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Department of Psychology
Harvard University

Undergraduate Program

Requirements & Electives
Advising & Mentoring
Faculty & Research
Deadlines & Forms

Step One: TopicStep Two: Committee and ApplicationStep Three: ProspectusStep Four: Research ApprovalStep Five: Research and Data Analysis
Step Six: WritingStep Seven: SubmissionStep Eight: Poster and DefenseGradingCalendars of Thesis-Related Dates
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Step One: Topic

Psychology 985

One course designed specifically for exploring potential research topics is Psychology 985 (Preparation for the Honors Thesis). This course, offered both semesters and strongly encouraged for all thesis students, involves independent study taken under the supervision of a department faculty member for the specific purpose of producing a thesis prospectus. The course is exploratory in nature, and your thesis idea will take shape over the semester. Thus, you do not need to have a clearly defined thesis topic in order to take the course, but you should have an interest in a specific area of psychology, and within that area some sense of what question or questions you might like to pursue. You must find your own Psychology 985 supervisor within the Department, and in most cases you will have an easier time finding a supervisor if you have done some thinking and reading about a potential topic.

The course consists of an enrollment form, individual meetings with your supervisor, and several required group meetings with fellow Psychology 985 students. Fall meetings will be by arrangement with the UGO, and the spring meetings will be run by Danielle Truxaw, a Lecturer in the Department and by Mahzarin Banaji, Head Tutor. These meetings will cover the nuts and bolts of the thesis process, including defining a topic, finding an adviser, methods, and writing a prospectus. Spring term meetings are on Mondays, 4-5pm, in WJH 1550. If you are not taking Psychology 985, but plan to write a thesis (or are considering this option), you are strongly urged to attend these meetings also.

Psychology 985 requires a completed prospectus or (if you decide not to write a thesis) research paper. It is graded Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory and can count for one concentration elective. (If you take this course, your concentration grade-point average will be based on your best eleven concentration course grades, including all required courses; if you do not take Psychology 985, it will be based on your best twelve.)

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