Honors Program in Psychology
The Honors program in Psychology is designed to allow exceptional undergraduate students an opportunity to work intensively with a faculty member in conducting a research project. Honors is excellent preparation for research in graduate school and it is likely to be helpful in the graduate admission process, too. Thanks to the Psychology Department and a Stoller equipment grant, notebook computers and a dedicated lab are available for Psychology Honors students. During the summer before their senior year, Psychology Honors students consult with a faculty advisor, choose a research area, and read the research literature pertaining to that area. Then, in the fall semester a research proposal is written and the actual research is begun. In the spring semester, data collection is completed, data are analyzed, and a final paper is written by the student in collaboration with the advisor. Honors students interact with their faculty advisors, and often graduate students, as well, as they conduct their research.
Honors projects require a substantial time commitment. Therefore, students considering Honors should schedule as much of their Psychology course work as possible in the sophomore and junior years. Professional and Career Issues, Quantitative Methods, and Introduction to Experimental Psychology should be completed before applying for Honors; all must be completed by the end of the Spring semester prior to beginning summer Honors work. As many as possible of the following should be taken before beginning the senior year: Developmental Psychology, Cognitive Processes, Biopsychology, Social Psychology, Dynamics of Personality, and Tests and Measures. By completing the required course work early, students have the background needed for Honors (and are also prepared to take the Psychology GRE for graduate school admission).
An interest in and a commitment to research, a strong academic record (especially in research-oriented classes), and a solid background in Psychology are necessary for admission to Honors. The number of students that can be accepted into the Honors program is limited.
Early in the Spring semester, usually of the junior year, an application is completed and submitted to Dr. Hardin, Undergraduate Committee Chair. Included are course grades, a description of the student's research experience and interests, and a brief summary of career goals. A brief letter of recommendation from a faculty member is welcome but optional. The Undergraduate Committee and the Honors coordinator then meet to discuss and rate the applications. Final decisions on acceptance should be available by about the tenth week of the semester.
For further information, please contact an undergraduate advisor or the program coordinator, Dr. Kevin Kaut.