Honors in Psychology

Outstanding students in psychology and other closely related disciplines are encouraged to participate in the Honors Program in Psychology. The program requires preparation of a thesis, which consists of a proposal, data collection, written analysis and an oral defense of the final thesis. Successful completion of the program results in graduation with "Distinguished Independent Work in Psychology."

Psychology Honors Application (pdf, 24kb)

What are the advantages of completing an honors thesis?

  • It demonstrates to a graduate or professional program or future employer that you are capable of planning and following through and completing a project.
  • It provides tangible proof of your motivation and dedication to the field.
  • It shows that you understand all dimensions of the scientific endeavor.
  • It provides you with an opportunity to work closely with a faculty mentor.

Requirements for psychology majors to participate in the Honors Program

  1. Grade Point Average (GPA): At the completion of the seventh semester, a student must have a minimum GPA of 3.5 for all psychology courses attempted, 3.5 for all courses attempted that count toward satisfaction of major requirements and 3.0 for all courses attempted.
  2. Course requirements: Students must register for, and satisfactorily complete, at least four credits of PSYC 499, preferably distributed over two semesters. If a student chooses not to complete their Honors thesis it is their responsibility to drop PSYC 499 and switch these research credits to PSYC 397 (see Academic Advisor for assistance).

Appeals of requirements

Any student who fails to meet one or more of the requirements listed above may petition the Undergraduate Committee for a waiver of a particular requirement. Non-majors desiring to obtain honors in psychology must petition the Undergraduate Committee to obtain permission to participate in the department honors program. Appeals for waiver of requirements must be filed by the first Monday in November for students who plan to complete their thesis in the spring semester.


  1. Formation of Honors Committee: Prior to the end of the seventh semester, the student must form an Honors Committee consisting of a faculty sponsor in the Psychology Department who will serve as chair of the committee and at least two other faculty members in the Psychology Department chosen in conjunction with the faculty sponsor.
  2. Written research proposal: During the semester prior to the semester in which the student plans to complete the Honors research, the student must submit a written research proposal to the members of the Honors Committee no later than one week prior to the last day of classes. Approval of the proposal by the Honors Committee is necessary for the student to be accepted into the Honors Program. A copy of the approved proposal signed by all committee members and a completed honors application form (available in the Undergraduate Psychology Advising Office, S4-230B) must be filed in the Undergraduate Psychology Advising Office no later than the last day of classes during the semester prior to the semester in which the student wishes to receive honors.
  3. Defense of the thesis: One week prior to the scheduled defense, the student must submit to the Honors Committee a written thesis based on the research accomplished. The student must defend the thesis orally before the committee and any other interested parties no later than the Friday prior to the last week of classes.
  4. Procedures for final certification: Determination of the student's receipt of the "Distinguished Independent Work in Psychology" designation will reside solely with a student's Honors Committee, assuming the student has met all the requirements listed above; such certification must be conveyed to the Academic Advisor by the student's faculty sponsor so that timely notification of the award can be transmitted to the dean's office and to the registrar. A copy of the final thesis, signed by all members of the Honors Committee, must be filed in the Undergraduate Psychology Advising Office to certify completion of the Honors Program.

Timetable for Completing an Honors Thesis:

Flowchart timetable for Completing an Honors Thesis

Last Updated: 7/27/16