The primary goal of the Honors Program is to provide students with a strong background in the concepts, theories, research findings and methodological approaches of contemporary psychology. The required courses and electives for this program are intended to meet this goal. As a scientific field of study, psychology involves the examination of human and animal phenomena, particularly by investigating factors that affect psychological processes. An important part of a rigorous training in psychology is active involvement on the part of the undergraduate psychology major in psychological research. Direct involvement in designing, conducting and presenting (in both written and verbal forms) the results of empirical research is considered an important experience by graduate admissions committees. Therefore, this program will help to prepare our students for a successful future in graduate school.
Given the anticipated rigor of the course work and research project required, it is important that students who choose to participate in this program are academically well prepared. Students may be considered for admission to the program as late as the end of their Junior year without jeopardizing their plans for a timely graduation. Faculty members will be asked to encourage students to apply to the program, particularly those students who the faculty member feels are well suited for a more challenging major program. In order to be admitted to the program, a student must have a 3.395 GPA overall (the university requirement for graduating with honors) and have declared psychology as his or her major. Students interested in participating in the program must submit an application to the director of the honors program. Applications may be submitted during the Fall or Spring semesters and are due on the last day of the registration period. Applications will be reviewed by a committee of faculty members from the department and will be evaluated based on GPA, quality of the letter of intent, availability of faculty research advisors, and the likelihood of a student being able to complete the program in a timely manner (based on courses taken and class standing). Students will be notified of their status by the end of the semester. If accepted into the Honors program students will be assigned to a Faculty advisor and permitted to register for the Advanced Experimental Psychology course (an Add/Drop form must be completed). Students should then schedule an appointment with the chair of the Psychology department to change their major from Psychology to Psychology-Honors by completing a Curriculum Adjustment form.
The application includes the following:
- Overall GPA and Psychology GPA
- A record of the Psychology courses completed with grades
- A letter of Intent
The Honors program requires that students work closely with a faculty advisor. The letter of intent is used to evaluate the student's writing ability and to help determine which faculty member the student is to be assigned. The letter of intent should describe the student's primary area of interest and the type of independent research project the student is interested in pursuing as part of the honors program. Students are encouraged to talk with members of the faculty before applying to determine the faculty’s areas of expertise and the type of experiments that are feasible for an Honor's Research project. If there is a preference to work with a particular faculty member it should be stated in the letter, but students should be aware that a faculty member might not be available as a research advisor. The committee will evaluate the application and availability of faculty when assigning students accepted into the honors program to a faculty research advisor.
After being admitted to the program, students are expected to maintain at least a 3.395 GPA in the Arts & Sciences requirements and in the Psychology Major requirements. Any student admitted to the program whose GPA falls below this level for two consecutive semesters will not be allowed to continue in the program. Students who do not complete the required Advanced Experimental course (see the curriculum page) with a grade of B or better will not be permitted to enroll in the Honors Research course and must take Senior Seminar in order to fulfill the departmental requirements. These students will no longer be considered part of the Honors Program. In order to be recommended for graduation with Honors by the Psychology Department a student must meet all of the requirements of the Honors Program as described and must make a contribution to the department beyond classroom performance. Such contributions can take various forms, such as participating in Psi Chi or the Psychology Club, or working as a research assistant for a faculty member in the department. Work on special projects in the department may also be considered toward fulfilling this requirement. The director of the honor’s program must approve any special project contributions to the department in advance and in writing. Honors students are also required to present their honors research to an audience in the form of an oral or poster presentation. Presentations may be given at the Seton Hall's annual Petersheim Academic Exposition, at a professional conference, or to the psychology faculty and fellow psychology students.