Paterno Fellows

Psychology has a long tradition of describing, explaining, and solving many of the problems that face the world today. A student who chooses to be a Paterno Fellow within the Department of Psychology is interested in the science and practice of understanding individual and group affect, cognitions, and behaviors. Paterno Fellows in Psychology begin by learning about basic psychological theories, methods, and practices. This knowledge is evident in their ability to perform well in their psychology classes. Fellows should then use this new knowledge to inspire innovative ideas that can help them in their activities and courses relevant to ethics, service, and leadership. Finally, Fellows in psychology develop a scientific capstone project that reflects how psychology can describe, explain, or solve specific ideas or problems in the world today.

The Paterno Liberal Arts Undergraduate Fellows Program is described here. In addition, Paterno Fellows aspiring to earn Honors in Psychology must meet the requirements described on this page. These requirements will generally be met at the end of the second year. The Psychology Honors Program is described here.

Entrance to Psychology Honors Program via The Paterno Fellows Program

To be considered for admission to the Schreyer Honors College via the Paterno Fellows route in Psychology, students must meet all of the criteria for entrance into the psychology major. In addition, they must demonstrate their excellent performance in the field of psychology by having received all As in the following core courses:

  • Psychology 100 (a 5 on the AP exam can be substituted for Psychology100)
  • Stat 200 or Psychology 200
  • Psychology 105
  • Psychology 301W

Note: Students who receive 3 As and 1 A minus will qualify as Paterno Fellows, if they have a GPA of at least 3.8 or higher.

Program Requirements

If students met these requirements by the end of their second year, aspiring Fellows become Honors students in Psychology, as specified by the Liberal Arts Paterno Fellows program. In Psychology, the capstone project is an honors thesis that must meet the same criteria as all the other theses written by psychology honors students.

Fellows should begin working on their project no later than the beginning of their third/junior year.  A faculty member in the department of psychology must agree to supervise the project, and Fellows should plan on developing their ideas for the project with that faculty member.  That is, the Fellow should plan on working with the faculty member during all stages of the process: conceptualizing the idea, testing the idea, and writing a paper that summarizes their work. While working on this project at University Park, fellows should be registered for PSYCH 494H and/or PSYCH 493H.

All Fellows must write an empirical paper that follows APA style guidelines. The paper must contain a literature review, some type of data analysis, and a discussion of how the project contributes to science and/or practice.  The paper must be completed and turned into the primary advisor by the Friday the week following Spring Break.  This deadline exists so that there will be enough time for revisions to be done and for the department to approve the project. The department will approve the final paper only if the student has submitted the paper by this deadline, except in the case of extenuating circumstances.

Fellows must present a poster about their research at the Psychology Department’s Psi Chi Undergrad Research Conference and/or at the University-wide Undergraduate Research Exhibition, both of which are after spring Break. Prior to sharing your presentation, your faculty thesis advisor must approve it.