Departmental Eligibility Requirements

In recent years, the Department has required a higher GPA of 3.67 (A-) for participation in the program. There have, however, been some exceptions to this policy. While the Department intends to continue to require a GPA of 3.67, students with a slightly lower average, who have a strong interest in and commitment to research, are welcome to apply. There are several other requirements for eligibility in addition to GPA. A student must have completed at least three Psychology courses above Grade I (including Statistics and a Research Methods course). At least two of the three courses must have been taken at Wellesley. Interested students should consult the Honors theses of former psychology students (copies are on reserve in the Science Library) and the list of faculty research interests posted outside the department office (copies are available in the department office). Individual faculty members and the Chair of the Department are available for advice about selecting an Honors faculty advisor.

Departmental Procedures

Spring Semester of Junior Year

Students interested in doing a senior honors thesis should send a written statement of interest to the Director of the Honors Program, Jennie Pyers, no later than the end of March. Department faculty will meet to review the list of applicants and their eligibility. Students who meet the requirements will be invited by the department to try to find a faculty sponsor to supervise their thesis research. Qualified students who wish to be considered for the Honors Program should consult a faculty member for advice in developing a topic into a promising proposal. After consulting with the faculty member, the student must submit a written statement of no more than 250 words describing the proposed research project. This statement must be signed by a faculty member with whom the student discussed her project. Statements describing proposed honors projects are due by an announced date in late April. The Department meets in early May to complete the final selection of Honors students and to assign faculty advisors. Students are advised to register for four regular courses so that they are assured a full course load should they not be invited by the Department. Every student will receive written notification of the status of her project from the Director of the Honors program. Students who are invited to do their Honors project start by meet with their advisors before leaving for the summer to map out a tentative timetable, get reading lists for the summer, etc.

Fall Semester of Senior Year

Special Honors forms must be filled out by the student at the Dean's office. Students who have not already done so should add Psychology 360 to their schedule and have the card signed by their advisor. The Director of the Honors Program, with assistance from other faculty, will conduct an informal seminar for all honors students to review procedures and provide a format for support and the exchange of ideas among the honors candidates. Meeting dates and more detailed information will be disseminated via email to the students concerned. The department encourages students to consider using their honors research to produce posters for display at the annual Science Center Poster Session as well as at other appropriate conferences. Some students may also wish to consider submitting their work for publication. The possibilities and opportunities for publication and/or presentation can be discussed with the advisor. October: Preliminary budget request for Honors research is submitted to the Department. November: A comprehensive research proposal is to be submitted to the Department after consultation with the advisor. Goals, scope of study, and methodology should be clearly defined. A bibliography should be included. Three copies of the proposal are to be provided; one for the faculty advisor and two for additional faculty readers. Faculty readers will make recommendations to the advisor about the proposal. Revisions may be requested. December: If revisions are requested, they must be submitted by the first week of December. Readers complete the review of the revised proposal by mid-December. At that time, the student, in consultation with her advisor, should decide whether her Honors work thus far, written or otherwise, justifies the continuation of her project into the second semester: it happens sometimes that a topic turns out to be less interesting or fruitful than originally anticipated. In that case, credit will be given for one unit of 360 if sufficient work has been done. If sufficient work has not been completed, the student may be advised to convert her 360 to 350 (Independent Study). If the submitted proposal appears promising, work on the 360 project should continue in consultation with the advisor. Students continuing their Honors work will register for Psychology 370 for Spring semester.

Spring Semester of Senior Year

List of Honors Candidates to Curriculum Committee of College: Before the end of the tenth week of classes the Director of the Honors program sends a report to the Curriculum Committee of the College (with a copy to the Chair of the Department) listing which students registered for 370s are candidates for honors. Oral Presentation: The final thesis is due in the Dean's Office on or before the last day of classes in the second semester at a date specified by the College. An oral presentation of the completed Honors work is scheduled in May. The Oral Committee is comprised of the faculty advisor, two Department faculty, and a visitor designated by the Curriculum Committee of the College. If the thesis and oral presentation are judged of honors quality, the student is awarded honors in the major field. If the thesis is completed, but if it or the honors exam is not of honors quality, honors are not awarded: 370 remains on the transcript as Senior Thesis with an appropriate grade. Upon the completion of the oral presentation, the student should submit an unbound copy of the thesis to the Department. This copy may include revisions suggested by the Orals Committee.