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 2017-2018 Graduation with Distinction Handbook.


2017 GwD Awardees


(L-R, 4th Row):
Sophie Alman, Lindsey Bass, Tuan-Dat Nguyen, Noah Triplett (L-R, 3rd Row): Julia Carp, Meghan Clifford, Mikella Green, Arielle Kahn, Ling-Ling Zhou (L-R, 2nd Row): Leighton Durham, Katalina Bock, Cortney Dable, Elizabeth Kim,
 Sakura Takahashi (L-R, 1st Row) Joseph Levy, Xin Tong Lim, Bianca Martin, Mirai Matsuura, Gaurie Mittal

Theses Titles and Committee Chairs

Sophie Alman: Can Reminders Of Brands Make People Happier Than Reminders Of Romantic Partners? Perceived Control And Self-Esteem As Mediators Of Brand/Partner Comparison (Dr. Gavan Fitzsimons, Fuqua School of Business)

Lindsey Bass: Recognizing Errors In Fiction: Does Reduced Transportation Promote Detection? (Dr. Elizabeth Marsh, Psychology and Neuroscience)

Katalina Bock: The Coca-Cola Concept: Can Marketing Orientation Mitigate Materialism's Adverse Aftermath? (Dr. Robert Thompson, Psychology and Neuroscience)

Julia Carp: Women, Infants, And Children Providers' Perceptions Of Managing Obesity In Pregnancy: A Qualitative Study (Dr. Gary Bennett, Psychology and Neuroscience)

Meghan Clifford: Beyond Behavior: An Examination Of The Associations Between Social Cognition, Aggression, And Friendship Quality (Dr. Steven Asher, Psychology and Neuroscience)

Cortney Dable: Validation: A New Way To Help Friends Better Deal With Pain? (Dr. Timothy Strauman, Psychology and Neuroscience)

Leighton Durham: Nasty Women: Women's Affective and Cognitive Responses To The 2016 Election And Indirect Sexism (Dr. Laura Richman, Psychology and Neuroscience)

Mikella Green: Effects Of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy On Cognitive Vulnerabilities To Depression: A Quality Improvement Project (Dr. Moria Smoski, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences)

Arielle Kahn: Reducing The Achievement Gap: Why Are Self-Affirmation Interventions Effective? (Dr. Christina Grimes, Psychology and Neuroscience)

Elizabeth Kim: Broad Bracketing Induces Utilitarian Consumer Decisions (Dr. Dan Ariely, Fuqua School of Business)

Joseph Levy (Zener Award Winner): Mindful Moments: The Efficacy And Acceptability of Extremely Brief Mini-Meditations (Dr. Moria Smoski, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences)

Xin Tong Lim: Experience Sampling: Daily Self-Compassion, Affect, And Stress (Dr. Timothy Strauman, Psychology and Neuroscience)

Bianca Martin: A Shift From Recreational To Medicinal? Comparing Motives Of Marijuana Use, Psychiatric, And Physical Symptoms Across HIV-Status (Dr. Christina Meade, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences)

Mirai Matsuura: From Rewarding To Remembering: The Association Between Food Reward Responsiveness And Food-Related Autobiographical Memories (Dr. Nancy Zucker, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences)

Gaurie Mittal: Sensory Features Of Preferred Foods In Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) (Dr. Nancy Zucker, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences)

Tuan-Dat Nguyen: The Relationship Between Religiosity And Psychosocial Features In Lung Transplants Candidates (Dr. Robert Thompson, Psychology and Neuroscience)

Sakura Takahashi: Explaining Your Lateness: Time Estimation, But Not Inhibition, May Affect Time Management Ability (Dr. Rick Hoyle, Psychology and Neuroscience)

Noah Triplett: The Influence Of Race And Ethnicity In Psychiatric Emergency Services (Dr. Eve Puffer, Psychology and Neuroscience)

Ling-Ling Zhou: Fruit Or Chocolate? How Choices For Friends Affect Subsequent Choices For Self (Dr. Gavan Fitzsimons, Fuqua School of Business)


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 the last day of the drop/add period of the spring semester.

Have questions?

If you have any questions about the GwD program in Psychology & Neuroscience, contact the Undergraduate Studies Office in 242 Soc Psy, at duspsychology@duke.edu, or 919-660-5719.

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