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The Honors Program in Psychology - An Overview

The Department of Psychology offers an enriched intellectual experience to members of the Honors College who are majoring in psychology. This program is designed to provide a solid introduction to the nature of psychology and how psychology relates to other fields. Although the honors program happens to be excellent preparation for graduate study in psychology, it is designed to be the core of a liberal arts undergraduate program.


The Psychology Honors Faculty Advisors are available to advise you on many issues, including course selection, career planning, and engagement in research as it relates to the Psychology degree requirements. To take maximum advantage of your advising appointments, come prepared. Bring whatever documents (e.g. the Psychology Requirement sheet and
Psychology Handbook) or other information we might need to understand the issues that concern you. The various opportunities of the honors program are brought together for students through ongoing planning with advisors. Each honors major is advised by their Psychology Honors Faculty Advisor, as well as by a member of the Honors College staff. An individualized program is tailored to each student's needs. The Psychology Honors Faculty Advisors are:

Professor Joe Lonstein, 219 Giltner Hall, 517-353-8675,
lonstein@msu.edu (Advisor for students whose last name starts with A-K)

Professor Susan Ravizza, 285C Psychology Building, 517-432-3366,
ravizzas@msu.edu (Advisor for students whose last name starts with L-Z)

       Making an Appointment

The best way to make an appointment is to e-mail your Psychology Honors Faculty Advisor with several times that fit your schedule, and they will let you know which one of those times fits their schedule the best.

Preparation for Honors Advising Appointments for Planning Academic Progress Plans (APPs) (usually in March of each year)

Give thought to your program and the questions that you wish to ask before you come in to meet with us.

• Make a list of the courses you are considering, and look them up on the
Schedule of Courses so that you know when they meet, who the instructor is, etc., and what potential time conflicts you might have.
• Make up a tentative schedule (which will probably include a number of options that you will want to discuss during the advising appointment).
• Make a list of questions that you would like answered during your meeting, so that you do not forget to ask them when you are there.
• Bring with you any records or other information that you might want to consult as we plan your program. It is especially important to bring information about other things that might affect your schedule, such as information about an additional major, a specialization, or requirements for admission to a graduate or professional program.
• Schedule your appointment as early as possible, so that you will have time after the meeting to gather any additional information that would be useful to make your final decisions about your course selections.

Honors Courses

The core coursework for a member of the honors program is selected from a set of regular courses or honors sections of regular courses. These honors sections are typically smaller, limited in enrollment to members of the Honors College, and taught in a more challenging manner than their non-honors counterparts. Honors sections are identified in the Schedule of Courses by an "H" following the course number or section number. Honors students may also ask the instructor of a regular course if they can do an Honors Option for the class. More information and examples of Honor's Options are available on the
Honors College website.

An introduction to the discipline is provided through Psychology 101H. This course provides an integrated framework for further study of the basic processes of psychology, the techniques and logic of scientific inquiry in this field, and the uses to which such knowledge may be applied.


       The Psychology Courses that are usually taught as Honors Courses:

Natural Science Perspective: Psy 200H Cognitive Psychology and Psy 209H Brain and Behavior

Social Science Perspecive: Psy 244H Developmental Psychology: Infancy through Childhood and Psy 235H Social Psychology

Applied Psychology: Psy 255H Industrial and Organizational Psychology and Psy 280H Abnormal Psychology

Psychology Honors Courses are open to all Honors students. Honors students have priority scheduling and should plan appropriately to make sure that they add their courses when the system opens up. Due to the nature of Honors Courses being small, it is rare to offer overrides. If you believe to need an override, please contact the instructor of the course to determine their interest.

       Doing a Second Degree in Psychology

Honors College members who wish to do a second major in Psychology have three options: a second degree (Honors), a second degree (Non-Honors) or consider Psychology as an additional major (Non-Honors).  It is important for interested students to meet with the Psychology Honors Faculty Advisor to determine the best option for them.

Second Degree

The second degree requires that students complete 30 credits beyond their first degree to graduate. This is typically a minimum of 150 credits. Second Degree candidates must satisfy the College of Social Science requirements in addition to the Department of Psychology requirements.

Honors Second Degree
Students have to complete 10 honors courses instead of 8 as required for a single degree. In addition to the 2 additional Honors Courses, students wishing their second degree to be desiganated as Honors will also be required to complete the Psychology Honors Capstone Experience (described below).

Non-Honors Second Degree
Students who do a non-Honors second degree will not need to complete the 2 additional Honors courses and also will not be required to complete the Capstone Experience.

Additional Major

Students who do Psychology as an Additional major must satisfy the Psychology Departmental (but not the College of Social Science) requirements of 31 credits that the regular majors must satisfy. Additional majors do not complete the capstone experience described below and can graduate with the minimum of 120 total credits.

       Psychology Honors Requirements: A Capstone Experience

In addition to the required Honors courses, the Honors College notes that individual departments may have additional requirements in order to obtain an honors degree when you graduate. The Psychology Department has an additional requirement of a capstone experience in order to obtain an honors degree in psychology. So, if your major is psychology and you are in the honors program, you have to complete a capstone experience in order to obtain an honors degree. If you are completing the Honors Psychology Second Degree, you have to complete the capstone experience unless your other major has a comparable capstone experience requirement and you have had this approved by your Psychology Honors Faculty Advisor. There are two options for Psychology Honors students to obtain an honors degree in psychology through a capstone experience.

The options are described below:

Option A: Research Thesis Track

Option B: In-depth Experience in Lab or Field Experience