Human Brain Chart

Academic Programs

The Senior Project

In your junior year, you will describe your plans for senior project taking into account your preparation, and the Psychology Program will match you with an appropriate advisor. 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 (written in the future tense), and should include all potential measures, detailed data analytic plans, and predicted results section (see below for more detail). Seniors should not be enrolled in an Advanced Methodology course, except in unusual circumstances and with prior approval from faculty.

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. Attend meetings prepared!
  • Senior Project Statement – You will submit a short description of your project (about 1 page) in which you: 1. State your research question 2. Indicate whether you plan to complete the SSt or SM&C model (and whether this is the division into which you are moderated – you can check on BIP if you’re unsure) 3. Indicate whether you plan to collect data, and if so, describe your plans for doing so and estimate your expenses.
  • 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. Midway papers should be at least 10-12 double-spaced pages of text, in addition to your cover page, references, appendices, etc.
  • Senior Project Midway Meeting – Your meeting with your committee is an excellent opportunity for feedback – 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. The board is comprised of at least one member of the psychology program and at least two other faculty from Bard. Additional persons, such as staff or persons from other institutions may serve on the board.
  • Midway Senior Project PowerPoint Presentation – You will deliver a 5-minute presentation to the program faculty and your peers. Spring Senior Is will either deliver this presentation to their board or at a Program colloquium.
  • Final Senior Project Poster Session – Students graduating from the SM&C Division will present a poster with other SM&C majors at the end of the Senior II semester in RKC.
  • Final Senior Project Board – You will meet with your board and discuss your submitted Senior Project. Students graduating in the SSt Division will deliver a 15 minute presentation at the beginning of their final 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 unwelcome 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.

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    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 form (that will be distributed via email) to the Psychology Program Chair by the end of their Senior I semesters.

    To be reimbursed for approved expenses, students must complete the following by May 31 of their senior year:

  • Complete a check request form. To access this form, search for “Bard Check Request”. (A copy is currently available at “Check Requisition Form” here:, but URLs change!)
  • Under “vendor,” list your own name and the address where you want the check to be mailed.
  • “Department” is Psychology.
  • Leave the account number blank.
  • Submit the check request form and all original receipts to the Psychology Program Chair. Include a second copy of the check request form and the original receipts. If you use funds for subject payments, you should submit:
  • A form with signatures from paid subjects (in the case where multiple subjects are paid a set amount)
  • A cancelled check as proof payment and an email acknowledgement from the subject reading "I certify that I won the lottery associated with [your] senior project, and have received $XX as payment." (In the case where subject payment is via lottery); or a copy of the receipt for a lottery gift card.
  • The Program Chair will sign the form, provide an account number and return the form to you. You should then place it in Campus Mail to Tracy Zigner.
    Students are also encouraged to seek out additional funding opportunities, such as the Dean Stuart Stritzler-Levine Seniors- to-Seniors Scholarship.

    Senior Project Grading

    The Final Senior Project Grade will be determined by all members of the project board and will be based on the rubric provided below. Performance on all aspects of the project, including the final senior project board and Powerpoint presentations, will be assessed. The Board will inform the student at the end of the meeting whether the Project has received a passing grade. The Board will then discus and finalize grades in conjunction with all faculty in the Psychology Program later in the week (or following weeks). Once the final grade is determined, advisors will contact advisees to share the grade and provide additional feedback.

    Pass/ Fail Policy: As a general rule, Senior Projects may not be taken Pass/ Fail. The Psychology Program, in consultation with the Dean of Students, may allow a student to receive a Pass/ Fail grade for Senior Project if: 1. There are extenuating documented circumstances and 2. Such a decision is reached by the Add/ Drop date of the Senior II semester.
    Grades will be based both on the quality of the project and on the effort put into the project. Please note that final grade determination will be based on quality and effort demonstrated across both semesters! Thus, strong effort in the second semester cannot make up for poor effort during first semester, and consistent and prolific production of writing in second semester cannot make up for a lack of writing during first semester.