The PSYC Honors Program allows exceptional students to collaborate directly with a faculty mentor to complete an original research project. This engagement fosters an intellectual culture in our department in which faculty members mentor the next generation of scholars to conduct research that advances knowledge in psychology and contributes to the betterment of our world. Results from honors projects have been reported in scientific journals and presented at professional conferences.

PSYC Honors includes two terms of independent study courses with the mentor, culminating in a written thesis report and a poster presentation. Successful program participants are awarded an honors designation at graduation (B.S. degree “with honors”).

At large, the PSYC Honors Program has the following goals:

  • Educate students to think independently as scholars in their field
  • Provide opportunities for close, scholarly, and scientific analysis of significant topics in psychology
  • Encourage and provide opportunities for students to undertake independent research
  • Introduce students to a broad range of psychological ideas and issues.

All psychology majors have the opportunity to graduate with the distinction of Honors in Psychology.

 

Benefits of the Program

Honors students may take graduate courses and apply the credits toward their undergraduate degree. However, in order to take a graduate course, the student must get special permission from both the Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Psychology and the Assistant Dean in BSOS. Students have access to the upper level General Honors seminars and many of the General Honors functions. Honors students may establish their own internships under supervision of the Department of Psychology and receive Honors credit.

 

 

Eligibility Criteria

Psychology majors may apply at the end of the sophomore year, or during the junior year, but in no case later than the sixth semester.

Applicants must have:

  • Completed three courses (9 credits) in psychology, including PSYC 200
  • An overall and psychology GPA or at least 3.50

 

Requirements for Completion of the Honors Program

To graduate with Honors in Psychology, students accepted into the program must:

  • Complete the requirements for a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in psychology
  • Complete an undergraduate honors thesis (PSYC468H, PSYC469H, PSYC499H)
  • Complete honors seminars including PSYC498H
  • Maintain a 3.50 UMD GPA (both cumulative and in psychology) for Honors
  • Earn a 3.80 UMD GPA (both cumulative and in psychology) for High Honors, in addition to completing an honors thesis of exceptionally high quality as determined by the thesis committee
  • Be actively involved in leadership or volunteerism in our department, university and/or community (e.g., assist with Welcome to PSYC Day, volunteer with BSOS or in the community)
  • Present the thesis at the Department of Psychology Undergraduate Research Day
  • Join Psi Chi International Honors Society for Psychology for at least senior year 

 

Honors Coursework

PSYC Honors Coursework

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

requirements

To apply to the Psychology Honors Program, download and submit the application from our Honors Forms page.  Meeting all requirements does not guarantee admission. Only the top applicants, as determined by the Honors Director, will be admitted into the PSYC Honors Program.  If you have any questions about the Honors in Psychology Program, please feel free to contact the Department of Psychology’s Office of Undergraduate Studies at (301) 405-5866 or PSYCadvising [at] umd.edu.

                              

                                                                    Apply By Nov. 15th!


sample honors program

                                                                                      

 

WHAT IS AN HONORS THESIS?

The Undergraduate Honors thesis is an original, independent undergraduate research project carried out under the guidance of a faculty member in the Department of Psychology who serves as the student’s advisor. The thesis research explores a concept or problem within psychology in depth, includes a study that uses knowledge gained in undergraduate coursework, furthers understanding of a salient topic in psychology, and culminates in a substantial research paper. The thesis requires at least three semesters of focused work. The thesis forms a significant part of the student's Honors Program experience and is conducted under close supervision from the advisor. Example theses can be found at the following link (https://drum.lib.umd.edu/handle/1903/25221).

WHO SERVES AS HONORS THESIS ADVISORS AND COMMITTEE MEMBERS?

The Honors thesis advisor must be a faculty member in the Department of Psychology (tenure/tenure track or professional track). The theses of undergraduate Honors students may not be supervised by graduate students, post-doctoral researchers or non-members of the Department of Psychology faculty.

The Honors Thesis Committee consists of three faculty members in the Department of Psychology. Students may petition the chair of the Department of Psychology to request that one of the committee members be a faculty member from outside of our department. Students should submit a written petition to the chair three weeks in advance of their proposal meeting with the rationale for including a faculty member outside of the department on the committee.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

  • Describe key concepts, principles, and overarching themes related to a research topic
  • Engage in innovative and integrative thinking to develop and implement a study
  • Design, conduct, analyze, and interpret psychological research
  • Understand and follow ethical practices in scientific research
  • Engage in statistical analyses
  • Use scientific reasoning to interpret psychological phenomena
  • Demonstrate effective communication and writing related to research
  • Present research findings (to advisor, committee and Psychology community)

WHAT IS THE PROCESS FOR COMPLETING AN HONORS THESIS?

Students work with their advisor to identify a topic of interest and together, they decide on the research design for the study. The student writes a thesis proposal that consists of the following sections: Introduction, Literature Review, Method, and References. It is expected that the advisor provides edits and the student revises the proposal based on the suggestions from the advisor. Once the advisor approves the proposal, the student must present the proposal to the Honors Thesis Committee.

The student schedules a 1-hour meeting during which time the student gives a 10 to 15 minute presentation describing the research and then answers questions from the faculty. Each committee member independently votes whether the student passes (meets expectations) or does not pass (does not meet expectations) the proposal meeting. The student passes if they receive two or more passing votes.

After the meeting, the advisor submits the Thesis Proposal Meeting Form to the Assistant Director. If the student passes the meeting, the student makes edits based on committee feedback. After completing requested edits and receiving final approval of the proposal from the advisor, the student submits a proposal to obtain approval from the University of Maryland Institutional Review Board Human Subjects Committee or Animal Care Committee. Once the proposal is approved by the IRB, the student begins the research project.

If the student does not pass the meeting (receives two or more does not pass votes), the student has four weeks to make edits and hold a second proposal meeting. If the student does not pass this meeting, their participation in the Honors Program is terminated.

The thesis consists of the following sections: Introduction, Literature Review, Method, Results, Discussion, and References. After the advisor determines that the thesis is ready for review, the final thesis must be presented to the Honors Thesis Committee. The student schedules a 1-hour defense meeting during which time the student gives a 10 to 15 minute presentation describing the research and then answers questions from the faculty. The committee should receive the written thesis two weeks prior to the defense meeting. Students must defend their thesis no later than the last day of classes in the semester in which they plan to graduate.

In evaluating the written thesis, the Thesis Committee weighs (a) how well the student places the research into the context of the relevant literature; (b) the clarity and originality of the study design; (c) the relevance of the statistical design and analysis; and (d) the student's interpretation and integration of findings within the research and theoretical literature in psychology. Similar criteria are used to judge performance in the oral examination. Each committee member independently votes whether the student passes (meets expectations) or does not pass (does not meet expectations) the proposal meeting. The student passes if they receive two or more passing votes.

After the meeting, the advisor submits the Psychology Honors Program Thesis Defense Form to the Assistant Director. Often, edits are needed prior to submission of the final thesis. If the thesis is approved, the advisor submits the thesis and the Final Thesis Approval Form to the Assistant Director. In addition, students are asked to upload their thesis on the library repository (DRUM). When the thesis is ready to upload, the students should send an email message to drum-help [at] umd.edu and the staff will assist the student in uploading their thesis. Please note that the final thesis must be approved by the advisor and submitted to the Assistant Director prior to Spring graduation for the student to be recognized at the Department of Psychology Spring graduation ceremony.

If the thesis is not approved, the student has the opportunity to make edits and schedule a second defense of their thesis to the Honors Thesis Committee within one month of the defense meeting. If the student does not pass on the second attempt, participation in the Honors Program is terminated. No credit will be received for participation in the Honors Program if the student does not successfully defend the thesis.

 

Meet our PSYC Honors students

 

Toluope Adetayo: TBD

Faculty Mentor:  Dr. Edward Bernat

 

 

 

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Tessa Botkin: "Measurement invariance among multi-informant assessment of fear of negative and positive evaluations: Implications for the psychometric properties of commonly used instruments".

Faculty Mentor:  Dr. Andy De Los Reyes

 

 

 

 

Vardaan Dua:“I’m Sorry, Curry & Rice Are Just Not My Thing: Online Sexual Racism as a Predictor of Body Evaluation Among South Asian and East Asian Sexual Minority Men”. 

Faculty Mentor:Dr. Jon Mohr

Vardaan's project focuses on examining online sexual racism as a predictor of body image concerns in East Asian & South Asian Queer Men. The presented research focuses on integration of two sociocultural oppressions in this population of interest. First, Sexual Minority Men have been previously identified as a population that is significantly more susceptible to body image concerns, self-objectification, and eating disorders as compared to their heterosexual counterparts. Additionally, limited previous research examining these concerns in queer men of color suggests the increased prevalence of such concerns specifically in Asian Queer Men. Second, online dating and hook-up spaces play a vital role in facilitating sexual/romantic partnership seeking for Sexual Minority Men. Despite its need in the community, there is a presence of high exclusive and racist attitudes towards sexual minority of color on such online spaces. 

However, literature has yet to shed light on how these online spaces relate to body evaluation in Asian sexual minority men, and specifically understand these concerns in the sub-racial Asian groups. Therefore, this study wishes to investigate the interrelations among online dating app use, body image concerns, and sexual racism among East Asian and South Asian Sexual Minority Men. 

 Carli Fine

Carli Fine: "Relations Between Long-Term Memory Measures and HippocampalVolumes in Early Childhood

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Tracy Riggins

Carli is investigating autobiographical memory for real-world events in 4-6-year-old children and how this type of memory relates to the lab-based Temporal Order Memory Task. She would like to determine whether the mechanisms of the Autobiographical Memory task and the Temporal Order Memory task correlate with each other and with similar neural substrates. Specifically, she is considering the variables of age, biological sex, and hippocampal subregion volumes.

 

Micah Herman“College Dating Violence: Barriers and Facilitators of Bystander Intervention” 

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Karen O’Brien

Micah's thesis aims to update, replicate and extend a randomized controlled trial that tested the effectiveness of the STOP Dating Violence Bystander Intervention training program. She will also assess bystander behaviors in real situations of dating violence over time and measure the barriers and facilitators (the factors that made it easier or more challenging to intervene) associated with those behaviors.  Hopefully, this study will inform the development of future bystander education interventions, empowering students to make their campuses safer places to learn and live. 

 

 Erin Hill

Erin Hill: "Evaluating an Online Intervention to Enhance Knowledge, Confidence and Skills in Undergraduate Students’ Responses to Bereaved Peers"

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Karen O’Brien

Erin is conducting an innovative thesis through the Department of Psychology Honors Program under the mentorship of Dr. Karen O’Brien. She is creating an online intervention to help students learn how to support their grieving peers. Erin will conduct a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the efficacy of this intervention. Grieving students are often overlooked in research and face a unique set of challenges. Hopefully, this intervention will enable college students to communicate more effectively with peers who are grieving, which in turn, may improve bereaved college students’ ability to function academically, interpersonally and emotionally.

 Lena Meredith

 

Lena Meredith: TBD

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Tracy Riggins

 

 

 

Alexandra Ostrander: "Parenting Predicts Changes in Preschool Children’s Cognitive Styles" 

Faculty Mentor:Dr. Lea Dougherty

Alex’s research is looking into depressogenic cognitive styles, specifically in preschool students. She is looking for specific parenting behaviors that may influence a child to have more negative cognitive mechanisms which will eventually lead to the child experiencing depression in the future. 

 

 

 

Parekh

 

Nina Parekh: "Bisexual Women's Female Friendships: Predictors and Outcomes of Sexual Identity Disclosure"

Faculty Mentor:Dr. Jon Mohr

The study focuses on predictors and consequences of sexual orientation disclosure in the female friendships of bisexual women. Disclosure can serve to deepen trust and intimacy in relationships and thus strengthen interpersonal bonds.  This study will test theory suggesting that bisexual women’s disclosure to female friends may be influenced the sexual orientation and race-ethnicity of the friend, as well as by the person’s own race-ethnicity. Second, her proposed thesis will test the hypothesis that disclosure will be positively associated with individual and relational well-being, and explore factors that may alter the impact of disclosure on well-being.

 

M Pease: “Working Title: Predictors of Mental Health and Well-being for Transgender and Genderqueer Young Adults “

Faculty Mentor:Dr. Derek Iwamoto

Working in the Gender, Culture, and Health Lab with Dr. Derek Iwamoto and Thomas Le, M’s thesis broadly involves exploring various factors relevant to transgender and genderqueer people and how those factors predict or are otherwise associated with mental health outcomes. While still developing the specific details of the project, M hopes to focus particularly on anxiety, depression, and substance use with therapeutic implications for LGBTQ+ populations.

 

 

Madeleine Pekosz: "Investigating the role of body surveillance, feminist beliefs, and feminine norm adherence in women's reproductive health efficacy and behaviors" 

Faculty Mentor:Dr. Derek Iwamoto

Madeleine’s previous research projects include investigating how adherence to masculine norms relates to drinking behaviors in men, and developing an intervention plan with the goal of reducing adherence to masculine norms associated with binge drinking and negative health behaviors. Her current projects include reporting how nurturance mediates the relationship between certain masculine norms and rape myth acceptance in men, and data collection for her honors thesis.

 

 


PSYC Honors Alumni

2019 Graduates

 

Aniruddh Ajith: "HRV as an Index of ANS ActivityDuring Emotion Regulation"

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Edward Bernat

Anirudh is currently has post baccalaureate position at the NIH, in the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. Anu works with Dr. Kelvin Choi on projects involving smoking. One project is about the effect of adolescent smoking on intergenerational mobility. Another project assesses if knowing how to unsubscribe from smoking coupon lists predicts smoking behaviors. A third project uses EEG to assess how smokers react to smoking coupons. 

 

Shereen Ashai: "Coping with Loss: Advancing Understanding of Posttraumatic Growth and Grief in Kashmiri College Students"

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Karen O’Brien

Shereen is currently pursuing Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology at the University of Maryland

 

Vedavalli Govindan: "The Effect of Decision-Making and Inhibition Control on the Autonomic Nervous System"

Faculty Mentor:  Dr. Edward Bernat

Vedavalli is currently focusing on studying for the MCAT exam, so my workload has been low. I volunteer at the Pregnancy Clinic in Columbia, which provides free services (counseling, pregnancy tests, sonograms, etc) to socioeconomically disadvantaged and undocumented mothers. I also engage in research at Children's National Health System and with the Clinical and Cognitive Lab at UMD (with my honors thesis mentor, Dr. Bernat); at both labs, we are currently trying to public our research findings. 

 

 

Alexandra Hickey:"Exploring Gender Differences in Theory of Mind"

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Elizabeth Redcay

 Alex is currently a Faculty Specialist at the Developmental Social Cognitive Neuroscience Lab at the University of Maryland 

 

Natania Lipp: "Bereaved College Students: The Roles of Social Support, Coping Style, Continuing Bonds, and Social Media Use in Grieving Outcomes"

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Karen O’Brien

Natania is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology at Lehigh University

 

Taylor Rezeppa: Untrained observers’ ratings of emerging adults’ social anxiety and social skills within controlled, cross-contextual social interactions with unfamiliar peer confederates”

Faculty Mentor:  Dr. Andy De Los Reyes

 

Jonas Ventimaglia: 

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jonathan Beier

 

 

 

Last modified
12/06/2019 - 2:16 pm