Thesis Proposal

See Chapter IV, heading Doctor of Philosophy, subheading Department 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 AS

All PhD students of the Applied Social Psychology program are expected to submit a Thesis research proposal to their advisory committee and get the committee’s approval before proceeding with their Thesis research work.

There are actually many steps in developing your proposed program of work for your PhD – but they will vary with the project, the student and the advisor.  You will need to work out an individual timeline with your advisor regarding the steps needed to get your proposal done

Normally the proposal will contain the following sections:

  1. Introduction
  2. Method
  3. Analytical approach
  4. Expected results (in the case of hypothesis driven work)
  5. References
  6. Appendices

Appendices normally contain:

  • Materials for the intended study (e.g., questionnaires to be used)
  • A schedule of the research program that the candidate will follow, including a sequence of milestones and objectives.
  • Other relevant information at the discretion of the student

Please note that in some cases the schedule will involve an update of the proposed Thesis work after one or more of the proposed studies have been conducted.

Proposals length vary can vary, most are typically 25 to 50 pages in length, excluding references and appendices. Check with your advisor. Proposals should follow the most recent APA formatting guidelines.

Typically, students will submit multiple drafts of their proposals to their advisor prior to submitting it to their committee. Students should ensure to plan ahead.

A minimum of two weeks will be allowed for any Advisory Committee member, including the advisor, to evaluate any work submitted to them.

When the PhD candidate’s Advisor has deemed that the candidate’s proposal is ready to be circulated to the committee the student will send an electronic copy to members of the advisory committee.

Students are encouraged to review the Department of Psychology Statistical Methods in Theses: Guidelines and Explanations with their committee (if applicable).

Once the committee has read the proposal, a meeting of the advisory committee will be scheduled to hold a proposal examination. Typically, the examination consists of an oral presentation by the student summarizing the proposed Thesis (approximately 20 minutes) followed by questions from the Examination Committee based on the research proposal. Evaluation of the proposal will be done holistically. Numeric grades are not required; instead the work is reported as either satisfactory or unsatisfactory.

The proposal should strive to evince critical and creative thinking skills, literacy skills and communication skills and a global understanding. Proposals must be professional and adhere to the highest ethical standards. Approval of the Thesis proposal also entails consideration of the feasibility of the study in terms of time limitations, expenses, and availability of participants, as well as its theoretical and applied value.

Students should note that as stated in the graduate calendar “The thesis is expected to be a significant contribution to knowledge in its field and the candidate must indicate in what ways it is a contribution. The thesis must demonstrate mature scholarship and critical judgement on the part of the candidate and it must indicate an ability to express oneself in a satisfactory literary style. Approval of the thesis is taken to imply that it is judged to be sufficiently meritorious to warrant publication in reputable scholarly media in the field.”