Honors in the Psychology Major

Ambitious and motivated undergraduates are encouraged to pursue departmental honors. Graduating with Honors in Psychology requires a specific set of requirements which differ from graduating with University Honors through the UI Honors Program. Some students pursue both options while others pursue one or the other. Students do not have to be part of UI Honors in order to graduate with Honors in Psychology. Students who are interested in UI Honors should contact the the Honors Program. 

WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS?

  • Have a 3.33 UI cumulative GPA
  • Complete a Psychology Seminar* (PSY:4090)
  • Complete an Honors Thesis

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HOW TO EARN HONORS IN THE PSYCHOLOGY MAJOR

First---Tell us you’re interested!

Students can indicate an interest in Honors in the Major by visiting their advisor.  It should take 5 minutes or less and can be done during drop in hours.  Once marked as “Honors Interest” students will receive regular messages about the departmental honors program and requirements. 

Then--Find a faculty member to be your Thesis Advisor     

This might be someone you are already working with, a professor you’ve had for class or someone whose research is of interest to you.  The Research section of the departmental website has great information about faculty member’s research interests.  Students needing help finding a Thesis Advisor can see the Departmental Honors Coordinator (Professor Shaun Vecera) 

The Honors Thesis is a written report of an original research project conducted by the student with the guidance and approval of a faculty advisor. While the scope and content of the thesis project varies from lab to lab, there are two standard requirements: preparation of the thesis manuscript and an oral defense.  

Continue to Pursue Honors in the Major

Once students have identified a thesis advisor for the thesis project and have begun work on the project they move from “interested” status to “pursuing Honors” status.  This change requires a conversation with your academic advisor (Deb Johnson or Janeil Page-Jamison) 

Complete the Requirements 

· Take PSY:4090 Psychology Seminar:  

Psychology Seminar (PSY:4090) is a topic-based course in which students read and discuss scientific articles related to the topic.  Topics change depending on instructor.  Different topics will require different lower level Psychology electives as prerequisites.  Psychology Seminar is offered every fall and spring but never in the summer.   For students in the B.A. program, completion of the Psychology Seminar is an additional requirement; this class does not count as an upper-level elective.

· Complete and Defend your Thesis:

The Honors Thesis is a written report of an original research project conducted by the student with the guidance and approval of a faculty member. The scope and content of the project varies from lab to lab and is determined by the student and mentor.  While there is no set timeline for completing a thesis, many students spend at least two semesters completing their individual project.  Students are encouraged to participate in a research lab with a faculty member prior to beginning their thesis. This allows students to become familiar with research methodology, develop their personal interests in the field of psychology, and begin to consider ideas for their own research project.  Students can receive academic credit for their thesis research by enrolling in PSY:4990 Honors Thesis Research.

Upon completion of the agreed upon project, the student prepares a scientific paper describing the project.  This paper should follow typical scientific format and include the following sections: Abstract, Introduction and Background, Methods, Analysis, Discussion.   The thesis must be “defended” in the presence of the mentor and one other person (typically another faculty member, post-doctoral fellow or other professional)

Students submit the completed and defended manuscript along with the signed Honors Program approved cover page (available for download on Honors Program website) to Honors Program by Wednesday of finals week in the semester the student graduates. 

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WHO SHOULD I TALK TO ABOUT HONORS IN THE PSYCHOLOGY MAJOR?

There are actually three different sets of people involved in the honors process.  

Your ACADEMIC ADVISOR is either Deb Johnson or Janeil Page-Jamison.  You will see this person to indicate your interest in earning honors and you will notify this person when you have found a faculty member who has agreed to supervise your thesis 

Your THESIS ADVISOR is the faculty member who will supervise your thesis project. 

The DEPARTMENTAL HONORS COORDINATOR is Professor Shaun Vecera.  Dr. Vecera is available if you need assistance finding a thesis advisor. Professor Vecera will sign the thesis cover page as Departmental Honors Advisor.   shaun-vecera@uiowa.edu     Office: W321 SSH     Office Phone: 319-335-0839

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IMPORTANT DEADLINES 

The completed and defended manuscript along with the signed Honors Program approved cover page must be submitted to the Honors Program by Wednesday of finals week in the semester the student graduates. 

 
FOR MORE INFORMATION

For more information on the Department of Psychology Honors Program, see the Honors Bulletin Board next to C103 (Seashore Study Space) in the center hallway of Seashore Hall. 

For more information about the University of Iowa Honors Program contact the University Honors Program, 420 Blank Honors Center (319-335-1681).