Skip to main content

Honours Thesis

PS499* is the Department of Psychology's honours (undergraduate) thesis course. Thinking about the honours thesis is particularly relevant for third-year students who can apply for PS499 in the winter term. But before thinking about how to apply it is helpful to know what the PS499 thesis involves and to consider whether it would be something interesting and useful to you.

PS499 is a yearlong project (both fall and winter terms) where you will learn about and engage in many different phases of the research process, to eventually produce your own thesis document. (We’ll describe what this is a bit more below). You will join a lab and work closely with the professor leading that lab.

Learning Outcomes and Structure

Even if you have never been directly involved in conducting research or feel a bit unsure about what this process would look like, this should not discourage you from applying. The PS499 experience is designed with the intention of guiding students step-by-step through the entire research process even if many of those aspects might be something you are learning for the very first time. Indeed, many labs accept students with no previous in-lab research experience, so it is normal for you to learn many aspects of research for the first time as you conduct your thesis research.  

We've highlighted some of your learning outcomes and the structure of your thesis experience. Find more reasons why you should consider doing a thesis and the benefits of it. 

Students will learn how to:

  • Develop a research idea.
  • Learn how to conduct a literature review to support your ideas on the basis of relevant past research
  • Write and orally present a research proposal.
  • Design the research study and collect, analyze, and interpret the necessary data.
  • Present the results, verbally and in writing, in a professional manner.

Seminar Component

Seminar classes will meet twice a week where you will: 

  • Get information about writing the GRE exams, applying for scholarships, applying to graduate programs, careers in psychology, and presentations of thesis proposals.
  • Attend workshops about health and safety, writing an application for ethical review, recruiting participants using the PREP system, writing a thesis proposal and creating a research poster.

Thesis Poster Conference

One exciting part of the thesis course is that at the end of the year, you will make a poster showing all the research you conducted and then share your work with other students and faculty in the atrium of the Science Building.

Every year students describe how valuable it was to them to share their research ideas and findings with other students and get valuable feedback from others in the department.

How to Apply

The first steps of the application process are:

  1. Identifying faculty members you might like to work with, and
  2. Completing an online application form by the specified deadline early in winter term.

There are a wide array of skills and experiences you can bring to a lab that can allow you to excel in the thesis course and make an important contribution through your thesis. Because there are so many different strengths that students possess that allow them to excel in research, faculty members consider a variety of different qualities when considering which students to accept into their lab for the honours thesis project.

You never know until you apply if you will get in, so if you feel like this could be an exciting and enriching experience for you, then we encourage you to apply.

Preparing for a Thesis

Learn more about how to choose a thesis topic and how to identify faculty members you might like to work with.