Honors Program

The honors research program in psychology is intended to provide students with an enriched experience in developing and conducting research in the psychological sciences. The program emphasizes independent thinking, empirical methods, and commitment to a working engagement with research in psychology.

The purpose of the research honors program is to provide students with hands-on experience with psychological research in order to give them the tools to pursue graduate work in psychology. Check out past student theses (PDF) to see what type of research pervious honors students have done. 

This program is tailored toward students intending to pursue graduate study in psychology.

Getting Started

Students should begin planning no later than the first term of the junior year, particularly if they are considering studying abroad during the second term.

Students will need to find a faculty mentor before applying to the program. Faculty mentors work closely with students in laboratory-based and/or field-based empirical research throughout the program.

Students should apply to enter the honors program by August 1 of their senior year or before.

Interested in completing an honors thesis but not currently connected with a faculty member in their lab? You can complete an interest form and we will try to match you to a lab. Once you have completed the form, please email the director of the honors program, David Dodell-Feder (d.dodell-feder@rochester.edu), notifying him of your interest.


To be eligible for the honors program students must:

  • Be a declared psychology major
  • Have a GPA of 3.3 (or better) in their psychology courses by the end of the junior year
  • Complete PSYC 219W: Research Methods in Psychology with a grade of B+ or higher
  • Complete at least one semester of independent research in psychology or a 300-level research seminar in psychology prior to the senior year

To Apply

To apply for the program students must:

  • Identify a faculty member from psychology, brain and cognitive sciences, psychiatry, or another relevant department to sponsor their research project. If the faculty member is not in the Department of Psychology, you will need to identify a co-advisor who is.
  • Submit the research honors application to the psychology honors director, David Dodell-Feder, no later than August 1 of their senior year*.

*Ideally students apply by the second semester of their junior year, which requires that they write their proposal by that time.

The application should be completed in collaboration with and signed by the faculty advisor.

Selection Process

Applicants are selected based on the quality/feasibility of their research proposal, their research experience, their psychology GPA, and the support of their faculty mentor.

Program Requirements

The research honors program is a year-long, independent research program taken during the senior year. Students will complete requirements under the direction of their faculty advisor. The following requirements must be completed in order to be considered for a research honors degree:

  • PSYC 389: Honors Research I during the fall semester of senior year
  • PSYC 393W: Honors Research II during the spring semester of senior year
  • Completion of PSYC 389/393W course activities as described in the syllabus
  • A formal written Honors Research Thesis approved by the faculty advisor and submitted to the advisor and a second faculty reader by the last day of classes in the spring semester of the graduating year*
  • Oral defense of thesis to the faculty in a public seminar held during the two weeks prior to graduation

*Completion of the honors program automatically includes completion of the upper-level writing requirement of the psychology major.