Students can graduate with Honors in Psychology if they have an overall GPA of at least 3.50 and complete an “Honors Project.”
An Honors Project must be an empirical study for which the student has primary responsibility. The student should be the principal investigator; responsible for data collection, data analyses, and write-up of an APA-style paper. The paper should contain an abstract, an introduction section, a method section, a results section, a discussion section, references, and tables/figures (if applicable). Additionally, all measures used should be in an Appendix. Example Honors Projects are located in the main office of the Psychology Department.
The Honors Project offers many advantages for students. Students interact with their faculty supervisor regularly, become more knowledgeable about the research process, and are intellectually challenged outside the classroom. Students completing the Honors Project will graduate with Honors in Psychology. This project may also satisfy part of the requirement for the University Honors Program.
The Honors Project can usually count for both Honors in Psychology and the University Honors Program, provided the student meets all criteria for both programs.
The student must find a Chairperson for their project who is a full-time faculty member in the Psychology Department.
Honors Projects must be reviewed by UNI’s Institutional Review Board.
Students should be aware that there might be funding available for their project through the CSBS Undergraduate Research Fund or the Intercollegiate Academic Fund (IAF). Additionally, the Fruehling Undergraduate Research Fellowship is another option that you might pursue in conjunction with your thesis project.
Procedure for Completing the Project
- The student asks a faculty member to be their advisor (Chair) on the project. This usually happens toward the end of the student’s junior year. Credit for the project will be received through the project Chair under course PSYCH 4705, Research Experience in Psychology.
- The student consults with the Chair to choose one additional faculty member to complete the Honors Project Committee. This member may be from the Psychology department or another department at UNI, and must be a full-time faculty member. This should take place early in the fall semester of the senior year (assuming a spring graduation).
- The student conducts the research study under the supervision of the Chair. This should include things like a literature review, hypothesis generation, data collection, data entry, data cleaning, and data analysis. This should take place during the fall and early spring semesters of the senior year.
- After the paper is completed to the satisfaction of the Chair (this may take several drafts) the student will give the document to the committee and arrange a defense date. The committee should have two weeks to read the document before the defense date. The defense involves a short presentation (12-15 minutes) by the student, questions from the committee, and a decision by the committee about whether or not the project qualifies the student to graduate with Honors in Psychology. This typically happens toward the end of the spring semester.
- The Chair and committee member will discuss whether there are changes to be made in the paper (there always are), and then student will work with the Chair to make these changes before Finals week.
- When the final document is approved by the Chair, the student will get an Honors Cover Page from the Psychology Department main office and have all committee members sign it. The student will turn this form and a final copy of the Honors Project in to the departmental office by the Wednesday of Finals week in the semester the student is graduating.
- The student will email the Honors Coordinator that the project has been approved and is complete by the Wednesday of Finals week.
- Finally, the student must present the research in some public setting, such as a poster or oral presentation at the CSBS Research Conference, at another conference (SIOP, MPA, APA, as examples), or as part of Honors Research Day.
For further information on the Psychology Honors Project, please contact the Honors Coordinator, Dr. Elizabeth Lefler.