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Honors Program

The honors program in psychology provides students with the opportunity to work hands-on with a faculty member to conduct their own independent research project. Students completing the honors program with a high-quality thesis will graduate from UC Merced with honors and the highest honors may be designated for particularly outstanding theses. 

Applications to begin the honors program in Fall are due April 30. 


You can also view a presentation providing a more extensive overview of the program here.


  • Major in Psychology
  • Major GPA of 3.50 or greater
  • Passed PSY 010 and 015

Approximate Timeline

Junior Year (Spring)

  • Complete all prerequisite course requirements
  • Identify thesis topic and faculty sponsor
  • Conduct literature review of identified thesis topic
  • Submit application

Summer between Junior and Senior Year

  • Design & finalize research study design with faculty supervisor
  • Submit project protocol to Institutional Review Board

Senior Year (Fall)

  • Enroll in: PSY 199; PSY 193H
  • Submit study protocol to IRB & SONA (if applicable)
  • Begin data collection/analysis

Senior Year (Spring)

  • Enroll in: PSY 199; PSY 194H
  • Complete data collection/analysis
  • Write thesis and submit to faculty sponsor for feedback
  • Submit study abstract for inclusion in Honors program
  • Prepare and present an academic poster displaying findings at Psychological Sciences Department Honors Session.
  • Give an academic talk presenting the honors research in the Honors course
  • Submit final honors thesis for approval 

Associated Coursework

PSY-199 – Independent Research in Psychological Sciences

  • Students applying to the Honors Program are expected to be a research apprentice in the laboratory of their intended faculty sponsor. Students are strongly advised to begin planning their research project in the spring of their junior year. In addition, students will continue to be a research apprentice in the laboratory during their senior year.
  • Students should be enrolled in the Independent Research course in the Fall and Spring semesters.

PSY-193H/194H – Psychological Sciences Honors Seminar

  • Honors students are also required to concurrently enroll in PSY 193H/194H (3 units per semester), the Honors Seminar, in their senior year. This course provides excellent supplemental background for preparing the thesis.
  • During the fall semester, PSY 193H will concentrate on issues of research design, ethics, and data analysis using statistical packages, as well as how to apply to graduate programs in psychology and career opportunities in psychology and related fields.
  • In the spring semester, PSY 194H will focus on oral and written presentations of the thesis projects and feedback on thesis drafts.


Students seeking to apply for the Psychology Honors Program will be encouraged to identify and contact potential faculty supervisors to discuss possible research projects.

  • Faculty Advisor
    • Enrollment in the Honors Program requires that a faculty member formally agree to supervise the research conduct of the undergraduate student. In certain instances, a graduate student may be allowed to assist in the supervision of an undergraduate student, but a faculty member must be officially listed as responsible for the research conduct of the undergraduate student. The undergraduate student and supervising faculty member will complete and submit the application provided below.
  • 400-word proposal abstract
  • Research Project Abstract
  • Detailed Project Timeline