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Because the bound thesis or dissertation is a "publication" of the University of West Florida, the University sets certain standards of format, paper, reproduction, binding, and approval which must be followed by students in all academic disciplines. The  sets forth those standards. The Thesis and Dissertation Guide is also intended to serve as an aid to faculty involved in the supervision and direction of master's theses.

By way of a written proposal and research proposal evaluation meeting, students get advance approval from their thesis committee regarding all aspects of the proposed research: design, procedure, analysis, etc. Any changes in this plan should be discussed with the committee beforehand. A Thesis Research Form is filled out by the committee and placed in the student's file. Upon conclusion of the project, the student submits a research paper, which conforms to the Thesis and Dissertation Guide and contains, in modified APA style, the following components as appropriate:

  • an abstract
  • a review of the relevant literature and a statement of the research problem and hypothesis
  • the methods used in the study
  • the results obtained in the study
  • a discussion of what took place, what the results mean, how the project might be improved upon, etc.

Guidelines for Thesis

  1. Content of the thesis may be any significant or justifiable contribution to psychology. This includes (but is not limited to) controlled research studies, replication of critical findings, systematic case studies or observations, theoretical reviews and practical manuals.
  2. Based on the student's area of interest, a thesis chairperson is chosen from among the department faculty, and submit the Thesis Project Form. This should be done as early as possible. Note: The thesis chairperson need not be the same person as the academic advisor. For selection assistance, students should consult with their academic advisor and review the faculty specialties in the Faculty section of this handbook. All thesis hours must be registered with the thesis chairperson.
  3. The topics and mechanics of the thesis are decided between the student and the thesis chairperson. Mechanics include degree to which the chairperson will be involved in recruiting human subjects, data collection, data analysis, writing and editing.
  4. During each term the student works on the thesis, from the proposal to acceptance of the thesis in the Library, the student must register for at least 1 sh of thesis credit (PSY 6971). A total of 6 sh of thesis credit are required for the master's degree, and no more than 6 sh will count toward the 42 sh required for graduation. Note: Upon completion of 6 semester hours of thesis credit, graduate students who continue thesis work must register for at least one semester hour of credit each semester (not including summer) thereafter until the thesis is approved by the Graduate School and submitted to the library. Failure to register for thesis hours for 3 consecutive semesters will result in the student having to reapply to the program, subject to the policies and procedures in effect at that time. Students who do not maintain continuous enrollment will be charged for 1 semester hour of thesis credit per semester for each semester during the time they were not continuously registered. A thesis grade of “G” (deferred) will be given until the final thesis has been approved by the Graduate School.
  5. As early as possible, and preferably while formulating the thesis proposal, the student selects a thesis committee. In addition to the thesis chairperson, the committee must include at least one other Psychology faculty member, joint appointee or faculty associate who adds diversity of expertise. Students are encouraged to consider having a third committee member from another department, such as Mathematics/Statistics. The thesis chairperson will assist the student in selecting the other members of the committee.
  6. A research proposal evaluation meeting will be held to determine whether the student has the necessary skills to complete the project, to discuss possible modifications of the project and ultimately, to approve the project. The written thesis proposal should be given to each member of the thesis committee at least two weeks before the scheduled meeting. Drafts of the proposal, as well as the thesis, should always be given to the chairperson for review before other committee members receive copies. Faculty strive to return all drafts within two weeks.
  7. Upon completion of the thesis project, the student must give all members of the committee a copy of the final draft of the thesis at least two weeks before the oral defense. The thesis must comply with the Thesis and Dissertation Guide and the APA Publication Manual. Use the Capstone Confirmation Form and consult with your thesis chairperson to ensure you meet these guidelines.
  8. During orals, the student is challenged by the committee to defend the thesis and is examined on knowledge of psychology in areas related to the thesis topic. Following orals, the committee will probably require the student to revise the thesis and/or possibly retake orals. The student should expect to spend some time on revisions of the thesis after the orals, and should additionally allow two weeks for the department chair to review the final draft and request further revision and reprocessing before submitting thesis to the Graduate School.
  9. Once revisions are complete the final draft must go through authentication. Either the thesis chair or the student should call or email CUTLA Services for iThenticate to get authorization to use the authentication service, iThenticate. The student should also complete the Student Certification of Originality form, which will need be turned in with other forms to the Graduate School (see #10).
  10. Final draft must be submitted electronically via ProQuest four weeks prior to the end of classes for the term in which the student expects to receive the grade. Before electronic submission of the final draft, hard copies of signed transmittal forms, signature pages, and originality certifications must be delivered to the Graduate School. A thesis will not be accepted for review until the hard copies of the forms have been received. Note: If there is any doubt about acceptance of the thesis, a period longer than the recommended four weeks must be allowed for revision and reprocessing.
  11. The minimum time sequence is as follows:
    • 2nd week of the semester – submit draft to committee chair
    • 4th week of the semester – submit approved draft by committee chair to all committee members
    • 5th week of the semester – defend thesis in oral exam
    • 6th week of the semester – submit revised copy of approved committee draft to department chair
    • 8th week of the semester – submit revised copy approved by department chair to the Graduate School
    • Last week of the semester – submit final approved copy of thesis to the Library for binding

Thesis Forms