Senior Project

Getting Started Faculty Research Interests Due Dates
One Semester Senior Project Syllabus Two Semester Senior Project Syllabus
Forms Guidelines Statistics Resources  Submission Checklist Prizes
Senior Projects Archive

The culmination of our major is the College-wide requirement of the Senior Project. Every Alleghenian completes a Senior Comprehensive Project (known as the “Comp”), a significant piece of original work, designed by the individual student in consultation with a faculty advisor, that demonstrates to employers and/or graduate schools the ability to complete a major assignment, to work independently, to analyze and synthesize information, and to write and speak persuasively.

In psychology, the Junior Seminar is used to explore potential project areas. The project itself is completed during the senior year. Small groups of students work with a faculty member in a senior seminar, exploring ethical research standards and literature related to their topics. Under faculty supervision, students critique one another’s work and present their results orally to the group.

Getting Started

The first, and for many students, the most difficult part of a senior project is choosing the topic. The prime criterion for selecting a topic is that it must be interesting to you. There are a number of questions which you can ask yourself which may assist you in selecting a comp topic. First, if you have an idea of what you would like to do when you graduate, you can select a topic which is relevant to your future role. For example, if you think that you might be interested in some form of social service work, then find a topic which would be relevant to social service. Second, was there an issue or topic raised in a class or in your seminar which could be developed into a comp topic? Finally, is there some issue or topic in which you are sincerely interested which you would like to develop?

Keep in mind that ideas rarely occur spontaneously or “divinely.” Allow sufficient time before the deadline for the proposal to develop an interesting and sustaining topic. You should have a number of possible ideas for a comp by the beginning of the second semester in your Junior year. During the first half of the second semester, spend some time thinking about these ideas and what interests you most. Also, talk to your academic advisor as well as other faculty to get their opinions of your ideas. These conversations can be an invaluable source of feedback, ideas, and clarification.

Along with the topic, you will need to select a first and second reader for your comp. The main criterion for selecting a comp advisor (first reader) is expertise in the area. Second, you should select someone with whom you can work for a full semester. The second reader is frequently not as involved in the project as the first reader. However, this person can be very helpful in formulating the thesis. Finally, check the list of Faculty Interests to read what faculty member(s) might be interested in working with you.

Due Dates

For the 2023-2024 school year:

          • Fall 2023 one-semester project: Monday, Nov. 27 at 4 pm (two weeks before end of classes)
          • Fall 2023 two-semester project: Monday, Nov. 13 at 4 pm (four weeks before end of classes)  
          • Spring 2024 one-semester project: Monday, April 15 at 4 pm (two weeks before end of classes)
          • Spring 2024 two-semester project: Wednesday, April 3 at 4:30 pm (four weeks before end of classes)

The final orals for each student will be done during the remaining weeks of the semester on a schedule arranged by the student.

Final orals will begin with a presentation by the student of the highlights of the project just completed, usually limited to 10 minutes. Members of the board will then have an opportunity to ask questions and raise issues prompted by either the written work or the oral presentation.

Late Papers

The only acceptable circumstances that can lead to an extension beyond that deadline are those which are well beyond the control of the student. These include illness, death of animals, failure of some external agency to provide testing material on time, etc. Permission to give an extension for the completion of a senior project is a joint decision made by the first and second readers in consultation with the Psychology Department faculty. Discussions about providing an extension of the deadline should begin as soon as it becomes obvious that the project will not be completed on time.

Penalties for late papers

Failure to submit a project by the due date will result in a grade penalty of one-third of a letter grade for each day the paper is late.


Purdue OWL APA Publication Manual

Consult this document for the basics of APA style

Title and Signature Page for all Senior Projects (Word Doc)