (available on the Psychology Department website). The application includes the Psychology with Distinction application form, along with a 300 word proposal outlining the project and designating a faculty supervisor. The proposal must be approved by the Distinction committee, consisting of the department chair, designated faculty supervisor, and a faculty reader mutually agreed to by the chair and supervisor.
  5. All existing PSY major requirements are retained.
  6. The Honors Thesis must be completed under the supervision of a Psychology faculty member. The research question must be approved by the supervising faculty, and that faculty member will determine whether the project merits an Honors Thesis and if it is substantially different from the student’s other work.
  7. Independent, empirical research constitutes the heart of the Honors Thesis.  That is, the student must propose, receive IRB approval for, and conduct an original study.
  8. The content and scope of the Honors Guided Reading will be negotiated with the supervising faculty, and is intended to provide students with significant exposure to existing research in the relevant topic and to facilitate the development of a theoretical basis for the Honors Thesis.
  9. The four student goals for PSY 475 are a) a completed written literature review, b) a draft of the project plan for PSY 476, c) an IRB application submission, and d) supervisor and reader agreement that the student may proceed to PSY 476.
  10. The Honors Option will culminate in a written Honors Thesis written in the form of an empirical article in accordance with the current edition of the APA Publication Manual. A 30 minute oral presentation of the PSY 476 project is also required. The presentation would be attended by the supervising faculty, the faculty reader, and open to other faculty and students.
  11. A complete draft of the written Honors Thesis must be submitted to the supervisor and reader at least 14 days before the last day of regularly scheduled classes in the semester in which PSY 476 is completed. The oral presentation is to be scheduled at least 7 days before the last day of regularly scheduled classes.  The final version of the written Honors Thesis must be submitted to the supervisor and reader by the last day of regularly scheduled classes.
  12. In order to graduate with “Psychology with Distinction”, a student must earn at least an A- in both PSY 475 and 476. The supervisor decides course grades with the input from the reader.
  13. An award certificate should be presented at the Annual Honors Ceremony.
  14. Compensation for the faculty supervisor will be 0.33 credit hours, and 0.11 for the faculty reader