Directed by Professor Fathali Moghaddam, the Department of Psychology’s Honors Program provides enriched research training for a small group of the most motivated and accomplished psychology majors. The Honors Program provides students with the opportunity to be immersed in the research process under the mentorship of a faculty member. In close interaction with their mentor, students will complete a research project that will constitute a novel contribution to the psychological sciences. At the end of their senior year, students are expected to submit an honors thesis and present a poster at the Honors Symposium. All students who successfully complete Honors requirements will have ‘Honors Psychology Major Complete’ recorded on their transcripts.
Criteria for acceptance:
- The willingness of a full-time psychology faculty member to mentor a student is the most important criterion for acceptance into the Honors Program.
- Students should have an overall GPA of 3.5 or higher. In exceptional circumstances, an exemption to this rule may be issued by the faculty mentor.
- Students should have completed or be currently completing Research Methods and Statistics (PSYC-002) when they apply. In exceptional circumstances, an exemption to this rule may be issued by the faculty mentor.
***Please note: students must identify a mentor and obtain that mentor’s agreement to support honors thesis work before completing the application to join the Psychology Honors program.***
- Applicants can apply in March, April, or May of their Junior year to conduct honors research during their Senior year only; they may also apply in March, April, or May of their Sophomore year to conduct honors research during both their Junior and Senior years.
- The Honors thesis must be turned in to the director after it has been approved by the student’s mentor.
Ordinarily, students interested in joining the Psychology Honors Program should be fully engaged in the Program for at least the Fall and Spring semesters of their 4th year. However, the particular research approach and teaching schedules of some faculty may result in different timing for students interested in working with them. Further, in the case of students who plan to study abroad during the junior year, the student and mentor must come to an agreement about how study abroad will affect the student’s work as part of the Honors Program, prior to the student entering the Program.
Nature of Psychology Honors Program Activity
To qualify to graduate with Honors in Psychology, students must:
- Complete an Honors thesis that meets the set requirements by the specified deadline and agree to it being posted on the Honors Program’s webpage.
- Attend at least 5 Honors research meetings, and make a presentation about their Honors thesis in one such meeting.
- Maintain satisfactory progress during the Honors year; if the mentor indicates that progress is unsatisfactory by the end of the first semester of the Honors program, the student will be terminated from continuing in the Honors program in the second semester.
- Present a poster in the Annual Psychology Honors Research Conference to be held in the Spring semester of each year.
- Submit a written thesis to their faculty mentor, with a copy shared with the director of the Honors Program.
Ordinarily students will participate in an ongoing research program directed by a professor. The particular form and method of the project will be decided by the mentor and the student. However, the Honors thesis must ‘stand alone’, make a novel theoretical, empirical, or integrative contribution to a branch of psychology, and be of high enough quality to be submitted for publication or for presentation at a scientific professional conference. Not all conferences are scientific, but all are professional. The faculty mentor will determine if the thesis meets these requirements and, in some cases, the mentor may invite a second reader to evaluate and contribute to the thesis.
Honors Thesis Archive
‘Brown-Bag’ Honors Meetings
The Honors Seminar meets monthly throughout the entire academic year. Students are expected to attend each class meeting. Students must also meet with the Honors Program Director for two 1-hour sessions per month. The goal of these meetings is to review individual student progress and address student-specific questions regarding the research project.
Assignments are due at each monthly seminar meeting. These assignments can be thought of as “deliverables” that accumulate to inform the final thesis product; the final product, a poster presentation to the entire Psychology department and affiliates and invited guests is traditionally at the end of April. The specific assignments are listed below.
- Answer five questions about your project.
- IRB approval.
- Sample article from your sub-field.
- Draft outline of methods section.
- Draft outline of results section.
- Draft outline of introduction.
- Poster for honors symposium
- Honors thesis.
Students will register for ‘Honors Symposium’ PSYC-4999 (3 credit hours) in the first semester of entrance to the Honors Program. This will count as fulfilling one of the two Seminar requirements for the Psychology Major.
All students who successfully complete Honors requirements will have ‘Honors Psychology Major Complete’ recorded on their transcripts.