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HDS Honors Program

Human Developmental Sciences offers an honors option for those students who have demonstrated excellence in the Human Developmental Sciences major. The Human Developmental Sciences 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 Honors in Human Developmental Sciences.

Admission to the Honors Program

Qualified students are invited to join the Honors Program in winter quarter of their junior year (the “preparatory year”) and will need to accept the invitation to become a member of the HDS honors program. An orientation to the program is provided for all invitees to give them an overview of the honors program in its entirety before accepting the invitation

Interested students who do not receive a formal invitation may still be eligible to join either the HDS Honors Program or HDS's Advanced Research Program through our selective admissions process. To find out more about our selective admission process for our honors and research programs, please schedule an advsing appointment with HDS.

Preparatory Year of the Honors Program (Junior Year)

After accepting the honors invitation, students use winter and spring of their preparatory year to identify a potential faculty advisor for their honors project. Students should also have completed statistics and at least one methods course, such as HDS 181, or volunteering for a lab, during their preparatory year.

Selecting an appropriate faculty advisor is key to a successful honors thesis project. Students should choose a faculty advisor that works in a research area of interest to them. 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. 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.

To assist with this process, Honors Candidates still looking to identify a thesis advisor will be invited to enroll in our spring HDS 98 topic on Research Opportunities, which helps undergraduates explore opportunities for conducting experimental and field studies, and receive advisement regarding academic and professional preparedness for undergraduate and graduate research.

Thesis Year of the Program (Senior year)

Fall Quarter - Thesis proposal and Project Outline
While receiving 4 units of academic credit in HDS 194A, honors students develop a detailed research proposal and project outline that guides the development of their thesis project, in direct consultation with their honors faculty advisor.

Winter Quarter - Data Collection
During winter quarter, students meet regularly with their faculty advisor and start on the research portion of their thesis while receiving 4 units of academic credit under HDS 194B. This may include designing research tools (ie. surveys, questionnaires), observing research subjects and collecting data, writing field notes, and reading additional relevant literature.  Most of the data collection for an honors theses occurs during winter quarter, but may continue during spring quarter

Spring Quarter - Writing the Thesis
During Spring quarter, while receiving 4 units of academic credit under HDS 194C, honors candidates will meet regularly with their faculty advisor and begin writing the drafts of their honors thesis.  All Honors students are required to present their thesis during an oral presentation, usually at the UCSD Undergraduate Research Conference in 5th week of spring.

Submission of the final thesis by end of spring quarter concludes the student's participation in the HDS Honors Program.

Requirements for Successful Completion of the HDS Honors Program

  1. Maintenance of a major GPA of 3.25 in all HDS courses until graduation.
  2. Completion of HDS 194A, B & C with a grade of A- or higher, resulting in an honors thesis at the end of spring quarter. Note: Students may petition to credit HDS 194C as a development elective for the HDS major. Additionally HDP 194B fulfills the Methods Elective requirement for the HDS Bachelor of Science, regardless of whether students complete the honors program in its entirety.
  3. An oral presentation of the final thesis presented to the HDS Executive Faculty or at the UCSD Undergraduate Research Conference. 
  4. Approval of final thesis by the faculty advisor and the Human Developmental Sciences executive faculty.

Upon graduation, level of honors distinction in Human Developmental Sciences will be given based on the Major GPA in all HDS 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.

What if I don't meet all the criteria at the end of Spring?

Any student who completes a year-long research sequence in HDS is acknowledged under HDS's Advanced Research Program. Advanced research candidates also complete a research presentation and thesis, and are presented with a certificate of completion by the program.

Click here to see a list of current HDS honors projects.

View Current Honors Projects

Click here to see past HDS honors projects that were completed in previous years.

View Past Honors Projects