Thesis Information Session Presentation

Honors Thesis 2020/21

Course Instructor:
Dr. Debra Jared

What is an honours thesis?

• A report of a research study that you have done

What will I do?

• Work with a faculty member on a year-long research project
• Attend a class: support skills
• Literature searches
• Ethics applications
• Writing workshops
• Presentations of Introduction & Method in small groups
• Drafts of those sections
• Final Products
• Poster presentation
• Full research report (thesis)

Why choose to do a thesis?

• You have a keen interest in research
• You did well in research methods and statistics courses
• You enjoy problem solving
• You are comfortable with the unknown (research is not recipe following!)
• You are prepared to put in a lot of hours
• You enjoy working in a team
• You can work independently to get things done without having to be nagged

Can anyone choose to do a thesis?

• No
• You must be registered in the fourth year of the honoursspecialization program

What are the admission criteria?

• Average of last 10 full-course equivalents must be a minimum of 79.0 by the May ajudicationperiod
• No Psych course below 60%
• If you have 2820 instead of 2800/2810 your mark must be at least 70%
• Psych 3800 and one of the Research In courses
• Listed as a 4thyear student in 2020-21
• Questions: call for an appointment with Ramona Fudge 519-661-2067


• Yours: earn the necessary marks to be admitted into the honoursspecialization program
• Ramona Fudge: checks in May that you do have the requirements and formally admits students to the program
• Dr. Jared: matches students to supervisors, teaches the course component

Three options

• Psychology 4850: anyone
• Psychology 4851 (BSc.): this course counts as a science course
• BSc students who will meet the 6.0 science course requirement with other courses do not have to take this (i.e., they can take 4850)
• Psychology 4852(Cognitive Developmental Neuroscience): you must be in this program specifically
• All take the same class component

What do I need to do?

• Participate in the Supervisor match process
• Apply for the HonoursSpecialization program (by March 31, through the Intent to Register on your Student Center) if not already in
• Work hard in your courses to get the required grades
• Register in one of the three thesis courses

Finding a Supervisor: Step 1

• Join OWL website: Psychology Thesis Match 2020-1

Finding a Supervisor: Step 2

• Go to the Assignments section, download the supervisor match form
• Complete the form
• Upload it to the Assignment section by March 2

Finding a Supervisor: Step 3

• Contact Professors and ask to meet
• Attach your completed application form
• Know what a professor works on, but it’s okay to not know what that is! You may want to obtain (and read) some papers from labs that interest you.
• You don’t have to have a project planned. Keep an open mind –don’t just pursue your existing interests. Maybe consider a new one…
• Contact more than one professor. You may well not get your first choice (or your second).

How do I learn about professors’ research?

• Consider professors with whom you took a course on a topic that interests you
• Look at the Psychology Department website: profiles of each Faculty member
• some professors did not teach undergraduates this year: less well known to students but are experienced advisors active in research

Requirements Regarding Projects for Psychology 4851

• Project must be in cognition, sensation and perception, behavioral or cognitive neuroscience, or developmental cognitive neuroscience, and be supervised by psychology faculty members conducting research that would fall under the NSERC mandate
• When you contact a potential supervisor, let them know that you are in the BSc program and that your project must be on a topic that falls under the NSERC mandate.
• Most social or clinical research would not fit, but some researchers who work on these topics may have a line of research that does.

Requirements Regarding Projects for Psychology 4852

• Project must relate to cognitive development in some way
• When you contact a potential supervisor, let them know that you are in the DCN module and that your project must relate to cognitive development
• Contact Dr. J.Bruce Morton ( to discuss your plans for your honours thesis project and potential supervisor

Does the professor have to be from Psychology?

• No, but outside professors have to be approved by the course instructor, and you have to find a faculty member in Psychology who is willing to be a co-supervisor
• Senior graduate students can be co-supervisors with their Faculty supervisor

Finding a Supervisor: Step 4

• Submit a list of at least 6 professors you would like to work with
• The rating form will be on the OWL website and must be submitted by April 9
• Professors will complete a similar rating form
• If you haven’t contacted them and they don’t know who you are, they are unlikely to choose you.

Match Process

• I will begin the process once forms are in, but many matches will not be made until the adjudication process is completed in late May
• I will contact you by email if I am having difficulty or would like you to consider someone not on your list (e.g., a new faculty member)

Am I guaranteed to get a supervisor?

• Yes, if you are in the HonoursSpecialization program, you will get a supervisor

What are the research projects like?

Depends on the supervisor
• Most involve collecting original data
• Some involve analyses of an already-collected set
• NOT a review paper

Who are the Participants?

• Usually undergraduate students in first year Psychology
• Sometimes other populations outside Western if a supervisor has an ongoing relationship with an organization
• Sometimes animals

Details of the Course

• This year’s syllabus is on the OWL site
• There will be some small changes, but basic expectations will be the same