Human Brain Chart

Academic Programs

The Senior Project

Students will be asked to describe their plans for Senior Project; the Psychology Program will match students with appropriate advisors based on these submissions. It is imperative that each junior submits his or her preferences when asked (and by the deadline)! All majors work on Senior Project during their last two semesters at Bard. For students receiving a degree in the Division of Science, Mathematics, and Computing, the project must take the form of (A) an empirical study (with associated paper) or (B) a detailed proposal for an empirical project. For the latter, the proposal should be on the model of a grant proposal, and should include all potential measures, detailed data analytic plans and predicted results section (see below for more detail).  We strongly suggest that students who aspire to enroll in a psychology doctoral program consider doing an empirical study.  When enrolled in Senior Project, students should not be enrolled in an Independent Research Lab course, except in unusual circumstances and with prior approval from faculty.

Senior Project is a unique opportunity at Bard College that provides Seniors with a year-long intensive academic experience in which you gain expertise in an area of particular interest to you.  Regardless of the type of project you choose, your question must be novel, in an area of strong interest to you, and grounded in your academic background.

Project Milestones

●    Regular (e.g., weekly) meetings with Senior Project Advisor – You should consider your meetings with your project advisor as a regular class time.  This is a valuable opportunity to work one-on-one with your advisor. Attend meetings prepared! Ask questions, discuss progress, and work through specific challenges.

●    Senior Project Statement – This is an important component in the development of your senior project.  Talk to your advisor frequently about it during the first few weeks of the semester.

●    Senior Project Midway Paper – Your midway paper should describe the background and significance of your work.  In some situations, other information may be included such as research design, specific methodologies, or other project plans.  Prepare your paper according to the APA writing guide. Midway papers should be at least 10-12 double-spaced pages of text, in addition to your cover page, references, appendices, etc; depending on your project, this may be longer.
 ●   Senior Project Midway Meeting – Your meeting with your committee is an opportunity to receive additional feedback and suggestions for your work.  The more  thoughtful and detailed your proposal is at this point, the better feedback the committee can offer. If necessary, you may submit (working closely with your advisor) an IRB proposal before your midway board, but you may not begin data collection until after the board meeting. This meeting must be timed so that faculty feedback can be integrated into any potential IRB revision. 

●    Midway Senior Project PowerPoint Presentation  – This is an opportunity to present your ideas to the program faculty and your peers.  It can be a challenge to distill your ideas into a 5 minute presentation! 

●   Final Senior Project Poster Session – Here you will present your findings verbally during the poster session devoted to all students graduating in the Division of SM&C (for students moderating Spring 13’ and later).


Final Senior Project Board – see below 

Powerpoint Presentations

On a designated day toward the start of the Spring semester, each Senior will make a 5 minute presentation that includes a Powerpoint display to Program faculty and students. For students in their first semester of senior project, this will be based on the midway paper. For students in the second semester, this will be based on their final project. The keys to a successful presentation are clarity, brevity, and preparedness; and presentations must be approved by faculty advisors ahead of time (at the last senior project meeting of the senior 1 semester, for Senior IIs).

Senior Project Poster Session 

After the final senior project is handed in, each senior graduating in May from the Science, Mathematics, and Computing Division will present a poster at the Division-wide poster session. Seniors graduating the previous December are welcome to return to campus to participate, but are not required to do so. Content and formatting guidelines will be presented by the advisor well in advance of the printing deadline for these posters. Seniors graduating from the Social Studies Division (in either December or May) will not present a poster – instead, they will present a 15 minute PowerPoint presentation at the beginning of their final senior board meeting.  

Institutional Review Board (IRB)

The role of an IRB is to foster ethical treatment of human research participants. Before IRBs were instituted as a national standard, some researchers conducted studies that resulted in serious and unwelcomed consequences for the participants. For these researchers, the potential gained knowledge overshadowed the harm done to the participants. IRBs have since been instituted to make sure a balance exists between harm to subjects and potential gain.

link to page

Senior Project Funding 

Students may request funding from the Program to assist with their senior projects. To make such a request, students must submit a written request including a detailed justification and budget via email to the Psychology Program Chair by the end of their Senior I semesters.  To be reimbursed for approved expenses, students must submit all original receipts to the Psychology Program Chair by May 31 of their graduation year. If students use funds for subject payments, they should submit (a) a form with signatures from paid subjects (in the case where multiple subjects are paid a set amount); and/ or (b) a cancelled check as proof payment and an email acknowledgement from the subject reading "I certify that I won the lottery associated with [Senior's name] senior project, and have received $XX as payment."  (in the case where subject payment is via lottery).