Department of Psychology Honors Program

Purpose

The Department of Psychology Honors Program is an opportunity for highly qualified, advanced psychology students to (1) work individually with a faculty mentor on an original research project, (2) sharpen their critical thinking, research, and writing skills, and (3) explore and prepare for alternative career paths in psychology and related fields. Since the program has a large research component, strong performance and interest in Research Methods (Psych 144) is essential. The honors program is designed to be a stimulating and exciting experience for a select group of our best psychology students. It is not limited to students who intend to attend graduate school in psychology and related fields. All psychology majors, regardless of their professional goals, are encouraged to apply.

Structure

Fall

Students enroll in Psychology 183A (3 units), which meets twice per week. This course is taught like a graduate seminar, in which students actively discuss issues related to research in psychology and the field of psychology in general. We will also cover various aspects of professional development (e.g., graduate school preparation) throughout the semester. There will also be field trips to venues applying psychology. The course takes a broad approach to psychology with the intent of being provocative and intellectually stimulating. During the fall semester, students meet regularly with their faculty mentor to plan their research projects. Students report on their progress during the weekly class meetings and by the end of the semester turn in a written project proposal.

Spring

Students enroll in Psychology 183B (3 units), which meets twice per week. This course is an applied research seminar, in which the focus is on carrying out the research project. Practical aspects of collecting and analyzing data, writing, and publishing one’s research will be discussed in detail. Also during the spring semester, students enroll in Psychology 199 (2 units of honors thesis)-independent research with their faculty mentor-which provides the time for them to actually carry out their projects. Late in the spring semester, students present their projects at the Honors Research Symposium and turn in their completed honors theses.

Admission

Admission to the Honors Program is competitive. Initial acceptance is based on successful completion of all enrolled courses including at least a ‘B’ in Psychology 144. The six requirements for applying to the program are:

  • At least 18 units completed in psychology.
  • A psychology GPA of at least 3.0.
  • An overall GPA of at least 3.0 for the past two years.
  • Students must also submit a two-page (double-spaced) statement of purpose, which summarizes their reasons for applying to the honors program, including a discussion of their general area of research interest and what they hope to gain from the experience.
  • Students must provide a written endorsement from a faculty member who has agreed to supervise his or her research project.
  • Students must provide a written recommendation from a second faculty member.

To Apply

Submit (1) a completed application form, (2) a statement of purpose, (3) an Honors Reference Form completed by the proposed faculty mentor, and (4) a letter of recommendation from a second faculty member. These materials are available in the Department of Psychology office (S2 312) and should be returned to the office. Applications are usually due by late April or early May.