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Psychology Honors Thesis

Course Descriptions

Students enrolled in PSY 396/496 have the opportunity for in-depth investigations of current topics or research questions under the guidance of faculty sponsors. The differences between 393/493 and 396/496 include:

  • the scope of the project, which spans a minimum of two semesters;
  • the increased level of independent work with the student having clear ownership of the project;
  • the addition of an Honors Committee (each Honors student will have their own committee comprised of a faculty sponsor and two additional faculty members) that will serve in an advising capacity.

PSY 396 (Honors Thesis I): a formal proposal is developed that includes reference to relevant literature, proposed area of research, and a specific timeline for developing the full research proposal (see Honors Thesis I and II Proposal Form).  After review by the faculty sponsor and the student’s Honors Committee, the proposal is then submitted for review by the Independent Study Committee. NOTE:  If data collection is planned for the semester in which the student is enrolled in PSY 396, ethics approval must be described in the proposal for PSY 396. (See PSY 496 description below for more information about ethics approval.)

PSY 496 (Honors Thesis II): Upon successful completion of Honors Thesis I and the formal research proposal, a proposal for PSY 496 (Honors Thesis II) is developed that includes original research questions, specifics of data collection, approval by the appropriate ethics boards (the Research Planning and Ethics Committee in the Psychology Department—required for human subjects research; the TCNJ IACUC—required for animal research; and the TCNJ IRB—required for dissemination of human subjects data outside the TCNJ community), and a specific timeline for accomplishing research objectives (see Honors Thesis I and II Proposal Form – link forthcoming). After review by the faculty sponsor and the student’s Honors Committee, the proposal is then submitted for review by the Experiential Learning Opportunities in Psychology Committee.  PSY 496 culminates in a formal research report detailing all aspects of the student’s research project.  The student should submit a copy of the completed thesis report to the Psychology Department Office when the final report is submitted to the faculty sponsor. PSY496 can count as an Honors course for students in the honors program. The thesis does not count against his/her “honors by contract” quota; contact Tiffany Youngblood at youngblt@tcnj.edu explaining what he/she is doing to get a note added to their Honors record in PAWS.


Requirements / Restrictions / Psychology Honors:

To receive Honors in Psychology, a student must complete both Honors Thesis courses (PSY 396, PSY 496) with grades of A- or higher. NOTE: Grades of B+, B, B-, C+, C, or C- in either of these courses will make the student ineligible for Psychology Honors, but may still count as credit toward the Psychology major.

  • Minimum GPA in Psychology of 3.3
  • PSY 299 (minimum grade of B)
  • Minimum of Junior Standing for PSY 396; Senior Standing for PSY 496
  • 12 earned units (4 must be TCNJ units)
  • Students cannot enroll in more than 1.5 units of independent study/research in a given semester
  • Sponsorship by faculty member
  • Creation of a thesis committee comprising the faculty sponsor and two additional faculty members.  At the discretion of the student and faculty sponsor, one of the committee members may be a faculty member from an outside institution or a community member with relevant knowledge and experience.
  • Approval of the Honors Thesis Proposal from the Psychology Department’s Independent Study Committee
  • PSY 396 counts as a Specialized Course or Psychology Option in the Psychology major.  A max of one Experiential Learning Opportunity in Psychology course can be counted as a Specialized Course in the Psychology major or minor, one ELOPsy course can count as a Psychology Option, and one 400-level ELOPsy course can count as a Senior Experience course.
  • PSY 496 counts as a Senior Experience Course in the Psychology major (but student must have completed PSY 396 before taking PSY 496).

Downloadable Forms

When you are ready to apply for Honors Thesis, submit the above attachment with the online application.

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