Honours Program in the Department of Psychology

Interested in preparing for graduate school in psychology or another professional program (law, medicine, speech pathology, social work)?

Summer campus

What is the Honours Program?

You'll complete a specialized set of degree requirements and conduct a thesis research project under the supervision of a faculty member.

Honours students also register in PSYC 598 (Honours Thesis and Seminar). The class meets twice a week during the fall and winter sessions. The major requirement is a written thesis that follows APA format and organization (with an abstract, introduction, methods, results, and discussion). You'll also give presentations about your research in the honours seminar and at the Annual Student Research Conference. The program requires a serious commitment to research during your final year.

Considering an Honours program? Find out if you're eligible. Be sure to discuss your plans with the department in the fall session before you formally apply. Contact us today

Admission criteria

This criteria applies to Fall 2023 admission to the Honours program only.  

  1. At least 72 units or 12.0 full-course equivalents (FCE) completed at the time of application
  2. minimum grade-point average (GPA) of TBA over the most recent 42 units (7.0 FCE)
  3. minimum GPA of TBA over most recent 7 (21 units or 3.5 FCE) Psychology courses.
  4. Minimum grade of B+ average in PSYC 300 & 301 or  in PSYC 312 (or 407, 411 or 415) *if you took a CR in PSYC 300 or 301 please contact our office.
  5. All remaining graduation requirements for the BA/BSc Honours degree can be completed during the following Fall/Winter registration period
  6. Eligible thesis supervisor willing to supervise the honours thesis and resources available to complete the thesis
  7. Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.3 over all major courses (PSYC courses) applicable towards the completion of the degree requirements to graduate with honours.
  8. 3 units from PSYC 400.XX, 415, 425, 427, 430, 435, 478, 504 or 505 completed or enrolled in one by application time. 
  9. Signature from a faculty or adjunct faculty member confirming agreement to supervise applicant
  10. Apply for a change of program via your student centre to add Psychology Honours to your program (by doing this it does not mean that you will get admitted to the program, you still have to submit an application to the Psychology Department).

Note: Admission to the Honours Program is competitive, and students meeting these minimum qualifications are not guaranteed admission to the program.

See how to calculate your GPA.

Note: GPA calculated for purposes of admission does not include grades from the Winter session in which the application is made.

Application package components

The following components make up your Honours application package.

1. Honours Application and Program Checklist Form

  • Download the Honours application document (either Word or PDF)
  • Complete the form
  • Apply for a change of program via your student centre to add Psychology Honours

Note: your file name should read: “Honours application – Full Name UCID."

2. Transcripts

Direct-entry from high school or transfer student

  • An unofficial PDF of your transcripts (you should be able to get this via your Student Centre).

After-Degree (second degree) student

Note: Your file-name should read: "Last Name UCID Transcript (Institution Name)."

3. Curriculum Vitae

A curriculum vitae or CV is similar to a resume that you might create to find summer employment, but it is more academically oriented.

  • Highlight relevant education, work, and volunteer experience.
  • Include any academic awards or honours that you have received (i.e., scholarships or medals).

Visit Career Services for information on how to prepare a CV. You can also find information online or at your local library.

Application process step by step

Contact the department before you apply

Meet with us in the fall semester before you apply to make sure you're eligible.  Also check out this PDF from our Honours Information Session.

Honours Information Session

Review the criteria

Review the admission criteria and major field requirements to ensure you meet the qualifications.

Find a Supervisor

Review the Supervisor FAQs for more information on selecting and approaching potential supervisors. You'll want to talk to them before submitting your application package.

Prepare your application package

Your completed honours application package should contain:

  1. Honours application and program checklist
  2. Transcript(s)
  3. Curriculum Vitae

Review your application package

  • The subject of your application email should read “Honours application - First Name Last Name UCID.".
  • All files must be in Portable Document Format (.pdf) OR in Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx) format. 
  • All file names must contain your Last Lame and UCID along with a description of the file. i.e., Honours Application – John Doe 10011101.pdf
  • All files should be attached to the same email.

Submit your application package

Submit all components of your application package via email to psycugrd@ucalgary.ca by the deadline, TBA.

Late applications cannot be accepted. All components must be submitted electronically by email.

Email psycugrd@ucalgary.ca

Wait for our response

The department attempts to make our decisions and notify you of the success of your application by the beginning of March.

Supervisor FAQ

Students will want to contact potential supervisors between TBA and TBA.  You will need to find a committed supervisor prior to application deadline in TBA.  

The most important characteristic is mutual interest. The ideal supervisor is working in an area of enough interest to you that you can imagine yourself spending at least 8 months working intensively on a research project in that area. A few important points to consider:

  1. Your honours thesis doesn't have to directly relate to your grad studies specialization

    Some applied areas of psychology--clinical, counselling, and industrial-organizational--are high demand and there are limited numbers of potential supervisors available. Consider your interests in psychology and what you know about related areas. For example, social psychology is relevant to many specializations. And research in basic cognitive processes can be relevant to applications such as cognitive-behaviour therapy.

  2. Work with an expert in the field

    It is important that you carry out a well-designed project that makes some contribution to knowledge in the field of psychology. It is also important that you do this in a competent fashion, while learning new skills and expanding your knowledge of the discipline. This is most likely if you work with an expert in the field.

  3. Choose someone you can work with

    The quality of the relationship between you and your supervisor is important. This is a one-to-one mentoring relationship and obviously your learning will be enhanced if you work well together. Also, the reference letter from your supervisor is the most important reference letter you will need for your application to graduate school, medical school, law school, etc. The better the work you do together, the better that letter will be.

Before you submit your application, you should contact potential supervisors. Arrange to meet them and discuss the possibility of their supervising your honours thesis.

Note that you should not expect your supervisor to simply provide you with a ‘ready-made’ thesis project. You should come prepared with ideas of your own.

  1. Send an introductory email

    Your initial email should be a brief request to set up an initial meeting to discuss working together.

  2. Research your potential supervisor

    Read some recent publications so you're knowledgeable about their area(s) of research and able to ask questions. You'll usually find a listing of recently published articles on their personal contact page. If they don't list any, do some independent research or contact them directly.

  3. Prepare for your meeting

    Be ready to give the potential supervisor the same information you'll have to give in your application:

    • A copy of your university grades

    • A statement of intent

    • Your Curriculum Vitae

  4. Meet the potential supervisor

    Tell them about yourself and why you'd like to work with them. Ask what kinds of projects they're willing to supervise, and their expectations for honours students (e.g., do they expect you to work regularly on Saturdays or Sundays, or during evenings?).

  5. Questions to ask

    Feel free to ask them about the likelihood of your working with them (i.e., do they have so many potential honours students contacting them that your chance is 1/100?).

  6. Manage your expectations

    You should not expect them to commit to working with you on the spot. The purpose of the meeting is to get acquainted with one another. Either one of you may decide, upon reflection, that this is not the best supervisory arrangement.

There are many reasons why a particular professor is not on the list this year. They may be planning to be away on sabbatical leave or have too many graduate students or other work commitments to commit the time needed to supervise an honours project. If you intend to graduate at the end of the current Winter semester, you'll have to find an alternative. If you're planning ahead and reading this a year or more before you need to apply for honours, then you may be in luck. By the time you apply, the professor may once again be on the list of potential supervisors.

  1. Adjunct professors

    Psychologist who usually teach in the department and have a formal, professional relationship with it, but aren't members. They may teach or work elsewhere.

    If your supervisor is an adjunct, you might not meet with them or do research on campus. Their time may be limited by other commitments. Be sure you're comfortable with the degree of contact that you'll have and the context in which you'll meet and research.

  2. Emeritus professors

    Have retired from UCalgary, but continue to contribute on a volunteer basis or in contract positions. This usually means that they continue to teach certain courses and/or to engage in research. As in the case of adjunct professors, you should discuss with them their availability for consultation and where you will meet with them and conduct your research.

Student studies with laptop

Recent thesis titles

  • Relational Self-Change and Revenge in Romantic Relationships. Supervisor Dr. Susan Boon

  • Two Meows Don’t Make a “Cat”-egory: 7-month-olds Fail to Learn Intermodal Association. Supervisor Dr.Susan Graham.

  • Treating Sleep Disturbance in Adolescents with Protracted Recovery from Mild Traumatic Brain Injury. Supervisor Dr. Lianne Tomfohr.

  • The Effects of Belief in a Just World, Relationship Type, and Degree of Contact on Perceptions of Sexual Assault. Supervisor Dr. Melissa Boyce.

  • Cognitive Outcomes in Children with Primary CNS Vasculitis. Supervisor Dr.Keith Yeates.

  • Age of Onset in Older Adult Substance Abuse. Supervisor Dr.Candace Konnert

  • ERP Correlates of Audiovisual Asynchrony Detection. Supervisor Dr. Andrea Protzner.

  • Children’s Comprehensive of Negation. Supervisor Dr. Penny Pexman.

  • Exploring the Outcomes of Workplace Impression Management Behaviours on Employee Perceptions. Supervisor Dr. Josh Bourdage.

  • Peer Feedback Ratings in Teams and the Role of Individual Differences. Supervisor Dr. Tom O'Neill.

  • Influence of HEXACO personality traits on experience of post-traumatic growth and post-traumatic stress. Supervisor Dr. Raymond Lamontagne.

  • The Vegetarian Personality: A HEXACO Perspective. Supervisor Dr. Kibeom Lee.

  • Examining Effects of Motor and Emotion Information in Children’s Lexical processing. Supervisor Dr. Penny Pexman.

  • Examining Psychosocial Correlates of Health-Related Quality of Life in Young Pediatric Cancer Patients. Supervisor Dr. Lianne Tomfohr.

  • The Impacts of Screen Time on Child Developmental Outcomes. Supervisor Dr. Mike Boyes.

  • Mental Illness Stigma and Juror Decision-Making. Supervisor Dr. Andrew Szeto.

  • The Role of Friendships in the Experiences of Impostor Syndrome. Supervisor Dr. Cara MacInnis.

  • Experiences with Food and Eating Addiction: A Thematic Analysis. Supervisor Dr. Kristin von Ranson.

  • An Examination of Affective Forecasting and Coping on Short-Term Adjustment Following a Romantic Breakup. Supervisor Dr. Eddie Sheppard.

  • Cancer patient Use, Interest and Barriers to Complementary Therapies. Supervisor Dr. Linda Carlson.

  • Evaluation of a Vaginal and Sexual Health Workshop for Women Diagnosed with Cancer. Supervisor Dr.John Robinson.

  • Cyber Revenge. Supervisor Dr. Susan Boon.

  • Self-esteem as a Moderator of the Impact of a Failure Experience on Future Expectations. Supervisor Dr. John Ellard.

  • Examining the Potential Double Stigma of Ethnicity and Mental Illness. Supervisor Dr. Andrew Szeto.

  • Examining the Effects of Socioeconomic Status-Crime Congruency. Supervisor Dr. Melissa Boyce.

  • Examining Potential Prejudice Toward Older Adult Mobility Device Users. Supervisor Dr. Cara MacInnis.

  • A Discursive Study of Food Talk Among Undergraduates. Supervisor Dr. Hank Stam.

  • Stigma related to Mental Illness and the Fundamental Attribution Error. Supervisor Dr. Keith Dobson.

  • Psychological Characteristics Associated with Attentional Bias in Gamblers: An Eye-Tracking Study. Supervisor Dr. Dan McGrath.

  • Priming Attentional Biases in Women with High and Low Body Satisfaction. Supervisor Dr. Kristin von Ranson / Dr. Chris Sears.

  • The Effect of Personality Detection Training and Question Type on the Accuracy of Personality Detection in the Employment Interview. Supervisor Dr. Josh Bourdage.


Be aware of the policies pertaining to you as an Honours student.

Policy on Honours Supervision

Policy on Honours Admission

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psycugrd@ucalgary.ca »

Undergraduate Program Director

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Dr. Susan Boon
psychdir@ucalgary.ca »

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