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.

We strongly recommend that the research project should be developed by the student in consultation with his or her faculty sponsor during or prior to the student's sixth semester. This allows the sponsor and student a chance to set up a summer research program and/or a reading list before the summer break. A honors application must be submitted to the relevant Concentration Advisor (or the Honors Advisor in the case of Psychology) for approval early in the student’s 7th semester. The research is to be completed in time for an honors thesis to be written and an oral presentation of the work to be given at the end of the eighth semester. Participation in the program allows students to develop an understanding of research and acquire research skills and background. The program also provides the opportunity for outstanding senior concentrators to receive their undergraduate degree with Honors. We strongly encourage all qualified A.B. and Sc.B. concentrators to consider the Honors Program.

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 from 10-20 hrs/wk to your independent research project. Because each professor can advise only a limited number of honors students each year, there sometimes are 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.

Admission to the Honors Program and Program Requirements

  1. Prerequisites for students wishing to be admitted to the honors program: A 3.5 GPA in the field of concentration is normally required. In addition, honors candidates in Cognitive Science, Cognitive Neuroscience, and Psychology must have completed the statistics requirement (e.g., CLPS 0900) and at least one lab course (a credit in a directed research course may be substituted for the lab course). Candidates in Linguistics must have completed the core course requirement.
  2. Declaration due date: Applications to the honors program are due no later than Friday September 14 (5pm) for students graduating in May 2019. Also note that Honors students in Cognitive Science, Cognitive Neuroscience, and Psychology must take CLPS 1980 in conjunction with their honors' thesis research each term during this academic year. Linguistics honors students must take at least one independent study course (CLPS 1980) during this academic year. Each prospective honors student should submit to their Concentration Advisor (for Cognitive Science, Cognitive Neuroscience, or Linguistics) or to the Honors Advisor (for 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.
  3. Additional honors requirements:
    • 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). Linguistics honors students must take at least one independent study course (CLPS 1970 or CLPS 1980).
    • The student is expected to maintain a 3.5 GPA or better through her/his senior year.
    • An appropriate independent research project must be completed to the satisfaction of the student’s faculty sponsor, and the student must present a thesis describing the research project. The thesis must be written independently by each 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 an oral presentation to members of the CLPS department; presentations are also open to the public. The oral 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.
    • Throughout the year, students conducting honors projects are expected to attend the Department’s colloquia and outside speaker series relevant to their concentration field. 
  4. Prior to the last day of exams of the 7th semester each honors student must meet with honors/concentration advisor in the relevant program to discuss her/his progress on the project.

Timetable and Due Dates for Honors Research Projects, 2018-2019

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 draft copy of the thesis should be submitted to the faculty advisor well before the Honors Exams (please arrange for an appropriate date). Two final copies, BOUND AND ON ACID-FREE PAPER, must be submitted to the faculty sponsor and CLPS department BEFORE 12:00 noon, April 23, 2019. Theses will NOT be accepted after this time. Deliver the bound thesis to Michelle Ross in room 135, Metcalf Research Building. Also, send an electronic copy to [email protected], to your faculty advisor, and to the appropriate concentration advisor. 

Deadlines for students graduating in May 2019 are:

Fri. Sept. 14, 2018
Deadline to submit form of declaration

Before Friday, Nov. 30, 2018
Meet with Honors Advisor to discuss progress

Mid April, 2019
Honors Oral Exams

April 23, 2019 by Noon
Submit final, BOUND thesis to CLPS department and faculty advisor

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

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 CLPS may also be able to serve as sponsors, if approved by the Departmental Undergraduate Curriculum Committee. Generally it is best to call or email a faculty member and make an appointment to discuss the possibility of working with her/him. Any questions concerning the appropriateness of research for Honors should be addressed to the Concentration Advisor (or Honors Advisor for Psychology concentrators).

Application Form

The Declaration of Honors in CLPS Application form is available as a downloadable Word document.