Honors in the Major

Honors are granted to graduating seniors who demonstrate excellence in developing and conducting empirical research. Students wishing to stand for departmental honors typically begin during the junior year to develop plans in consultation with one or more faculty members. Their work must be endorsed for honors by the Committee on behalf of the department, be presented publicly no later than the week of final exams, and a final corrected version of the paper must be filed with the Dickinson College Library prior to Commencement. 

Honors are granted to graduating seniors who fulfill these requirements:

  1. By the beginning of the senior year, the student must have completed at least 6 courses in Psychology (at Dickinson or elsewhere). The student must earn a GPA of at least 3.6 in all of the courses he or she has taken in Psychology, and 3.25 in all other courses taken at the College. By the end of the first week of classes, the student will enroll in Psych 500, 550, or 560 with the faculty member who will chair the Honors Committee; the title of the Psych 500/550/560 course should describe the project and should not include the word "honors."
  2. The student must form an Honors Committee composed of three psychology faculty (i.e., two members and one committee Chair). Additional faculty from within or outside the psychology department may also serve on the Committee. The student will provide the Committee with the general topic of research, the Committee will approve the topic, and will approve the student’s plan to earn one credit for independent study (PSYC 500), independent research (PSYC 550), or collaborative research (PSYC 560) during the Fall semester of the senior year, and to earn one credit for independent research (PSYC 550) in the Spring semester of the senior year. The Honors Committee must approve the general topic of research before the end of the add/drop period for the Fall semester of the student’s senior year.
  3. The student will submit a proposal to the Honors Committee at some point in the Fall semester. The proposal will include the research questions, rationale for the study, proposed method, and a data analysis plan. In approving the proposal, the student's Honors Committee is expressing the view that a successfully completed project will demonstrate the student's excellence in developing and conducting empirical research on the selected topic.
  4. Before initiating the second semester of the honors project, the student will present a progress report to the Honors Committee and receive its approval to proceed.  If the Committee does not give approval, the student will complete a final paper in fulfillment of the requirements for the Psych 500/550/560 (to be determined by the supervising faculty member).
  5. By the end of the first week of classes in the Spring semester, the student will enroll in Psych 550 with the faculty member who is chairing the Honors Committee; the title of the Psych 550 course should describe the project and should not include the word "honors."
  6. Before initiating data analysis, the student will present to the Honors Committee a revised data analysis plan (if plans have changed since the proposal was submitted) and receive its approval to proceed.
  7. At least 14 days prior to the last day of classes, provide the Honors Committee with the final research project report. In approving the paper, the student’s Honors Committee is expressing the view that the student may proceed to an oral presentation. However, it is likely that the Committee will require revisions to the paper prior to step 8. Students should be aware that the Committee’s approval at this stage does not imply the awarding of honors; this determination is made after the presentation (in step 10). If the paper is not approved, the student will not stand for honors but will have the opportunity to revise the research project report as the final paper for the Independent Research course (Psych 550).
  8. In the last week of classes, make copies of the final research paper available to Psychology faculty. The student will send electronic copies to the departmental faculty at least one week before the scheduled date for the public presentation.
  9. During the week of final exams, make an oral project presentation, including a question-and-answer period. The chair of the department schedules the presentation in consultation with the psychology faculty.
  10. Receive a favorable vote from the Honors Committee for the written and oral presentation of the project. Upon a favorable vote, any departmental faculty member may suggest changes intended to strengthen the paper; these changes may be suggested during the oral presentation (in question-and-answer session), during the confidential deliberation period, or in writing on the paper itself. The chair of the Honors Committee is responsible for making note of all the suggested changes and (in consultation with other members of the Committee) will determine which suggested changes are required.
  11. Following the oral presentation, the honors student will incorporate the mandatory changes into the final paper, and the paper will be reviewed by the chair of the Honors Committee for final approval.
  12. Once final approval of the paper has been obtained from the chair of the Honors Committee, the student will create an archival version of the paper, following these specifications:
    • The top, bottom, and right hand margins should be one inch, and the left margin should be one and one quarter inches.
    • The paper should be fully paginated, including any forwards, prefaces, appendices, and bibliographies. Page numbers should be centered approximately one half inch from the bottom of each page.
    • The title page of the paper should include the full title, author, date of submission, department for which the paper is being submitted, the name of the project supervisor, and the other members of the Committee.

The student who has been awarded honors will provide this electronic archival version of the paper to the Psychology Department Coordinator, Amy McMurdy. An electronic copy will be maintained in the department’s electronic files, and a printed version will be bound and catalogued to be housed in the Archives and Special Collections Department of the Dickinson College Library. The Psychology Department Coordinator will process the printing and binding, and will arrange for the final product to be sent to the Archives. The Department will pay for the printing and Archives will pay for the binding for the library’s copy. 

If the student wishes to have any additional copies of the paper bound for her or his use, he or she must notify Amy when submitting the electronic archival version, and the student will be responsible for the cost of printing and binding those copies.