Honors Program

The Human Development Program offers an honors option for those students who have demonstrated excellence in the human development major. The Human Development Honors Program allows eligible undergraduates to explore advanced issues in the field through an honors thesis, on a topic of their choice, and under faculty supervision. Upon completion of all honors requirements, successful students will graduate with Human Development Honors.

Click here to see past HDP Honors Projects


Eligibility Requirements for the HDP Honors Program

Students interested in the HDP Honors Program must meet the following eligibility requirements to apply:

  1. Junior level standing, with at least 90 units of coursework completed.
  2. A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.2 overall and a minimum GPA of 3.5 for all courses taken within the Human Development major.
  3. Completion of the lower division statistics requirement. It is highly recommended that students interested in the Honors program also complete at least one methods course, such as HDP 199 or HDP 181, prior to applying.

All requirements must be met by the end of spring quarter prior to enrolling in the Honors Program in the fall. (Students who do not meet these minimum requirements should consult with the Student Affairs Coordinator about the possibility of waiving or postponing certain requirements)

The Application Process

Students can download our Honors Information Packet and the HDP Honors Program Application from the web or obtain a hardcopy at the HDP Student Affairs Office located at 5320 AP&M. Interested students must first meet with the Student Affairs Coordinator to discuss the Honors Program in greater detail prior to submitting their application. The application and supporting materials, described below, must be submitted by the deadline.

After obtaining an application, the next step would be identifying a potential faculty advisor for the honors project that works in a research area of interest. A faculty advisor acts as an expert in the research area of the thesis and helps the honors student in all phases of the thesis. Contacting possible faculty advisors early to discuss their research interests and your thesis proposal is essential to avoid scheduling conflicts, as well as make certain that that a faculty advisor is available for regular meetings and will be available for a year-long thesis project.  Faculty members that the student has previously worked with in a lab for 199 credit (or as a volunteer) are often excellent candidates for a faculty advisor.

Along with the Honors Program Application, students must submit a 2-page thesis proposal (developed with the potential faculty advisor) describing and justifying the research project.

A complete thesis proposal should include the following areas:

  • an introduction of the research topic with a proposed research question and an explanation of the significance of the project;
  • a brief survey of current literature on the topic;
  • a tentative outline of subjects and methods that might be used;
  • a preliminary reference list.

The faculty advisor identified should be prepared to supervise the honors project for all 3 quarters. This faculty member’s signature is required on the application form in order to begin the application process.

Requirements for Successful Completion of the HDP Honors Program

  1. Maintenance of a major GPA of 3.25 and an overall GPA of 3.2 in all courses until graduation.
  2. Completion of one upper division course in statistics, experimental design, laboratory analysis or methods. (Please see the Student Affairs Coordinator for a list of approved courses). This course should be completed no later than the winter quarter of the Honors Program.
  3. Completion of HDP 194A, B & C with a grade of A- or higher, resulting in an honors thesis at the end of spring quarter. (Any project involving human subjects must have approval from the Committee on Investigations Involving Human Subjects). HDP 194B fulfills the Methods Elective requirement for the Bachelor of Science, regardless of whether students complete the honors program in its entirety.
  4. Attendance of the Center for Human Development Quarterly Seminar Series (when offered--contact HDP for Schedule) during the fall, winter and spring quarters.
  5. An oral presentation of the final thesis presented to the HDP Executive Faculty or at the UCSD Undergraduate Research Conference. (Honors students must be nominated by their faculty advisor to participate in this conference.)
  6. Approval of final thesis by the faculty advisor and the executive faculty of the Human Development Program.

Upon graduation, level of honors distinction will be given based on the Major GPA in all HDP course work, and will follow this scale:

  • 3.25 - 3.5 Major GPA will receive honors with Distinction
  • 3.51 - 3.8 Major GPA will receive honors with High Distinction*
  • 3.81 - 4.0 Major GPA will receive honors with Highest Distinction*

    *Students must receive an A in 194 A, B, & C to be eligible.