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 analysis and interpretation, and an oral defense of the final thesis. Successful completion of the program results in graduation with "Distinguished Independent Work in Psychology."

Why complete an honors thesis?

  • Allows you to conduct original research in an area that interests you, and helps you gain in depth knowledge of that research area.  
  • It demonstrates to a graduate or professional program, or future employer that you are capable of planning and completing a project.
  • It provides tangible proof of your motivation and dedication to the field of psychological research.
  • 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 Honors
    • Grade Point Average (GPA):  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 an overall GPA of 3.0.
    • Course requirements: Students should register for 2 credits of PSYC 498 the semester they are preparing to submit their thesis proposal. Students must register for, and satisfactorily complete, no more than 4 credits of PSYC 499, either as 2 credits each semester of their senior year, or 4 credits in the semester the degree award is expected. 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).

    For additional information on the requirements of the Honors Program in Psychology, see the University Bulletin.

    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. Non-majors wishing to obtain Honors in Psychology must petition the Undergraduate Committee. Appeals for a waiver of requirements must be filed by the first Monday in November for students who plan to complete their thesis in the spring semester.

  • Procedures and Suggested Timeline

    First Semester of Senior Year

    • Formation of Honors Committee: The student must form an Honors Committee consisting of a faculty supervisor in the Psychology Department who will serve as chair of the committee, and at least one other faculty member in the Psychology Department. The additional member(s) should be chosen in conjunction with the faculty sponsor.
    • Course Registrations: The student must submit the PSYC 397 Registration Form and state in the comment section that they wish to complete an honors thesis. Most students intending to complete honors also enroll in PSYC 498-Honors Preparation. This course helps students prepare their thesis proposal. The student would be enrolled in PSYC 397 for 2 credits, and PSYC 498 for 2 credits.  If the student and supervising faculty feel that the student can prepare their thesis without the prep course, then they must enroll in PSYC 397 for 4 credits. 
    • Written research proposal: 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 must be submitted using this form no later than the last day of classes. The faculty supervisor will submit an email of approval and will authorize the student's registration for PSYC 499 -Honors Research & thesis (4 credits).

    Second Semester of Senior Year

    • 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.
    • Procedures for final certification: Determination of the student's receipt of the "Distinguished Independent Work in Psychology" designation will reside solely with the student's Honors Committee. Assuming the student has met all the requirements listed above, such certification must be conveyed via email to psyadvis@binghamton.edu 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 must be submitted to the Undergraduate Psychology Advising Office to certify completion of the Honors Program using this form.