Honors FAQ

When do students enter/apply for the honors program?

Students should apply once they have declared their major. Most students who meet the GPA requirements will be invited by email to join the Psychology Department Honors Program.

Can I participate in Department Honors if I have transferred in from another college or university?

Yes! Students who transfer in with a strong cumulative GPA should contact Lynn Mosteller (mostellerlh@appstate.edu) in their first semester at Appalachian State University about joining the honors program.

Do students complete specific courses in the honors program?

Students need a minimum of 3 semesters to complete the Psychology Department Honors Program. First they must take a Psychology Honors Colloquium course (PSY 3511 or 3512) as a prerequisite to begin their two semester Senior Honors Thesis. A second Psychology Honors Colloquium is required before a student graduates.

What grades do I need to earn to graduate with honors?

To graduate with honors, you must have a 3.45 overall GPA and a 3.5 Psychology GPA. You also must receive a "B" or better in all honors courses and successfully complete and present your thesis.

Are there courses for honors students only? If yes, what are they?

At least one honors colloquium class (PSY 3511 or 3512) is offered each Fall and Spring. The topics vary and change from semester to semester. You can find a list of previous honors classes on the Honors Courses webpage. Honors courses are not offered in the summer.

Are there sections of other courses designated as honors sections?

PSY 1200 typically has at least one honors section, and honors sections of other courses may be added in the future. Other Honors students in the University are allowed to take these classes if they have the pre-requisite(s).

Who teaches the honors courses?

The Honors Colloquia and Honors sections are taught by full-time tenure track faculty members. We have a department of 30+ full-time faculty, so this responsibility is rotated frequently. Most faculty members volunteer to teach courses that are in their areas of expertise and typically not taught in our regular curriculum.

What is a senior honors thesis?

A senior honors thesis is an original piece of scholarship produced as a capstone experience to your degree. In the psychology department, this usually takes the form of either an original research project or a comprehensive literature review. The kind of project you chose will depend in part on the topic and expertise/theoretical orientation of your faculty mentor.

When should I start thinking about my thesis?

It's never too early! Although the project itself does not begin until your senior year, students are expected to secure a faculty mentor by the end of the semester prior to starting the thesis (e.g., second semester Junior year).

How do I find a faculty thesis advisor?

Any full-time tenure track faculty member can chair an honors thesis. The faculty members on the psychology honors committee will work with you to define your interests and find an appropriate mentor. You may also approach faculty members on your own to see if they would be interested in chairing your thesis; we recommend looking through the faculty research interests on the departmental webpage to get an idea of faculty expertise. Keep in mind that some faculty would like to know you from the classroom or have you work in their lab before they agree to chair your thesis. Faculty also limit the number of students they are supervising, in order to give students enough individual attention. As such, you should be thinking about and talking with potential mentors well before your senior year.

Do I need to have a thesis committee?

Yes. The thesis committee consists of 2 faculty members: a thesis advisor and a second reader. The second reader is usually from the Psychology Department but can be from another department. If you are completing University Honors in addition to Psychology Honors, the reader must be from another department). Your thesis advisor can help you identify a second reader.

Where can I find more information about the honors thesis?

Check out the page describing the Honors Thesis and the Honors Thesis Handbook.

Are there incentives/perks for being in an honors program?

The primary incentives are opportunities to study advanced, diverse topics in a small group of other high achieving students and to complete a scholarly project under the direct supervision of a faculty mentor. These experiences are good preparation for future graduate study and/or your career path. Furthermore, graduating with honors looks good on applications for grad school and jobs, and can help set you apart from other applicants. Finally, graduating with honors is challenging and provides a strong sense of accomplishment for students.

How many honors students are in the honors program?

In recent years, between 16 and 20 students graduate each year with Psychology Departmental Honors.

Can I withdraw from the honors program?

Yes. At any point, you can withdraw from the program. All you need to do is email Lynn Mosteller (mostellerlh@appstate.edu) or Andrew Smith (smithar3@appstate.edu).