Senior Thesis Sequence


The Senior Thesis sequence (PSY 490, 491, 492) is a mechanism for conducting senior thesis research in collaboration with a faculty mentor in the Department of Psychology. Students selected to work with a faculty member mentor can take the Senior Thesis sequence instead of 12 credits of advanced psychology electives. The expectation of the entire three-term seminar is that you work with your research mentor and develop an independent project (a senior thesis), as well as contribute to the work of your mentor and/or the mentor’s research team. Your work should include at least 12 hours per week conducting research. The type of work you will conduct and how you allocate this time (independent project vs. lab work) is negotiated between you and your research mentor. However, all students registered for Senior Thesis are required to complete an independent thesis by the end of the academic year.

Suggested Projects

Some suggested goals for the independent project include: an extensive literature review on a topic of interest; a first-authored paper or poster of archival or original data that you present at a regional or national conference (e.g., ABCT, EPA, APA, NAN) along with a scientific report that serves as your thesis; a co-authored manuscript for publication; etc.

Unlike traditional Psychology courses, there is no regular course meeting time for the Senior Thesis sequence. You arrange all responsibilities with your research mentor. Your grade is determined by the quality and degree of your work with your faculty mentor.

Please Note: Mentorships with faculty are extremely competitive. If you are interested in taking the Senior Thesis sequence, it is highly recommended that you identify a faculty mentor as early in your undergraduate career as possible (preferably by your junior year of study at the latest) and start minimally by volunteering as a member of his/her research team so that you develop a mentorship well before your senior year.


In order to enroll in Senior Thesis, you must be considered a senior (i.e., have completed at least 130 credits) by the fall term of the year you wish to enroll. Additionally, your faculty mentor must email the Undergraduate Coordinator indicating that he or she has agreed to supervise you for the Senior Thesis sequence (this email must be sent during the registration period for the first term you wish to enroll). The Undergraduate Coordinator will then hand register you for each section of the Senior Thesis sequence throughout the academic year.