Department of Psychology Title The Ohio State University

Honors Research Distinction in Psychology

To graduate "With Honors Research Distinction in Psychology" a student must

  1. Be a psychology major
  2. Be a member of the Arts and Sciences Honors Program
  3. Graduate with at least a 3.4 overall GPA
  4. Complete the psychology major Honors Contract Requirements (see below)
  5. Take Psychology 4999.01H and 4999.02H
  6. Write and successfully defend a Psychology Honors Thesis

The Honors Thesis is independent research conducted by the student and supervised by a psychology faculty member (only tenured or tenure-track faculty may advise an Honors Thesis). The Psychology Department requires completion of a two-course sequence (Psychology 4999.01H and 4999.02H).  Students may begin Psychology 4999.01H in either spring semester of their junior year or autumn semester of their senior year.  Psychology 4999.02H would be taken the following semester. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q.  How can I learn more about becoming involved in research in the Psychology Department?

A.   Talk to your psychology advisor, attend our annual Honors Reception, attend our annual Psychology Undergraduate Research Colloquium, attend our annual Psychology Enrichment Program, “Getting Involved in Research in the Psychology Department”, explore the Psychology 4998 website (, and talk to your fellow students who are in research labs.

Q.  What do I have to do in order to prepare for an Honors Thesis?

A.   Students interested in pursuing an Honors Thesis should begin participating in research (Psychology 4998) no later than their sophomore year. Students should secure a Faculty Thesis Advisor by fall semester of the junior year (typically this will be a faculty member you have done 4998 research with).

Q.  How do I get involved in Psychology 4998 (Undergraduate Research in Psychology)?

  1. Go to the 4998 website:, find a project that sparks your interest, email the contact person, negotiate your hours and responsibilities (this will determine the # of credit hours), have the faculty member sign a course enrollment form (s/he will have the class number), take the course enrollment form to the Psychology Advising Office (PS 15)

Q.  How do I enroll in Psychology 4999.01H?

A.   To enroll in Psychology 4999.01H, students should pick up an application from the Psychology Advising Office. The application requires the signature of the Faculty Thesis Advisor.  Once this is turned in to the Psychology Advising Office, students will be enrolled in Psychology 4999.01H.

Q.  Is there any paperwork I need to complete to get this Honor?

A.   Yes, the application to graduate with Honors Research Distinction is available from the Arts and Sciences Honors Office and from their website.  You will need to submit a research proposal and your Faculty Thesis Advisor’s signature on the application form. If you do not have an approved Honors Contract on file at the Honors Office, you will need to call 292-5750 to schedule an appointment with the Psychology Honors Advisor to complete the Major Program Form of the application (you will have to complete the psychology major contract requirements (see below).

Q.  What’s the difference between beginning 4999.01H in my junior year or my senior year?

A.   If you begin 4999.01H in the spring semester, you will have more time to complete your Thesis (15 Months), and therefore, you can begin the course with nothing more than a Thesis Advisor secured and use the first semester to develop your proposal and gain approval for data collection.  If you begin 4999.01H in fall semester of your senior year, you have less time to complete your Thesis (9 months) so you will only be permitted to enroll in 4999.01H if you demonstrate that you already have a developed Thesis proposal and that you have already collected data or you are prepared to begin data collection immediately.

Q.  What does it mean to “defend” a Thesis?

A.   After you have successfully completed your written Thesis document, you will have an hour-long meeting with your Faculty Thesis Advisor, and two additional faculty members.  You will describe your Thesis project to them and they will ask you questions about your work.  You must defend your Honors Thesis at least two weeks before the end of the term you graduate.

Psychology Honors Contract Requirements

(If you declared the psychology major prior to SU13, see your Psychology Honors Advisor to confirm your Honors Contract Requirements.)

Choose one of the two options below:

  • Take 4 psychology Honors courses (2000-level to 5000-level excluding 4999.xxH).
  • Take 3 psychology Honors courses (2000-level to 5000-level excluding 4999.xxH) and 4 credit hours and 2 semesters of Psychology 4998.

Knowledge Bank

Undergraduate students submit their honors research theses to the Knowledge Bank.