Senior Thesis (PSYC 4038 for credit)
A senior thesis is an independent research project (usually an empirical project) conducted by an upper-level psychology major under the supervision of a mentor from the psychology department faculty. A senior thesis project may be completed without pursuing departmental honors. The nature and scope of the project is determined by a mutual agreement between the student and his/her mentor. The student is expected to write an APA-style research report as a final product that embodies the senior thesis. This project (and the summary paper) must be completed by the graduation date in order to be recognized with departmental honors.
Completing a Senior Thesis takes quite a bit of preparation and effort. The student has to find a mentor and agree on a topic, research design, collect data, analyze results and write up a research report. This cannot be done at the last minute and often takes at least a full academic year. Often Senior Theses are done in the labs in which a student is already helping in the research effort. If the student is not yet associated with a lab, talking with the coordinator for honors, the director of undergraduate studies, or the psychology advisor is called for but it is ultimately the student's responsibility to find a mentor and topic.
In order to register for PSYC 4038, the student must find a mentor and get his/her approval to register. A student generally registers for 1 credit hour per 3 hours of work per week. The number of credits must be approved by the student's mentor prior to registration for PSYC 4038.
It is the student's mentor who certifies successful completion of the Senior Thesis. Awarding honors in Psychology is done when certifying completion of the requirements for the major when a student applies for graduation.