PhD Dissertation

One of the central components of the PhD degree is the completion of a dissertation research project under the supervision of a faculty member. The type of research project conducted will vary significantly depending on the research interests of the student and the interests of their primary supervisor. Some of the main steps most projects will involve include writing a project proposal, obtaining ethics review, collecting data, analyzing data, and writing up a dissertation. 

The PhD dissertation project provides a unique opportunity for students to demonstrate mastery of the skills they have acquired through their education by contributing original knowledge to their subject area.

Throughout the fall and winter semesters the Applied Social Area also holds weekly colloquia during which students will typically present their PhD project proposals and their findings once the project is completed. These colloquia provide a unique opportunity for students to develop their presentation skills as well as to receive valuable feedback on their projects as they evolve.

Eligible students are also expected to apply for scholarships in support of their research. Typically students will apply for Ontario Graduate Scholarship, for scholarships from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) (or the relevant Tri-Council agency) and funding from relevant organization providing funds for the type of issues targeted by the students project. These applications provide opportunities for students to develop engaging writing skills and to receive feedback on them. These skills are valuable for careers in academia, in which grant writing is an important activity, and for applied careers, in which concise and compelling writing is also a valuable skill.

In addition, the structure of the program also aims for students to share the contributions made by their research in the form of conference presentations, published articles and other formats aimed at scholarly audiences and/or practioners.

Through these and other activities the Applied Social Psychology PhD dissertation project provides our students with a unique experiential learning experience directed toward the pursuit of: (1) research in practical or applied settings (e.g., community organizations or consulting firms) and/or (2) research in academic settings (e.g., universities and colleges).

Please note that departmental milestones require students to have completed their dissertation proposal by the end the 3rd semester and their dissertation defended by their 12th semester (typically by the start of the 12th semester). The qualifying exam should be completed by the 5th semester.