You can earn an Honors degree in Psychology or Neuroscience by completing an independent laboratory research project and thesis. The earned designation appears on your transcript and degree, giving you an advantage on the job market or if you apply to a doctoral program.
- What is the admission process to Honors?
Application for admission to the Honors program may be made during the sophomore or junior year. The requirement for admission into the Honors program is that you must have a 3.3 GPA minimum and a faculty sponsor for research.
While faculty may recommend students for the Honors program, students may also recommend themselves. Letters are sent to students who are eligible and informational meetings are set up during the year explaining the benefits you can gain through the Honors program.
- How do I prepare for an Honors degree?
It’s a good idea to prepare early for an Honors degree. We strongly recommend that you choose a research sponsor and project area by your sophomore year. During your sophomore and junior year, you should work in a PBS faculty member's research lab and enroll in supervised research.
To prepare to complete your Honors project, you need to complete most of the requirements for your major before your senior year. This gives you an in-depth understanding of an academic area, helping you develop an independent research project.
- What is the nature of the research project?
Work on the Honors project consists of twelve to eighteen months of laboratory research, sponsored by a faculty member. You write up your research project in a format similar to a master's thesis, give a poster presentation on your work, and successfully defend the thesis before a committee of three faculty members.
We recommend that you begin your independent research project no later than spring of their junior year in order to allow adequate time for completion before graduation. Similarly, we recommend that you enroll in P499 (a two-semester sequence course) by the spring of the junior year.
- Is there funding for Honors research?
Most Honors projects are financially supported through the sponsoring laboratory. All Indiana University Bloomington undergraduate students are eligible for Hutton Honors College Research Grants (you do not need to be a member of Hutton to receive a grant).
The Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences makes a number of small monetary awards at the end of the projects to those seniors who have achieved distinction in research. Examples include the Excellence in Research Award and the Cheryl Burnham Buehler Award.
- What are the benefits of the Honors degree?
Honors courses have smaller enrollments and more discussion, giving Honors students the opportunity to be better known by the faculty.
The Honors degree designation will appear on your transcript and degree.
An Honors project shows that you are committed to the field and have some experience in the research, which is a plus for getting into graduate school. Competition for entry to many doctoral programs in psychology or neuroscience is very stiff, so any edge is very worthwhile.
Completing an honors project gives you an idea of the area you might want to pursue in graduate studies. The individual research project gives you a good background in research methodology, important for graduate admission. Your work might result in a possible publication or presentation at a conference.
- Who oversees the Honors program?
The department Honors committee, chaired by Dr. Dale Sengelaub, oversees the program. Dr. Sengelaub also teaches the P499 course, with individual research sponsors chosen by the student.
For more information, contact Psychology and Neuroscience Advising or Dr. Sengelaub:
Dale R. Sengelaub
Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience