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Honors Program in Psychology and Neuroscience

The Senior Honors Program in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience has two components:

  1. Students conduct an independent research project in the laboratory of a faculty member who is affiliated either with the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience or with the Neuroscience major, and
  2. Students enroll in and complete PSYC/NSCI 693H (Fall) and PSYC/NSCI 694H (Spring), which meet once per week.

Enrollment in the Honors Program is not restricted to students who have participated in UNC Honors Carolina and Psychology majors and Neuroscience majors who have been in the UNC Honors Program do not necessarily complete Senior Honors.

In order to graduate with Honors in Psychology or Neuroscience, you must apply by April 16 of your Junior Year.

Apply for Honors Program

Eligibility for the Honors Program requires:

  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.3
  • Prior research experience (e.g., volunteer or paid research experience that was not for course credit; in-process completion of PSYC 395 or NSCI 395
  • Confirmation of a Psychology and Neuroscience faculty member or a faculty member affiliated with the Neuroscience major to serve as your Honors Advisor or Co-mentor (see FAQ section below: “What if my Research Mentor is not a Faculty Member in Psychology & Neuroscience?”)

Application form:

Advisor reference form:

Have an additional question? Please check out our 2021 Senior Honors Program Information Session [Zoom].

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Prepare for the Honors Program as an Underclassman?
Although students do not apply to the Honors Program until they are juniors, you can prepare for Honors early in your career at UNC.

  • Apply yourself in your courses to maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.3, which is a requirement for admission into the program.
  • Read about research and talk to professors, graduate students, and other undergraduates about your research interests. Think about the types of research you’d like to do. Keep a notebook of research ideas.
  • Achieve a mastery of research skills. Take PSYC 210 and 270 as soon as this is feasible as these courses teach basic skills that are important for research. You must also obtain research experience by volunteering to work in a faculty lab or by taking PSYC/NSCI 395.
How Do I Prepare for the Honors Program as a Junior?
Students apply for the Honors Program by April 16th of their junior year, but a lot of advance planning needs to be completed before application submission.

  • Learn about the program by talking to faculty and students. Make an appointment or email questions to the Honors Program Director.
  • Seek out research opportunities via research intensive courses, independent research experiences, paid research assistant positions, and volunteer positions. It is strongly advised that students take PSYC 210, PSYC 270, and PSYC/NSCI 395 before applying to develop necessary skills and research interests.
  • Plan ahead. The Honors Program is designed to be completed during two semesters of the senior year (i.e., you must be on-campus and enrolled both fall and spring semesters). Thus, study abroad during senior year, December graduation, and other educational opportunities may preclude participation in the Honors Program. If you have questions about your eligibility, please make an appointment with the Honors Program Director.
  • Identify a faculty member to serve as your Honors Advisor. Explore our faculty’s research interests and read research articles to see if a faculty member’s research reflects your interests. A potential Honors Advisor may be identified during PSYC/NSCI 395. If you have difficulty identifying a sponsor, contact the Honors Program Director.
  • Apply on time. Applications should be submitted by April 16th of your junior year.
What if my Research Mentor is not a Faculty Member in Psychology & Neuroscience?
Many students work in labs outside of the Department of Psychology & Neuroscience, for example, in the Medical School. If you wish to pursue your honors thesis research in a lab/with a mentor outside of Psychology & Neuroscience, you can do that! However, you will also have to find an “in-house” mentor. By that we mean a faculty member in the Department of Psychology & Neuroscience who is willing to serve as a co-mentor. This person does not need to be closely involved with your research, but they are there to provide you with information and updates regarding policies and procedures relevant to the honors program, and will serve on your thesis committee for your final oral defense. You will be asked to indicate who your co-mentor is on the Faculty Recommendation form, so you should be sure to reach out to possible co-mentors before submitting your application.
How Will I Pay for Research Supplies and Equipment?
Some equipment and supplies may already be in your Honors Advisor’s laboratory and may be available for your use, free-of-charge. Other materials may be covered under the Honors Advisor’s grant or professorship. However, there may be other materials you will need to purchase on your own. Students are encouraged to apply for research awards to cover necessary expenses. Consult with the Honors Program Director for more information.
My only research experience is from PSYC210/270, am I eligible to apply?
No, you must obtain research experience from working in a lab (can be paid or volunteer, and it does not need to be PSYC 395/NSCI 395).
Is the Poster Session Mandatory?
Participation in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience Honors Poster Session is mandatory.
How Do I Prepare for My Honors Defense?
In the Spring before graduation, you should constitute a committee of three, including your Honors Advisor. Only one committee member may be a graduate student. Faculty from other departments may serve on your Honors Committee, but must be approved by your Honors Advisor. At least one member of the committee must be a Psychology and Neuroscience faculty member who is not a member of your research lab.

  • The completed thesis must be distributed to all committee members at least one week prior to the oral defense meeting. The Oral Defense Form must be completed and provided to your Honors Advisor prior to the meeting.
  • Students present their research in about 15 minutes during the oral defense meeting. The committee will ask questions and the meeting typically takes an hour. Any revisions recommended by the Honors Committee must be made before the deadline for thesis submission. The final copy of the thesis, after approval, should be submitted to the Carolina Digital Repository. All students must participate in the Honors Poster Session as a requirement of program completion.
Can I still apply if my GPA is below the 3.3 minimum?
Unfortunately, the GPA requirement is set by Honors Carolina and is a hard requirement. However, we confirm GPAs after the summer of your junior year, so if you think your spring semester/summer session grades could put you above the 3.3 minimum, you should apply!

Honors Theses

Past Honors Theses are listed below in PDF format.

Check out photos of our past Senior Honors Cohorts online!

Contact Us

Dr. Keely Muscatell
Psychology and Neuroscience Honors Program Director, Fall 2023 – Spring 2024
328 Davie Hall

Andrew Bresson
Undergraduate Student Services Manager
206B Davie Hall