Honors Program for Psychology Majors
To be eligible for the honors program, psychology majors must have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.4 and have completed both Statistics and Research Methods I and II by the end of their junior year. Students who meet all requirements but have grade point indices slightly below the cut-off might be eligible based upon a written letter of endorsement from the mentor to the program coordinator.
Only students not already enrolled in the Fordham College honors program are invited to participate in the departmental program.
Procedure for Invitation
Students may participate in the honors program the spring semester of their junior year. Students will be informed via announcements in undergraduate psychology classes, the Psychology Club, and Psi Chi that an information/orientation meeting is to be held at a designated time early in the spring semester. Interested juniors are urged to attend, but freshmen and sophomores are also welcome. At the meeting, students are provided with a rationale for completing a thesis, which includes a set of requirements and a timetable.
Nature Of A Senior Thesis In Psychology
The senior honors thesis is conceived of as either a) a piece of original work, or b) some unique aspect of the mentor's ongoing research. Empirical projects are recommended strongly. Theses are composed in the format of a scholarly article in accordance with the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.
Undergraduate psychology majors who either decide not to join or are not invited to the Fordham College honors program can still complete a senior thesis. This work may serve as a useful learning experience and augment one’s credentials for high-quality graduate programs.
Timetable And Courses
Preliminary discussions between the student and his/her mentor should occur in the spring of the student’s junior year. During these discussions, the student and mentor will ideally compose realistic plans for implementing the senior thesis. The plans may involve bibliographic and/or other work during the summer and would include appropriate goals for work during the following fall and spring semesters.
To register for Honors Thesis in Psychology I, the student submits an application to the program coordinator. This application should include the student’s unofficial transcript, mentor's name (with signature), proposed thesis title, description (preferably with preliminary hypotheses), and timetable with respect to completion of specific components (literature review, data collection, analyses, submission of first draft).
The student is enrolled in Honors Thesis in Psychology I and reaches an agreement with his/her mentor on the goals for the semester. A student typically receives a grade of "IP" (in progress) for the semester and is not given academic credit at that time. In addition, two readers, at least one of whom is a full-time faculty member in the psychology department, are chosen and invited to participate in the final oral. Written verification, including readers' signatures, is submitted to the program coordinator.
Students enroll in Honors Thesis in Psychology II, which will involve completion of the thesis and culminate in an oral presentation ("defense"). Reasonable target dates are as follows:
- First draft completed: March 1
- Second draft completed: April 1
- Final revisions and submission to readers: April 25
- Oral examination: during reading week
While we allow for some flexibility, note that moving much beyond these dates will likely present problems for graduation. The final grade will be determined by the mentor, in collaboration with the readers. This sequence accounts for eight academic credits. Four of the eight credits may be applied toward the psychology major requirements.
Students who successfully completed theses graduate "with honors in psychology," which would be designated on their transcripts. A student who does not finish the thesis for any reason will be given a grade of "P" (pass) for the first semester's work.