The year-long, once-a-week seminar is for professional skill development. Discussions in class are expected to draw out scholarship and diplomacy, so that students can clearly communicate what they know to other professionals and the educated public. Occasionally, the process results in fits of laughter.
Assignments are practical exercises. These include the preparation of career statements, applications for funding, peer review, tutorial presentations, and the representation of data in graphs and posters. Weekly reading assignments are followed by exercises including writing and group problem solving. The seminar is a safe place to air original approaches and develop roles for collaboration.
A research apprenticeship is undertaken in the third year and intended to introduce you to the process of conducting research in a specific area of psychology. In collaboration with the professor who has agreed to supervise you, you will work on one or more projects, learning the methods of research in that area. Over the course of the year you should acquire the expertise to plan, organize, and conduct a research project yourself. Typically, you would become a member of the professor's laboratory and learn about the intellectual interests and scientific values of your colleagues. This opportunity for close interaction with professors and advanced students is one of the chief benefits of the program.
The apprenticeship culminates in a formal thesis proposal, which is due at the end of the second term. You will be expected to give a brief oral presentation of the proposal at the Brian Harder Honours Day Conference, which is held after the last day of classes in April.
The Honours thesis is a written report of the research project you have developed and executed over the third and fourth years. This is an opportunity to develop an original piece of work that contributes to psychological knowledge, and so it is a chance to leave your mark on the field. Indeed, some honours theses are eventually published in scholarly journals. Regardless of whether it is published, your thesis will be formal evidence of the research skills you have attained.
Students are also expected to present a summary of their thesis research at the Brian Harder Honours Day Conference in April, in the form of a poster presentation.