To be eligible to graduate with honors in psychology, a UCD psychology major must meet the following requirements:
- Student must have an overall GPA of 3.5 or higher at the start of the project (75 credit hours completed toward the degree).
- The student must have a psychology GPA of 3.5 or higher in psychology courses taken at UCD.
An honors thesis can take one of the following forms:
- An original empirical study designed and carried out by the student. The experimental design must be substantially complex to warrant honors. Honors students may collect their own data for this project or may use archival data for the purposes of answering their own original question. A research question is considered to be substantially complex enough if the analyzed data would be of high enough quality to be presented at a local research meeting.
- A substantive, integrative library review in an area approved by the honors committee, culminating in a high quality review article which includes proposed research directions designed by the student to gather knowledge lacking in the current scientific literature.
- A substantive, integrative critical analysis of a major theoretical issue in the field of psychology approved by the honors committee and culminating in a high quality theoretical paper.
During the first semester of the project the student must enroll for three credit hours of independent study. For these credit hours the student must complete a committee-approved, detailed, written honors research proposal by the end of the semester.
In the final semester, the student will enroll for three more credit hours of independent study (PSY 4840), this time called "honors thesis." During this semester the student will complete the thesis, submit it to his or her committee, and defend the thesis.
The thesis must be defended before the honors committee by presenting the thesis and answering questions about the project. The defense date must occur at least four weeks before the end of the semester.
A final draft of the thesis must be given to each committee member at least two weeks before the defense date.
The student must arrange for three faculty members to serve on their thesis committee, only one of whom may be external to the Psychology Department. One of the faculty members must be designated as the chair of the committee. The chair must be a rostered member of the UCD Psychology Department and be of tenure track rank, unless a waiver is granted by the Dean’s office. All members of the committee must be chosen during the semester in which the proposal is being written.
Enrolling in Honors Thesis hours and completion of a thesis do not guarantee that the student will receive Latin honors. The PSY 4840 honors thesis credit hours may be changed to independent study hours if the final project is not worthy of being an honors project but is worthy of being an independent study. Worthiness of a given project will be determined by the student's faculty committee.
Level of honors will be determined by GPA:
3.80-4.0: summa cum laude
3.60-3.79: magna cum laude
3.50-3.59: cum laude
Students interested in research are encouraged to pursue opportunities as early in their academic career as possible. These early research experiences can be useful in helping formulate research ideas and hypotheses that can form the basis of an honors thesis project. Make an appointment to speak with your major advisor to determine if an honors thesis is right for you.