Worcester State University
Psychology Department

Honors Program in Psychology

Description & Requirements

What is the psychology Honors Program?

The Honors Program provides our best students an opportunity to obtain an additional 2 semesters of research experience on a project of their own design. The “Honors in Psychology” designation will be noted on transcripts, helping to distinguish these students from others applying for graduate school or employment. 

Why should I consider applying to the Honors Program?

If you want to go into human services:  Human service agencies are required to evaluate programs to justify budgets and expand services. Graduates who have a solid background in research will be able to carry out assessments, client satisfaction surveys, and studies of service effectiveness.


If you want to go to graduate school: Refining research skills will make students more competitive and better prepared for graduate school. Graduate schools prefer applicants who have carried out independent, student-designed research projects – especially those that lead to presentation or publication. 

What do I need in order to apply?

1)      Declared Psychology major

2)      Completion of 90 credits by September 2011 (for April 2011 admission)

3)      Completion of the following courses by September 2011 (for April 2011 admission)

Ø  PS 101                         General Psychology (or equivalent)

Ø  PS 275                         Psychological Statistics

Ø  PS 205 & 307               Research Methods and Applied Research Methods (or                                            equivalent)

4)      A minimum GPA of 3.5 in all Psychology courses

5)      A minimum overall GPA of 3.5

6)      A minimum of 2 full-time semesters in residence at WSU.

7)      A faculty sponsor who agrees to supervise you as an Honors student

8)      An independent study involving an original (i.e., student-designed and student-executed) piece of research resulting in a poster and written thesis

9)      An initial proposal for the Honors project, including:

Ø  A description of your research question. Your description should focus on the aspects of the project that are student-generated and which demonstrate original contributions to the field.

[Ø  A description of the sample you’d like to utilize in your study, including size, desired composition, exclusion criteria, recruitment procedures, and compensation.

Ø  A description of your proposed procedure.

 NOTE: Your Honors project (from HSRB application through poster and written thesis) must be completed in 2 semesters (i.e., Fall and Spring following acceptance into the Honors Program).

 What courses will I need to take once accepted into the program?

1)      Two consecutive semesters of PS407 Independent Study with your faculty sponsor, beginning in the Fall following acceptance into the Honors Program (3 credits each term)


2)      PS499 Honors Thesis: one credit (Spring semester) taken while completing the written thesis

 What will I need to do to complete the Honors Program?

1)      A written thesis under the supervision of your chosen Honors mentor


2)      Two poster presentations, both at the end of the Spring semester:

·         Departmental poster session

·         Worcester State University’s Celebration of Scholarship and Creativity

 How will the decision be made as to whether I will be awarded Honors?

Your Honors mentor will evaluate your written thesis. In addition, your project will be evaluated by the members of the Psychology Department during the departmental poster session. Faculty members will evaluate the theoretical, methodological, and creative merits of your project. A majority vote is needed in order to confer Honors.  


How do I apply?

Applications are available from Psychology faculty and in the department office. The application deadline is April 19, 2011, but you should complete the application packet as soon as possible. Faculty typically supervise one or two students at a time, so if you’re thinking about applying, you should start talking to faculty members as soon as possible.

 What do I do if I have more questions about the Honors Program?

Please contact Dr. Seth Surgan at ssurgan@worcester.edu or stop by his office (Sullivan Rm. 241-D).

Related Links
  Amy Cota-McKinley, PhD
  Richard Kimball, PhD
  Bonnie G. Kanner, PhD
  Beth S. Russell, PhD
  Brandi Silver, PhD
  Emily Soltano, PhD
  Champika K. Soysa, PhD
  Seth Surgan, PhD
  Marc J Wagoner, PhD

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