The Psychology Department Honors Program
According to the MU Undergraduate Catalog,
"This program provides an opportunity for superior and highly motivated students to pursue a specialized area of interest intensively and independently. Upon successful completion of the program, students are recognized for their achievements at graduation with the designation of Departmental Honors on their diploma and University record."
Within the Psychology Department, the study of a specialized area of interest entails the development and completion of a research project and thesis. The program spans a period of at least three semesters, during which a sequence of courses (PSYC 490, 489, & 499) guides the student through the process.
The first semester of the honors sequence begins when students enroll in PSYC 490 (Honors Seminar). This course meets each Friday at noon and is required for students who want to apply for admission into the honors program. The Friday seminar is attended by students in all semesters in the sequence, as well as by several faculty members. During the first semester, students explore their individual topics of interest with the guidance of the Honors Program Director and, eventually, a faculty mentor. In addition, each student presents his or her research ideas during one of the seminars and submits a research proposal for consideration by his or her honors committee. Students with strong proposals are then invited into the Departmental Honors program and given permission to register for the second semester of the honors sequence.
The second semester is spent gathering materials for the research project and refining the proposal. Students in the second semester enroll in one credit of PSYC 490 and 2 credits of PSYC 489. Students attend the Friday seminar and work on their research proposals with faculty mentors. In addition, each student presents his or her research proposal to the honors seminar and critiques the proposals and theses of other honors students. At the end of the semester, each student submits a refined research proposal to his or her honors committee. Students with strong proposals are then given permission to register for the third semester of the honors sequence.
The third semester in the sequence is spent collecting and analyzing data. Students in the third semester enroll in one credit of PSYC 490 and 2 credits of PSYC 499. As in the second semester, students attend the Friday seminar. In addition, they complete their research projects, under the guidance of faculty mentors, and critique the proposals and theses of other honors students. The student’s final presentation is a defense of the completed thesis during one of the Friday seminars. Successfully defended theses receive the designation of Departmental Honors. The titles of successfully defended theses are published in the commencement program. In addition, some students may have the opportunity to travel with their mentors to professional meetings, such as those of the Eastern Psychological Association (EPA) or American Psychological Association (APA), in order to present their work. Opportunities may also exist to present the research at the MU Undergraduate Research Conference during the spring semester.
To be eligible for the Psychology Department Honors program, students must have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.35, the endorsement of Psychology faculty members, and must have completed PSYC 211. If interested, contact Dr. Shaun Cook, the current director of the program, for more information in the spring of your sophomore year or early in your junior year.
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