What are the steps involved?

There will be many steps in actually completing your individual project, which will vary across individuals. Here is a checklist of required and recommended steps for thesis students...

Please note: These steps include vague dates, based on the typical schedule for students graduating in May. Exact dates will vary from year to year, and will differ for off-cycle students. Please see the official calendars.

Gain early research experience in your freshman or sophomore year. (Recommended.)

Junior Year

Begin looking for a supervisor & topic early in junior year. (Strongly recommended.)
Attend the junior thesis meeting in the fall. (Usually takes place in October; announced via departmental communications.)
Form agreement with supervisor(s). (Strongly recommended by mid-fall; Required by spring for enrollment in PSY 985 and for thesis application.)
Agree on topic and general method with supervisor(s), and begin / continue making specific plans.  (Strongly recommended by late fall / early spring; Required for thesis application in mid-spring.)
Enroll in PSY 985, Junior Thesis Tutorial in junior spring. (Strongly recommended;  Requires a 985 application form with supervisor signature.)
Make your own checklist of short-term (spring semester) and long-term goals that fit your particular needs! (Strongly recommended.)
Short-term list generally includes things like conducting literature search, writing/submitting IRB application, designing studies, preparing stimuli;
Long-term list generally includes things like recruiting subjects, running subjects, writing, analyzing data.
Find a reader for your committee (Required; see details about committee members).
Submit thesis application, including a research proposal and thesis application form (Required; deadline for primary consideration is usually the week before spring break; later applications are accepted on a case-by-case basis).
If applicable, apply for HCRP or other summer funding (HCRP application usually due after spring break).
Submit prospectus draft to UGO by last day of classes 
Before the end of spring semester, form a plan with your supervisor(s) for your prospectus meeting (absolute deadline in senior fall, but earlier is better) and your goals for making progress on your thesis. Discuss expectations for your progress and your communication with each other. (Strongly recommended.) Be especially explicit about expectations over summer break.


Make significant progress on thesis (Strongly recommended – often includes finalizing prospectus, holding prospectus meeting, finalizing IRB approval, finalizing stimuli, beginning / making significant progress on data collection, continuing literature review; See & revise your own checklists)!

Senior Year

Enroll in year-long Senior Tutorial (PSY 991; See course syllabus / website for associated requirements; Required).
Deadline for submitting final copy of complete prospectus to the UGO in early fall (usually late September; Required).
Final deadline for prospectus meeting in early fall (usually early October; Must submit final prospectus & prospectus evaluation form to UGO).
Make significant progress on thesis (Required – often includes completing data collection, analyzing data, creating figures & appendices, and writing; see & revise your checklists).
Stay in frequent communication with supervisor(s) (Strongly recommended).
By end of fall, talk to supervisor(s) about their ideal draft schedule for your thesis, and talk to them about the dates for your thesis & defense (Strongly recommended).
Submit the Progress Report and 991A Grade Recommendation Form to UGO (usually last day of classes in first semester of sophomore year; Required).
Submit thesis drafts to supervisor(s) by January or February (Strongly recommended).
Thesis (electronic copy) due to UGO in mid spring (usually week before spring break).
Poster session (usually early-April).
Thesis defense (same day or week as poster session).
Hard copy of thesis (same version as electronic copy; due to UGO in May).