Senior Research Project (PSY 494)

PSY 494 is one option psychology majors have for completing the General Education requirements of 1) the senior capstone course and 2) the writing intensive course within the major (the other options are PSY 491 Senior Seminar or HON 499 Honors Thesis). Students who elect to take PSY 494 conduct an independent study under the mentorship of a faculty research advisor.  Students design, collect and analyze the data, and then write a research paper (introduction, method, results, discussion).

Students who elect to take PSY 494 are required to take at least 3 credits of PSY 494. However, students can take PSY 494 for up to 6 credits. Senior research projects often take more than 1 semester to complete. Therefore, students have the option of registering for PSY 494 across 2 semesters, and students can decide, in consultation with their research mentor and academic advisor, how many credits (1 to 3) they want to take per semester.

Completing a Senior Research Project (PSY 494) requires careful planning well before the Senior year.  Most faculty in the Psychology Department require prospective PSY 494 students to have interacted with their lab (e.g., volunteering in the lab or taking PSY 492 Directed Research) for at least 1 semester (often 2) before agreeing to mentor a student for a Senior Research Project (PSY 494) .  Communication between the student and the potential faculty mentor is critical.  We strongly encourage prospective Senior Research Project students to begin the processes of finding a lab and faculty mentor by the end of their Sophomore year.

Students must have the permission of a faculty research mentor in order to register for PSY 494.  Students who take PSY 494 are expected to present their project at the Department of Psychology’s annual Undergraduate Research Fair, held at the end of each Spring semester.