Department of Psychology at Illinois State University


Honors in Psychology

Illinois State Honors students in good standing who are Psychology majors are eligible and strongly encouraged to earn Departmental Honors in Psychology at graduation. Honors requirements are:

  • A 3.5 or higher grade point average in all psychology courses;
  • Complete a senior thesis (IDS 395.03 Honors Thesis: Psychology) for at least three hours with a Psychology faculty member;
  • Worked previously in the same faculty member's research lab; and
  • Present a senior thesis project at the Psychology Honors Colloquium.

Students who complete the above requirements and apply to the Honors Program for departmental honors will have Department of Psychology Honors printed on their Illinois State diploma. Students must declare their intent to graduate with honors with the Honors Program when they file for graduation. Contact Dr. Jeffrey Wagman, Psychology Honors Coordinator, by e-mail if additional information is needed abut Honors in Psychology.

See the Honors Program website for information about Honors Scholarships for current students and incoming freshmen, based on their high school academic achievements.

Honors Courses

In-class Honors credit: The department also offers Honors sections of content and skill psychology courses, such as for PSY 110, 138, and 231. Students can earn Honors credit by completing the Honors section of these courses.

Honors students may also approach faculty about in-class honors projects for psychology courses. These projects have often involved an additional research paper, but can be any project faculty and students agree upon that is in addition to normal course requirements.

Out-of-Class Honors credit: The department and the Honors Program offer a number of ways for students to earn honors credit outside the standard classroom experience. Students can participate in a research apprenticeship or conduct independent research with a faculty member or complete a honors thesis under the guidance of a faculty member.

See the Psychology Honors Courses website for more information about specific courses.

Honors Colloquium

The Honors Colloquium is an opportunity for Honors students to present their theses to faculty and students in the department in a public forum. There are two colloquia, during the fall and the spring semesters. In the fall, the Honors Colloquium is held in conjunction with the colloquium for Advanced Research Apprenticeship (PSY 390) students. At the colloquium, students make oral presentations of their honor theses describing the background, methods used, findings, and conclusions of their research. Family members and friends are welcome to attend.

Students who have registered for senior thesis hours will receive the Honors Colloquium Registration form in the mail or students can click on either version of the link to download the form to the computer.

2014 Fall Honors Colloquium and 390 Poster Presentations

Honors Students' Experiences

I was an excited and passionate sophomore when I started at Illinois State University. I knew that joining the Honors Program would, at the very least, increase the interactions I could have with faculty and out of class; my actual experience exceeded my wildest expectations. I had not anticipated the degree of commitment and open-arms with which (I later learned) professors would work with Honors students. Every single interaction I have had in course projects, research experiences, and teaching opportunities have served to further my development. My honors involvement has been instrumental in the development of my research, mentorship, and pedagogical skills. I have had the opportunity to mentor other undergraduates in academic and research capacities, write grants on the internal (ISU) and external (Ford, NSF) level, present my research with Drs. Wesselmann and McBride at regional and national conferences, and submit manuscripts for publication. The Psychology Department here at Illinois State is well suited, well-staffed, well-prepared and willing to work with excitable and passionate students to any degree; my experiences here are evidence of that. The Honors opportunities in and around this department have served as impeccable preparation for my graduate and professional work. I am thrilled, honored, and excited to have had the opportunities to work with professors who are not only compassionate, dedicated, and warm, but who pushed me to excel to a capacity I did not know I was capable of. My extensive training and in-depth experiences at Illinois State have prepared me well for doctoral work (location TBD), and I look forward to serving, mentoring, and training other researchers in academia to the degree that the Honors Psychology Program has done for me.

Diana Steakley-Freeman, posted December 2014

After being accepted into the Honors Program I quickly realized how significantly it would impact my undergraduate career. Through the Honors Program, I was able to work with Dr. Patricia Jarvis as a Teaching Assistant for one semester and a Research Apprentice studying the effects of parenting styles on emerging adults for two subsequent semesters. Then, I had the opportunity to work with Dr. Dawn McBride on research regarding prospective and false memories, which ultimately led to the development of my Honors thesis that investigates the effects of mood and arousal on the creation of false memories. In addition to the research experience, I was also able to develop clinical skills through two internships. The first was a Counseling Assistant internship at Collaborative Solutions Institute in Bloomington, IL where I was able to observe individual counseling sessions, co-lead the weekly Women’s Domestic Violence class, and go to court with specific clients to update the judge on their progress. The second was a Mental Health Outreach internship at ISU’s Student Counseling Services where I was able to develop, plan, and implement preventative programs and mental health-related campaigns on campus. Without the Honors Program, I would not have been given the opportunity to participate in half of the experiences I did. Engaging in these experiences has prepared me for graduate school and made me a well-rounded student, psychologist and person. I was also able to build close relationships with the faculty, which not only enhanced my educational experience but also facilitated my growth and development. I am so grateful for the experiences I’ve had the pleasure of participating in because of the Honors Program.

Leann Risten, posted December 2014