Senior Project

View the Program Handbook‘s section on Senior Projects (or download the PDF). Please note that the handbook is the document of record.

Download the course requirements for majoring in Psychology here.

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.

You may view links to past senior projects here.

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 SS or SMC 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 about 10-12 double-spaced pages of text, in addition to your cover page, references, appendices, etc. An abstract should precede the remaining text.

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, and most students would benefit by discussing their plans before submitting the IRB proposal. 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. You will have the same board members as were on your midway board.

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. Learn more about Bard’s IRB.

Funding

Students may request funding from the Program to assist with their senior projects. To make such a request, students should discuss their plans with their faculty advisor, and then fill out this Google form (while signed into Bard email) by the end of their Spring semester.

Those seniors intending to compensate participants must submit a participant compensation plan as part of the linked form above, before beginning data collection, to the Program Director. The plan must indicate the following:

  1. whether data collection will take place online or in-person,
  2. the targeted number of participants, with rationale for that number (e.g., an a priori power analysis),
  3. the expected length of the study (e.g., 40 minutes),
  4. the payment rate or how participants will be paid (e.g. pro-rated 20-minute study, or drawing every 20 participants),
  5. the total expected cost, and
  6. a budget.

In-person participants should be paid at New York minimum wage ($11.80/hr in 2020; $12.50/hr beginning in 2021), per quarter-hour. That is, if you are running a 15-minute study, you should pay approximately $3 for that quarter of an hour in 2020. Online studies should be paid at the Federal minimum wage ($7.25 in 2020). Seniors who expect to pay more than this minimum wage should include their reasoning in their participant compensation plan (see above). Drawings, raffles, and other alternate compensation methods may also be used where appropriate. Seniors who collect data online should consult with their advisor about possible fees charged by online payment systems.

Students are also encouraged to seek out additional funding opportunities, such as the Dean Stuart Stritzler-Levine Seniors-to-Seniors Scholarship.

Grading

The Final Senior Project Grade will be determined by all members of the project board and will be based on the rubric provided in the psychology program handbook. Performance on all aspects of the project, including the final senior project board and oral 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 discuss and finalize grades in conjunction with Psychology Program faculty by the end of the semester. EITHER, the student chooses to proceed with the traditional system of the full letter grade range (A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D, F) OR the student chooses to proceed with the A, Pass, D, Fail option.

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 lack of writing during first semester.