HONORS IN PSYCHOLOGY
The honors program in psychology involves a two-semester thesis project that is designed to be similar to a master's thesis. During the first semester, the student does a literature search of existing research on his or her topic, and uses that material as the basis for a Research Proposal. There is a formal defense of the proposal before a committee of 3-4 faculty members at the end of the first semester.
During the second semester (Honor's Thesis II), the student actually conducts the research described in the proposal, gathering data, analyzing the data, and writing the final APA style honors thesis. At the end of the process, there is a formal defense of the completed thesis in front of your faculty committee and other interested students.
Before you enroll in honors thesis I:
- You must have at least two semesters remaining before you graduate.
- You must have achieved at least junior standing.
- You must have passed Research Methods II (PSYC 2103) with a grade of B or better (A is preferred).
- You must have an overall grade point average of 3.2 or higher, or be close enough to a 3.2 to be reasonably confident of achieving it by the time you graduate.
- You must have a Psychology grade point average of 3.2 or higher, or be close enough to a 3.2 to be reasonably confident of achieving it by the time you graduate.
- Identify a faculty member to supervise your project BEFORE you enroll in Honor's Thesis I. For additional information please see the faculty mentor requirement section below.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
How do I find a thesis advisor/mentor?
Students who have a faculty member who has agreed to mentor them for their Honors Thesis (and who meet the above requirements) will be admitted to Honors Thesis 1. Students who do not have a faculty mentor will be admitted on a case-by-case basis by Dr. Levens, the Director of the Honors Program in Psychology. So it is best to try to find a faculty mentor who can mentor you. To find a mentor you should have an idea of a general topic that you would like to research. Then you should check our website for faculty members who share your research interest. You may also approach faculty members who have taught classes that you have enjoyed. Once you have a faculty member in mind, schedule a meeting with them in which you discuss your topic and ask them to advise you.
Can I do Honors Thesis work over the summer?
This depends upon the availability of your faculty mentor. Many faculty members are not available during the summer to supervise thesis work. You will probably have better luck trying to do Honors Thesis I over the summer, since it is more library-based and does not yet require you to collect data.
My GPA is currently below a 3.2. Can I still enroll in Honors Thesis I?
Yes, but be aware that you cannot actually graduate with honors unless your final GPA increases to a 3.2 or higher.
What if I complete a thesis but don't achieve a 3.2 GPA?
Your two semesters of thesis work will still show up on your transcript, but you will not have the designation of "graduated with honors in psychology."
Does honors thesis always involve collecting original data?
In almost all cases, students are required to collect original data for their honors thesis. You may also be able to analyze data that was already collected in the lab of your faulty mentor, as long as your research question and the data analysis you conduct is novel. A literature review is not considered appropriate for an honors thesis.
I see Honors Thesis on the schedule. Do we really meet every week at that time?
You need to have that time generally free on your schedule. The class will meet weekly or bi-weekly at that designated time in the schedule. During class Dr. Levens and your fellow classmates will help you hone your topic and research ideas, guide you in your literature review, give practice presentations, and discuss your progress.
How to Apply
For more information, please contact Dr. Sara Levens
This Application must be completed by students who want to apply to the Psychology Honors Program and enroll in Honors Thesis I.
Information for students already enrolled in Honors Thesis 1 and 2
All students planning to graduate with honors must submit to the Honors College an Application to Candidacy Form with a thesis/project proposal by the deadline the semester PRIOR to the semester in which they expect to complete the thesis/project. This process includes review of the proposal by Honors Faculty and sometimes requires revisions. Plan ahead and contact your honors program director to facilitate this process; he or she, as well as your thesis advisor and any reader(s), must review the proposal and approve it via signature before submission. This Application to Candidacy process is required before taking any honors thesis/project courses on campus. For more information, including the form, deadlines, and guidelines, visit the Honors College's Website. Students who fail to complete this required step will not be able to proceed with the thesis/project, nor graduate with honors.