Honors in Psychology

What is the Psychology Honors Program?

Do you enjoy conducting psychological research? When you read your textbooks or attend psychology classes, do you think of new research questions that you’d like to address? The Psychology Honors Program provides an opportunity for senior psychology majors to explore a research topic in detail under the guidance of a faculty member. In addition, participants discuss current psychological issues and research questions with other outstanding students.

The Psychology Honors Program is a yearlong program for psychology majors in their final year at Northwestern. The program consists of three components:

  1. Completion of a yearlong, empirical research project and a written final report, which typically takes the form of an APA style research article.
  2. Participation in the Senior Thesis Seminar (PSYCH 398) during the Fall Quarter and at least one subsequent quarter. Students in the fall seminar discuss research topics pertinent to designing and conducting empirical research studies. Each student also presents his or her research plans to the other members of the Psychology Honors Program and receives feedback on the project.
  3. Preparation of a preliminary research report by the end of Fall Quarter. This report typically consists of a draft of the introduction and method sections for the final research article.

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How are students selected to participate in the Psychology Honors Program?

Current juniors who are interested in participating in Psychology Honors submit their applications in Spring Quarter. Applications are evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • An overall GPA of 3.5 is required, and many invited students will have substantially higher GPA's.
  • Previous research experience. Completion of PSYCH 205—Research Methods is required. Completion of PSYCH 397 or PSYCH 399 is highly recommended but not required.
  • Quality of the application statement.
  • Faculty recommendations

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How can a student apply to participate in the Psychology Honors Program?

Students interested in participating in the Psychology Honors Program submit applications in spring of their junior year. You can find the honors application online. All application materials should be submitted by email to Hayley Stevenson at hayley.stevenson@northwestern.edu. The application deadline is April 6th, 2018. Please follow the instructions closely. Students selected for honors will be notified by the director of the Psychology Honors Program in mid May.

The Psychology Honors Program is an exciting, intellectually challenging, and worthwhile experience. However, while participating in the honors program is usually a wonderful opportunity, it is not for everyone. You really have to enjoy psychological research and be willing to work hard on your project throughout the academic year. Before you apply to the program, think about whether you will have the time and the motivation to complete a project of this magnitude. Please feel free to talk with the honors coordinator (currently Sandra Waxman, s-waxman@northwestern.edu) if you have questions.

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What is the relation between the Psychology Honors Program and Weinberg College Honors Recognition (e.g., graduating cum laude)?

Graduating with Honors can mean two different things --College Honors and Departmental Honors. College Honors is based solely on GPA, and a thesis is not required. In contrast, Psychology Honors is not based solely on GPA. Although you need a 3.4 GPA overall to graduate with Honors in Psychology, the main criterion is the quality of the thesis.

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