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Thesis Proposal and Defense Meeting Deadlines for Clinical Psychology

At a minimum, each student must complete a brief, three-to-five page thesis prospectus prior to the second Monday of April of their first year. This prospectus must be reviewed and approved by the student’s mentor and submitted to the Clinical Section director prior to the deadline. The prospectus may include a brief outline and overview of the relevant literature and may include a methodology and timeline for the completion of the thesis. If students do not meet this deadline, they will receive an automatic Type II letter at the end of the year.

Students should have an approved thesis proposal by the Friday of the first week of classes during Spring Semester of their second year. Those students not meeting this deadline will get an automatic Type II evaluation at the end of the year (even if they have proposed between the deadline and the end of year evaluations) and will be reviewed by the Clinical Section for possible action to get them back on schedule. If students do not have a thesis proposal accepted by their committee by the last day of classes during Spring semester of their second year, they will be automatically dismissed from the program. The purpose of this policy is to ensure that students make appropriate progress toward completion of the thesis by the completion deadline; that deadline is the last day of classes in Fall Semester of the third year.

Thesis research will take a lot longer than students may think. If students work on their thesis proposal during the Spring semester of their first year in the context of the Advanced Research Methods course (PSY 6120), this likely will facilitate progress on the project. The research proposal that students prepare in spring semester of their first year should further prepare them for their thesis proposal.

In order to facilitate meeting proposal and defense deadlines, it is recommended that students start trying to schedule the meeting two or three weeks in advance of when they want it to occur. People are busy, and it may take several days just to schedule the meeting. Students are not allowed to set up a meeting until their thesis director says they can. Also, the director must approve the final copy of the document before it can be distributed to other members of the committee. Students are not allowed to start collecting data before the committee approves the thesis proposal. The thesis committee may require changes in procedures that render such pre-collected data useless, which means a student will have wasted a lot of time and effort as well as some of the department’s materials and resources.

Once the thesis proposal is approved, students should begin preparing the materials for the project. The department provides some funding to help defray the costs of the research project (see section on “Research Support”). The main office administrators will help students get the materials they need.

If a student does not expect to be able to meet the fall semester of the third year deadline for completing the thesis, they may appeal to the Clinical Section for an extension of the deadline. An appeal is appropriate if circumstances that were beyond the student’s control delayed completion of the thesis. Personal illness, significant equipment failure, and lack of appropriate participants when using a special population are among the reasons that may be acceptable. Procrastination or lack of adequate planning do not count. Students should submit appeals as soon as they know that they will not be able to make the deadline. Note that the section will consider requests for extensions only from students whose thesis proposals were approved by the Friday of the first week of classes during spring semester of their second year. Continuation of funding will be contingent on either completing the thesis on time or a successful appeal for an extension of the deadline.

In the case when the section does not support the student’s appeal, if the student completes the thesis between the end of Fall semester and the last day of classes of Spring semester of their third year, funding will be resumed at the beginning of the following semester after the student successfully defends their thesis. If the thesis is not successfully defended by the last day of classes during the third year, the student will be automatically dismissed from the program.