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Departmental Honors

This is an independent research program for students who have a strong academic record for five previous semesters of college study. Overall GPA of 3.5 (3.75 for courses in the major) and departmental approval are required for enrollment. Students in Messiah College’s Honors Program can complete their required Honor’s Projects through departmental honors.
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Psychology programs honors imageAcceptable Papers

The following types of papers are acceptable for Departmental Honors projects.

  •     Research Projects (Quantitative or Qualitative studies)
  •     Theoretical Projects (Integrative or Historical/Library based studies)
  •     Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
  •     Program Evaluation and Assessment
  •     Program Design & Implementation
  •     Community Based Research

Honors Program Guidelines


I. Eligibility

From the Messiah College Catalog: "PSYC 497, 498 Major Honors (3,3) Independent research program for students who have a strong academic record for a minimum of five previous semesters of college study. Must be at least Junior status, with an overall minimum GPA of 3.5, a minimum GPA of 3.75 for courses in the major, and must have departmental approval for enrollment."

II. Basic Timeline

  1. Approval of student: The student, in consultation with his or her advisor, will make a determination to apply for major honors. The advisor or the department chair will then bring the name of the student to the department for consideration. This must be done in the first or second semester of the Junior year before mid-semester of the fall if it is to begin in the spring or mid-semester of the spring if it is to begin in the fall.
  2. Approval of the proposed idea: The student, before he or she has registered for the PSYC 497 course, will submit a 3 to 4 page proposal to the Department of Psychology for approval of the basic idea for the study. This proposal will contain a clear title for the research topic, a description of the problem, a brief summary of past research on the topic, proposed hypotheses, proposed methodology, an outline of the study including questions to be explored, and a preliminary bibliography of sources on the topic to be studied. A majority of the Department must approve the idea before the student may proceed.
  3. Honors committee: The student, before he or she has registered for the PSYC 497 course, will recruit a faculty member from the Department of Psychology who is willing to serve as his/her primary advisor for the project. The primary advisor and the student will choose a second faculty member from the Department of Psychology and a third faculty member from outside of the Department of Psychology. These three faculty members will form the student's Honors Committee. In some cases, the Honors Committee may want to ask a fourth faculty member with specific expertise to join the Committee.
  4. First Draft (including an overview of the problem, literature review, hypotheses, and methodology): By October 15, if the student is registered for PSYC 497 in the Fall semester, or by February 15, if the student is registered for PSYC 497 in the Spring semester, the student will prepare a detailed, 7 - 10 page draft to be presented to the Honors Committee. The First Draft should contain an expanded literature review as well as further explanation and description of any issues raised at the time of the approval of the brief proposal. Within two weeks of the receipt of the proposal the Committee will meet and discuss whether the proposal needs to be modified or if the student can proceed. Once the proposal has been accepted by the Committee, the student may begin gathering data for the project, following approval by Messiah College's Institutional Review Board if needed.
  5. PSYC 498: At the end of PSYC 497, the Honors Committee must determine if the first semester's work has been at "A" level to allow the student to continue in the major honors program and to register for PSYC 498. If a student does not reach "A" level in his or her work for PSYC 497, or if he or she is not able to complete enough work to move on to PSYC 498, he or she will be given a grade for the first semester's work but will not be allowed to register for PSYC 498. No Incompletes will be given for PSYC 497; the project cannot be completed as an audit or pass/fail.
  6. Final Draft of Project: Students in PSYC 498 should prepare a draft of the final project to be given to The Honors Committee by December 1 if PSYC 498 is being taken in the Fall Semester or by April 15th if PSYC 498 is being taken in the spring. The Honors Committee has the task of reading drafts of the project and giving direction as needed.
  7. Formal Presentation: At the end of the semester in which the student is registered for PSYC 498, the student must give a formal presentation to the Psychology Faculty and to other interested individuals. Typically, this will take place around Finals Week.
  8. Final Approval: After the Final Presentation, the Honors Committee must approve the Final Project presented by the student. The Honors Committee will indicate their approval of the Final Project by assigning a grade to the project and signing the formal acknowledgements page on the Final Project. This should be completed within one week of the end of the semester in which PSYC 498 is taken and prior to graduation. No final grade will be submitted to the Registrar's Office until the student submits the final corrected copy of the project paper.
  9. Archiving: The student will submit a copy of the project in a PDF format to the department's administrative assistant, prompting the project advisor to submit the final grade. The Department of Psychology will be responsible for copying and binding three copies of the final project paper: one for the student, one for the project advisor, and one for the department. Bound copies of prior sutdents' honors projects are available for view in the department office. In addition, an electronic copy of the project will be posted and available on the department website in a PDF.

Approved by the Department of Psychology in April, 2011.

 Honors Project Timeline:

 Year in School
Name of Process
Students Graduating in May
Students Graduating in December
What to Turn in
Who Needs to approve it
Course Enrollment
 1st Semester Junior
 Approval of Student Fall Semester
 Spring Semester
 N/A Advisor, Psych Department
 N/A
 2nd Semester Junior
 Approval of Idea Spring Semester
 Fall Semester
 Brief Proposal
 Psych Department
 N/A
 2nd Semester Junior
 Formation of Honor Committee




 *At this point the student should be working on the literature review and the first draft of the paper
 1st Semester Senior
 First Draft October 15th
 February 15th
 First Draft
 Honors Committee
 PSYC 497
 1st Semester Senior
 Approval of work to date N/A
 N/A  N/A Honors Committee  PSYC 497
 2nd Semester Senior
 Second Draft April 15th
 December 1st
 Second Draft
Honors Committee  PSYC 498
 2nd Semester Senior
 Formal Presentation Before or during Finals week
 Before or during Finals Week
 N/A Honors Committee  PSYC 498
 2nd Semester Senior
 Final Approval N/A
 N/A  N/A Honors Committee  PSYC 498
 2nd Semester Senior
 Final Project Within one week of Presentation
 Within one week of Presentation
 Final Draft
Honors Committee  PSYC 498