The following guidelines are meant to provide the thesis student and his/her committee with concrete procedures for the initiation and completion of a Master's thesis.

The Thesis Student

  • The student must be a degree candidate to register for the thesis (PSY610).
  • The student must a) select a research topic, b) select a thesis committee, and c) write a comprehensive thesis proposal to be approved by the committee.
  • The student should select a primary thesis advisor as chair of the thesis committee whose expertise is close to the chosen thesis topic.
  • The thesis should be completed during no more than two semesters, and can be taken for no more than 6 credits. Students usually develop thesis topics from the Research Report (PSY600). The student should sign up for PSY610 only after committee approval of the thesis proposal.
  • The thesis proposal should at least include the following three sections: a) a statement of the problem (including objectives and/or hypotheses), b) a comprehensive review of the literature, and c) a methodology section. The proposal must be approved by the thesis committee and the Department Research Review committee or University Human Subjects Subcommittee before the student can begin data collection. A proposal written in APA format will save much time during the final write up.
  • After data collection, analysis and write up, the student will defend the thesis in an oral examination, open to all who wish to attend. A date for the oral exam will be identified by the student and thesis committee. The exam date will be published two weeks prior to the exam, with notices going to the Graduate Dean, the Dean of Arts and Sciences, the Provost, and Psychology faculty. Unanimous approval of the thesis by the thesis committee is necessary for a successful defense.
  • The completed thesis, including the signed approval sheet, must be delivered to the library prior to graduation and before a grade is given for the course.
  • Additional information regarding thesis requirements is given in the Appendix of the printed Handbook for the Graduate Programs in Psychology. This Guide is available from the Graduate Coordinator and is a must for any thesis student.
  • Additional information regarding University requirements for the thesis is given in the "Guide to the Preparation of the Master's Thesis." This guide is available from the Graduate Coordinator of The Graduate School and is a "must" for all thesis students.

The Thesis Committee

  • The thesis committee consists of at least three members, two of whom must be from the Department of Psychology.
  • The third member of the committee may be chosen from the faculty of the University or from outside the University, and should have some expertise/knowledge about the thesis topic. The third member must be approved by the two Psychology members.
  • Thesis committees must be approved by the Dean of The Graduate School prior to beginning the thesis. Approval of thesis committee forms can be obtained from the thesis advisor, the Graduate Coordinator, or the The Graduate School.
  • The thesis advisor serves as the committee chairperson, and is expected to have major responsibility for guiding the student, including helping select committee members. The chairperson must be a member of the Department of Psychology.
  • The grade for the thesis should be determined by the committee, and recorded by the advisor.
  • Any exceptions to the above points must be approved by the Graduate Committee.