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The Department of Psychology offers students a special opportunity to complete an independent research project to graduate with Honors or a Degree with Distinction.  Students must propose a well-developed independent project that is both empirical and quantitative. For most departmental honors projects, students complete a literature review, design the study, and collect and analyze their own data.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • The project requires a proposal and final research paper written using American Psychological Association (APA) guidelines. 
  • This empirical project will be supervised under the direction of two psychology faculty members. 
  • If the project is part of an ongoing study, it is imperative that the student have a substantial, well-developed piece to work on independently.
  • The project must be approved by a committee of departmental faculty members at the proposal stage, as well as the completed final project, to be awarded Honors or Degree with Distinction.
  • Projects dedicated to literature reviews or that were part of a class project do not qualify (however, this work could be done for research unit credits).
  • Be prepared to devote from 10 to 15 hours per week to your project.

The decision to conduct an Honors project or a Degree with Distinction is a commitment that following the following schedule, with variations.

  • Fifth Semester. This research project is typically developed during the fifth semester (typically fall of one’s junior year). To be prepared for the project, it is strongly suggested that students complete the psychology 290-291 research methods and statistics course by the fourth or fifth semester. By the fifth semester, students need to have a project idea in mind and should consult with faculty members in the department to help formalize the empirical project. The project requires two psychology faculty readers. The first reader is the lead advisor who will meet with you frequently and directly oversee your project. The second reader typically is a consultant and offers suggestions during the process.
  • Sixth Semester. You must have your project proposal ready to submit to the IRB by the start of the sixth semester (spring junior year). A committee of full-time department faculty members reviews the proposals in February or early March prior to submission to the Honors Committee. During the review meeting you will be asked questions about your project and receive feedback. Data collection should ideally take place during the sixth semester or over the summer. Data analysis and the Results section of your project's manuscript will be completed prior early in the seventh semester. 
  • Seventh Semester. During the seventh semester (fall of your senior year) you will submit a rough draft (Results and at a minimum an outline of a Discussion section) to the Honors Committee.
  • Eighth Semester. The final version of the project is due to the Honors Committee in the spring of your senior year. The psychology department faculty will need to review your final project prior to that submission, so plan accordingly.