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Honors Program

2023-2024 Psychology Honors Cohort
2023-2024 Psychology Honors Cohort

The Psychology Department invites students majoring in Psychology to apply to our Honors Program. In this program, our top students engage in research activities under the supervision of a Psychology faculty sponsor. This is a year long program, which begins in the fall. Students will be working independently with a faculty mentor (see below) and in the fall, they also participate in a seminar course. Students planning to pursue graduate training in Psychology are strongly encouraged to apply.

Students must meet the following requirements to be considered for admission to the Honors Program:

The following are guidelines for ideal candidates for the Honors Program. If your application meets most but not all of the outlined criteria, it is recommended that you make an appointment with the Program Director (Dr. Cari Goetz; to discuss your application. Our selection guidelines are kept flexible to accommodate differing applicant pools from year-to-year.

  1. at least a 3.5 GPA in the major;
  2. an overall GPA of 3.5 or better;
  3. completion of SSCI 3060 (Expository Writing) or equivalent with a “B” or better prior to enrollment in the Honors Program (preference given for SSCI 3060);
  4. completion of PSYC 3311 (Research Methods in Psychology) with a 'B+' or better prior to enrollment in the Honors Program; and
  5. completion of the Application for Honors Program in Psychology, which includes a statement of purpose.

The deadline to apply for the 2024-2025 program is May 24th, 2024. You will be notified about the application outcome by July 1st. If you are taking a summer course such as PSYC 3311 or SSCI 3060, your acceptance will be dependent on those course grades, therefore notices will be sent once grades are posted.

To receive departmental honors in Psychology at graduation, a student must complete the year-long honors program. Each student entering the Honors Program must have a faculty sponsor--someone who is willing to advise, work with, and supervise the student on his or her honors research activity.

Students in the Honors Program must enroll in a sequence of courses, consisting of the following:

FALL SEMESTER- PSYC-5597 (Honors Seminar): In the fall semester, students meet weekly in a classroom setting for professional development and to discuss and present their research. The seminar also provides an opportunity to discuss matters of interest to honors students, such as graduate school applications (3 units).

SPRING SEMESTER- PSYC-5598: In the final semester, students enroll in independent study with their faculty mentor. While no formal classes are held during this semester, students conduct and complete their honors project during this time (3 units).

By the end of the program, students will receive a total of 6 units for the year-long Honors Program. Only 3 units can be counted towards their upper-division  psychology electives.

A student successfully completes the Honors Program when they meet the requirements noted above and present their research activities at the Annual CSUSB Meeting of the Minds Research Symposium. Upon completion of the program and meeting all other requirements noted above, the student will graduate with departmental honors.

Prospective honors students are strongly encouraged to begin planning for the honors program no later than the spring semester prior to their Senior year. Prospective applicants should contact Dr. Cari Goetz at with their questions. Please fill out our Honors Application here.

How to Find a Faculty Mentor

  1. Read through the faculty profile pages on the Psychology Department’s website to see whose research interests align with your own interests and future grad school and/or career goals.
  2. Email a professor you are most interested in working with to set up a meeting in which you discuss their interest in working with you as an honors student. In this meeting, discuss the potential topic of your research so you can get a sense for whether you would be interested in pursuing this topic. The decision on the topic is collaborative with faculty mentor. (Realize that professors are busy people and it may take a week or two before you can arrange a meeting. Do not let this discourage you!).
  3. After you have met with a prospective mentor to learn about their interest in working with you, you may ask him or her to serve as your mentor. They will need to approve the honors application to indicate their consent. If you decide not to work with this faculty member, you must let them know of your decision before asking another faculty member to serve as your mentor. Please approach only one faculty member at a time and be very clear about your decision. Faculty members typically only accept a small number of students into their labs and they need to know if they should be holding a spot for you.
  4. Before the summer session, you should have an idea about your honors research so that you can begin collecting literature on your topic over the summer. The topic of your thesis should be mentioned in your honors application statement.