Honors Advisor: Dr. Elena Festa

The Honors Program in any of the concentrations within the CLPS Department gives undergraduates a special opportunity to carry out a research project under the direction of a faculty member. Participation in the program allows students to develop an understanding of research and acquire research skills and background. We strongly encourage all A.B. and Sc.B. concentrators to consider the Honors Program. 

Admission to the Honors Program

Prerequisites for students wishing to be admitted to the honors program: Honors candidates in Cognitive Science, Cognitive Neuroscience, and Psychology must have completed the statistics requirement (e.g., CLPS 0900 or equivalent) and at least one lab course (1900 or 1901 is preferred, but other lab courses can be appropriate with permission of the honors advisor). Candidates in Linguistics must have completed the core course requirement. Candidates in Behavioral Decision Sciences must speak with the concentration advisor.

Declaration due date: Applications to the honors program are due no later than Friday, September 15, 2023 (5pm) for students graduating in May 2024. For students graduating in December 2024, please see the form below for the appropriate dates. Honors students in Cognitive Science, Cognitive Neuroscience, and Psychology must take either two semesters of CLPS 1980 or (CLPS 1980 and CLPS1970) in conjunction with their honors' thesis research each term during this academic year. Honors students in Behavioral Decision Sciences must take CLPS1960 in the Fall semester and CLPS1980 (or a comparable independent study course) in the Spring semester. Linguistics honors students must take at least one independent study course (CLPS 1970 or CLPS 1980) during this academic year. Each prospective honors student should submit to their Concentration Advisor (for Linguistics) or to the Honors Advisor (for Behavioral Decision Sciences, Cognitive Neuroscience, Cognitive Science, or Psychology) a declaration of honors form which includes: (a) research topic/project title, (b) faculty advisor, (c) information on the plan for completing the project, and (d) the signature of the faculty advisor.

Program Requirements

  • The student conducts a year-long independent project during the student's 7th and 8th semesters, supervised by a faculty sponsor. In their 7th and 8th semesters, honors students in Cognitive Neuroscience, Cognitive Science, and Psychology must normally take two semesters of directed research (CLPS 1980) or (CLPS 1970 and CLPS 1980). Behavioral Decision Sciences must take CLPS1960 and CLPS1980. Linguistics honors students must take at least one independent study course (CLPS 1970 or CLPS 1980).
  • The research project must be completed to the satisfaction of the student’s faculty sponsor and to a committee of faculty in the CLPS department. The student must present a written thesis describing the research project. The thesis must be written independently by the student; theses written by more than one student are not acceptable. The thesis is read and signed by the faculty sponsor and then, following the schedule outlined below, is submitted for review to the appropriate CLPS Undergraduate Committee.
  • Each honors candidate will give a presentation to members of the CLPS department at a time scheduled in their eighth semester. Presentations are also open to the public. The presentation gives the student an opportunity to describe the Honors Research Project, and allows the department faculty the opportunity to learn about the research being conducted by undergraduates within the Department and to assess the accomplishments of each candidate. The student is expected to answer questions about the research.
  • For students in Cognitive Neuroscience, Cognitive Science and Psychology, prior to the last day of exams of the 7th semester each honors student must meet with the honors advisor and the concentration advisor in the relevant program to discuss her/his progress on the project. Note: Students studying remotely will be sent a questionnaire, in lieu of an in-person meeting. Students can also request a virtual meeting.

The decision to conduct an independent research project is a significant commitment on the part of both the student and the sponsor. Be prepared to devote 10-20 hrs/wk to your independent research project. Because each professor can advise only a limited number of honors students each year, there can be more students interested in conducting research than there are openings with advisors. Thus, it is important to establish a relationship with potential sponsors by your 6th semester, usually the semester before you would like to begin your project, if not sooner. Additionally, depending on the field, you may want to begin your research in the sixth semester or the summer before the seventh semester. In this case, you should consult with a potential sponsor in the fifth semester.

Timetable and Due Dates for Honors Research Projects:

Because the demands of each Honors project may vary, each student should work out a specific schedule for the completion of the project with her or his sponsor. A penultimate draft copy of the thesis must be submitted to your faculty advisor, your second faculty reader, and the Honors advisor by the deadline listed below. An electronic pdf copy of your final thesis must be submitted to the faculty sponsor, the CLPS department, and the Honors advisor by the deadline listed below to be considered for honors.

Deadlines for students graduating in May 2024 are:

Friday, September 15, 2023 
Deadline to submit the form of declaration.

Before December 1, 2023
Meet with the honors advisor and the concentration advisor in the relevant program to discuss your progress on the project. Students studying remotely will be emailed a questionnaire to fill out detailing their experiences with the honors program so far. 

Tuesday, December 12, 2023, at 5 pm
Submit a rough draft of a portion of your thesis (e.g., first draft of introduction and methods) to your faculty advisor.

Monday, April 1, 2024, at 5 pm
Submit the penultimate draft of your thesis to your faculty advisor, your second faculty reader, and the Honors advisor ([email protected]).

Wednesday, April 17, 2024, from 3:30-5:30pm  
Honors Posters will be on display in Metcalf Research the second and third-floor lounge areas.  An Honors Symposium will be scheduled during that week at which students will be available to give you an "elevator pitch" of their research and answer questions during that time. Light refreshments will also be served.

Friday, April 19, 2024, at 5 pm
Submit an electronic pdf of the final thesis to your faculty advisor, the CLPS department, and the Honors advisor ([email protected]). 

Please address further questions to your faculty advisor and the honors advisor (including an appropriate date for submitting your draft thesis before the oral presentations).

Finding a Sponsor

Sponsors for Honors thesis research should be faculty at the rank of Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, Senior Lecturer or Lecturer, whose primary appointment at Brown is in the Department of Cognitive, Linguistic and Psychological Sciences. Faculty from other departments and those who hold Research or Visiting appointments in the CLPS department may also be able to serve as sponsors, if approved by the Departmental Undergraduate Curriculum Committee (DUCC). Please contact the honors advisor as quickly as possible if you would like a sponsor who is not in the CLPS department. Please note that this can be a lengthy process and there is no guarantee that individuals outside of the CLPS department will be accepted. Please also note that permission must be obtained from the Honors Advisor if the sponsor is on sabbatical or leave during the thesis experience.

Generally, it is best to call or email a faculty member and make an appointment to discuss the possibility of working with her/him for a thesis. Any questions concerning the appropriateness of research for Honors should be addressed to the Honors Advisor.

Application Form

The Declaration of Honors in CLPS Application form is available as a fill-able PDF form.

For Students Graduating in December 2024

The Declaration of Honors for December 2024 has all of the relevant deadlines.