One of the best ways to enhance your psychology degree and open up future options for your career is to participate in the Psychology Department Honors Program. This program is designed to give outstanding students an opportunity to pursue advanced research training and sharpen their analytical skills in preparation for graduate work in the social sciences or professional schools. Completion of the Honors Program results in a student receiving a B.A. degree with Honors in Psychology. The primary focus of the Honors Program is the completion of a senior honors thesis. This thesis reports the results of an empirical research project conducted in collaboration with a faculty member.

Honours program overview

  • The Psychology Honors Program involves a one and half to two year commitment. Students in the honors program enroll in Psyc 380 in the spring of their junior year. In this course students examine the philosophy and methods of science; they review contemporary research designs, implementation, data analysis, and reporting methods; and they design and write up a proposal for their senior honors thesis. Typically, students carry out these projects as outlined in their proposals, beginning in the summer and on into the fall of their senior year. In the spring of their senior year, they enroll in Psyc 480. In this course they write up the results of their projects and complete their final Honors theses.

    Students graduating with Honors in Psychology look back on this experience as an important step in their career, even when they have not decided to pursue graduate study in psychology. They view their Honors Program experience as providing them with valuable critical thinking, and organizational and writing skills.

  • Ordinarily, students submit an application to be admitted to the Honors Program in the fall semester of their junior year. Those who are admitted meet with the director of the Honors Program during the fall semester to begin the process of identifying a faculty member to serve as the student’s honors mentor for the duration of their projects. To be eligible for admission, a student must have achieved at least a 3.5 GPA overall and must have completed the mathematics, statistics, and research methods requirements. Students interested in applying should contact Dr. JoAnn Farver at (213) 740-3965 or farver@usc.edu

  • Successful completion of the Honors Program requires all of the following:

    1. Fulfilling the Psychology major requirements with the inclusion of:
      • PSYC 380 (Junior Honors Seminar, 4 units) during the spring semester of the junior year.
      • PSYC 480 (Senior Honors Seminar, 4 units) during the spring semester of the senior year.
    2. Completion of an honors thesis proposal in APA style as part of the Junior Honors Seminar.
    3. Receive approval of the honors thesis proposal by the student’s honors mentor by May 1 of the junior year.
    4. Conduct the empirical investigation as approved.
    5. Submit a final senior honors thesis detailing the logic, methods, analyses, results, and implications of the empirical investigation by May 1 of the senior year.
    6. Participate in the Annual USC Undergraduate Research Symposium.
    7. Have the senior honors thesis judged by a panel consisting of the honors mentor, the director of the Honors Program, and one additional faculty member as having met the standards expected of a student who graduates with Honors in Psychology.
    8. Have both an overall (USC and transfer) GPA of at least 3.5 at the time of graduation.