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Mailing Address

Box 7136
Davidson, NC 28035

Shipping Address

209 Ridge Road
Davidson, NC 28035

Senior Thesis

A senior thesis is one option for the Psychology major's capstone requirement. As described in the catalog, you write an empirical paper with an American Psychological Association (APA) format.


It's an opportunity to explore a topic in depth, honing skills that you've learned in many previous classes and learning new skills as well. Unlike a term paper for a class, the thesis is a substantive work that you create over an extended period of time.


  • Anyone considering applying to a graduate program that has a research requirement (Ph.D., Psy.D., Ed.D., M.S., etc.). It will enhance your experience, your candidacy, and may even help you decide whether to pursue graduate studies.
  • Anyone who is intrigued by a psychological question and wishes to seek an answer through individualized research, rather than through the formal structure of a senior-level class.


  • During the Fall semester, the student conducts a literature review and prepares a research proposal, with substantial guidance from the faculty thesis chair
  • The student gives an oral presentation (colloquium) of the proposal to a committee of two Psychology faculty during which time the project is evaluated and critiqued.
  • If necessary, you submit a protocol to Davidson's Human Subjects (IRB) or Animal Subjects (IACUC) Research Committee for an ethical review and approval of the proposed work.
  • The student gathers data and analyze your results.
  • The student submits a complete APA style research manuscript as well as gives an oral presentation of the project to a committee of three Psychology faculty. Revisions may be requested.
  • Upon completion of final draft, the thesis is placed in the Psychology department's permanent collection.
  • The thesis is presented as a poster at the annual Miller-Case Symposium for Research and Creative Works (typically the day before Reading Day, spring semester) in order to share results with fellow majors, faculty, and the community at large.
  • For honors candidates, the committee chair will review the student's academic record, and poll the faculty for a vote.


Contact Psychology faculty (typically in Spring of junior year) to discuss the possibility of doing a thesis. Faculty are happy to talk about research and whether or not a thesis would be possible given student interests, faculty time, and available resources.