Master's Thesis Process for Doctoral Students

En route to a PhD, all psychology doctoral students complete a master's degree, which includes a thesis project based on original scholarship conducted under the direction of a faculty advisor. A master's thesis should be a publishable research article based on empirical research conducted by the student.

The expectations for the master's thesis vary by doctoral training track. Consult with your major professor or training area program director for specific details.


All master's theses are completed in-house and do not require the University Graduate School M-1 or M-2 forms. Students are required to submit the following documents for the thesis to the Director of Graduate Studies:

Faculty are required to submit the following:

  • All master's committee members must print and fill out the Graduate Student Rubrics at the oral defense and turn them in to the Psychology Department via
  • The major professor/advisor must submit a Turnitin report at completion of the master's thesis:
    • The first page of the Turnitin report with the name of the faculty advisor as author and submitter
    • The similarity report 

Processing & Graduation

Once the Director of Graduate Studies has received your Master's Thesis Defense Memorandum and approved the thesis, a memo will be sent to the Registrar's Office, and one semester after your defense, the master's degree will appear on your transcript.

Completing these steps will allow you to have your MS appear on your transcript; obtain a diploma; and walk in the commencement ceremonies. You must have a cumulative graduate GPA of 3.0 or greater. You must be enrolled the term in which they graduate. If you are denied graduation, you must complete the requirements for graduation and reapply.