Honors in the Major

Honors in the Major within the Department of Psychology is designed to give students an opportunity to work closer with departmental faculty and have an in-depth experience in research. This is a great opportunity for students wanting to continue on to graduate school or have a strong interest in research. Please note that the Honors in the Major program is separate from the Honors in the Liberal Arts program. A student may complete either Honors in the Major or Honors in Liberal Arts, or both. 

Honors in the Major Application – Applications are accepted year-round on a rolling basis.  Applicants will be notified of their application status within 2-3 weeks of submission.

Requirements for Honors in the Major in Psychology:

  • A total of THREE Psychology Breadth or Depth courses for Honors with grades of B or better
  • Junior Honors Seminar, Psychology 380 (1 credit) – FALL only.  Students must be in a research lab and submit the Request for Authorization Form prior to enrolling
  • Senior Honors Thesis, Psychology 681 & 682 (6 credits total). The thesis is a year-long research project that requires time and preparation prior to the senior year.  Students are encouraged to read the Thesis Guidelines for Psychology + Request for Authorization in Junior Seminar OR Thesis enrollment as soon as they are interested in Honors in the Major and/or completing a thesis.

GPA Requirements 

  • A student must receive at least a “B” or better in an Honors course in order to receive Honors credit and have that count towards the Honors in the Major Requirements
  • A cumulative GPA of 3.3 is required to be eligible for any Honors degree from UW-Madison
  • A minimum of 3.3 within the Psychology major is required to graduate with Honors in the Major

Honors in Psychology Q & A

When can I apply for Honors?

Applications for Honors in the Major can be submitted as early as the end of a student’s freshman year. Applications should be submitted no later than the summer before Junior year to ensure enrollment in the Junior Honors Seminar, Psych 380.  Note students should be in a research lab prior to junior year in order to stay on track for Psych 380 and the Senior Honors Thesis.  Students applying for Honors in the Major should have cumulative and psych major GPAs above 3.3.

When can I enroll in Honor’s courses?

Once enrolled in an Honors program (either Honors in Liberal Arts or Honors in the Major), students can enroll in any Honors course on campus.  Prior to formal admission to an Honors program, students may enroll in Honors Psychology courses if they receive consent of the instructor.

Questions? Contact: honors@psych.wisc.edu 

Professor Tony Auger, Honors Faculty Advisor for the 2019-2020 Academic Year

Stephanie Osborn, Honors in the Major Program Administration



Distinction in the Major is designed to recognize students who have done outstanding work within the Department of Psychology.

The Intent to Complete Distinction Form can be submitted year-round.  Note: this is NOT an application and any student can fill out the Intent to Complete Distinction Form.  Distinction is processed after a student’s degree is conferred.

Requirements for Distinction in the Psychology Major:

A Psychology GPA of 3.7 or Higher –AND–

One of the following:
 A total of THREE Psychology Breadth or Depth courses for Honors with grades of B or better. Students not currently in an Honors program will need to seek out permission from the instructor in order to enroll in an Honors course. 


A Senior Thesis (691 & 692).  Students completing a Senior Thesis are encouraged to take Psych 380 in the fall semester of their junior year to help prepare for their thesis.  Please read through the Senior Thesis Guidelines for Psychology Students document for information and timeline of a thesis as well as the Psych 380 and 691 authorization forms.

Distinction in Psychology Q & A

What is the difference between Honors in the Major and Distinction in the Major?
Honors in the Major is a comprehensive program within the Department in which a student completes high academic rigor as well as in-depth research.  Per College of L&S policy, a student cannot complete an Honors degree (i.e., Honors in the Liberal Arts, Honors in the Major, Comprehensive Honors) and earn Distinction in the Major.  Distinction is designed to recognize students who have excelled within the Department of Psychology academically.

When will my Distinction in the Major be processed?
Distinction in the Major cannot be processed until after your degree is conferred by the Office of the Registrar.  Once degrees are conferred the Department of Psychology will review prospective Distinction student records and confirm they meet the requirements for Distinction in the Major.  A notation of Distinction in the Major will then be added to the student’s transcript.  This typically happens the semester following a student’s graduation.

Questions? Contact: honors@psych.wisc.edu 

Stephanie Osborn, Distinction in the Major Program Administration