Psychology Honors Program

The Honors Program in Psychology is designed for Psychology majors who wish to pursue a full year of intensive supervised independent research during their senior year. Students in the program will acquire a broad background in psychology as well as a deep background in their chosen area.

Program Overview

Autumn Quarter is devoted to a weekly seminar and to developing a concrete research proposal. The seminar includes general discussions of research, oral presentations, and discussions of each student’s project. During this time students will also meet regularly with their research sponsors, read background material, and plan their research. At the end of Autumn Quarter, students submit written research proposals.

Winter Quarter is devoted to data collection and initiation of data analysis. There are weekly meetings planned for students to update one another on their progress and to review statistics and data analysis. At the end of Winter Quarter, students will complete a self-assessment of progress in the program. By this time, a significant portion of data collection will have been completed.

Spring Quarter is typically spent on data analysis, making sense of the findings, completing the paper, and preparing a brief talk. Completed theses are due mid-May. The program culminates in an Honors Convention, held on Dead Day in June. Students present their research to an audience of faculty, undergraduate and graduate students, and family and friends. Upon successful completion of the program, students will graduate with Departmental Honors.

All Honors students must have a research advisor. Although students are allowed to have advisors from outside of the Department or outside of Stanford, the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Office’s grant requirements stipulate that at least one advisor for each Senior Honors research project must be a member of the Academic Council. Therefore, if a student has chosen an advisor who is not a member of the Academic Council, that student must also choose a co-advisor who is. Additionally, Honors research supervised by faculty outside of the Psychology Department, or by individuals outside of Stanford, must first be approved by the Honors Faculty Advisor.

Honors Program Requirements

Students who graduate with Honors in Psychology will have completed the following by the end of their final year at Stanford:

  1. All regular major requirements
  2. Three quarters of Honors Research:*  
    • Psych 197 (Advanced Research), Autumn Quarter
    • Psych 198 (Senior Honors Research), Winter and Spring Quarter
  3. Completion of the Honors Thesis
  4. Presentation at the Honors Convention

*All honors thesis research can only be counted under Psychology 197 and 198, not other research courses such as Psychology 194 and 195. Honors students may only count up to 15 units of independent research (including Psychology 194, 195, 197, and 198) toward the psychology major.

How to Apply

Students may apply to the program at the end of their junior year. Admission to the program is based on academic performance, previous research experience, and faculty or graduate student recommendations. Applicants will be notified of acceptance during the summer prior to senior year.

Applicants will need the following materials:

  • Honors Application, due April 15, 2022. (Application portal will be open early winter quarter)
  • An unofficial transcript that includes your Winter 2021-2022 grades.
  • A brief summary of your research idea/project (1-2 pages max).
  • Two letters of recommendation. One must be from a Stanford Psychology faculty member who will be your Honors Advisor. Recommenders should email their letters to