Departmental Honors in Psychology is a program designed to honor some of our best students who have achieved excellence in the classroom, particularly research-related work. Departmental Honors in Psychology are separate from the University Honors Program, although the research component for Departmental Honors may fulfill the thesis requirement for University Honors. Students are NOT required to be a member of the University Honors Program to complete Departmental Honors in Psychology.
Criteria for acceptance into Psychology Departmental Honors Program
- A minimum of five Psychology courses completed by the end of the junior year, ideally including at least one 300-level lab or 400-level research class.
- Cumulative and Psychology grade point averages of 3.50 or higher at the end of one’s junior year.
- Completion of the Application for Departmental Honors in Psychology by the last day of classes at the end of your junior year.
Note: Acceptance into the program does not guarantee graduating with Departmental Honors.
Process for completing Departmental Honors once accepted into the program
- Maintain cumulative and Psychology GPA of at least 3.50 until graduation. (Rounding is not allowed.)
- Choose a Research Advisor for your honors thesis project. This person must be a faculty member in the Psychology Department. The Research Advisor will help you develop a project of appropriate scope and depth to qualify for departmental honors, help you choose the appropriate number of PSYC 499 credits in which to enroll, and oversee your research project. Note: All honors theses must involve empirical research, not simply library research.
- Choose two additional committee members, one from the Psychology Department and one from outside the Psychology Department. This committee supervises and periodically checks the progress of the student's research and evaluates the final paper and oral defense of it.
- Submission of PSYC-499 Honors Thesis paperwork for 1-4 credits no later than the Friday of the first week of classes during one semester (or both semesters) of the student’s senior year.
- Write a comprehensive Honors Thesis based on your research project. The thesis must be in APA (7th edition) format (abstract, introduction, methods, results, discussion). Copies of the thesis are distributed to each Honors Thesis Committee member and the Psychology Chairperson.
- Oral defense of the Honor's Thesis to the Honors Thesis Committee by the deadline in mid-April set by the University. The defense typically includes a 20-30 minute PowerPoint presentation summarizing the research to the committee and others in attendance. Following the presentation, committee members will ask the student questions about the research for approximately 20 minutes. Typically, the Honors Thesis Committee has edits they would like to see made to the thesis following the defense. The final copy of the thesis is due by the last day of exams the semester it is completed.
- After satisfactory completion of the above criteria, the Honors Thesis Committee will decide the grade for PSYC 499 as well as if the student has earned Departmental Honors; the minimum grade to earn Departmental Honors is an A- (students cannot take PSYC 499 S/NC). The Research Advisor will inform the Psychology Chairperson if the student earned Departmental Honors. The Chairperson will then instruct the University Registrar to note "Departmental Honors in Psychology" on the student's permanent transcript. If the student also is a member of the University Honors Program, the Psychology Chairperson will notify the Department Assistant for the University Honors Program that the student has satisfactorily completed the Honors Thesis requirement for University Honors.