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Honors Program for Psychology Majors

Honors Thesis in Psychology I
Honors Thesis in Psychology II


To be eligible for the Honors Program, Psychology majors must have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.5 or higher and have completed both Statistics (PSYC 2000) and Research Methods (PSYC 2010) 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 with written letter of endorsement from the thesis mentor to the program coordinator. Only students not already enrolled in the Fordham College Honors Program are invited to participate in the departmental program.

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 as an independent study (PSYC 4999). This work may serve as a useful learning experience and augment one’s credentials for high-quality graduate programs.

Procedure for Invitation

In the beginning of the spring semester of students’ junior year, announcements will be circulated via email, undergraduate psychology classes, the Psychology Club, and Psi Chi for interested students to attend an informational meeting of the Honors Thesis in Psychology Seminar to learn more about the thesis program and to hear from current seniors who are making progress towards their theses. Interested juniors are required to attend the informational meeting or must make contact with the Honors Program coordinator if they are interested in a thesis but have a conflict with the meeting time, first-year students and sophomores are also welcome. During the informational meeting, senior students who are working towards their theses will share their thesis ideas, progress and rationale for completing a thesis. The Honors Program coordinator will also review program expectations, timeline, and requirements. Students meeting the program eligibility, but need to work on an alternate timeline (e.g., graduating a semester early) are encouraged to contact the Honors Program coordinator directly.

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.

The Thesis Committee

The Honors Program Thesis committee is comprised of the thesis mentor and one reader, both of whom must be full-time faculty member in the Psychology Department. The mentor and student will work closely to determine the composition of the thesis committee, and the final thesis committee is invited by the mentor to participate in the final oral presentation of the thesis.

Timetable and Courses

Students should begin the process of identifying a thesis mentor mid-spring of the student’s junior year. Students are encouraged to meet with more than one faculty to identify the most suitable mentoring match. Once the faculty has agreed to serve as the thesis mentor, the student and mentor should continue discussions to compose realistic plans for implementing the senior thesis. The plans may involve a timeline for bibliographic and/or other work during the summer and appropriate goals for work during the fall and spring semesters of the student’s senior year. The Honors Program is year-long sequence, typically fall-spring (senior), that accounts for eight academic credits. In cases where students are graduating a semester early, the thesis can be completed in a spring (junior)-fall (senior) sequence. Four of the eight credits may be applied toward the psychology major requirements as either a 4000-level capstone or an elective requirement.

Spring Semester (Junior)

To register for Honors Thesis in Psychology I R01, the student submits an application to the Honors Program coordinator. This application includes: 1) the student’s unofficial transcript, 2) mentor's name and an email to the student indicating that the faculty agrees to serve as the thesis mentor, 3) proposed thesis title, 4) proposed thesis description (preferably with preliminary research questions), and 5) timetable with respect to completion of specific components (literature review, data collection, analyses, submission of first draft). Once these materials are received, the program coordinator will register the student for Honors Thesis in Psychology I for the fall of the student’s senior year.

Fall Semester (Senior)

The student is enrolled in Honors Thesis in Psychology I and continues to make progress towards the thesis based on the agreed upon timeline that was developed with the mentor in the student’s junior year. A student typically receives a grade of "IP" (in progress) for the fall semester and is not given academic credit at that time. The Honors Program coordinator will enroll the student in Honors Thesis in Psychology II R01 for the following Spring semester.

Spring Semester (Senior)

The student is enrolled in Honors Thesis in Psychology II R01, which will involve completion of the thesis. The thesis committee (mentor and reader) will participate in the final oral defense of the thesis. A successful thesis defense and final grade is documented with an email from the mentor to the Honors Program coordinator by the end of exam week.

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 there is 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 consultation with the reader.

Students who successfully complete a thesis will graduate "with honors in Psychology," which is designated on their transcripts. A student who does not finish the thesis for any reason will be given a grade of "P" (pass) or “F” (fail) or the first semester's work.

Psychology Department Colloquia/Professional Presentation

The Psychology Department has an active and vibrant external speaker series where experts from all over the United States are invited to speak on cutting-edge research related to various disciplines within Psychology.  Approximately 3 Departmental Colloquia are scheduled per semester and are attended by faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students.  As students in the Psychology Honors Program, we expect that students will attend at least 2 colloquia per semester as an opportunity to learn about current research, observe a scientific presentation, develop professional development skills, and learn about the breadth of Psychological Science.  Students are required to sign the attendance sheet and complete Psychology Department Colloquium/Professional Presentation Form. Alternatively, students may also find a professional presentation aligned with their interests. In order to meet this requirement however, the speaker must have a Ph.D. in Psychology or a related field such as Education, Health Sciences, or Public Health. Completed forms should be submitted via email to the Honors Program coordinator within one week of the colloquium or presentation.

Honors Program Seminars

While the senior thesis is to be completed by the student in close consultation with the thesis mentor, beginning fall of the student’s senior year, the Honors Program will convene as a cohort for regular seminar meetings with the Honors Program coordinator. The purpose of the seminar is to assist students in making consistent progress towards their thesis through guided, hands-on discussions of topics relevant to thesis completion and presentation. The seminars focus on 3 broad areas: scientific method, writing, and professional development. Focus on each of these areas follows a natural progression as students complete their thesis. A guiding template for seminar meetings is provided below. Specific dates for meetings will be determined by the Honors Program coordinator.

Honors Thesis in Psychology I

Week 1 Introductions: What is a thesis and why write one? Anatomy of a thesis. Reviewing the literature (Endnote demonstration). Scientific Method
Week 2 FCRH Undergraduate Research and Travel Grants, Fordham University Research Journal, Local and National Conferences. Scientific writing, APA Formatting, Parts of an article. Scientific Method/Writing/Professional Development
Week 3 Developing research questions. Formulating and testing research hypotheses Scientific Method/Writing
Week 4 Psychology Dept Colloquium #1 Professional Development
Week 5 IRB and Research Ethics, Describing your Method (e.g., participants, measures, sample) – what did you do? Scientific Method/Writing/Professional Development
Week 6 Psychology Dept Colloquium #2 Professional Development

Honors Thesis in Psychology I

Week 1

Analyzing and writing up your results – what did you find?

Scientific Method/Writing
Week 2 Discussion and Conclusions – how does your thesis relate to existing research, what did you learn, what are the limitations, what are your suggestions for future research? Professional Development
Week 3 Psychology Dept Colloquium #3 Professional Development
Week 4 Prospective Juniors Visit. How to make and present a research poster Scientific Method/Writing/Professional Development
Week 5 CV & Elevator Pitch. Publishing your thesis, and managing authorship Professional Development
Week 6 Psychology Dept Colloquium #4 Professional Development
Week 7 Honors Tea or Honors Colloquium