Honors in Psychology

The Honors in Psychology program is an opportunity for senior psychology majors to undertake a yearlong research project for course credit (PS 401/402). Students must have a minimum GPA of 3.0, both overall and in the major, to apply. All students who wish to participate in the Honors in Psychology program must find a *psychology faculty member, to serve as the primary advisor and must conduct research in the faculty mentor’s lab within the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences (PBS). Students will not be allowed to conduct research outside of the Department for Honors in Psychology. Students must then fill out and submit the Honors in Psychology application (see link to the application below). Click here to see a list of faculty members who are interested in supervising Honors projects.

All students who receive approval to do an Honors project must ultimately have a committee of three faculty members, including the primary advisor, to evaluate their final project and presentation. The two additional faculty members are, typically, selected with the assistance of the primary advisor during the second semester. The topic of the research project is chosen in consultation with the primary faculty supervisor. Honors program students are required to:

  1. Design an empirical study based on an extensive review of the literature
  2. Gather, analyze, and assess original data or conduct secondary analyses
  3. Present their findings to their committee
  4. Submit a written report/thesis

Students are, typically, expected to work two hours per week for each credit that they receive (e.g., 4 credits/8 hours per week). Students are also required to meet regularly during the semester with the faculty supervisor and are also often required to attend the faculty supervisor’s lab group meetings. Acceptance into the Honors in Psychology Program does not guarantee that students will graduate with honors. The committee will consider both the thesis and the oral examination when determining the student’s grade. A grade of B+ or higher in each semester is required to graduate with honors.

* This includes faculty members who have primary appointments in the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences (PBS) or joint appointed faculty who have appointments in PBS and another department at Boston University. The research must be conducted in the faculty member’s lab.

Eligibility Requirements

To apply for Honors in Psychology, students must meet the following criteria:

  • Students must be Psychology majors.
  • Students must have a Grade Point Average of 3.0 or higher.
  • Students must have completed their experimental research course requirement.
  • Students must have no more than one incomplete (“I”).

If you do not meet these requirements, you may wish to consider a Directed Study Project instead.

How to Apply

Students who meet the above requirements and wish to pursue Honors in Psychology must submit an application the semester prior to the first semester of their senior year, and must:

  1. Locate a faculty member who is willing to serve as the Honors in Psychology Supervisor and discuss the proposed project with him/her.
  2. Download the Honors in Psychology Application Form.
  3. Complete the student portion of that application. Be sure that the proposed bibliography includes primary references such as articles in scholarly journals or scholarly books.
  4. Students should attach an unofficial copy of their BU transcript.

The faculty advisor must complete the student evaluation form and both the student and faculty advisor need to sign. The application must then be submitted to psych@bu.edu for review by Dr. Joanne Hebden Palfai, Director of Academic Affairs and Undergraduate Studies and Dr. David Somers, Chairman. Students will be notified via e-mail once the review process has been completed. If the application is approved, the course will be added to the student’s schedule. The deadline to submit the application for Honors in Psychology is May 31.

Students may request an extension, if needed, by contacting Dr. Joanne Hebden Palfai, Director of Academic Affairs/Director of Undergraduate Studies, before the deadline.