The Psychology Department's Honors Program offers a unique opportunity for outstanding majors to gain an intense research experience in the sub-area of psychology of their choosing. In collaboration with a faculty sponsor, honors students design an empirical research project, collect data for their research, analyze the data, and write a thesis presenting their findings. Upon completion of the research, students participate in an oral defense of their thesis before a three-member faculty committee. In most cases, the honors program takes three semesters to complete, starting the spring semester of the Junior year. Students continue their thesis research during their Senior year and complete their oral defense in the spring semester of their Senior year.
As part of the honors program, students take part in a three-semester sequence of courses:
PSY 3000 [Honors Seminar, 3 credits] in the spring semester of the Junior year in which students begin their research project in collaboration with a faculty advisor and explore contemporary issues in the science of psychology in class. The Honors Seminar is limited to students officially enrolled in the honors program and is kept small so as to insure opportunity for lively discussion and exchange of ideas.
PSY 3100 [Statistical Models in Psychology, 3 credits] in the fall semester of the Senior year. At this point in the thesis process, students are likely to be dealing with issues of statistics and methodology in their own research.
PSY 4000 [Honors Seminar, 1 credit] in the spring semester of the Senior year in which students continue their research projects and meet as a class with the honors coordinator for 1 hour each week. Prerequisites: PSY 3000 (with a grade no lower than a B), PSY 3100 (or concurrently).
The requirements for the program are as follows:
- Overall GPA of 3.4 or above
- Psychology GPA of 3.5 or above
- Declared major in Psychology
- Junior status
- Course prerequisite: PSY 2110 (or concurrently, with faculty approval
- Sponsorship by a psychology department faculty member (not necessary to arrange before enrolling)
To facilitate completion of the program, students work out a contract early in their first semester that provides a plan or overview for the educational experiences that will be part of their honors program. Our intent is to model the honors program very closely after the kinds of experiences usually reserved for graduate study. Students who have completed the program typically report that it was an invaluable preparation for their later graduate study; indeed many report that it was the highlight of their education at UCCS. Through the recommendation of the faculty of the Psychology Department, the successful honor student's degree diploma will bear the citation "With High Distinction in Psychology."
For individuals planning to graduate in December, the sequence can be completed in two semesters, with faculty approval.
From a former Honors Student:
Not only did the Honors Program make me a stronger graduate program applicant and a better graduate student, it also made me a solid competitor in the job market and in the professional world - even without an advanced degree. Currently a master's student, I work for a research and evaluation consulting firm and have two publications and several conference presentations based on my thesis research. Whether you're looking for a competitive edge for a graduate school application or for a job in research, the Honors Program is definitely a step in the right direction. -- Melissa Mincic (Mentor: Dr. Segal)