Undergraduate Studies

Honors Degree in Psychology

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The Honors research program in psychology is intended to provide students with an enriched experience in developing and conducting research in the psychological sciences. The program emphasizes independent thinking, empirical methods, and commitment to a working engagement with research in psychology. Thus, the purpose of the research Honors program is to provide the student with "hands-on" experience with psychological research from developing a proposal from the beginning through to completion, with the ultimate goal of giving the student valuable tools for pursuing graduate work in psychology.

Careful and timely planning is critically important and should begin no later than the first term of the junior year, particularly for students who are considering studying abroad during the second term. Students interested in the research Honors degree are expected to work closely with an identified faculty mentor in laboratory-based and/or field-based empirical research. Thus, students in the Honors program should secure a faculty mentor early on in their pursuit of the research Honors degree. Most students in the Honors program are intending to pursue graduate study in psychology, and the program is tailored to their preparation for that goal. Students should apply to enter the Honors program by August 1st of their senior year or before.


  1. Applicants must be declared Psychology majors and must have a GPA of 3.3 (or better) in their psychology courses by the end of the junior year.
  2. Completion of Research Methods in Psychology (PSY 219W) with a grade of B+ or higher.
  3. Completion of at least one semester of independent research in Psychology or 300-level research seminar in Psychology prior to the senior year.

To Apply

  1. Students must identify a faculty member to sponsor their research project. The advisor may be from Clinical and Social Sciences in Psychology, Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Psychiatry, or another relevant department.
  2. Submit the Research Honors application to the Psychology Honors Director (Melissa Sturge-Apple) by August 1st of the senior year (It is recommended that students apply by the second semester of their junior year, which requires that they write their proposal by that time). The application should be completed in collaboration with and signed by the faculty advisor.

Selection Process

Applicants are selected based on the quality/feasibility of their research proposal, their research experience, their psychology GPA, and the support of their faculty mentor.

Program Requirements

The Research Honors program is a year-long, independent research program taken during the senior year. Students will complete requirements under the direction of their faculty advisor. The following requirements must be completed in order to be considered for a Research Honors degree:

  1. PSY 310 – Honors Research I during the fall semester of the senior year.
  2. PSY 311W – Honors Research II during the spring semester of the senior year.
  3. A formal written Honors Research Thesis approved by the faculty advisor and submitted to the advisor and a second faculty reader by the last day of classes in the spring semester of the graduating year. Completion of the Honors Program automatically includes completion of the Upper Level Writing requirement of the Psychology major.
  4. Oral defense of thesis to the faculty in a public seminar held during the two weeks prior to graduation.