The honors guidelines listed here are for students who graduate in Spring of 2010. Currently, new guidelines are being developed for upcoming honors students. Stay tuned for further details.
Honors research at Westminster is an opportunity for qualified students to do high quality research. All psychology majors do a two-semester research project. Enrolling in honors allows you to enroll in the Honors colloquium, to have the option to enroll in an additional semester of honors research and to graduate with honors. As stated in the college honors handbook: "Students graduating with Honors" wear an engraved medallion at commencement, receive recognition during the commencement ceremonies, and have a special note placed on both the diploma and the official academic transcript. Those graduating with Honors will receive 'College Honors in Psychology'.
All students who wish to register for honors in psychology must have:
- A QPA of 3.0
- A psychology QPA of 3.5 in 3 or more psychology courses
- A minimum of a B in all major courses
- Nomination by the department
Students must apply to be admitted to honors through the department chair at least two weeks before pre-registration for the fall semester of their junior year. The department will decide which students qualify for honors, and the Committee on Academic Standards makes the final decision as to who is admitted to the honors program. Application forms are available from the department chair. If a student does not meet the requirements at this time, but excels in their junior year, they may then apply for admittance to the honors program for the senior year by consulting the department chair, as may students who have studied abroad. The all campus honors colloquiuum must be completed by the fall of the senior year.
In psychology, honors is part of the senior studies program. All projects are conducted under the guidance of a faculty advisor, and require a close interplay between the advisor and the student. Your project is not expected to be more complicated than the average senior studies project. You will, however, examine your empirical findings in light of a broader theoretical context, and discuss the relation of your work to broader academic or social areas.
This guide highlights the key assignments of the honors program in psychology. Students should also see the college honors handbook for additional information. If there are discrepancies in the timing or description of the assignments between the two, follow the departmental guidelines as stated here.
ENROLLMENT IN HONORS
In the fall of the junior or senior year, students take the honors colloquium (Hon 301). In addition, in the spring of their junior year and the fall of their senior year students register for 2 credits of honors research (Psy 660, 670 instead of Psychology Capstone: Senior Studies I & II), and 2 credits of an advanced seminar (Psy 631-640, with the same faculty advisor) each semester. A minimum of 8 credits of honors is needed to complete the all college honors course requirements. To meet the requirements of the psychology honors program, students must continue to attend all capstone classes and meetings with their honors advisor.
In the spring of their senior year, students take 1-4 credits of honors (depending on the amount of work remaining on their thesis and/or number of credits previously taken), and defend their project before their honors board, members of the psychology department, and the campus community.
Sophmore Year: Spring
- If you meet all eligibility requirements, obtain an application from Dr. Gittis two weeks before registration for your junior fall courses.
Junior Year: Fall
- All honors students must attend a departmental meeting the first week of the semester, where the psychology honors process will be explained.
- Two weeks prior to pre-registration for the spring semester, students must ask a psychology department faculty member to be their honors advisor. If there is not an appropriate "match", another faculty member will be suggested by the honors moderator. Faculty members generally do not advise more than two honors projects.
Junior Year: Spring
- Advisor must approve all materials a week before sending an honors proposal to your respective honors board.
- The psychology department will also review all departmental honors proposals. They should be received by the third week of April.
- All honors proposals must be approved by the psychology department in the spring semester for a student to continue in honors.
- Students with outstanding proposals who now have a 3.5 or better grade point in psychology may be nominated by the department for honors at this time. They will take the colloquium in the fall of their senior year.
Senior Year: Fall
- During this semester, honors students complete their research projects and meet the requirements for the psychology capstone, similar to all other psychology/neuroscience students.
- At the end of the semester, after receiving the approval of their advisor, honors students send their completed senior capstone paper (paper copies) to the members of their honors board for comments.
- Honors students defending their project during this semester must complete their defense two weeks before reading day.
Senior Year: Spring
- Typically, students choose to defend their honors thesis this semester. You must be enrolled in Psy 680 Honors Research the semester in which you choose to defend. You may enroll for 1-4 credits, depending on the amount of work you have left to complete on your thesis. Typically, students revise their psychology capstone paper for their honors thesis. Changes may include:
- A more extensive literature review, with chapters added at the beginning and ending of their thesis
- Additional analyses as recommended by your honors advisor
- Additional charts, tables or graphs to illustrate your concepts and/or findings
- Adherence to the guidelines of the honors manual
- Psychology students should schedule their honors defense date by March 20, even if the defense is several weeks away. You are responsible for arranging a time and reserving a room through the registrar's office that is convenient for your honors board.
- The defense must be scheduled before the third week in April.
- Students should attempt to schedule the defense during the day where possible.
- Students must inform all psychology professors of the date, time, and location of the defense.
- Paper copies of the completed honors project (no electronic copies) should be given to all psychology professors, as well as the honors board, a week prior to the defense.
- An honors presentation should be approximately 30 minutes, and questions will follow. The general format is similar to a professional meeting:
- Your introduction should be targeted toward an honors audience.
- Summarize your findings, selecting those results that are most pertinent to your research question.
- Bring slides of the rest of your findings, in case you have an opportunity to discuss them during the question-and-answer period.
- After you have completed your oral presentation, individuals present are free to ask you questions about any aspect of your honors project.
- The honors evaluation team will meet immediately after your presentation to determine if you have passed the honors defense.
- Bring a copy of the "Oral Defense of Honors Thesis " form from the college honors handbook to the meeting.
- Final versions of the honors thesis (in both paper and electronic copy) should be given to the faculty advisor and departmental secretary by May 1.