Graduation with Distinction

The Graduation with Distinction Program (GwD) in Psychology & Neuroscience is intended for students interested in completing a significant research project during their undergraduate career. This is especially important for students planning to pursue graduate education in psychology but is highly recommended for any student with a strong interest in research. See our Graduation with Distinction Handbook.

Who is eligible to enroll in GwD?

Students majoring or minoring in Psychology; students enrolled in Program II.

Overall GPA of at least 3.0 and Psychology GPA of at least 3.5 (GPA points are not rounded; psychology GPA does not include grades for Independent Study or GwD Course)

Students may register for the Graduation with Distinction program without meeting these GPA requirements but will not receive Distinction if these GPA requirements are not eventually met. 

Summary of GwD Requirements

Two-semester research project during their senior year.

Thesis defense in front of a three-person committee.

Enroll in the Honors class during spring of their senior year (PSY 496). This course carries a full credit and counts towards the major. 

The actual thesis generally takes the form of an empirical journal article in psychology.  The goal is for students to complete a thesis that can be submitted for publication.  An overview of the thesis requirements can be found here.

How to enroll in GwD

To enroll in the Graduation with Distinction program, you must complete and register for Independent Study during the fall of your senior year and submit the GWD application form by the first day of regular registration in the fall. Once we receive your requests to register for GwD, you will be given a permission number to register in the course. Both of these required forms (the independent study form and the GWD application form) can be found on our forms page.

Students planning to graduate in December must submit their forms by last day of drop/add period of the spring semester.

Have questions?

If you have any questions about the GwD program in Psychology & Neuroscience contact either  Natalia Silva Harwood at 919-660-5719 or

For general information on the University-wide Graduation with Distinction Program, please click here.