Psychology Department

Honors in the Major

The Honors in the Major program in the Psychology Department is a fantastic opportunity for students who want to get in-depth research experience. It is a 2-semester program that starts in the Fall semester and ends in the Spring semester. Students in the program spend these two semesters developing and running their own independent research project. 


The CSU, Chico catalog lists the campus-wide requirements for the Honors in the Major program. For the Psychology Honors program, the specific requirements are:

  • Must have declared Psychology as your major.
  • Cumulative GPA and Psychology GPA should both be at least 3.5.
  • Must have completed PSYC 261 - Research Methods in Psychology.
  • Must have completed PSYC 364 - Statistical Methods in Psychology.
  • Must have completed at least 9 units of upper-division Psychology courses, in addition to PSYC 364.

Students who do not meet all of these requirements but who have a strong interest in participating should contact the program coordinator, Dr. Martin van den Berg (


The Psychology Honors program is a competitive program. To participate, you should submit an application. A committee will review the applications and select the 12 students who will be invited to join the program. Applications become available mid-March and are due early May. Typically, students apply to the Psychology Honors program in the Spring semester of their junior year, to participate in the program during their senior year.

Applications for the 2021-2022 Academic Year were due on Friday, May 7, 2021. Applications for the 2022-2023 Academic Year will become available in Spring 2022.


The Psychology Honors program is run as a 2-course sequence, starting with the first course in the Fall semester and finishing with the second course in the Spring semester. To graduate with Honors in the Major, both courses need to be completed with at least a grade of B or better. Both classes meet on Wednesdays, 2PM-5PM.

Once accepted, you will be added to PSYC 399HW - Honors Seminar in Psychology I for the Fall semester. This course will count as an upper-division Writing course and can count as a free elective in the major for students who still need to complete a free elective.

Upon successful completion (a grade of at least a B) of PSYC 399HW, you will be added to PSYC 499H - Honors Seminar in Psychology II for the Spring semester. This course will take the place of PSYC 401W - Capstone Seminar in Psychology.

Research Project

During the Fall semester, you will develop a research question, read the relevant literature, and formulate hypotheses. You will also create the appropriate methodology and materials, and submit these to the IRB or IACUC committee to acquire approval for recruiting participants. During the Spring semester data collection takes place, followed by data analysis. Throughout the two semesters you will write a complete research paper and at the end of the Spring semester you will present your project at the annual Honors Colloquium. Altogether, this year-long project will expose you to all the major steps of the psychological research process.

Schedule Summary
Fall - 399HWSpring - 499H
  • Formulate research question
  • Secure faculty mentor
  • Read relevant literature
  • Develop hypothesis/hypotheses
  • Develop research methodology
  • Obtain IRB approval
  • Collect pilot data / test methodology
  • Write Introduction and Methods section
  • Recruit participants
  • Collect data
  • Prepare data for analysis
  • Analyze data
  • Interpret data
  • Present project at Honors Colloquium
  • Write Results and Discussion section

Honors Colloquium

The highlight of the Psychology Honors program is the Annual Department of Psychology Undergraduate Honors Colloquium. At this event, the students in the Honors program give a presentation of their project. This event takes place in early May. The month of April is used to practice and prepare for this event, with the students in the program rehearsing their presentations and giving each other feedback and support.

Honors Colloquium
Emily Hall presenting her project at the Spring 2019 Honors Colloquium.
Photo credit: Ryan McCasland