Honors Guidelines (prior to Summer 2022)

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.

Eligibility, Process, & Contact

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

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 Prahlad Gupta) 

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 (note:  Seminar and Thesis can be completed in any order) 

· 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 reader (typically another faculty member, post-doctoral fellow or other professional).  At the defense, the thesis mentor and reader will sign the title page to indicate that the thesis project has been satisfactorily completed. 

Students may choose to submit the thesis to the Iowa Research Online Repository (but are not required to do so).  There may issues with later publication of the project so students must consult with their thesis advisor about whether or not to submit to the IROR.  Specifically,  a student considering submitting the thesis project to a journal for publication in the future should research journal restrictions on publication to an online, publicly available resource as some journals will not accept previously published work and some classify work in the IROR as published.  Submission of a thesis to IROR does allow the student to retain ownership of their work. 

The IROR website has a helpful FAQ page with good information and resources for students and thesis advisors:   https://ir.uiowa.edu/faq.html#faq-5

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 Prahlad Gupta. Dr. Gupta is available for advice and answering questions about the program, and he will sign the thesis cover page as Departmental Honors Advisor.  
E-mail: prahlad-gupta@uiowa.edu  
Office Phone: 319-335-2908

Important Deadlines

The thesis defense must be completed by Wednesday of finals week in the semester the student intends to graduate.  Students will submit a copy of this signed thesis title page to either Dr. Prahlad Gupta, Deb Johnson or Janeil Page-Jamison by that same deadline.