Psychology Honours

Take your interest in behaviour and motivation to a higher level through advanced research and in-depth study. If you want more intensive training than can be achieved with a psychology major, the rigorous two-year Honours program has what you’re looking for.

Suitable for students with a high level of academic achievement and strong interest in conducting research, the Honours program culminates in a student-led, faculty-supervised research project (your Honours thesis) and a formal presentation of your findings.

The strong connections with professors, intimate learning experiences and endless research opportunities, afforded through MacEwan University, were paramount in my success at attaining Canada’s most prestigious graduate scholarship and being enrolled in a world-class MD/PhD program.
Brandon Craig, MacEwan alumnus

Courses and requirements

The Honours program in psychology is available to select students in either the Bachelor of Arts or the Bachelor of Science. Courses in the discipline are only one component of the requirements you need to graduate. Consult the academic calendar for the year you are accepted into the Honours program for a complete list of requirements.



Admission to the Honours program


The Honours program is a two-year program. Generally, students apply to the Honours program at the end of their second year and complete it during their third and fourth years. If not initially accepted, students may reapply in subsequent years. Students may also wait and apply to the program for the first time in their third, fourth or fifth year. Depending on when they are accepted, students may need to extend the amount of time it takes to complete their degree (for example, if accepted at the end of their third year, the student would complete the program in their fourth and fifth years).

Eligible students are evaluated for acceptance into the program according to a number of criteria. Before you apply, you must have:

  • Completed a minimum of 45 credits including 6 credits in senior-level (200-level or above) psychology courses
  • Completed PSYC 212 and STAT 151 or STAT 161
  • Completed at least 24 credits in the past 12 months
  • A cumulative GPA of 3.0 (all courses) and a minimum GPA of 3.3 on senior-level psychology courses
  • Declared psychology as your major in either the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science program

It is recommended but not required that you have completed STAT 252.

Not all students who meet the minimum criteria will be accepted into the program. Because the Honours program is an intensive course of study involving a significant amount of one-on-one interaction with a faculty supervisor and access to departmental resources, we only accept a limited number of students into the program. Acceptance is based on academic performance, your GPA, course experience and the availability of a suitable supervisor. Decisions made by the Department of Psychology regarding acceptance to this program are not subject to appeal.

Admission process

Email the Honours advisor to receive up-to-date details about requirements and expectations and to receive information about potential supervisors and application materials. You can also book an appointment with the Honours advisor to learn more about the program.

Acceptance into the Honours program relies on your GPA, course requirements and the availability of a continuing faculty member within the Department of Psychology who is willing to supervise you. Meeting with faculty members gives you an idea of the types of research faculty members are involved in and whom you might be interested in working with.

You should investigate the research and scholarly interests of various faculty members well in advance of the application deadline. It is strongly recommended that you read their recent publications to get a better sense of their research program. You should then contact faculty members whom you would like to work with to discuss the possibility of working together on an Honours project. Even if faculty members state that they are willing to consider your application, they are unlikely to commit to supervising particular students until after all applications have been reviewed by all participating faculty members.

Psychology Honours program application materials can be obtained by emailing the Honours advisor after March 1. The deadline for application is mid-April each year and the specific date is included on the application form. Submit your application by email to the Honours advisor. The application includes your contact information, a checklist of preferred research areas, a course planning sheet and a one-page statement of interest that outlines why you want to be an Honours student.

You will be contacted by early June with a decision regarding your application.

Faculty members meet around mid-May to discuss all Honours applicants and to review your forms. All applicants are notified whether they are accepted into the program or not. Supervisor assignments are communicated at the same time.

Program criteria

Students accepted into the Honours program must complete a minimum of 24 credits in the first year of the program. Students are encouraged to also complete a minimum of 24 credits in the second year of the program, although that depends on how many courses the student has left to complete prior to graduating. Exceptions may occur with the approval of the Honours advisor.

Students accepted into the Honours program must have an overall GPA of 3.0 and a GPA of 3.3 on psychology courses (200-level and above). These averages refer to the average across all courses that apply to your degree, not minimum levels in each course (for example, grades in individual courses can be below the thresholds, but your grades must average to be above the thresholds).

If you are accepted into the program, these averages must be maintained each year while in the program. Should you fail to maintain the GPA requirements, you will be notified by the program and the Office of the University Registrar will be advised to change your program status to BA or B.Sc. Undeclared within 15 days. If you are in ‘Good Standing’ and wish to remain in your current program, please consult with an academic advisor in Program Services and the discipline advisor to determine the required courses to complete your program of study.

You must have an Honours supervisor to complete the Honours program. There are several reasons why you might be left without a supervisor:

  1. The supervisor may be ill or otherwise unable to continue supervision.
  2. The supervisor may decide to cease supervision of a student who does not perform up to their standards, or who is a poor match (in terms of, for example, research interests or working styles).
  3. You may decide to cease working with a supervisor who is not providing appropriate supervision or is a poor match.

In each of these situations, the supervisory relationship will be terminated. The student then has two options:

  1. Find another willing supervisor.
  2. Leave the Honours program and complete the regular BA or B.Sc. program.

Please note that neither the Department of Psychology nor the Honours advisor is responsible for finding a supervisor for you. The Honours advisor should be consulted, and will assist you in this situation, but cannot guarantee that you will be assigned to a new supervisor.

You should consult with the Honours advisor regarding course selection and registration. However, it is your responsibility to register appropriately. If you make changes to your registration without consulting the Honours advisor, you may jeopardize your standing in the program or your ability to graduate on time. Please note that any courses taken outside of MacEwan University must be approved by both Program Services and the Honours advisor, and a Visiting Student Letter of Permission must be completed prior to registration for any outside courses that are to be counted toward the degree.

You cannot register in the thesis courses (PSYC 499A and PSYC 499B) without the express approval of your supervisor.

Honours advising

Consult the Honours advisor for more information on the selection process, to learn what to expect in the Honours program or to submit your application.

Sean Rogers, Honours Advisor