The Honors Program in Psychology and in Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience

Psychology and Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience concentrators with strong academic records and an interest in research are encouraged to consider participating in the Honors Program. The program is designed to enable advanced students to gain experience in design, conduct, and analysis of research studies. Students experience an intensive collaboration with a faculty member, and complete a major effort to create new scientific knowledge. The Honors Program can serve as a capstone for their undergraduate studies, and as important preparation for graduate training or employment in a variety of fields.

  1. Requirements. In addition to completing all the requirements for the concentration, an Honors degree designation requires having and maintaining a cumulative GPA of at least 3.4, participation in two terms of independent study Honors courses, presenting in the Annual Research Forum, and the completion and acceptance of a written thesis describing an original research project conducted in collaboration with a faculty mentor.
  2. Faculty Partnership. Students wishing to pursue Honors should explore their interests in research and statistics early in their academic career. The student must then identify a faculty research mentor to work in partnership on an Honors project. The research mentor can be any faculty member or research scientist holding a faculty appointment in the University. Students must have one mentor from the Psychology Department. With the mentor as a collaborator, the student will prepare a project plan and timeline for completion. Application deadlines are posted on the Psychology Honors website.
  3. Admission to the Honors Program. A student and their faculty research mentor must apply together for admission to the program; this includes an application and research proposal. Students are encouraged to apply the semester before their final year at the university (i.e., the end of their Junior year) to begin the Fall term of their Senior year. Students will need to have completed their Statistics requirement and have completed or planned completion of their Methods-based lab requirement before applying to the program.
  4. Courses. Once accepted into the Honors Program, Psychology concentrators will elect both PSYCH 425 and 427; Brain, Behavior, and Cognitive Science concentrators will elect both PSYCH 424 and 426. The Honors courses are graded, may be used towards the required experiential lab concentration credits (Psychology concentration: for a maximum of 6 experiential lab credits and BCN concentration: maximum of 3 credits) and PSYCH 426 or 427 may satisfy the college upper-level writing requirement. Students may be required to take a Methods-based lab in addition to these courses, and are encouraged to meet with the Honors concentration advisor to plan how each course will count toward their plan.
  5. The Honors Thesis. The required senior Honors thesis is a written report describing the design and execution of the research project conducted in collaboration with the faculty mentor. The thesis will be due one calendar month before the anticipated graduation date. All Honors theses must be prepared in American Psychological Association (APA) format, and typically run 30-40 double-spaced pages in length. One electronic and hard copy of the thesis and a submission form must be submitted.
  6. Evaluation of Thesis. The thesis will be evaluated by two-three readers: the mentor, an outside reader (a faculty member not involved in the research project), and a possibly representative of the Honors Program. Students and mentors are responsible for suggesting a second reader prior to submitting their application. The reports of all readers will address the quality of the science reported in the thesis, as well as the quality of the written presentation. The report of the mentor will also address the role the student played in the design, execution, and interpretation of the experiments reported in the thesis, and should point out the role played by others on the project. The Honors Director will then meet to review the recommendations of the readers and decide on the appropriate level of Honors. The Honors Director will attempt to maintain uniform standards, and is not constrained by the recommendations of the readers. Based on LSA guidelines, a determination of "No Honors," "Honors," "High Honors," or "Highest Honors" is made. This determination of an Honors designation must be completed prior to the actual awarding of the degree.

Students interested in the Psychology Department Honors Program should attend an informational session and review program details on the website prior to applying.


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