Honors FAQ

Honors FAQ Image

Q: What's the difference between Psi Chi, the Honors College, and Honors in the Major? 

A: Psi Chi is the National Psychology Honor Society with a chapter at GMU that students can join. The Honors College is a separate university-wide program with its own application requirements and coursework. Honors in the Psychology Major is a three-semester academic program in which students work closely with faculty on a research project that culminates in a thesis. 

Q: What sort of time commitment is required for the Honors program? 

A: The time commitment is significant. Students should expect to devote a minimum of 10 hours per week outside of the Honors class meetings to research-related tasks. Many students report spending closer to 15-20 hours per week at certain points in the program (e.g. analyzing data and writing up results). Students should engage in a realistic assessment of their time and degree of interest/motivation before applying to the program. 

Q: What are kind of research projects can be done in the Honors program? 

A: Honors projects usually fall into one of three categories: 1) use existing data (provided by a faculty advisor or a publicly available dataset) to address novel research questions; 2) collect and analyze data as part of larger ongoing project in a lab; 3) come up with your own research idea and carry out the study from start to finish. Categories 1 and 2 are by far the most common for Honors students. Category 3 is almost exclusively reserved for students with substantial research experience in the lab in which they are conducting their Honors thesis work. 

Q: Do my grades from other colleges and universities count for purposes of applying to Honors in the Major? 

A: Yes, grades from other schools are an important consideration for acceptance into honors in the major. 

Q: May I complete the program in less than three semesters or out of sequence?

A: No, the program must be completed in the three-semester sequence that begins each spring. Only one section of Honors coursework is offered each semester. 

Q: Can I apply to the Honors program as a sophomore? 

A: No. It is in the best interest of the students and faculty advisors that students apply as juniors. This allows time for students to obtain the relevant academic and research experience. If you are a freshman or sophomore potentially interested in the Honors program, the best thing you can do is get experience as a research assistant in a faculty lab. Visit this page for more information on research opportunities. 

Q: When do I need to complete PSYC 300 and PSYC 301? 

A: Students must have successfully completed at least one, if not both, of these courses before applying to the Honors program. A solid foundation in statistics and research methods is essential for conducting Honors research. It is ok for one of these courses to be in progress when applying for Honors (fall of junior year) as long as the other is completed.