Psychology Honors Program

Are you considering graduate school or a professional program? Are you interested in conducting original research? If so, you should consider applying to the Psychology Honors Program. This program prepares you to work on your own research project under the guidance of a faculty mentor. 

Program Benefits

  • Conduct your own research project
  • Learn to manage a project from beginning to end
  • Build strong academic relationships with your advising faculty
  • Develop skills experience that may provide an advantage for admission and success in graduate school

The Psychology Honors Program is open to all Psychology majors and those who declared the Cognitive Behavioral Neuroscience (CBN) major under the Psychology Department.

This program, which students can apply for in fall of their junior year, offers a distinctive way to complete your psychology major. 

Psychology Honors Information Sessions

We will be holding Psychology Honors Information Sessions for the 2018-2020 cohort in both Spring and Fall 2018 quarters.
  • SP19 - Wed. April 15 from 9:00am-10:00am in 1507 Mandler Hall 
  • FA19 - TBD
  • FA19 - TBD

Find out more information

Recommended Preparation

Our Application Review Committee takes a holistic approach when reviewing applications. Academic, leadership, research, service and work experiences are all taken into consideration as well as a recommendation from faculty.

A strong application will have an overall UC San Diego GPA of 3.3 (or 3.5 transfer GPA for first-quarter transfer students), a grade of B or better in PSYC 60: Introduction to Statistics (or its equivalent) and completion of all lower division major courses. Though this is a common profile of a successful applicant, we have had Honors students with lower GPAs or lower grades in statistics provided other aspects of the application are strong.

Please contact the Psychology Advising Office if you have any questions or concerns about the recommended, not required, prerequisites.

Applying to Program

The online application requires the following information:

  • Student information
  • Major GPA and course information
  • Personal Statement: Describe what interests you the most about the field of psychology.
  • Supplemental Questions, answer all four 
    • Briefly describe your reasons for applying to the psychology honors program.
    • What personal and academic strengths do you possess that will contribute to your success in the psychology honors program?
    • What challenges do you foresee yourself facing in the program and what steps will you take to overcome them?
    • What are your future plans/goals after you have completed your undergraduate degree?
    • The personal statement and supplemental questions are limited to 1,000 words each
  • 2 References: at least one must be academic. You will list their name, job/teaching title, phone number, and email address, no letter of recommendation is needed.

The Fall 2019 application will open in early November 2019.

  • You must be logged into your UCSD email account on the browser you are using to access the application
  • You need to complete the application in one sitting (there is no "save and continue at a later time" feature)
  • You can submit one application; be sure it's complete and accurate before you hit "submit"
  • The online link will close at 12:00pm and we do not accept late applications
  • Hard copies of applications will not be accepted

Fall 2018 application is now closed.

Applications will be reviewed by the Psychology Honors Faculty & Staff Coordinators as well as additional faculty. Students will be contacted with the final decision during the last week of December prior to the holiday break. Students should not wait to enroll in Winter quarter courses. If admitted into the Psychology Honors program, students can change their schedule to enroll in the psych honors courses during Week 1 of Winter quarter.

Overview of Program

Junior year

Winter quarter courses:

  • PSYC 110: Junior Honors Research Seminar
  • PSYC 111A: Advanced Statistics and Research Methods I

Spring quarter course:

  • PSYC 111B: Advanced Statistics and Research Methods II

Senior year

PSYC 194A/B/C: Honors Thesis Courses (FA, WI, SP). A year-long independent research project under the mentorship of a faculty advisor. This research culminates in a thesis and a poster presentation during the Spring quarter.


Psychology Honors Courses

PSYC 110: Honors Seminar (4 units)

This is a series of lectures where faculty members present their research. Students in PSYC 110 prepare themselves for each lecture by reading articles published by the various faculty members. These articles are made available in the form of a reader. The course will allow personal contact with faculty and enable students to discuss the future senior thesis project with potential supervisors. The grade for PSYC 110 is based on participation and several short papers.

PSYC 111A: Advanced Research Methods I (6 units)

This course provides training in applying advanced statistical methods to experimental design. Emphasis will be placed on the developing skills in statistical problem-solving, using computer applications, and writing scientific reports.

PSYC 111B: Advanced Research Methods II (6 units)

This course builds upon the material of PSYC 111A. Students will participate in data collection, data organization, statistical analysis, and graphical analysis, with emphasis placed on developing scientific report writing, presentations and critical thinking about experimental methods. 

PSYC 194 A/B/C: Honors Thesis Courses (4 units each)

It is important to identify a thesis advisor during or after PSYC 110. It is possible to do the project outside UC San Diego, i.e., in the VA or Children Hospital, etc. The sponsor, in this case, would be the program coordinator. In the introductory meeting, the program coordinator will give guidance regarding the whole procedure of PSYC 194 A/B/C. Briefly: the first quarter is reserved for setting up the research project and writing of the research proposal. The proposal must be handed in at the end of the quarter and will be graded with a letter grade. The second quarter is dedicated to data collection and analysis. The grade for this course will be WIP (work in progress). It will change to a letter grade upon completion of the project at the end of the third quarter. The thesis will be read by the student's advisor, an outside faculty member in the student's area of research, and the program coordinator. Ther staff coordinator will assist students with setting up the poster-session at the end of the quarter, to which students' instructors, friends, and families are invited. At this session, students will answer questions regarding their research project.

The Psychology Advising Office carries copies of Psychology Honors theses from past years. Students are welcome to study what other honors students have worked on and what methods they employed for research and written presentation.

Graduating with Psychology Honors

Successful completion of the Psychology Honors program requires the following:

  • Grade of at least an A- in the PSYC 194 series
  • Minimum GPA of 3.5 in the upper division courses taken for the major
  • 12 units of supervised research (PSYC 194 A/B/C)
  • Public presentation of Honors project (Psychology Honors Poster Session)
  • Submission of a final thesis that is considered “honors worthy” by Faculty Mentor and Honors Faculty Coordinator

Honors Faculty Coordinator: Gail Heyman, PhD

Honors Staff Coordinator: Kristi MacKenzie