Major Project (BA)

The major project in psychology (as a registered course) is designed to be the capstone experience of your work in the psychology major.

Through the major project, you will:

  • Synthesize the knowledge you have gained about the discipline over your time as a psychology major
  • Network with psychology alumni for advice and professional connections and hear them speak about their varied professional career paths
  • Write a 15–20 page APA-style paper on a psychology topic

View our PDF iconMajor Project Syllabus to see your options and project requirements.

How to Register

  1. Read about the three major project options (below). You must choose from these when you register for the major project (PSY 3901W, 3902W, or 3903W).
  2. Check your APAS to ensure you have completed the prerequisites for the major project*:
    • PSY foundation courses (PSY 1001, 3801, and 3001W)
    • All 5 of the PSY distribution areas (A-C)
    • Senior status (90+ cumulative credits)
  3. Register for the major project class (PSY 3901W, 3902W, or 3903W) as soon as your registration queue opens.
    • Psychology advising manages an internal wait list for students who are unable to secure a seat in the course, or who cannot secure a seat in their preferred section (To be placed on the waitlist, email immediately.)
  4. Address any class-specific next steps, if any, before the first day of class.

*Advising closely monitors major project enrollment to ensure that all students have fulfilled the necessary prerequisites. You may be dropped from the course if requirements are not met. If you have questions about your preparation for major project,

Major Project Options

Psychology BA majors may select between three major-project experiences, including a research laboratory project (PSY 3901W), individual interest project (PSY 3902W), and community engagement project (PSY 3903W). The course you choose will determine the specific requirements and expectations associated with your major-project experience.

Research Lab Project: PSY 3901W

The research lab project allows you to take full advantage of the abundance of psychological research happening right here in the Department of Psychology. In this option, you will draw from your experience in a faculty research lab (PSY 4/5993) to help develop the topic of your major project paper for the PSY 3901W class. This option requires you to secure a laboratory research experience in a faculty member's lab for PSY 4/5993 credits either the semester prior to or concurrently with your PSY 3901W enrollment. If you are in the process of finding a research lab experience, register for PSY 3901W as this course fills quickly.

Before class begins: Arrange to assist in the lab of a faculty member through PSY 4/5993.

Individual Interest Project: PSY 3902W

The individual interest project involves developing a project that relates to your personal or occupational interests; it includes extra reading or contact with people working in your area of interest. The most common way to satisfy this requirement is to read a book written by a psychologist for a general audience or to interview at least three professionals working in your area of interest. Other ideas may be discussed with the course instructor.

Before class begins: You do not need to take any action prior to the start of the individual interest project.

Community Engagement Project: PSY 3903W

Interested in connecting your studies of psychology to important issues in your local community? The Community Service-Learning Center provides you with the opportunity to work onsite at a nearby community organization for approximately four hours each week throughout the semester. You will then draw from this community experience to help identify the topic of your major-project paper for the PSY 3903W class.

Before class begins: You do not need to take any action to find a community placement site until you receive an email from the Center for Community Engaged Learning staff. You will receive the email either right before the term begins or within the first week of class. It will contain detailed instructions on how to move forward with the community site placement process, which involves being given access to a database filled with service positions.