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.

Honors Students' Experiences

My experience in the Honors Program has been one of the most influential experiences of my college career. Without the Honors Program, I would not have been able to work as closely with faculty and graduate students. As a sophomore, I worked with Dr. Pryor researching implicit and explicit stigma by association effects. I then joined Dr. Renée Tobin's research team for three semesters. I implemented a violence prevention program to children in schools all over the city. I have been a member of the Autism Clinic and began an undergraduate Honors thesis through the clinic as well. Due to the Honors Program, I was able to register for all of these experiences without exceeding my limit. Finally, I had a summer internship at a behavioral health facility in Streamwood, Ill. All of these experiences set me above and beyond most students. This led me to be accepted to an Educational Specialist program at National Louis University where I will be trained to be a School Psychologist and further the lives of children all over the state.

— Monica Muciaccia, posted April 2010

In my opinion there are two ways one can attain an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Illinois State University. The first way consists of doing the bare minimum. The second method requires one to go above and beyond and achieve beyond predefined standards. As a part of participating in the Honors Program at Illinois State, I chose the latter and feel more prepared for graduate school as a result. Through the Honors experiences offered from the Department of Psychology, I have worked with Dr. Karla Doepke at the Autism Clinic. I have also worked with Dr. Jeff Wagman in his research on ecological perception. In addition, I have worked for nearly three years with Dr. Glenn Reeder in his research on impression formation and am in the process of finishing an Honors thesis. Through working with Dr. Reeder, I was even able to secure funding for my research. I will be presenting the results of my research with Dr. Wagman and Dr. Reeder at a university-wide symposium. After presenting my research results with Dr. Reeder at the department's Honors Colloquium, I hope to submit it to a journal for publication. I am convinced that my privation in the Honors Program was substantial factor for my success in my undergraduate career and beyond. Next fall, I will be attending one of the premier doctoral school psychology programs in the nations, the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

— Ethan Van Norman, posted April 2010