Senior Project in Psychology

     The Senior Project consists of a one or two semester-long course focusing on an intensive piece of independent work, and it culminates in an empirical or theoretical thesis. Most Psychology concentrators elect to complete a two-semester empirical project in which they design a study, collect and analyze the data, and interpret the results. Some students (e.g., double majors) choose instead to complete a one-semester project, which normally includes synthesis of research in the relevant literature of an area (or areas). One-semester projects may also include a proposal for an empirical study or intervention. The project provides the opportunity for students to synthesize what they have learned in coursework in the concentration by requiring them to take an in-depth look at a particular question in psychology and to produce an original piece of scholarship. In order to have a sufficient background in a topic area to pursue a senior project during the senior year, students should elect appropriate advanced courses during their junior year.

     During the Spring Semester of the junior year, students complete an online form stating (1) their first, second, and third choices for problems that they would like to explore for their senior project, (2) the faculty member that they would prefer to have as the supervisor of each of the programs, and (3) the term in which they would like to complete the work. Every effort is made to accommodate one of those choices, but if an excess of research participants, limitations in laboratory facilities, or other circumstances prevent the choices from being feasible, the student will be assigned to another faculty member and another project will have to be designed. The student must discuss possible senior projects with the appropriate faculty members before completing the online form. The deadline for the submission of the proposal is near the end of the Spring Semester (the exact date will be announced).

     The thesis is due the last day of classes of the semester in which the work was completed. All students submit one copy of the thesis to the faculty supervisor. Each student will make an oral presentation of the senior project work at a meeting held during the last week of classes of the semester when the project is completed. The thesis is to be prepared in the style of the American Psychological Association Publication Manual. An example of a title page for the thesis is presented below.

     In addition to the senior project requirements described above, students will have meetings with their faculty supervisors to discuss progress on their research, issues of relevance to all students working in a given specialty area, and other work assigned by the faculty supervisor.  The final grade for the senior project will be determined by the faculty supervisor on the basis of the written thesis, the oral presentation, and the progress in theoretical, laboratory, or field work throughout the term. 

Sample Title Page

Topics Supervised by
Faculty Members

Past Thesis Titles Theses of Distinction