Honors Program in Psychology

Students will find important general information about the Honors Program in the College Bulletin, section 7.5.

Course of study for Honors majors

I. The program for students majoring in psychology consists of three preparations for examination. Two of these are sequences of a core course and a one-credit seminar. Entrance into seminars in the Psychology Department is contingent upon receiving a high B in the corresponding core course and overall. The third preparation is a two-credit thesis, carried out over two semesters, normally in the senior year. Except in unusual cases, work done in the honors program for the honors preparations must be carried out at Swarthmore.

The psychology department offers examination in honors only in the following fields:

  • Behavioral Neuroscience

  • Clinical Psychology*
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Perception
  • Psycholinguistics
  • Social Psychology

*Note: The Psychology Department offers two Clinical Psychology Honors Seminars, PSYC 138A and PSYC 138B. Only one Clinical Psychology Seminar may be used as an honors preparation. 

II. In addition to the preparations for external examination, Honors majors in psychology are required to take

  • PSYC 001, Introduction to Psychology (or equivalent) is normally a prerequisite for all courses in psychology (see the note about prerequisites above)
  • and at least two core courses in addition to the two cores included in their honors programs (thus meeting the core requirement in the major of 4 total)
  • They are also required to take a course in statistics, STAT 011, and PSYC 025 Research Design and Analysis prior to the senior year.

Course of study for Honors minors

I. The program for students with an honors minor in psychology consists of one preparation for external examination. This preparation is a two-credit unit (a core course and its related one credit seminar), selected from the fields listed previously. For students graduating in the class of 2019 or 2020:  In addition to the core course and related seminar for honors preparation, honors minors are required to include Introduction to Psychology (or equivalent), one additional core course, and one other course in their programs, for a minimum of 5 credits in psychology. All coursework counted towards a psychology minor must be completed at Swarthmore.

Starting with the Class of 2021: In addition to the core course and related seminar for an honors preparation, honors minors are required to include Introduction to Psychology (or equivalent), one additional core course, and PSYC 025 Research Design and Analysis in their programs, for 5 credits of psychology. STAT 011 is required as a prerequisite or co-requisite of PSYC 025.  All coursework counted towards a psychology minor must be completed at Swarthmore.

Special Major in Honors

It is possible for a student to construct a special major in Honors involving psychology and another department or program. Special majors will consist of four preparations, one of which will constitute a two-credit thesis. Students should consult their advisors for guidance in devising an acceptable course of study.

NEUROSCIENCE: Information about an Honors Special Major in Neuroscience is available separately.

Honors Examinations

The usual form of examination is a three-hour written examination prepared by the external examiner and administered during the honors examination period of spring semester. This is followed, during the subsequent Examiners' Weekend, by a short oral examination with the examiner for each of a student's preparations. Submission of a written honors thesis replaces one written examination.

Preparation for Honors

For information about when each preparation will be offered, please see our Courses Page.