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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

Watch this year's Honors Info Session; learn more about the program and whether it is a good fit for you!

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 watch the Psychology Honors information session to learn more about recommended course preparation.

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 each limited to 1,000 words.
  • 2 References: at least one must be academic. You will list their name, job/teaching title, phone number, and email address. No letters of recommendation are needed for the application.

Applications are now closed for 2020-2021. 

  • 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 PST on November 23, 2020. Late applications will not be accepted.

Applications will be reviewed by Psychology Faculty and staff. Students will be contacted with the final decision late December- early January 2021.

Students should not wait to enroll in Winter 2021 quarter courses. If admitted into the Psychology Honors program, students will change their class schedule to enroll in the psychology honors courses during Week 1 of Winter quarter.

Overview of Program

The Psychology Honors Program is a 2-year commitment comprised of the honors courses PSYC 110, PSYC 111A/B, PSYC 194A/B/C. Psych honors courses cannot be removed or condensed nor can courses be moved to different quarters as students move through the program as a cohort unit.

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.

NOTE for those considering the PSYC 116 series: It is not recommended for students to take both PSYC 116: Clinical Psychology Lab and PSYC 194: Honors Thesis series. Both of these programs have intensive workloads and there is a strong possibility that class meeting times will overlap. The recommendation is for a student to select one of these programs to complete.

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, and the program coordinator. The staff coordinator will assist students with setting up the poster session at the end of the spring quarter, to which students' instructors, friends, and families are invited. At this session, students will answer questions regarding their research project.

Please attend or watch the Psychology Honors information session to learn more about how the Psychology Honors courses may apply to your psych major.

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