James Madison University

Alternatives to the Recommended Thesis Process

Under special circumstances it is possible to complete a Senior Honors Project in Psychology that varies from the guidelines presented above.  Exceptions must be approved by the student’s Honors Thesis Chair, and in some cases, The Head of the Department of Psychology, the entire thesis committee, and/or the Director of the Honors Program. Some exceptions that may be requested include:

  1. Completion of the Honors Thesis in December.  These guidelines have been written with the expectation that the student will graduate in May, but with the permission of the student’s Honors Thesis Chair, the Head of the Department of Psychology, and the Director of the Honors Program, this timetable may be adjusted for graduation in December.
  2. Completion of Psyc 499A, 499B, or 499C during the Summer.  Many faculty are unavailable during the summer, so this is only possible with the consent of the Honors Thesis Chair (and committee members if they are needed for the stage of the thesis conducted during the summer).  Payment of summer tuition will be required.  
  3. Completion of Psyc 499A as a block course.  Since Psyc 499A is a 2-credit course that requires substantial effort, this will only be permitted in exceptional cases at the discretion of the Honors Thesis Chair.
  4. Seeking IRB or IACUC approval or starting to collect data prior to approval of the thesis proposal document. Only submit IRB/IACUC protocol or begin collecting data after all members of your thesis committee have been consulted, and permission to begin is received from all members of your thesis committee.

For Psychology Honors Thesis Projects studentsmay not omit: (1) the development of a written thesis proposal, (2) securing approval for the thesis proposal, or (3) conducting a thesis defense meeting.  We consider these to be critical steps in a thesis process in Psychology which not only produces an excellent-quality honors project, but also fulfills the capstone experience requirements for the psychology major.