Honors Guidelines

The honors program in psychology allows qualified senior psychology majors to participate in yearlong, original empirical research.
Working on an honors project with a faculty member is a privilege normally accorded to students with a record of strong performance in the major. In addition to having these qualifications, students must also follow these guidelines.

Guidelines

Students interested in pursuing an honors project should take the following steps:

  • Think about topics, areas, issues, theories that interest you. Consider whether they might be feasible areas for a year of dedicated research effort on your part.
  • Converse with appropriate department faculty to determine if you qualify for honors research according to each professor's areas of interest/concentration. 
  • In order to have an appropriately sophisticated background in a topic area, students who are considering pursuing honors should elect advanced courses during their junior year.
  • Projects span both semesters of the senior year (Psychology 4050 in the fall, Psychology 4051 in the spring).
  • Projects involve original empirical research on one current topic in psychology, conducted by one student and supervised by one professor.
  • Each topic is chosen to be of mutual interest to the student and his or her advisor.

Choosing an Advisor

Honors projects all begin with direct discussions between interested qualified students and appropriate faculty members. Qualified students should contact professors with whom they would like to work during the spring semester of their junior year to begin the discussion process. Professors who are on leave should be contacted the first week of the fall semester or prior to that by email.

Students should also contact professors early to determine his or her own criteria for selecting a student for honors research. Although students may approach any professor to explore the possibility of working on an honors project, each professor has his or her own criteria for determining a student’s qualification for participation in the honors program.

These criteria may include:

  • performance in the major as demonstrated by grade
  • performance in the professor’s courses
  • a written proposal for an honors project
  • a well-developed research interest or other indications of a student’s capability

The evaluation of honors projects involves the full department faculty for the determination of departmental honors and the supervisor for the determination of the course (4050/4051 grade.)

Recent honors theses include such topics as searching for negative versus positive aspects of a future career, inferencing during text processing, an investigation into the process by which children differentiate comprehension and memory, children's understanding of truths and falsehoods and personal problem-solving.