Senior Thesis Program
Qualified psychology majors may apply for a year-long thesis program to produce advanced, original research. The program is developmental in that it seeks to offer intellectually curious students an intensive experience of mentorship and collaboration. To be part of this program, students must be willing to invest considerable time and intellectual energy. Students interested in more general research experience are encouraged to, instead, speak with a professor about coordinating an Independent Research project. Conducting thesis or independent research is not necessary for admission into graduate school, but may be advantageous for students who are applying, specifically, to Ph.D. programs.
To be eligible for the Thesis Program, a student must be a Junior or Senior psychology major during the thesis year, and must have a Psychology GPA of 3.30* or better. Typically, students will have also completed PSY 103, 104 and at least one semester of PSY 270, PSY 970, or equivalent experience prior to beginning their thesis. Successful completion of the thesis (both semesters) satisfies the CUE requirement for the major.
*Note, the psychology major GPA is calculated using all psychology courses a student has taken at Muhlenberg. (The degree audit feature in Capstone only uses 10 courses.)
Thesis students develop, conduct, and defend a sophisticated empirical or theoretical research project. The first semester of the thesis year is spent developing a comprehensive research proposal. During the second semester, students complete their research, generate a written thesis, and orally defend the project at a public presentation. Students also attend a weekly seminar, typically offered on Fridays 1:00-1:50pm.
Thesis work is advised and evaluated by a Thesis Committee. The committee is composed of the student's primary thesis advisor, the seminar instructor, and, if desired, a third committee member. (Thesis committee members are chosen by the student in collaboration with his or her primary thesis advisor.)
Note: If the thesis advisor judges the student's first semester work as insufficient or of poor quality, the advisor is free to decline to continue advising the student for the second semester. In these instances, the student would need to either find another advisor or discontinue the project. If the student discontinues the project, they will need to register for PSY 490 to complete their CUE experience.
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Psychology Thesis Examples
Ask Mrs. Gonzalez and/or see the cabinet in the lounge area to review past theses. Be sure to review several to get an idea of the variety of topics, project types, and scope.