Psychology Masters Thesis Process

The Masters Thesis

The thesis is normally the culmination of a candidate's research; submission of the thesis represents the completion of the final requirement for the degree being sought.

Since the thesis is normally the culmination of the student's work on a particular degree, the writing typically begins when all coursework has been completed. In consultation with the primary supervisor, the student decides on a general topic and undertakes appropriate research. When a draft of reasonable completeness has been finished and approved by the primary supervisor, the thesis is submitted for examination.

For a higher degree, the examination will usually include an oral defense. A thesis defense , also known as "defending one's thesis," oral defense , viva voce , and various other names, is a type of final examination for a master's candidate. The purpose of the thesis defense is to test the candidate's knowledge of his or her subject area and thinking in related areas, and to test the candidate's knowledge of and ability to explain his or her theses.

The examining committee consists of professors from the university, including the candidate's primary supervisor and members of his or her advisory committee, as well as professors from other departments and, sometimes, an external examiner. Each committee member will have been given a copy of the thesis prior to the defense, and will come prepared to ask questions about the thesis itself and the subject matter.

Copyright (c) 2006 Sam Houston State University. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify the section The Thesis Process under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later versions published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts.

Direction on thesis preparation, submission of final copies and deadlines can be found through the following sites:

Thesis Process Checklist

  1. Student selects a topic and assembles a committee.

    Send Appointment of Thesis Committee to the Dean's office.

  2. Pass comprehensive exams.

    (This needs to be completed by the deadline on the CHSS webpage. Some students might complete the comprehensive exams after the proposal defense.)

    Send Report of Comprehensive Exam to the Dean's office.

  3. Determine appropriate style manual.
  4. Secure approval for human subjects if necessary (before proposal defense).
  5. Submit draft of proposal to thesis committee.

    Defend Proposal

    • Send Proposal/Prospectus Defense Form to Dean's office.
  6. Work with Director on thesis.
  7. Submit draft to thesis committee.
  8. Take draft to Library for approval of basic style and format

    (6 weeks prior to graduation).  

  9. Defend thesis.

    (This must occur before thesis will be accepted for signatures.)

  10. Make corrections. Return to Director.
  11. Secure signatures of the Thesis Committee on the Approval page ( bond paper) and signature of the Thesis Director on the Thesis Route Sheet.

    (Note: This is the Office of Graduate Studies Thesis Route Sheet. It is the only acceptable form. After completing all shaded areas (some have a drop-down, while others require typing) print and acquire all the appropriate signatures.)

  12. Take thesis, signed approval page (bond paper), and Route Sheet to Dean's office.

    (Director signature should be on Route Sheet & approval page.)

  13. Make recommended changes.

    Return corrected copy to Dean's office for signature.

  14. Take final copy (bond paper), approval page (bond paper), and Route Sheet to Library for signature.
  15. Make any changes requested.

    Return final copy plus all extra copies, approval page, extra abstract, and Route Sheet to the Library for final signature.

  16. Take Route Sheet to Graduate Studies Office.
  17. Take signed Route Sheet to the Registrar's Office.
Hillary Langley

Dr. Hillary Langley

Interim Psychology Masters Program Coordinator

CHSS 376

(936) 294-3260

For general questions about the programs or application process, please contact:


Debby Mikulin

Administrative Associate

CHSS 390

(936) 294-4933