Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

You are here: Home » Psychology » Undergraduate Studies » Honors Program
Document Actions

Honors Program

The Hunter College Department of Psychology invites all undergraduate majors to consider the completion of a Psychology Departmental Honors thesis project.


What It Involves:

This program involves working with a Psychology faculty mentor to develop and conduct a psychology-oriented research project addressing an area of interest to the student.  Students often work with a faculty member they have already taken a course from, who mentioned an area of psychology that they wanted to explore further.  Students may also review the list of faculty research interests, available on the Psychology department’s web site, or available from the undergraduate Psychology advisor in 611HN, to identify faculty who conduct research in an area relevant to the student’s interests.   Research projects must involve an empirical study involving the collection and quantitative (i.e., statistical) or qualitative analysis of data, depending on the research approach agreed-upon between the student and his/her research mentor.  Examples of current and past projects conducted by Departmental Honors students include: Intentional vs. incidental learning, The influence of the news media on adolescents, Studying the symptoms of schizophrenia, The acquisition of temporal ordering skills in children of teenage mothers,  The effect of emotion on perceptions of safer-sex advertisements,  and The influence of oxy-tocin on the aggressive behaviors of rats. 

The first step in preparing for the Departmental Honors program is to contact full-time Psychology faculty members (via e-mail, using addresses obtained from the Psych Department’s webpage at in areas of Psychology the student finds interesting, and see if they are willing to work with the student as their Honors Project mentor.  Often, it is to your advantage to select a research area close to that for which you are considering graduate study (this will allow you a first-hand opportunity to learn if this is truly the area you wish to pursue for a career.).  Once you find a faculty member willing to be your mentor, pick-up an “Independent Study” sign-up form in the Psych office (611HN)Fill out your part in the “Psych 396” portion of this form, and bring it to your faculty research mentor and ask him/her to sign it—this represents the contract between you and your mentor for doing the Honors project.  Bring this signed form back to the Psych Office (to one of the office administrators in the back of 611HN) so that an access code can be entered allowing you to then register for Psych 396 online.  This same procedure is used again to register for Psych 398—the second semester of Psych Honors.

Students who participate in the Psychology Departmental Honors program must register for Psych 396      (3 cr.) during their first semester of research and Psych 398 (3 cr.) during the second semester of research.  In very rare circumstances, students may be able to complete the Honors thesis in one semester, but this must be worked out between them and their research mentor.   Psych 396/398 requires that students attend a weekly seminar, during which tips for research and career matters are discussed, as well as brief student research presentations are made.  **If a student has a scheduling conflict that prevents him/her from attending the seminar, however, alternative arrangements can be made.


Examples of past and current projects conducted by Honors students:

  • Intentional vs. incidental learning
  • The influence of the news media on adolescents
  • Studying the symptoms of schizophrenia
  • The acquisition of temporal ordering skills in children of teenage mothers
  • The effect of emotion on perceptions of safer-sex advertisements
  • The influence of oxy-tocin on the aggressive behaviors of rats


What are the benefits of completing a Psychology Departmental Honors Project?

Students who complete this project will receive special mention in the Commencement Bulletin when they graduate, as well as receiving an indication of “Graduated with Departmental Honors in Psychology” on their permanent record and transcript. This notation will only appear in the Comments section of the transcript; it does not appear on the CUNY diploma, as CUNY uses a standardized diploma format for all graduating students.  In addition, many employers and, especially, graduate programs look very favorably on students who have completed independent research projects, as this indicates a high degree of motivation, maturity, and responsibility on the part of the student, (i.e., it may help give you an edge when applying to graduate school or for a job). 


Who is eligible?

Students eligible for Psychology Departmental Honors must have a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 and a minimum GPA of 3.5 in all Psychology courses taken at Hunter College.  Students must have completed Psych 248 (Statistics) and Psych 249/250 (Experimental Psychology) by the time they plan to begin their Honors research (and these are prerequisites for registering for Psych 396/398).  The Honors thesis is usually completed during the student’s final 2 semesters at Hunter College, and, thus, may be started during either the Fall or the Spring semester.

NOTE:  In addition to the Departmental Honors Program, all interested students (regardless of GPA) are eligible—and strongly encouraged-- to get involved in faculty research for credit through either Psych 201 (which has no prerequisites) or Psych 395 (once you have completed Psych 249/250: Experimental Psychology).


For further information:

Contact Professor Jason Young, coordinator of the Psychology Departmental Honors program, by email (for fastest response) at or by phone at (212) 772-5566.