Psychological Science MS Degree Thesis

Students ponder thesis requirements.


A thesis research proposal will be evaluated by the student’s thesis committee before thesis research may formally begin and before the student is advanced to candidacy. The thesis committee includes:

  • the student’s adviser (chair of the committee),
  • one other member of the Department of Psychological Science,
  • and an appropriately qualified member from outside the department.

A faculty member in another department may substitute for the department member, with approval of both the thesis adviser and the department. An open oral defense of the thesis is required. The thesis will demonstrate the student’s capacity for independent work of acceptable scientific caliber. It must be completed within three years of completion of all course requirements.

General Thesis Process

  • Obtain advisor
    • Oversees work on thesis
    • Serve as Thesis Committee Chair
  • Form thesis idea (this might come before picking out an advisor)
  • Form thesis committee
    • Work with advisor to determine committee members
    • Obtain thesis committee form
    • Have committee members sign form agreeing to serve on the committee
    • Submit signed form to Dept Secretary
  • Propose thesis to committee
    • Written proposal with literature review, hypotheses, proposed methods, and proposed analytic plan
    • Oral proposal/presentation to thesis committee
  • Obtain IRB or IACUC approval, if needed (this may occur before or in parallel with the proposal)
  • Conduct thesis project
    • Funding options (go to for opportunities)
      1. Department support may be available
      2. Spooner Grant
        • Due 9/15, 1/15, or 3/15 each year
      3. Excellence in Education Grant
        • Due 2/15 each year
  • Write thesis in consultation with thesis advisor
    • Follow APA style
    • Follow formatting guidelines posted here
  • Present and defend thesis
    • Public oral presentation, which may contain a private defense with the committee
  • Make thesis revisions if necessary
  • Turn in thesis to Graduate College

Links to Thesis forms and materials: