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Students in small classCPsy 3360H Child Psychology Honors Seminar

The class will prepare students to write their honors thesis in child psychology. In addition, students will be acquainted with the various research projects and activities in the Institute of Child Development and related departments.

This class is required and is offered during fall semesters. In order to provide enough time for students to successfully prepare to complete their honors thesis, we recommend that students take the class during their junior year.

Students working with a professorCPsy 4994V Honors Thesis

This class is an independent research course scheduled by arrangement with a faculty member during which Honors students plan and carry out their Honors thesis research. Typically, this involves a student spending time becoming familiar with the literature and methods of a particular research problem, and then planning and carrying out a research project in the context of a faculty member’s ongoing research. The faculty member is usually responsible for advising and assisting the student at all phases of the research project including writing the thesis.

Your honors thesis should represent a significant amount of energy and work. As such, we encourage students to get started early. Directed research is a great way to connect with faculty and begin the process of planning your honors thesis; it is recommended that you engage in directed research at least two semesters before you begin your honors thesis.

Registration for CPsy 4994V should reflect honors students’ engagement specifically in their thesis research, whereas CPsy 4994 registration reflects more general research experiences.

Students in volunteer, learning abroad and research opportunity settingsOther Opportunities: Field Study, Learning Abroad, and Research

The Institute of Child Development offers a variety of experiences and classes that may count towards your Honors requirements. From freshman seminars and an Honors option for Introductory Child Psychology; to volunteer opportunities, research, and learning abroad programs; we offer opportunities to make your child psychology degree priceless!

To learn more about how these great opportunities may count towards your Honors requirements, please speak with your University Honors Adviser.

Hear from current students and alumni

Lauren Hindt, Spring 2014, B.A. in Child Psychology, Summa Cum Laude
Minors in Public Health and Neuroscience

What was the topic of your Honors Thesis?

I examined emotion recognition skills as a correlate of behavioral functioning among children with jailed parents. In Dr. Shlafer's lab, I had researched incarceration and its impact on families. My Honors thesis was an extension of this work. I was able to add my own research question and emotion recognition task to the protocol of a study of children's visitations with jailed parents.

When did you start planning your Honors Thesis?

I started planning my Honors Thesis in the summer of 2013, before my senior year. I developed my thesis under the supervision of Dr. Rebecca Shlafer. I had worked in Dr. Shlafer's research lab since my sophomore year.

What have you done since graduating?

I graduated in May of 2015 and spent a gap year applying to doctoral programs in clinical psychology and working as a Community Program Specialist, Research Assistant, and Emotional Behavioral Disorder Aide. I have since been accepted to Loyola University Chicago's Doctoral Program in Child Clinical Psychology and will begin the program fall of 2015. My Honors thesis helped me build a strong foundation in data collection and empirical research, which benefitted me as a research assistant and graduate school applicant.

If you could give advice to a student who will be completing the Honors Thesis in Child Psychology, what would it be?

I recommend exploring your research interests early in your undergraduate career and forming strong connections with professors. I was able to present my Honors thesis data at local and national conferences. I recommend students seek out these opportunities. In addition, partake in other activities, such as the Child Psychology Student Organization (CPSO), and volunteer. Such activities help you engage with your community and develop your skill sets.


Jessica Shankman, Spring 2015, B.A. in Child Psychology, Summa Cum Laude
Minors in Public Health and Family Social Science

When did you start planning your Honors Thesis?

I started planning my honors thesis second semester of junior year.

What was the topic of your Honors Thesis?

The topic I chose to address was the predictive significance of friendship and dating relationships in adolescence for adult romantic relationships. This research related to the work I had done in the Parent Child Lab (with Professor Roisman) which I started during my sophomore year.

What do you plan on doing after graduating?

My goal is to apply to and complete a PhD program in clinical child psychology. My honors thesis was a very important component in preparing me for applying to graduate school. Writing a thesis taught me what it means to work with an advisor, develop a research question in a logical fashion and see it through from start to finish. It was a growing experience during which I learned that I enjoy an independent learning environment.

If you could give advice to a student who will be completing the Honors Thesis in Child Psychology, what would it be?

Take advantage of anything and everything that you hear of that seems interesting. Many of the things I got involved in were by word of mouth, and they turned out to be some of the most valuable experiences I had. Also, don’t be scared to change your mind about your honors thesis. The topic may develop and your advisor will often have ideas of what your thesis should cover. This is all part of the process and it really helps you learn about the research process. Lastly, make sure that you are clear and direct with your advisor about what you would like to get out of your thesis. They are taking the time to work with you and help you develop as a student. If you work best with weekly meetings or making due dates along the way, express that up front. Most advisors will appreciate that self-awareness.

Hear from students:

Want to see more? Check out what students are saying about directed research, field study, learning abroad, and their careers after graduation.


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Honors Thesis Contract