You are here:

Honors Track

The Departmental Honors Track in Psychology allows Honors College students who are psychology majors to earn an official Honors Bachelor's degree in Psychology. This is the only way that psychology majors can have the designation of Honors appear on their degree.

Quick Navigation

The honors advisory for psychology, Dr. Jeanine Stefanucci, will be holding office hours in 2016-2017 by appointment. Dr. Stefanucci is on leave during the Fall 2016 semester. To schedule an appointment, contact her at

Dr. Kristina Rand is also available for psychology honors advising during the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 academic years. During Fall 2016, her office hours are Wed from 11:30-1 and by appointment. To contact Dr. Rand or schedule an appointment, please email her at


The new program consists of several psychology honors electives. These are new honors courses, advanced undergraduate courses, and special honors sections of existing courses. We also require HON 3200, a challenging academic writing course, taught through the Honors College.

In addition to coursework, a central element of the departmental honors track is extended research experience with one or more faculty members, culminating in a departmental honors thesis. This extended research experience will provide substantial benefit to students who plan to apply to graduate or professional school. This program is also appropriate for students who just love psychology and want to learn more, even if they are unsure of their future plans.

Applications & Requirements

Phase 1: Students must first apply to (and be accepted by) the University Honors College.
Phase 2: Honors Thesis Proposal (to be submitted no later than spring of the Junior year)
Requirements and Electives | Electives for 2016-2019 | Honors Track Checklist
Honors Thesis Example Formatting
Application Instructions
Phase 2 Application Deadlines
Fall deadline: Oct 25
Spring deadline: Mar 25

Apply to the Honors College as soon as possible! Because the Departmental Honors track in Psychology requires 9 units of special honors electives, plus the writing course, 6 units of research experience, and the honors thesis itself, it is important to get started early.

Please see the Honors College advisor for information about additional requirements of the University Honors degree, including specific provisions for transfer students.

Transfer Students

If you are a transfer student, do not worry -- we have a plan for you. As long as you start the program in your junior year, it will be possible to finish. Please make an appointment first with Honors College advising and with the Psychology Advising Center to get started.

Benefits of the Honors Track

The departmental honors track provides access to small challenging courses and in-depth research experience, culminating in a year-long honors thesis project. Honors students may also take other classes offered through the Honors College and are eligible for Honors College scholarships and other events. We also offer special Honors advising through the PAC Office and a dedicated faculty honors advisor (currently Dr. Jeanine Stefanucci) who can help you find research opportunities and a faculty advisor.

The psychology honors thesis provides our students with the following opportunities:

  • Opportunity to investigate a topic of interest and importance in depth
  • Opportunity to work closely with a faculty member
  • Opportunity to show potential employers and admissions committees that you have a sustained commitment to a line of inquiry and a finished product to present
  • Opportunity to earn formal departmental honors in psychology on your transcript
  • Opportunities to present your work at university conferences and beyond

Frequently Asked Questions

If I want to do a research project with a faculty member, am I required to participate in the departmental honors program?

No. The departmental honors program provides a structured series of courses and research experiences and confers the designation of "departmental honors in psychology," but is not the only way in which students may have extended involvement in faculty research or undertake their own independent research projects under faculty supervision. Students may continue to take 4800-4806 classes to work with faculty and graduate students whether they are in the honors program or not. However, the resulting project would not constitute an honors thesis, nor would it confer the departmental honors designation on the transcript. Students doing research with faculty members and graduate students are also eligible to present at various departmental, college, and university events, and are strongly encouraged to do so.

When should I apply to the departmental honors program?

As soon as possible! Students must first apply to the University Honors College. Once you have been accepted, you will have mandatory meetings with Psychology Advising and a mandatory orientation session during your first semester in the departmental honors track in which you will learn about research opportunities in departmental labs. The second phase of the application process is the honors thesis proposal with two application cycles each year (fall and spring). The Phase 2 application must be made by the end of March of the junior year.

How do I find an honors advisor?

We recommend a variety of strategies for getting to know more about faculty members and their research.

  1. Take advantage of opportunities in class to ask questions and to visit faculty office hours.
  2. Read the research published by faculty members and ask them questions about it.
  3. Participate in faculty research labs and ask questions about why the research is being done in particular ways and what the researchers hope to learn from the work.
  4. Attend the University Research Symposium and College Research Day each spring to see the research being done by your fellow students.
  5. Make an appointment with the departmental honors advisor to discuss your interests.

How do I get a permission code for a departmental honors class or section?

Please contact Cynthia White in the Psychology Department Main office. You may also contact the faculty instructor directly, though many prefer that you go through the main office.

For what kinds of questions should I see the faculty honors advisor for psychology vs. the Psychology Advising Center (PAC) on the 5th floor?

Please see the PAC Office for questions concerning course requirements for the psychology major, graduation requirements, the writing requirement, and registration difficulties. You should also meet with the PAC Office once per semester to review your progress toward the completing departmental honors track requirements.

Please see the psychology faculty honors advisor for questions concerning whether the departmental honors track is right for you, research opportunities in faculty labs, advice about specific courses to consider to prepare you for research and graduate school, specific questions about the thesis proposal, and other questions that arise as you plan, conduct, and complete the honors thesis itself.

What if I have undergraduate research experience in related fields, but not psychology -- could that count toward the 6 required units of 4800-level Research Experience?

If you have research experience in related fields that you believe is relevant to psychology and the Honors thesis you plan to do, please write a brief petition to the Honors Advisory Committee describing the nature and length of that research experience and providing contact information for the faculty or graduate students who supervised you. We will evaluate these petitions on a case-by-case basis. Please note that you must have completed this research experience for credit for the petition to count these units toward the departmental honors track to be approved.

What funds are available to support my research?

Students may apply to the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) for assistantships to support their research for up to 2 semesters.

How long is a typical departmental honors thesis?

Departmental honors theses range from approximately 20 to 40 pages, including references, tables, and figures.

Where can I find examples of departmental honors theses?
Completed honors theses from across campus are filed with the Marriott Library:

How should my thesis be formatted?

The thesis should follow the required formatting of the Honors College and also conform to APA style. Honors Thesis Example

What happens if I am enrolled in the departmental honors program and receive less than a B in a psychology class?

The Psychology Department Honors Advisory Committee will work with individual students and faculty advisors in cases where a student is making insufficient progress in either the research experience requirements or the thesis research or needs to repeat a course to improve on a B grade or to maintain his or her GPA at the 3.5 level required for successful completion of the program. In all such cases, a written plan of remediation and conditions for reinstatement to full departmental honors status will be formulated, and student progress will be monitored through the Psychology Advising Center as needed.

What is an honors section?

An honors section has its own syllabus in addition to the syllabus for the parent class. An honors section will feature additional assignments and activities and enhanced interaction with regular members of the department faculty. An honors section may or may not have its own separate lab meeting.

What kinds of jobs or graduate or professional training opportunities would an honors program prepare me for?

Successful completion of a departmental honors thesis is excellent preparation for graduate or professional school and also for careers in research administration (such as study coordinator). Regardless of your career plans, showing that you can complete a year-long project and produce a high-quality written product and poster presentation will be impressive to future employers and admissions committees.

Can students not enrolled in either University Honors or the departmental honors track enroll in a psychology Honors course or section?

Preference goes to University Honors and departmental Honors students. However, highly motivated students may enroll in departmental honors courses and sections with instructor permission. We encourage you to pursue this option for classes you are especially interested in.

If I am enrolled in both University Honors and the Psychology Honors track, can I use the same electives, the same writing course, and the same honors thesis to meet the requirements of both programs?

Thankfully, yes. The program is designed as a single structured program of study and research, which means that the Honors electives, honors writing course and honors thesis satisfy the requirements of the University Honors degree in psychology. Please see the Honors College advisors or the PAC Office if you have other questions about specific requirements.

Can I do the Departmental Honors track if I am enrolled as a student part-time?

Yes, as long as you meet the requirements of the departmental honors track and work out an arrangement with your faculty advisor to make consistent progress on the Honors thesis research itself. There is no inherent time limit to successful completion of the departmental honors track.

If I have already taken PSY 3000, but not the honors section, can this class be counted as one of my psychology honors electives?

No, you would need to take 9 units of approved Honors electives in psychology. The non-Honors version of the course will not count for the departmental Honors track.

Completed Honors Theses

USpace Institutional Repository

Michael Cazayoux

Optimism, Health, and Well-Being: Implications for Intervention
Advisor: Tim Smith

Andrew Choi

Examining Off-Task Behaviors as Regulatory Mediators of Long-Term Interest and Performance Online
Advisor: Carol Sansone

Lauren Forrest

The Role of Perception in Eating Disorders
Advisor: Jeanine Stefanucci

Jennica Galloway

Unforgiveable: Examining Reasons for Not Forgiving with Children and Adolescents
Advisor: Monisha Pasupathi

David Gerritsen

Decision Making and Judgments with a Computer
Advisor: Frank Drews

Haley Hoffman

The Effect of Technology Use on Distraction and Safety in High School Student Pedestrians
Advisor: David Strayer

Ashley Pyne

The Effects of Nature and Urban Environments on Working Memory Capacity
Advisor: Jason Watson

Stefan Huynh

Self-Affirmation Counteracts the Effects Cognitive Resource Depletion in Perception
Advisor: Jeanine Stefanucci and Lisa Aspinwall

Kristina Oldroyd

The Effect of Perceived Discrimination on Social Trust as Moderated by Ethnic Identity
Advisor: Monisha Pasupathi

Jessica Robinson

"It's OK to be mad, even if you're wrong": Mother's Explanations of Their Children's Harmful and Helpful Behavior
Advisor: Cecilia Wainryb


Rebecca Stoffel

Lay Perceptions of Genetic Determinism: An Experimental Study of the Impact of Genetic Penetrance on Perceptions of Disease Risk and Preventability
Advisor: Lisa Aspinwall

Kiana Taheri

Individual Differences in the Presence of Specific Scripts in Narratives of Negative Experiences
Advisor: Monisha Pasupathi

Alexandra Trani

What Cognitive Processes Benefit From Nature?
Advisor: Jason Watson

Last Updated: 3/30/17