Honors Program

Directed by Professor Anna Johnson, 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:

  1. The willingness of a full-time psychology faculty member to mentor a student is the most important criterion for acceptance into the Honors Program.
  2. 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.
  3. Students should have completed or be currently completing Research Methods and Statistics (PSYC 2000) when they apply. In exceptional circumstances, an exemption to this rule may be issued by the faculty mentor.

Application Procedure

***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.***

All interested students should submit the Honors Application Form to the director. Download the application form

  1. 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. 
  2. The Honors thesis must be turned in to the director after it has been approved by the student’s mentor. Note: the final product that constitutes the honors thesis is negotiated between the student and their 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 senior year, with co-planning in consultation with the mentor to begin late Spring of the junior year or the summer between junior and senior years. 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. 

Details of Psychology Honors Program

To qualify to graduate with Honors in Psychology, students must:

Honors Thesis

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.

Weekly Honors Seminar Meetings

Meeting Schedule

The Honors Seminar is a required 3-credit class. It meets weekly throughout the entire academic year. Students are expected to attend each class meeting. The goal of these meetings is to review individual student progress and address student-specific questions regarding the research project, as well as create a learning community whereby students can learn from each other.


Assignments are due once a month. 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.

  1. Answer five questions about your project.
  2. IRB approval.
  3. Sample article from your sub-field.
  4. Draft outline of methods section.
  5. Draft outline of results section.
  6. Draft outline of introduction.
  7. Poster for honors symposium
  8. Honors thesis.

Credit Hours

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.

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