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Honors Track FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

Completed honors theses from across campus are filed with the Marriott Library:

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Last Updated: 6/4/21