Departmental Honors Program

The application for the 2023-24 Departmental Honors Program has closed. The application for the 2024-25 academic year will open in mid-May 2024.

The 2023-2024 program faculty coordinator is Dr. Matthew Lieberman. For additional information about the program, please watch the 2021 information session.

Psychology Departmental Honors Program

Departmental Honors is a year-long program with two components:

  1. Individual research under the guidance of a Psychology faculty advisor, culminating in a full thesis.
  2. Weekly seminars (Wednesdays from 3:00 to 5:00pm, every quarter) with the Program Faculty Coordinator, which serve as support for the research and writing processes and introduce students to graduate school options, research presentation methods, and career paths.

Students who successfully complete the program will earn an “Honors” or “Highest Honors” notation on their diploma. Departmental Honors Students will earn 12 units of credit toward graduation for completing this program. If the entire series is completed, the last of these 4-unit courses can count as a Psychology Elective. Psychobiology and Cognitive Science majors may petition for elective credit if their research aligns with their major. Cognitive Science majors may alternatively use the last of the 4-unit courses towards the fieldwork/research requirement.

The Departmental Honors program is designed for students in their final year at UCLA. Students who are not seniors will not be admitted to the program, and are encouraged to instead apply during their senior year. If you are a student graduating early (e.g. after 3 years), you can apply to the program for your third (and final) year at UCLA. Please note this on your application.

Please contact the Psych Advising office with any specific questions about the honors program.

  • Applicants must have an overall minimum UCLA GPA of 3.50 as of Winter 2023.
  • Applicants must be Psychology, Psychobiology, or Cognitive Science majors and must have all of the preparation courses for their majors completed by the end of Summer 2023. Accepted participants must begin their projects during Summer 2023, with the assistance of a faculty advisor (however, there is no summer class enrollment).
  • Applicants must earn a B or higher in PSYCH 100A and 100B. Note that eligible students may have these courses in progress during Spring and Summer 2023 — list “IP” for your grade if that is the case. Applicants who took these courses P/NP from Winter 2020 through Summer 2021 must have earned a Pass grade to be eligible and can list “P” to reference this.
  • Applicants must be regularly enrolled UCLA students for the entirety of the 2023-24 academic year and be available to attend the departmental honors seminar in-person on UCLA’s campus during Fall, Winter, and Spring quarters. Students who will be away from UCLA for one or more quarters during the regular academic year (due to studying abroad, UCDC, etc.) are not eligible to participate in the program.
  • Find a Psychology Faculty Advisor who will sponsor your research project for the 2023-2024 year. They must be Psychology Department Faculty. Faculty not listed on this document will not be eligible to serve as advisors for this program. Your sponsor needs to be available during Summer 2023 to provide assistance with the IRB process. You must secure a Faculty Advisor prior to submitting your application.
  • You do not need to have a full project organized when applying, but you should have a general topic in mind, a tentative plan, and you should select a faculty member in an area related to your topic. The following list can help you get started: Psychology Faculty. Please make sure to note who is eligible to serve as an advisor by using this list.
  • Part of the application includes a projected time line for the completion of your project and thesis paper. Your advisor will help you estimate these dates before you submit your application.
  • You will also provide an (approximately) 500-word statement of purpose describing why you want to participate in this program, what you hope to study and accomplish, and why you feel that you are qualified to complete a research thesis project, including detailed descriptions of any previous research experience.

Applicants are selected based on their research experience and their overall GPAs. Probability for selection depends on the competitive level of the applicant pool, which varies each year. We will select about 25 students for each cohort annually.

Decisions will be emailed to applicants in mid-June.

Psychology Departmental Honors Awards*

Timothy Chheang Memorial Award: Each Spring, one student receiving Highest Honors for his or her Psychology honors thesis project will be presented with the Timothy Chheang Memorial Award.  The recipient will receive an approx. $1k award.

Nissim and Arlyne Levy Endowed Award: Each Spring, one student receiving Highest Honors for his or her Psychology honors thesis project will be presented with the Nissim and Arlyne Levy Endowed Award.  The recipient will receive an approx. $1k award.

*Students are not eligible to receive both awards.