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). Each quarter is 2 units and must be taken consecutively.

Senior projects can take several different forms including a literature review in APA format. There are several common types of senior projects.  Each involves a lengthy literature review as well as documentation of the project work.  Please see the Senior Project Guide for more details.

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 

4) Literature Review involves creating a synthesis of scholarly sources that provides a comprehensive overview of a psychological topic.

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.

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.

PSY 461 Online

While following the same basic pattern as described in the Senior Project Handbook, PSY 461 is currently being offered in an online mode. Student teams meet with one another and professors via zoom, participate in team building and other activities via Canvas, use Google docs to complete writing assignments, and present their work in various formats (e.g., PowerPoint slides, the senior project symposium). 

CD 461 In Person

CD 461 has resumed in person class meetings.  The expectations for CD 461 are similar to those for PSY 461 and follow the guidelines described in the Senior Project Handbook

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