Thesis and Dissertation Procedures

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Thesis and Dissertation Procedures (Section 8)

(This information has been taken directly from the 2013 Graduate Student Handbook. You can download the entire handbook, along with other years' handbooks here.)

  1. At the time of application for admission to candidacy for the M.S. degree or at the time of successful completion of the Ph.D. Qualifying requirements, a student decides on a problem area for investigation. The student writes a proposal in the area delineating a particular problem to be researched. The proposal is then submitted to a faculty member from the Department of Psychology whom the student wishes to serve as chair of the, thesis or dissertation committee. In most cases, a faculty member holding a primary appointment in the Department of Psychology serves as chair. However, a faculty member holding a secondary appointment in the Department of Psychology may serve as a co-chairperson of a thesis or dissertation committee provided that a faculty member holding a primary appointment in the Department serves as the other co-chair. In the case of dissertations, the chairperson (or co-chairperson with a primary appointment in the Department) must also be a member of the graduate faculty. (A list of graduate faculty members may be found in the current Bulletin of the Graduate School.)

  2. After a faculty member has agreed to chair a research committee on the chosen problem, the student and the faculty member approach other faculty members with copies of the student's preliminary proposal and determine whether each would be willing to serve on the committee. The minimum number of members for a thesis committee is three; one member must be from the regular (not adjunct or secondary) faculty of the Department of Psychology and (for the thesis only) one must be a University faculty member from outside the Department. At least one member of the thesis committee must be a member of the graduate faculty


    The minimum number of members for a dissertation committee is five. All Committee members must hold a primary appointment in some Department of the University of Miami or hold an adjunct appointment in the Department of Psychology. Three members, including the chair or co-chair of the committee, must be members of the graduate faculty of the University of Miami. At least two members of the committee, including the chair or co-chair, must be from the primary Psychology faculty, and a majority of the committee must hold appointments in the Department of Psychology (primary, secondary, or adjunct). One member must be from outside the primary faculty of the department.

  3. When a committee chair and a sufficient number of qualified faculty members have reviewed the student's preliminary proposal and agreed to serve, they inform the Chairman of the Department in writing of this and he or she will file their statements with a copy of the proposal in the student's permanent Department file. (The form used for notifying the Department Chairman of Faculty members' willingness to serve on thesis and dissertation committees (form1) appears in APPENDIX L.)

  4. At this point, the Department Chairman will recommend to the Dean of the Graduate School that a thesis or dissertation committee be appointed and the student be admitted to M.S. or Ph.D. candidacy. The student may now be permitted to register for PSY 710 or PSY 730 as appropriate. Students may not be admitted to candidacy in the same semester they intend to graduate.

  5. The student, after due consultation with his or her committee, will then prepare a final written proposal to include a definitive statement of the problem and its significance along with the detailed design for the conduct of the research.

  6. Two weeks after the final proposal has been circulated to the committee the committee will meet with the student to consider any objections or suggestions for revision and will either order such revisions as it considers necessary or approve the design. (The form used for obtaining committee members' approval may be found in APPENDIX L (form2). The forms should be placed in the student's Department file by the committee chair.) Clinical students must propose their Ph.D. dissertation proposal before applying for internship programs (typically in the Fall of their fourth or fifth year).

  7. Following the final approval by the thesis or dissertation committee, and approval by the appropriate ethics committee(s) when human subjects are to be used, the student will begin to conduct the research. The actual execution of the research is carried out by the student independently, in consultation with his or her committee. Procedural modifications within the general framework of the proposal may occur with committee approval, although the student is expected not to depart drastically from the original proposal.

  8. Following the execution of the research, the student will prepare the thesis, or dissertation manuscript. The Graduate School has granted permission to the Department of Psychology to have theses and dissertations written in a form consistent with the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. Students should follow the Manual in preparation of all research reports. Additional preparation guidelines may be obtained from the Dissertation Secretary, Graduate School, Albert Pick Hall (Brescia Avenue). Thesis and dissertations can be written in a publication style to facilitate publication. At the advisor’s discretion, students can be asked to complete more lengthy literature reviews and discussions.

    The Department of Psychology will assess all theses, dissertations and qualifying papers for potential plagiarism (see plagiarism, p. 32) using commercially available software, such as the "Safe Assignment" program provided by the Office of Instructional Advancement. All students are required to submit an electronic version of their thesis, dissertation, and/or qualifying paper to Pat Perreira at least two weeks prior to submission of the document to the Graduate School for this purpose. Students are encouraged to run their documents through the "Safe Assignment" program before they submit the document to scan for potential problems. As noted in the Graduate Student Handbook section on "Retention and Termination", evidence of plagiarism is grounds for dismissal from the program.

  9. Upon completion of the master's thesis or doctoral dissertation, a Final Oral Examination will be scheduled, held, and evaluated by the thesis or dissertation committee. At least two weeks prior, all committee members should be provided with a clean copy of the project, thesis or dissertation. The date chosen should allow sufficient time for the student's committee members to read and judge the manuscript and allow the student sufficient time to make any necessary corrections prior to the Graduate School deadline associated with the anticipated commencement. The oral examination is open to all members of the University community, although responsibility for the examination itself is vested in the committee, which has supervised the research. The examination is intended to center upon the context of the thesis, or dissertation itself, although it may extend into areas within the general scope of Psychology

  10. The chair and members of the thesis or dissertation committee must sign the appropriate forms obtained from the Graduate School or Psychology Department (APPENDIX L; form3) to certify successful completion of the Final Oral Examination. The student is responsible for obtaining these forms and filling out the necessary background information prior to the final oral examination.

  11. Following the Final Oral Examination any further corrections or revisions to the thesis, or dissertation are executed. For theses and dissertations, three unbound copies of the final manuscript, with a summary abstract (600 words or less) and the appropriately signed Graduate School forms, are then transmitted to the office of the Graduate School on or before the date specified in the current Graduate School Calendar. Theses/dissertations should be submitted and approved by the Graduate School no later than the end of the semester following the defense.

  12. Any thesis or dissertation is considered an "Educational Record" to the public, or may be subject to publication, prior to these documents being made available by consent from the student.

  13. Expectations will be set that students will review their completed thesis and dissertation for potential publication possibilities, and they will submit relevant papers ideally within 6 months after a defense. This expectation will be monitored on the pink sheet research evaluation forms.

Form 1 (Appendix L)
download .pdf version here: form1
Form 2 (Appendix L)
download .pdf version here: form2
Form 3 (Appendix L)
download .pdf version here: form3
Plagiarism Section
download .pdf version here: plagiarism