Psychology and Child Development

College of Liberal Arts

Senior Projects

Your senior project can be a significant learning experience and an important marketing tool once you graduate. Senior project is completed in two quarters, after prerequisites are completed, typically in your senior year.

For the first quarter, students enroll in Senior Project Seminar: PSY 461 for Psychology majors and CD 461 for Child Development majors. In this course you will be assigned to a team and choose a topic of study, conduct background research, create a plan for the project, and be matched with a faculty advisor to assist in the completion of the project in the second quarter (PSY 462 or CD 462). 

Senior projects can take several different forms but all involve an approximately 20-page written product including a literature review in APA format. There are three common types of senior projects: 

1) Service Project consists of activities such as developing a manual for a community organization, or planning a workshop or creating a fundraising event for a community organization

2) Empirical Project involves collecting data to test a research hypothesis, analyzing it, and writing it up in APA style format (students should apply to the research track to prepare for this type of senior project

3) Creative Project can involve activities such as creating an educational product, children’s book, or multimedia project 

It is important to note that different faculty members may have different specific requirements.

At the end of each academic year, the department hosts a senior project symposium for seniors to present their projects and discuss them with fellow students and faculty.

An updated Senior Project Handbook will be available under the Forms & Documents link (September 2020). 

Students are not required to, but may, submit the finished senior project to the library.  See the guidelines for submitting your senior project to the Cal Poly Library.

Online Learning Update

While following the same basic pattern, we have had to make temporary adjustments to 461 and 462 for an online mode. For example, student teams are meeting with one another and professors via zoom, participating in team building and other activities via Canvas, using Google docs to complete writing assignments, and presenting their work in various formats (e.g., PowerPoint slides, the senior project symposium). Despite the sudden shift to an online environment, we are still seeing the high quality projects we’ve always seen from our PSY&CD students.

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