Thesis Proposal

See Chapter IV, heading Doctor of Philosophy, subheading Program Regulations

Department of Psychology Form: Approval of PhD Thesis Proposal

Look for "Area-specific thesis proposal" below CONTENTS for area-specific guidance if it exists. 

Area-specific thesis proposal PHD IO

Every I/O PhD student will be expected to submit a Proposal that contains the following sections:

1. Introduction

2. Method

3. Analyses and Proposed Results

4. Proposed Implications

All proposals will be reviewed against the following criteria.


Comprehensively summarizes and references the relevant literature as it pertains to the thesis topic.

Critically points out the most relevant and important theories and empirical evidence to establish a clear purpose and contribution for the thesis.

Demonstrates an accurate and deep understanding of the research literature (the authors/ theorists would be in full agreement with their ideas or findings being summarized in this way).

Hypotheses are well substantiated and clearly follow from the literature review.


Research design is clearly articulated and follows logically from the literature review.

The method allows for the optimal testing of the research hypotheses.

All relevant measures are described in detail and appropriate based on the subject matter of the thesis.

Drafts of all critical materials, as agreed upon by the committee, are included in the Method section or in an Appendix.


Proposed analyses are described in detail.

Predicted results are also presented (in tables or figures) to demonstrate a mastery of the underlying theory and proposed analyses.

Strengths and weaknesses of the research design and measurement are clearly articulated.


The implications, and importance, of the proposed findings for theory and practice are described in detail for the topic domain.


Proposal is structured with a clear organization.

All aspects of the proposal are explored in a highly systematic and disciplined manner. 

Appropriate elements of style are consistently used throughout (e.g., transition sentences between paragraphs, appropriate headings).

Sentences are clear and concise.

There are no grammatical errors.

There is consistent and accurate use of APA style.