Psychology Honors Program

The Psychology Honors Program provides an opportunity for selected Psychology majors to enrich their learning experience through honors courses, independent study, a senior thesis, and extracurricular learning experiences.

Benefits of Being in the Psychology Honors Program

  • Receive the “With Honors in Psychology” on your transcript and diploma.
  • Gain experience in a Psychology lab.
  • Participate in research conferences and develop skills in scientific communication.
  • Work closely with faculty and graduate students on research projects (hint: letters of recommendation).

Qualifications for Entering the Psychology Honors Program

  • Any psychology major with a Psychology GPA of 3.25 or more
  • Freshmen in the University Honors Program

Requirements for Completing the Psychology Honors Program

  • Maintain a Psychology GPA of 3.25 or higher.
  • Complete at least 15 credit hours of Psychology honors courses.
  • Participate, at least once, in the Works in Progress Symposium (WIPS, held each Fall) or the Student Research Forum (held each Spring).
  • Complete a senior honors thesis based on an individual research project through a lab in the Psychology department.

To Apply

For more information, please email the Psychology Honors Coordinator, Dr. Deranda Lester (deranda.lester@memphis.edu)

Senior Honors Thesis

Nature and Purpose of the Senior Honors Thesis

The last two semesters of the Psychology Honors Program provide a unique opportunity for students to learn from faculty mentors in an individualized setting. Students are led by mentors into research on particular subject areas of interest to both the student and professor. The two-semester project begins with a Directed Research course, and the final product in the last semester is the senior thesis.

The purpose of the senior thesis is to learn the process of conducting research in psychology. Students will learn how to (1) read and evaluate the research literature; (2) derive and state hypotheses; (3) collect and/or organize data using accepted methodologies; (4) analyze data using appropriate statistical techniques; (5) draw logical conclusions from data analysis; (6) relate these conclusions to the research literature; and (7) present a thesis orally and in writing. These goals may be achieved regardless of whether the senior thesis produces statistically significant support for the stated hypotheses or makes an original contribution to the research literature.

The senior thesis project will typically consist of an empirical data-collection study that is conducted by the undergraduate honors student in collaboration with the mentor and his/her laboratory participants. In some cases where large data sets have previously been collected, or in which the student could not collect the type of data needed, the project may be carried out on existing data. In this case the student should be heavily involved in the data analysis and thoroughly understand the procedures used. Whichever type of project is chosen, the honors student should contribute creatively to the research. A high standard of intellectual engagement and time commitment is expected throughout the two-semester sequence.

Click Directed Research/Senior Thesis Guidelines to view a complete set of guidelines for the Directed Research/Thesis Proposal/Senior Thesis sequence. Click Senior Thesis Proposal Form for a copy of the required thesis proposal form. In preparing the finished thesis, use this format for the Senior Thesis Title and Signature Pages.  When the thesis has received final committee approval, visit Instructions for Binding of Senior Honors Thesis for binding information.  If you have questions, please contact the Honors Program Coordinator.

Honors Program Coordinator
Email: Dr. Deranda Lester

University of Memphis Psi Chi Chapter

Psi Chi is the National Honor Society in Psychology, founded in 1929 for the purposes of encouraging, stimulating, and maintaining excellence in scholarship, and advancing the science of psychology. Psi Chi's membership originally was limited to outstanding graduate students. As the field of psychology grew, exceptional undergraduate students were also inducted, and Psi Chi's network of chapters spread to over 1,000 campuses across the U.S and Canada. Now Psi Chi has more chapters than any other honor society in baccalaureate institutions, and has the largest membership of any psychological organization in the world - over 500,000 members. Psi Chi provides national recognition for academic excellence in psychology, an honor which can be noted on employment applications, vitae, and resumes. Membership in Psi Chi is for life, and the initial registration fee ($55) is your only payment to the national organization. The Psi Chi  National Office provides references throughout each member's lifetime.

Upon induction into Psi Chi, you will receive a membership certificate, card, and lapel pin. You will also be entitled to purchase other Psi Chi merchandise in the form of jewelry, clothing, and accessories, as well as receive copies of 'Eye on Psi Chi', a quarterly magazine published by the Psi Chi national office. 

For a detailed description of the benefits of membership, go to http://www.psichi.org/member_benefits

Requirements for Membership

The national Psi Chi website (www.psichi.org) states the membership requirements as follows:

Membership in Psi Chi is open to students who are majoring or minoring in psychology, and attend an institution where a chapter is located. Qualified candidates include those of any age, sex, sexual orientation, race, handicap or disability, religion, national and ethnic origin, and who meet the minimum qualifications.

Undergraduate students

  1. be enrolled as a major or minor in a psychology program or a program psychological in nature
  2. have completed at least 3 semesters or equivalent of full-time college coursework
  3. have completed at least 9 semester credit hours or equivalent of psychology courses
  4. have earned a cumulative GPA that is in the top 35% of their class (sophomore, junior, or senior) compared to their classmates across the entire university or the college that houses psychology (minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4-point scale)3
  5. have a minimum 3.0 GPA average for psychology courses

Graduate students

  1. be accepted into and enrolled in a psychology or closely related graduate program
  2. have completed at least 9 semester credit hours of graduate psychology courses in that program
  3. have an overall GPA of at least 3.0 in all graduate courses including psychology courses
  4. meet their graduate program's requirements (e.g., if specific courses require an A or B, students must meet those requirements even if their cumulative GPA is above 3.0)

Transfer students

  1. follow the same requirements as the undergraduate student applicants
  2. complete at least 12 semester credit hours or equivalent of psychology coursework at the new institution unless the chapter's bylaws specify fewer hours—check with your local chapter

Transfer students who are already members of Psi Chi

  1. may select to contact the Psi Chi faculty advisor at the new institution to complete an online transfer of membership form



fulfill either category below


a. alumni inductees.


have graduated before the school had a chapter of Psi Chi approved and installed


have met the current membership standards based on their final transcript


b. faculty members. 


are full-time faculty members at the institution


hold a master's or doctoral degree in psychology or a closely related field


Students who wish to apply should do so online through the Psi Chi website (http://www.psichi.org/become_member).  When selecting a chapter, look for “The University of Memphis”.

Once a decision has been made regarding your application, you will receive an email from the Psi Chi faculty advisor, which will include information about initiation.  To pay your one-time membership fee ($55), use this link: ____(will be added soon).

For additional information about the University of Memphis Psi Chi Chapter please contact the faculty advisor: Deranda Lester (dbrewer@memphis.edu)

Completion of the Psychology Honors Program

When you have completed 15 hours of Honors work in Psychology, including the Senior Thesis (or are about to graduate and are about to complete the honors work), you must submit a Application Form  listing all of your psychology honors courses. This form should be submitted to the Honors Coordinator, Dr. Deranda Lester, one month before you plan to graduate. Your transcript will then show the designation 'With Honors in Psychology'.