Honors Program

Honors Program Description:

The Honors Program for the Psychology major is a 2-semester course experience during a student's senior year. Students lead a research project from start (idea generation) to finish (writing a thesis summarizing the study) under the guidance of a faculty mentor. The Honors Program is an excellent way to strengthen a resume for students interested in pursuing graduate school in Psychology.


Participation in the Honors Program is by application during the summer. Students must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • A written recommendation and statement of commitment to supervise the honors project by a Psychology Department (or related field) faculty member. In this statement, the faculty supervisor should agree to hold a supervision meeting with the student each week during both semesters of the academic year, and should describe the support that will be provided to the student - such as assistance searching for relevant professional literature, consultation on design, data analysis, and report preparation, and use of a research lab with equipment needed to conduct the project. Part-time Psychology faculty are eligible supervisors, provided that they commit to supervise for the entire academic year.
  • A GPA of 3.5 or higher in all upper-division coursework.
  • Senior standing in the University by Fall 2024 (at least 90 units completed).
  • At least 12 units of upper division psychology coursework completed at SF State by Fall 2024.
  • Completion of at least one upper-division research methods and/or statistics course with a grade of "B" or better before Fall 2024, or equivalent preparation for independent research. Applicants lacking research methods and/or statistics courses must describe their research preparation in detail.

Application Process:

To apply to the Psychology Department Honors Thesis Program, please fill out the Honors Thesis Program Application (PDF) Form. Along with the form and faculty letter of support, you must submit a writing sample, a statement of anticipated research topic, and a transcript. Please submit your writing sample, anticipated research and topic, transcript(s), and faculty member letter of support as email attachments to Dr. Ken Paap, kenp@sfsu.edu by June 8, 2024 at noon. Indicate in the Subject line: Fall 2024 Psychology Honors Thesis Application.

If you have questions about the Honors Thesis Program please contact the Honors Thesis Coordinator, Dr. Ken Paap, kenp@sfsu.edu. (If you send email, please put Honors Program Inquiry in the subject line.)

Students who are not yet seniors but plan to apply for the Honors Program in their senior year can begin preparing themselves by assisting a faculty member with research. Learn more about the research labs at SFSU and then contact the faculty member to discuss the opportunity to be a Research Assistant.

Course Schedule:

Students accepted into the Honors Program will enroll in the following courses during Fall and Spring semesters:

  • PSY 693 Proseminar I (Fall Semester) - Principal goal of developing a detailed senior project proposal.
  • PSY 697 Senior Project Preparation (Fall Semester) - Students develop an original written thesis proposal that includes a thorough literature review and methods section. Students must also submit a protocol to the university's Institutional Review Board for research with human subjects.
  • PSY 694 Proseminar II (Spring Semester) - Intended to facilitate and provide evaluation of progress toward completion of senior project. Completed senior project culminates the semester.
  • PSY 698 Senior Project in Psychology (Spring Semester) - Student carries out the senior project and prepares a written report for presentation.