Degarmo Hall

Doctorate in School Psychology

The doctoral program in School Psychology is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) and approved by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), the Council for Accreditation of Teacher Educator Preparation (CAEP), and the Illinois State Board of Education. APA accreditation and approval by NASP and CAEP provide recognition for graduate programs meeting national standards for the education of professional service providers in school psychology. Program accreditation and approval suggests comprehensive curriculum, high quality training, and properly supervised field experiences.

The doctorate degree can be completed in five years with full-time enrollment on campus for four years and a 12-month internship.

University Admission Requirements

A student applying to this program must:

  • Have earned a four-year bachelor's degree or its equivalent from a college or university prior to fall admission
  • Send official transcripts from each college or university other than Illinois State where graduate, undergraduate, or non-degree credit was earned. Transcripts should be emailed from the school to Admissions@IllinoisState.edu or mailed in a sealed envelope to: Office of Admissions, Campus Box 2200, Normal, IL 61790-2200

International students can learn more about specific application requirements by visiting the Office of Admissions.

Additional Program Admission Requirements

A student applying to this program must:

  • Submit a complete application by November 15
  • Have a cumulative 3.0 GPA (on a 4.0 scale) for either the last 60 hours of undergraduate coursework or at least a 3.0 GPA for 9 hours of graduate coursework
  • Have completed at least 21 hours of undergraduate psychology courses that include general psychology, experimental psychology or research methods, and psychological statistics. Applicants should have a proficiency in math, based on a passing grade in finite math or Precalculus (MAT 120 or 144 or equivalent), a grade of B or better in psychological statistics (PSY 340 or equivalent) or a score of 144 or higher on the Quantitative Reasoning section of the GRE General Test. Applicants who have not completed the required undergraduate courses may be admitted, but the missing course(s) will be added to the doctoral program's curriculum. Any missing courses must be completed during the first year of graduate study.

Applicants who have completed master's degrees in psychology must have a 3.5 graduate GPA or higher (on a 4.0 scale). Applicants with master's degrees (not in psychology) who have been employed as school psychologists are eligible for admission if academically qualified to pursue doctoral study and can demonstrate research competency (i.e., a master's thesis and research courses). Credit for master's-level courses will be determined on an individual basis. If the master's degree did not require an empirical master's thesis, applicants must complete a research apprenticeship as part of the doctoral program's curriculum.

A complete application requires:

  • Official GRE General Test scores (use institution code 1319)
  • A curriculum vitae or resume
  • A writing sample (scholarly work approximately 5-15 pages long)
  • A personal statement that addresses the following:
    • Your strengths and weaknesses (e.g., problems or aspects of your background that may negatively affect your performance in a doctoral program)
    • Research interests
    • Professional goals
    • Why did you select the doctoral program in School Psychology?
    • Why should you be admitted to the doctoral program?
    • What are your expectations for professional training in school psychology?
  • Three recommendations (see application instructions about providing names and email addresses; recommendation must be uploaded to the application)

Doctoral Interviews: January 26-27, 2017 (Thursday evening and Friday)
The application process requires campus interviews. Selected applicants will be notified about the two-day schedule. Applicants must attend both days. Travel and lodging expenses are the responsibility of the applicant. Skype interviews may be possible, in some circumstances, with the program coordinator's approval.

Admission is offered only for the fall semester and is very competitive. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission. Admission offers are sent in February. The Council for Graduate Schools stipulates that an applicant has until April 15 to accept or decline an admission offer. Some admission offers may be delayed until applicants notify the department that they are declining admission.

Admission Dates and Deadlines

Term Application Deadline
Fall (August)  November 15 
Spring (January)  No Spring admission 
Summer (May/June)  No Summer admission 

Graduate Assistantship Information

The University provides graduate assistantships as a means of financial support. They are intended as a way to facilitate a student's progress to degree while providing important professional development.

Eligibility

To be eligible for an assistantship a student must, generally:

  • be admitted as a degree-seeking student to a graduate program
  • be in good-standing
  • be enrolled full-time (typically at least 9 graduate credits) during the fall or spring semesters

Benefits

Graduate assistants receive:

  • monthly wages paid in the form of either a stipend or an hourly wage
  • a waiver for 100% of tuition during a semester of appointment
  • a waiver for up to 12 credits of tuition for the summer term immediately following a fall or spring appointment

The department awards graduate assistantships to applicants who accept admission. Graduate assistantships are subject to verification of employment eligibility under U.S. immigration laws and the receipt of anticipated state funding by the University.

Cost & Funding

See Student Accounts for information on tuition and fees. Funding for graduate students is available from several different sources. Students who have been admitted from continuous states including Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, and Wisconsin will receive in-state tuition.

Graduate Coordinator

Name Office Email Phone
Mark Swerdlik  DeGarmo 422  meswerd@ilstu.edu  (309) 438-5720 
Adena Meyers  DeGarmo 455  abmeyer@ilstu.edu  (309) 438-8069 

Plan of Study

Doctoral applicants admitted with a specialist degree in school psychology or a master's degree may receive course credit up to a maximum of 60 credits towards the doctorate in School Psychology. Advanced graduate admission is determined on an individual basis after the School Psychology Coordinating Committee reviews the student's transcripts. If the full 60 credits are approved, students enter the doctoral program in the third year of graduate study. With advanced graduate admission, the doctorate can be completed in three years including the 12-month internship and dissertation defense. At least two years of full-time graduate study must be completed at Illinois State. Based on the comprehensive nature of the doctoral program and the level of training provided, graduate students are referred to as doctoral trainees.

The School Psychology Coordinating Committee assigns a program advisor for each doctoral trainee. Program advisors are responsible for guiding trainees through the graduate curriculum, conducting annual evaluations and providing feedback to each trainee. Program advisors also assist trainees in the development of the Degree Audit Worksheet, which is available on the Doctoral Forms website. Trainees must have an approved Degree Audit Worksheet by the end of the spring semester of their second year in the doctoral program. Without an approved Worksheet, trainees cannot register for 500-level courses and are not eligible to take the comprehensive examination. Trainees must consult with their program advisor before registering for any PSY 590 Advance Practicum course. Internship sites are selected by trainees with their program advisor's approval.

Trainees may request a change in their program advisor, but only under unusual circumstances. To request a different program advisor, trainees should submit a written petition to the School Psychology Coordinating Committee that explains the circumstances for the change. The Coordinating Committee will notify the trainee, in writing, of their decision.

Program Curriculum

All program requirements are at the graduate level and a minimum of 113 credits are required for the doctorate degree. Graduate credit is not awarded for remedial courses. Prerequisite courses, usually taken as an undergraduate student, cannot be taken for graduate credit.

Prerequisites

The courses listed below are usually taken as an undergraduate student. If not completed as an undergraduate, doctoral trainees will be required to complete the courses listed below, but these courses will not count toward graduate credit.

  • PSY 111 Introduction to Psychology
  • PSY 231 Research Methods in Psychology
  • PSY 340 Statistics for the Social Sciences
  • MAT 119 College Algebra
    or MAT 120 Finite Mathematics
    or MAT 144 Precalculus (or can be satisfied by passing a competency examination administered by the Department of Mathematics or by completing an approved correspondence course)
    Mathematics requirement will be waived if trainees received at least a "B" in a college-level statistics course or obtain at least a score of 144 on the Quantitative Reasoning section of the Graduate Records Examination General Test.

Suggested 5-Year Schedule

Graduate courses are required in the following areas: biological, cognitive, social, and affective bases of behavior, scientific and professional ethics and standards, and measurements, statistics and research. Courses in cultural, ethnic, and sex role bases of behavior, individual differences, etiology of learning, and behavior disorders are also included.

A suggested five-year course schedule is identified below. The schedule may change based on the availability of instructors and course scheduling. All courses are for three credits unless otherwise noted.

First Year

FALL - 15 credits

  • PSY 421 Advanced Behavior Modification
  • PSY 440 Statistics: Data Analysis and Methodology
  • PSY 472 Legal, Ethical, and Professional Issues in School Psychology
  • PSY 498.05 First Year Fieldwork in School Psychology (2 credits)
  • PSY 503 Doctoral Research Proseminar in School Psychology (1 credit)
  • PSY 547 Advanced Child and Adolescent Psychopathology

SPRING - 11 credits

  • PSY 433 Social Emotional and Behavioral Assessment and Intervention
  • PSY 473 Theories and Techniques of Counseling: Children and Adolescents
  • PSY 474 Theory and Practice of Mental Health Consultation in the Schools
  • PSY 498.05 First Year Fieldwork in School Psychology (2 credits)

SUMMER - credits vary

  • PSY 451 Psychology of Diversity
    or EAF 526.03 Critical Readings in Educational Foundations: Cultural Responsive Practice
    or TCH 409 Student Diversity and Educational Practices
  • PSY 499 Master's Thesis (1 credit)
    or PSY 502 Research Apprenticeship (1credit)

Second Year

FALL - 13 credits

  • PSY 418 Learning and Cognition
  • PSY 432 Theory and Practice of Cognitive Assessment
  • PSY 436.05 Practicum: Psychosocial Assessment
  • PSY 452 Seminar in Developmental Psychology
  • PSY 499 Master's Thesis (1 credit)
    or PSY 502 Research Apprenticeship (1 credit)

SPRING - 10 credits

  • PSY 431 Theory and Research in Social Psychology
  • PSY 435 Academic Assessment and Intervention
  • PSY 436.05 Practicum: Psychosocial Assessment
  • PSY 499 Master's Thesis (1 credit)
    or PSY 502 Research Apprenticeship (1 credit)

SUMMER - 2 credits

  • Choice of diversity courses, if not completed during the first years summer semester
  • PSY 499 Master's Thesis (1 credit)
    or PSY 502 Research Apprenticeship (1 credit)

Third Year

FALL - 12 credits

  • PSY 420 Theories of Personality
  • PSY 36.04 Practicum: Psychoeducational Assessment
  • PSY 590.xx Advanced Practicum
  • Elective course in Measurement, Statistics, and Research Design

SPRING - 12 credits

  • PSY 436.04 Practicum: Psychoeducational Assessment
  • PSY 536 Seminar and Practicum in Supervision of School Psychological Services
  • PSY 590.xx Advanced Practicum
  • Elective course in Measurement, Statistics, and Research Design

SUMMER - credits vary

  • PSY 599 Doctoral Research (Dissertation)

Fourth Year

FALL - 9 credits

  • PSY590.03 Advanced Practicum Supervision (1 credit)
  • PSY 599 Doctoral Research (Dissertation)
  • Elective research course

SPRING - 9-12 credits

  • PSY 320 History of Psychology
  • PSY 463 Brain and Behavior Relationships
  • PSY 590.xx Advanced Practicum
    or Elective course
  • PSY 599 Doctoral Research (Dissertation)

SUMMER - credits vary

  • PSY 598.90 Doctoral Internship in School Psychology (1 credit, if internship begins before August 15)
  • PSY 599 Doctoral Research (Dissertation)

Fifth Year

FALL - credits vary

  • PSY 98.90 Doctoral Internship in School Psychology (1 credit)
  • PSY 599 Doctoral Research (Dissertation)

SPRING - credits vary

  • PSY 598.90 Doctoral Internship in School Psychology (1 credit)
  • PSY 599 Doctoral Research (Dissertation)

SUMMER - credits vary

  • PSY 598.90 Doctoral Internship in School Psychology (1 credit, if internship ends after May 15)
  • PSY 599 Doctoral Research (Dissertation)

 

Practicum Opportunities

Elementary and Secondary Schools

The Graduate Programs in School Psychology have long-standing relationships with Unit 5 (McLean County) and District 87 (Bloomington) public schools and member schools of the Woodford County Special Education District, Tri-County Special Education District, and Livingston County Special Services. Trainees are assigned to elementary schools during their first year of graduate study. Trainees may also work in elementary, junior high, and high schools as fieldwork and practicum settings.

Heartland Head Start

Trainees are assigned to a local Head Start classroom for the first year of graduate study.

Laboratory Schools

The Graduate Programs in School Psychology utilizes Illinois State's laboratory schools (Thomas Metcalf School and University High School) for training purposes. The laboratory schools enroll children as young as three years of age through grade 12. Trainees observe various teaching practices, conduct psychoeducational evaluations, consult with teachers, provide counseling services to students and parents, and develop preventative mental health programs and classroom-based interventions (e.g., social skills training groups for all children at a particular grade level).

The Autism Place

The department provides autism services through The Autism Place (TAP), which is funded by grants, donations, and the University. Autism services include parent and teacher consultation, individualized intervention services in both clinic and home settings for children with autism spectrum disorder, social skills groups, and specialized services for early childhood-age children. Trainees are assigned to The Autism Place for two hours per week during their first year. Trainees also receive supervised experiences at The Autism Place during their second-year psychosocial practicum.

Some of our practicum sites include the following agencies:

  • Baby Fold Foster Care Program
  • Chestnut Health Systems (local drug and alcohol prevention and treatment programs)
  • Decatur (Ill.) Head Start
  • Hammitt School/The Baby Fold (local school/agency for children with severe behavior disorders)
  • Mental Health Consultant for Heartland (Bloomington, Ill.)
  • Mental Health Resources Center (MHRC)
  • OSF Saint Francis Medical Center Health Psychology/Behavioral Health
  • Pontiac High School School-based Health Center
  • Southern Illinois University School of Medicine/Department of Pediatric
  • The Hope School (Springfield, Ill.)
  • The Pavilion (Champaign/Urbana, Ill.)

Psychological Services Center

The Psychological Services Center (PSC) is operated by the Department of Psychology for training, research, and services. The PSC is located on the fourth floor of Fairchild Hall. This space consists of a suite of rooms including five rooms for interviews and/or testing, a large well-equipped playroom, a conference room with reference materials, and a library of tests and testing equipment. PSC services are available to the public at a lower cost than in the private sector. PSC clients represent a range of educational, social, and emotional problems of children and their families. Services include psychological assessments, individual, family and group therapy, home intervention programs, and consultations with educational, medical, and other agencies involved with children. The PSC services are:

Academic Intervention Consultation Services

The Academic Intervention Consultation Services (AICS) provides academic assessment and intervention services for students who demonstrate difficulty with basic academic skills such as reading, mathematics, spelling, and writing. AICS also provides consultation services to parents and teachers of students who are struggling academically. Consultations and workshops to schools and school districts on various topics are also available.

Child/Adolescent Intervention Services

Two types of child and adolescent intervention services are offered: clinic-based and classroom-based intervention. Clinic-based intervention involves individual counseling for students with troubling behaviors or concerns. These students are referred for treatment by a parent, school representative, physician, social service agency, or as a result of an evaluation by the PSC. Classroom-based intervention involves addressing a focal concern within a classroom group. Typically, topics covered are social/communication skills with classmates or compliance with teacher directions. Occasionally, there is a tragedy such as a sudden death that impacts a large number of students and is best addressed in a group setting. All classroom-based interventions are delivered either by a school psychology trainee clinician, a teacher together with a PSC graduate clinician, or a teacher in consultation with a PSC graduate clinician.

Child and Adolescent Assessment Service

The Child and Adolescent Assessment Service provides psychological assessment for children and adolescents who are experiencing learning and/or adjustment problems. Also, assessment and parent/school consultation services are provided for children and adolescents gifted with advanced development. Diagnostic assessment/testing determines current functioning levels in the areas of cognitive-intellectual skills, academic achievement, learning processes or how the student learns best, and social-emotional adjustment. Assessment results are interpreted to the parents and to the student, if age-appropriate, at a private conference with the psychology trainee clinician and his or her faculty supervisor.

College Learning Assessment Service

The College Learning Assessment Service offers standardized testing for college students with a history of learning disabilities and students who have concerns about have learning disabilities. The value of testing is that results often clarify for students exactly what, if any, diagnosable learning disabilities they might have. Plans can then be made to adjust the student's learning techniques and, if indicated, to seek assistance in the learning process.

Multidisciplinary Psychoeducational Assessment Service

The Multidisciplinary Psychoeducational Assessment Service (MPAS) provides diagnostic psychoeducational assessments for children and adolescents who are exhibiting more than one functional area of concern. For example, a student may have any combination of difficulties in learning, motor, speech, hearing and/or other areas. Performance in one area is often affected by difficulties in another. Therefore, completing a comprehensive evaluation can be most helpful in gaining an integrated understanding of how multiple variables may be impacting a student's performance. Treatment plans and goals can then be specially tailored.

The MPAS is a consortium of disciplines that individually assess clients and shares information. Typically, a psychoeducational assessment e is a part of all comprehensive evaluations. In addition, certain other disciplines such as Special Education, Speech, Audiology, Nursing, and/or Social Work will also conduct specialized evaluations, as indicated according to the combination of concerns a student exhibits.

Thesis Procedures

Graduate students admitted to the Doctorate in School Psychology may choose to earn a master's degree in Psychology prior to receiving the doctorate degree. To be eligible for the master's degree, students must complete a minimum of 32 graduate credits, which is the first three years of the doctoral curriculum, and the master's thesis. Students should review the Master's Thesis section of the Doctoral Program's Policies and Procedures for more information about completing the master's degree. The Doctoral Program's Policies and Procedures are available on the Doctorate Forms website.

Students are responsible for reviewing and complying with the department's Thesis Procedures, which are explained below. Students should also review the Thesis section in the Graduate Catalog. Students should also review the Graduate School's Academic (Thesis Assistance) website for additional information about the University's thesis policies, continuous enrollment, graduation deadlines, etc. A thesis:

  • Should have a theoretical framework as its conceptual base
  • May represent a test or prediction derived from a theory, or an extension of an existing group of studies
  • May replicate an existing study, provided it attempts to repeat the study with some meaningful variation
  • May be reports of surveys related to themes of professional interest (see American Psychologist)
  • May have as a goal the development or improvement of instrumentation (see Behavior Research Methods)
  • May be ethological or statistical in nature, originating a new design, improving an existing design, or reapplying a quantitative statistical technique (see Journal of Mathematical Psychology and Educational and Psychological Measurement)
  • May be theoretical in nature providing an exposition of constructs, assumptions, interactions among constructs, translation into empirical variables, or illustrations of applications (see Psychological Bulletin and Psychological Review)
  • Must investigate a real problem (i.e., if the answer is obvious based on existing literature, the thesis poses a non-problem). However, research may be conducted to solve a practical problem, provided the solution can be generalized.

Thesis Standards

A thesis should be written in the professional style of a journal article, except for the rare thesis that is non-empirical in nature. The thesis chapters are usually identified as: Introduction, Method, Results, and Discussion. Graduate students are required to comply with the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th edition, 2010) and with the University's thesis policies, which are available on the Graduate School's Academic (Thesis Assistance) website.

The Graduate School's thesis policies covers the administrative aspects and appearance of a thesis. The APA's Publication Manual governs the professional format and style of a thesis. There are subtle differences between the Graduate School's thesis policies and the department's Thesis Procedures. Students are expected to comply with the department's Thesis Procedures to successfully complete their theses. Students must also follow the standards of the APA's Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct when conducting research.

Important Deadlines

Students are encouraged to review the Dates and Deadlines on the Graduate School's Graduation and Commencement website for specific deadlines related thesis procedures including the last day for: submitting a Proposal Approval Form, submitting a Right to Defend request, and for a thesis defense. If these deadlines are not met, graduation will be postponed until the following semester.

Forming a Committee

During the first semester of graduate study, students should review the Faculty Research Interests website, as a resource for potential research topics. Students should talk to faculty members who are knowledgeable or who are willing to become familiar in the area in which students would like to complete their thesis research. Students need to solicit faculty members to serve as the thesis committee chair and on the thesis committee.

By the middle of the second semester of their first year, students should solicit one faculty member to serve as the thesis committee chair. Graduate School thesis policies require the committee chair be a full member of the Graduate Faculty. Graduate Faculty are identified at the beginning of the department's section of the Graduate Catalog. An associate member of the Graduate Faculty may serve as a committee co-chair, along with a full member of the Graduate Faculty. Associate members of the Graduate Faculty are identified at the end of the Graduate Catalog .

When a faculty member agrees to serve as a committee chair (or two faculty members as co-chairs), students must complete the DEPARMENT APPROVAL OF THESIS COMMITTEE CHAIR form. The Committee Chair form also includes an override request for PSY 499 Master's Thesis. The Committee Chair form should be signed by the student, committee chair (or co-chairs), and the program or sequence graduate coordinator. The signed Committee Chair form should be submitted to the Graduate Programs Office. Students cannot register for PSY 499 until the signed Committee Chair form has been received by the Graduate Programs Office and the override request has been processed. Students will be notified, by the Graduate Programs Office, when they can register for PSY 499.

In consultation with their thesis committee chair, students should solicit a second faculty member for the committee. After the second faculty member agrees to serve on the committee, students must complete the DEPARTMENT APPROVAL OF THESIS COMMITTEE form. The Committee form should be signed by the student, committee chair, and faculty member. The signed Committee form must be submitted to the Graduate Programs Office for approval by the department chair. If there are committee co-chairs, students and their co-chairs may decide not to solicit another faculty member for the thesis committee, provided both co-chairs are full member's of the Graduate Faculty. Graduate School thesis policies require the majority of the thesis committee (i.e., chair and members) to be full members of the Graduate Faculty. If one co-chair is an associate member of the Graduate Faculty, another faculty member, who is a full member of the Graduate Faculty, must be solicited for the thesis committee.

If a committee member is unable to complete his or her service or is willing to yield his or her position on the committee, students should consult with their thesis committee chair about soliciting a new faculty member for the committee. Students must complete the CHANGE OF THESIS COMMITTEE and/or TOPIC form. The Change form should be signed by the student, committee chair(s), current committee member, and new faculty member. The signed Change form must be submitted to the Graduate Programs Office for approval by the department chair. Students will be notified if the faculty member has been approved as the new thesis committee member. If the thesis has been proposed and approved by the thesis committee, students must also complete the Graduate School's COMMITTEE CHANGE FORM, which is available on the Graduate School's Academics (Forms) website.

Writing a Proposal

Graduate students must write a proposal that will be evaluated by their thesis committee. Students should discuss the contents of the proposal with their committee chair. The committee chair determines how much guidance will be provided to students in the development of the hypothesis, research project, and proposal. There should be a clear understanding between students and their committee chair of what is expected from each party.

The proposal should include a brief synopsis of the thesis topic and hypothesis, and the details of the research project. A thesis usually involves data collection; however, other data-based approaches are acceptable (e.g., meta-analyses, archival data sets, etc.). The proposal should address the use of human participants or animals in the research, if applicable. The proposal should also identify any ethical issues with the use of human participants or animals. Students should be diligent in the completeness of their thesis topic and research project. The committee chair should approve a draft of the proposal before it is submitted to the thesis committee.

Students should review the information on the department's Tools and Links for Researchers website in preparation for their thesis research. Before conducting any research involving human participants, the student's research project must be approved by Illinois State's Institutional Review Board (IRB). The proposal must include, in its method section, a detailed explanation of how the ethical issues will be addressed (e.g., possible risks to human participants, how such risks will be minimized, confidentiality procedures, informed consent, debriefing procedures, etc.). Students must also comply with the department's Ethical Guidelines and Procedures for Research Using Human Participants. If students anticipate using human participants from external sources (outside the University), the proposal must include a statement of the ethical procedures of the external source, and how the research project will conform to those requirements. The department recommends students obtain a signed agreement or memorandum of understanding, from the external source, that identifies the specific data students have permission to collect and use for their research project.

Before conducting any research involving the use of animals, the student's research project must be approved by Illinois State's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). The proposal must include, in its method section, a detailed explanation of how the ethical requirements for the care and use of animals will comply with the IACUC procedures.

Scheduling a Proposal

Graduate students must propose their thesis in a public forum. Before presenting a proposal, students must determine if the proposal contains any copyrighted material. Students should review and complete page 2 of the Graduate School's PROPOSAL APPROVAL FORM, which is available on the Graduate School's Academic (Forms) website. If any box under section (5) Copyright Checklist is checked for copyrighted material, students must consult with the Copyright Officer and obtain the Copyright Officer's signature on the Proposal Approval Form.

After consulting with the committee chair about proposing the thesis, students must contact the Graduate Programs Office to request a reader. The reader, who is a psychology faculty member, is appointed by the department. The reader represents the department and ensures that students and their thesis committees comply with the department's procedures and the University's requirements. The Graduate Programs Office will notify students when a reader has been assigned.

The proposal must be presented at a time that is mutually agreeable to the student, thesis committee, and reader. The proposal must be presented between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, while classes are in session (i.e., excluding University holidays, final exams week, or semester breaks). When an acceptable time has been determined, students should contact the Graduate Programs Office to reserve a room. The Graduate Programs Office will notify the student when a room has been reserved.

When the proposal date has been determined, students must complete the information on page 3 of the Proposal Approval Form. Only the thesis committee should be identified on the Proposal Approval Form, along with their department/school and Graduate Faculty status. Students should consult the Graduate Catalog for each committee member's Graduate Faculty status. The reader is not identified on the Proposal Approval Form. If the thesis committee does not satisfy the Graduate School's thesis committee requirements (described on page 1 of the Proposal Approval Form), the exception section on page 3, under section (6) Graduate Committee Information, must be completed. A brief rationale must be provided for the exception. If a committee member is not an Illinois State faculty member, students must also include the committee member's curriculum vitae, with the Proposal Approval Form, to satisfy the exception requirement.

At least one week before the scheduled proposal date, students must submit, by 12:00 p.m. (Noon), the Proposal Approval Form and a printed copy of their proposal to the Graduate Programs Office.Students must also provide a copy of the proposal to the thesis committee and reader; the copy may be printed or sent electronically, depending on the preferences of the committee members or reader. The Graduate Programs Office will announce the scheduled proposal on the department's graduate students and faculty email listserv, and will post the information on the University Events website and on the bulletin board across from the department's office.

Presenting a Thesis Proposal

The department encourages psychology graduate students to attend thesis proposals in order to observe the process. The proposal is also open to the University academic community. Students should consult with their thesis committee chair if students would like to invite non-academic parties (i.e., family and friends) to the proposal. Individuals observing the proposal may ask the student questions and provide comments about the presentation. However, participation by such individuals should not monopolize the presentation. Since the proposal is a formal evaluation of the student, the thesis committee chair has the discretion of whether or not to recognize individuals for questions or comments during the presentation. The department prohibits any refreshments at a thesis proposal.

At the proposal, students should discuss their thesis and any relevant literature, and explain their research project. When the presentation has ended and there are no more questions, everyone should leave the room except for the thesis committee, reader, and any other psychology faculty members. The committee will discuss the proposal. Psychology faculty who have an opinion about the proposal are encouraged to present their remarks for consideration by the thesis committee. The decision to approve or withhold approval of the thesis proposal is the responsibility of the thesis committee. The committee must reach a consensus about the status of the proposal. When a consensus is reached, the student will be asked to return to the room and will be informed of the committee's decision.

If the proposal is approved, the thesis committee and the student should sign the Proposal Approval Form. If the committee determines that changes are required in the thesis, the committee should discuss the changes with the student. The committee chair should give the student a written list of the required changes. Students are responsible for incorporating the changes in the thesis and must provide the thesis committee and reader with an updated proposal. When the thesis committee is satisfied with the revised thesis proposal, the thesis committee and the student should sign the Proposal Approval Form. The student must submit the signed Proposal Approval Form to the Graduate Programs Office, for approval by the department chair.

The Graduate School must also approve the Proposal Approval Form. The Graduate Programs Office cannot submit the signed Proposal Approval Form to the Graduate School until a Protocol number, if applicable, has been recorded in section (4) Compliance Requirements on page 2 of the Proposal Approval Form. If the Protocol number is not available when the Proposal Approval Form is signed, the Graduate Programs Office will retain the signed Form. Students must notify the Graduate Programs Office when a protocol number has been assigned to their thesis research. The Graduate Programs Office will record the Protocol number on the Proposal Approval Form and will submit the signed Form to the Graduate School. Students will be notified by email when the Graduate School approves the Proposal Approval Form. The email will also include a copy of the Proposal Approval Form signed by the Graduate School. The approved Proposal Approval Form should be retained by the student; the information on the Proposal Approval Form will be required by the Graduate School when the student is ready to defend the thesis.

If the thesis committee does not approve the proposal, students have two options:

  1. Students may choose, with the agreement of their committee, to rewrite the proposal. The thesis committee and student should discuss the problems with the current proposal. The second proposal must address and correct the identified problems. Students must schedule a second proposal presentation. This option requires students retain the same thesis committee.
  2. Students may chose to develop a new thesis topic. If this option is selected, students may retain their thesis committee, if the committee members agree to stay with the thesis committee, or solicit other faculty members for a new committee. The department's thesis procedures must be repeated, including the forms for a new committee, if applicable, and proposal presentation.

Establishing a ProQuest Account

The University uses a national electronic database, ProQuest, for submission of all theses. The department recommends students create a ProQuest account after their proposal has been approved. Students can access the ProQuest website on the Graduate School's Thesis Assistance (Plan Your Defense) website. The approved proposal should be uploaded to ProQuest. If the ProQuest account is not created after the thesis proposal is approved, it must be created before students submit the Right to Defend form to the Graduate School.

Continuous Enrollment in PSY 499

After the proposal is approved and all degree coursework has been completed, students must enroll for at least one thesis credit (PSY 499) every fall and spring semester until the thesis is successfully defended. The continuous enrollment requirement applies to the summer semester only when students defend their thesis during the summer months. Students should review Continuous Registration requirements in the Thesis section of the Graduate Catalog for information about registering for PSY 499 or PSY 499.01.

Conducting Thesis Research

After the proposal is approved, students should begin conducting their thesis research. While it is appropriate to consult with faculty members, students are expected to conceptually understand the statistics and data analysis that is presented in the thesis. Any significant changes to the research project, after the proposal has been approved, may require additional IRB or IACUC review and approval, if applicable. Students should consult with their thesis committee chair before making any changes to their approved proposal or research project.

Defending a Thesis

Graduate students must defend their thesis in a public forum. Before scheduling a defense, students must have a current thesis uploaded to ProQuest. Although the thesis does not have to be fully formatted, it should contain all of the required thesis chapters. The thesis must comply with the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association and the Graduate School's thesis policies, which are available on the Graduate School's Academics (Thesis Assistance) website. Student must complete and submit the RIGHT TO DEFEND FORM, which is available on the Graduate School's Academics (Forms) website. The completed Defend Form should be submitted to the Graduate School. The Graduate School will review the thesis in ProQuest. If the thesis is acceptable, the Graduate School will notify students by email that they may schedule their thesis defense. If the Graduate Programs Office is not copied on this email, students must forward the Graduate School's email to the Graduate Programs Office. The Right to Defend email must be on file in the Graduate Programs Office before students can schedule their thesis defense.

The thesis should be defended at a time that is mutually agreeable to the student, thesis committee, and reader. The thesis must be defended between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, while classes are in session (i.e., excluding University holidays, final exams week, or semester breaks). When an acceptable time has been determined, students should contact the Graduate Programs Office to reserve a room. The Graduate Programs Office will notify the student when a room has been reserved.

At least one week before the scheduled defense, students must submit to the Graduate Programs Office by 12:00 p.m. (Noon) a printed copy of the thesis. Students must also provide a copy of the thesis to their thesis committee and reader; the copy may be printed or sent electronically, depending on the preferences of the committee members and reader. The Graduate Programs Office will announce the scheduled defense to the department's graduate students and faculty members. The thesis defense will also be posted on the University Events website and on the bulletin board across from the department's office. Students must also complete the Graduate School's OUTCOME OF DEFENSE FORM, which is available on the Graduate School's Academics (Forms) website. Students should take the Outcome of Defense Form to their thesis defense.

The department encourages psychology graduate students to attend a thesis defense in order to observe the process. The defense is also open to the University academic community. Students should consult with their thesis committee chair if students would like to invite non-academic parties (i.e., family and friends) to their defense. Individuals observing the defense may ask the student questions and provide comments about the presentation. However, participation by such individuals should not monopolize the presentation. Since the defense is a formal evaluation of the student, the thesis committee chair has the discretion of whether or not to recognize individuals for questions or comments during the presentation. The department prohibits any refreshments at a thesis defense.

At the defense, students should discuss the importance of the thesis topic, their research and the methods employed, analysis of the data, and their conclusion. When the defense has ended and there are no more questions, everyone should leave the room except for the thesis committee, reader, and any other psychology faculty members. The committee will discuss the quality of the thesis and defense, taking into account the consistency between the thesis proposal and defense, and the incorporation of required changes identified at the thesis proposal, if applicable. Psychology faculty who have an opinion about the thesis are encouraged to present their remarks for consideration by the thesis committee. The decision to approve or withhold approval of the thesis defense is the responsibility of the committee. The committee must reach a consensus about the status of the defense. When a consensus has been reached, the student will be asked to return to the room and will be informed of the committee's decision.

The thesis committee can reach one of three decisions about the thesis: approved, a provisional approval with required changes, or not approved. If the committee approves the thesis, the committee members should sign the Outcome of Defense Form. If the decision is a provisional approval, the committee should discuss the changes required in the thesis with the student. The committee chair should provide the student with a written list of the required changes. Students are responsible for incorporating the changes before the thesis committee will approve the thesis. After the changes have been made and the thesis is approved, the thesis committee should sign the Outcome of Defense Form. Students must submit a copy of the signed Outcome of Defense Form to the Graduate Programs Office. If the thesis is not approved, the student should discuss any viable options with the thesis committee.

Students must upload the approved thesis to ProQuest. Students must also complete the FINAL DEPOSIT CHECKLIST, which is available on the Graduate School's Academics (Forms) website. Students must submit the signed Outcome of Defense Form and the Final Deposit Checklist, and any copyright permissions, if applicable, to the Graduate School. The Graduate School will examine the thesis in ProQuest to determine if the thesis complies with the University's thesis policies. If the Graduate School notifies students of required changes, those changes must be made and the revised thesis must be uploaded to ProQuest before the University will accept the thesis as meeting degree requirements for graduation. If the required changes are not completed before the thesis final deposit filing deadline, graduation will be postponed until the following semester.

Publication of Data

If the thesis is published or if a paper is presented at a professional convention, authorship should follow the provisions of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. An agreement between students and their thesis committee should govern whether committee members are identified as co-authors.

Comprehensive Examination

Doctoral trainees must pass a comprehensive examination as part of their graduation requirements. Trainees are evaluated on their ability to integrate and apply their doctoral studies to the exam questions, their responses to professional issues, and their ability to function as school psychologists. Trainees will not receive approval to seek a doctoral-level internship or to defend their dissertation until they have passed the comprehensive examination.

The comprehensive examination covers the core areas of psychology including history and systems, biological, cognitive, social, and individual bases of behavior, measurement, statistics, research design and program evaluation, research and professional issues, scientific and professional issues, scientific and professional ethics and standards, diagnosis and assessment, evidence-based interventions, and consultation/program evaluation and supervision. The exam will include at least two questions addressing trainees' knowledge of the core areas of psychology: (a) biological bases of behavior, (b) learning and cognition, (c) personality psychology, (d) developmental psychology, (e) social psychology, and (f) measurement, statistics, and experimental design. A subcommittee of the School Psychology Coordinating Committee develops the questions for the exam.

Registration Deadline

May 1 is the deadline for registering for the fall examination. Before registering for the exam, trainees must have an approved Doctoral Degree Audit Worksheet on file in the Graduate Programs Office. Doctoral trainees should complete the Comprehensive Examination Registration Form.

The Registration Form is an interactive Microsoft Word document that should be completed on a computer and saved. The saved Form should be submitted as an email attachment to the Graduate Programs Office at psygrad@ilstu.edu. Receipt of the Registration Form will be confirmed by return email.

Preparing for the Exam

Doctoral trainees should consult with School Psychology faculty members about the scope of the questions and the most appropriate method for studying.

FALL 2017 Examination

  • August 15 and 16, 2017, which is the Tuesday and Wednesday before the fall semester begins
  • 17 DeGarmo Hall (PRC)
  • 1:00-5:00 p.m. each day

Scoring

The Comprehensive Examination Committee will score the exam questions on a variety of factors, including but not limited to the integration of theory and practice, providing direct (i.e., clear writing style) and complete responses, and sufficient and appropriate references to current research and literature. At least two Committee members will score each question, with the final score being the average score of two or more reviewers. Passing the comprehensive examination requires a passing score on each question.

Notification of Results

The Comprehensive Examination Committee Chair will report the exam scores to the program coordinator. Trainees will be notified of their examination results by their program advisor and, in writing, by the program coordinator by the first week of October, if not sooner. The Graduate School will be formally notified of the comprehensive examination results for each trainee.

Exam Retest, if Applicable

The School Psychology Coordinating Committee has the discretion to require trainees who fail the comprehensive examination to retake the entire or a portion of the comprehensive examination. The retest may be administered orally or in writing, which is at the discretion of the Coordinating Committee.

If a trainee's performance on an oral examination is not satisfactory, the Coordinating Committee may require the trainee to retake some or all of the retest as a written examination. Trainees who fail to pass a second comprehensive examination will be dismissed from the doctoral program.

The second comprehensive examination will be administered during the spring semester, after the Doctoral Applicant Interviews. The date for a second examination will be determined by the Comprehensive Examination Committee Chair.

Degree Extension Requires a Second Examination

Trainees who apply for and are granted an extension beyond the University's 8-year limit for completing their doctoral degree will be required to retake and pass the first day's portion of the comprehensive examination (Professional Issues and Case Study questions). See the Doctoral Program's Policies and Procedures on the Doctoral Forms website for more information.

Dissertation Procedures

Doctoral students must complete a dissertation in order to satisfy graduation requirements for a doctorate degree. If completing a master's degree before the doctorate, students must successfully defend their master's thesis (i.e., thesis committee signed the Outcome of Defense form) before students can begin working on a dissertation. Students must complete the doctorate degree requirements, including the dissertation, within eight years beginning with the first semester of enrollment. Students are responsible for reviewing and complying with the department's Dissertation Procedures, which are explained below. Students should also review the Dissertation section in the Graduate Catalog and the Graduate School's Academics (Dissertation Assistance) website for additional information about continuous enrollment, graduation deadlines, etc.

A dissertation is an original and independent study that is expected to make a substantive contribution to the research literature in the area of study. The scope of an empirical dissertation is significantly broader, more complex, and innovative than research conducted for a master's thesis. Doctoral students should critically evaluate relevant literature and develop a compelling research design, implement an appropriate research protocol, collect and analyze data, and present their findings in a dissertation. Students can acquire new data or re-examine and re-interpret extant data sets (e.g., for meta-analytic purposes). Simple replication studies may not be sufficient, and applied research projects should be theory driven.

Dissertation Standards

A dissertation should be written in the professional style of a research journal article, except for the rare dissertation that is non-empirical in nature. The dissertation chapter titles are usually identified as: Introduction, Method, Results, and Discussion. Graduate students are required to comply with the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th edition, 2010) and with the University's dissertation requirements, which are available on the Graduate School's Academics (Dissertation Assistance) website.

The Graduate School's dissertation policies covers the administrative aspects and appearance of a dissertation. The APA's Publication Manual governs the professional format and style of a dissertation. There are subtle differences between the Graduate School's dissertation policies and the department's Dissertation Procedures. Students are expected to comply with the department's Dissertation Procedures to successfully complete their dissertations. Students must also follow the standards of the APA's Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct when conducting research.

Important Deadlines

Students are encouraged to review the Dates and Deadlines on the Graduate School's Graduation and Commencement website for specific deadlines related dissertation procedures including the last day for: submitting a Proposal Approval Form, submitting a Right to Defend request, and for a dissertation defense. If these deadlines are not met, graduation will be postponed until the following semester.

Forming a Committee

By the third year of the program, doctoral students should be prepared to form a dissertation committee. Students should review the Faculty Research Interests website as a source for potential research topics. Students should talk to faculty members who are knowledgeable or who are willing to become familiar in the area in which students would like to complete their dissertation research. Students need to solicit at least four faculty members to serve on their dissertation committee chair and on the dissertation committee.

Students should solicit one faculty member to serve as the dissertation committee chair. Graduate School dissertation policies require the committee chair be a full member of the Graduate Faculty. Graduate Faculty are identified at the beginning of the department's section of the Graduate Catalog. An associate member of the Graduate Faculty may serve as a committee co-chair, along with a full member of the Graduate Faculty. Associate members of the Graduate Faculty are identified at the end of the Graduate Catalog.

When a faculty member agrees to serve as a committee chair (or two faculty members as co-chairs), students must complete the DEPARMENT APPROVAL OF DISSERTATION COMMITTEE CHAIR form. The Committee Chair form also includes an override request for PSY 599 Doctoral Research. The Committee Chair form should be signed by the student, committee chair (or co-chairs), and the program graduate coordinator. The signed Committee Chair form should be submitted to the Graduate Programs Office. Students cannot register for PSY 599 until the signed Committee Chair form has been received by the Graduate Programs Office and the override request has been processed. Students will be notified, by the Graduate Programs Office, when they can register for PSY 499.

In consultation with their dissertation committee chair, students should solicit at least three faculty members (or two faculty members if there are co-chairs) for the committee. One faculty member must be from outside the Department of Psychology. After the faculty members agree to serve on the committee, students must complete the DEPARTMENT APPROVAL OF DISSERTATION COMMITTEE form. Graduate School dissertation policies required the majority of the dissertation committee (i.e., chair and member) to be full members of the Graduate Faculty. The Committee form should be signed by the student, committee chair, and the faculty members. The signed Dissertation Committee form must be submitted to the Graduate Programs Office for approval by the department chair.

If a committee member is unable to complete his or her service or is willing to yield his or her position on the committee, students should consult with their dissertation committee chair about soliciting a new faculty member for the committee. Students must complete the CHANGE OF DISSERTATION COMMITTEE and/or TOPIC form. The Change form should be signed by the student, committee chair(s), current committee members, and new dissertation committee member. The signed Change form must be submitted to the Graduate Programs Office for approval by the department chair. Students will be notified if the faculty member has been approved as the new dissertation committee member. If the dissertation has been proposed and approved by the dissertation committee, students must also complete the Graduate School's COMMITTEE CHANG FORM, which is available on the Graduate School's Academics (Forms) website.

Writing a Proposal

Graduate students must write a proposal that will be evaluated by their dissertation committee. Students should discuss the contents of the proposal with their committee chair. The committee chair determines how much guidance will be provided to students in the development of the hypothesis, research project, and proposal. There should be a clear understanding between students and their committee chair of what is expected from each party.

The proposal should provide a brief synopsis of the importance of the dissertation topic and hypothesis, and discuss the details of the research project. A dissertation usually involves data collection; however, other data-based approaches are acceptable (e.g., meta-analyses, archival data sets, etc.). The proposal should address the use of human participants or animals in the research, if applicable. The proposal should also identify any ethical issues with the use of human participants or animals. Students should be diligent in the completeness of their dissertation topic and research project. The committee chair should approve a draft of the proposal before it is submitted to the dissertation committee.

Students should also review the information on the department's Tools and Links for Researchers website in preparation for their dissertation research. Before conducting any research involving human participants, the student's research project must be approved by Illinois State's Institutional Review Board (IRB). The proposal must include, in its method section, a detailed explanation of how the ethical issues will be addressed (e.g., possible risks to human participants, how such risks will be minimized, confidentiality procedures, informed consent, debriefing procedures, etc.). Students must also comply with the department's Ethical Guidelines and Procedures for Research Using Human Participants. If students anticipate using human participants from external sources (outside the University), the proposal must include a statement of the ethical procedures of the external source, and how the research project will conform to those requirements. The department recommends students obtain a signed agreement or memorandum of understanding, from the external source, that identifies the specific data students have permission to collect and use for their research project.

Before conducting any research involving the use of animals, the student's research project must be approved by Illinois State's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). The proposal must include, in its method section, a detailed explanation of how the ethical requirements for the care and use of animals will comply with the IACUC procedures.

Scheduling a Proposal

Graduate students must propose their dissertation in a public forum. Before presenting a proposal, students must determine if the proposal contains any copyrighted material. Students should review and complete page 2 of the Graduate School's PROPOSAL APPVOAL FORM, which is available on the Graduate School's Academics (Forms) website. If any box under section (5) Copyright Checklist is checked for copyrighted material, students must consult with the Copyright Officer and obtain the Copyright Officer's signature on the Proposal Approval Form.

The proposal must be presented at a time that is mutually agreeable to the student and dissertation committee. The proposal must be presented between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, while classes are in session (i.e., excluding University holidays, final exams week, or semester breaks). When an acceptable time has been determined, students should contact the Graduate Programs Office to reserve a room. The Graduate Programs Office will notify students when a room has been reserved.

When the proposal date has been determined, students must complete the information on page 3 of the Proposal Approval Form. The dissertation committee members should be identified on the Proposal Approval Form, along with their department/school and Graduate Faculty status. Students should consult the Graduate Catalog for each committee member's Graduate Faculty status. If the dissertation committee does not satisfy the Graduate School's dissertation committee policies (described on page 1 of the Proposal Approval Form), the exception section on page 3, under section (6) Graduate Committee Information, must be completed. A brief rationale must be provided for the exception. If a committee member is not an Illinois State faculty member, stud ens must also provide the committee member's curriculum vitae, with the Proposal Approval Form, to satisfy the exception requirement.

At least one week before the scheduled proposal date, students must submit, by 12:00 p.m. (Noon), the Proposal Approval Form and a printed copy of their proposal to the Graduate Programs Office. Students must also provide a copy of the proposal to the dissertation committee members; the copy may be printed or sent electronically, depending on the preferences of the committee members. The Graduate Programs Office will announce the scheduled proposal on the department's graduate students and faculty email listserv, and will post the information on the University Events website and on the bulletin board across from the department's office.

Presenting a Dissertation Proposal

The department encourages psychology graduate students to attend dissertation proposals in order to observe the process. The proposal is also open to the University academic community. Students should consult with their dissertation committee chair if students would like to invite non-academic parties (i.e., family and friends) to their proposal. Individuals observing the proposal may ask the student questions and provide comments about the presentation. However, participation by such individuals should not monopolize the presentation. Since the proposal is a formal evaluation of the student, the dissertation committee chair has the discretion of whether or not to recognize individuals for questions or comments during the presentation. The department prohibits any refreshments at the dissertation proposal.

At the proposal, students should discuss their dissertation and any relevant literature, and explain their research project. When the presentation has ended and there are no more questions, everyone should leave the room except for the dissertation committee and any other psychology faculty members. The committee will discuss the proposal. Psychology faculty who have an opinion about the proposal are encouraged to present their remarks for consideration by the dissertation committee. The decision to approve or withhold approval of the dissertation proposal is the responsibility of the dissertation committee. The committee must reach a consensus about the status of the proposal. When a consensus is reached, the student will be asked to return to the room and will be informed of the committee's decision.

If the proposal is approved, the dissertation committee and student should sign the Proposal Approval Form. If the committee determines that some changes are required, the dissertation committee should discuss the changes with the student. The committee chair should give the student a written list of the required changes. Students are responsible for incorporating the changes in the dissertation and must provide the dissertation committee with an updated proposal. When the dissertation committee is satisfied with the revised dissertation proposal, the dissertation committee and student should sign the Proposal Approval Form. The student must submit the signed Proposal Approval Form to the Graduate Programs Office, for approval by the department chair.

The Graduate School must also approve the Proposal Approval Form. The Graduate Programs Office cannot submit the signed Proposal Approval Form to the Graduate School until a Protocol number, if applicable, has been recorded in section (4) Compliance Requirements on page 2 of the Proposal Approval Form. If the Protocol number is not available when the Proposal Approval Form is signed, the Graduate Programs Office will retain the signed Form. Students must notify the Graduate Programs Office when a protocol number has been assigned. The Graduate Programs Office will record the Protocol number on the Proposal Approval Form and will submit the signed Form to the Graduate School. Students will be notified by email when the Graduate School approves the Proposal Approval Form. The email will also include a copy of the Proposal Approval Form signed by the Graduate School. The approved Proposal Approval Form should be retained by the student; the information on the Proposal Approval Form will be required by the Graduate School when the student is ready to defend the dissertation.

If the dissertation committee does not approve the proposal, students have two options:

  1. Students may choose, with the agreement of their committee, to rewrite the proposal. The dissertation committee and student should discuss the problems with the current proposal. The second proposal must address and correct the identified problems. Students must schedule a second proposal presentation. This option requires students retain the same dissertation committee.
  2. Students may chose to develop a new dissertation topic. If this option is selected, students may retain their dissertation committee, if the committee members agree, or solicit other faculty members for a new committee. The department's dissertation procedures must be repeated, including the forms for a new committee, if applicable, and another proposal presentation.

Establishing a ProQuest Account

The University uses a national electronic database, ProQuest, for submission of all dissertations. The department recommends trainees create a ProQuest account after their proposal has been accepted. Students can access the ProQuest website on the Graduate School's Dissertation Assistance (Plan Your Defense) website. The approved proposal should be uploaded to ProQuest. If the ProQuest account is not created after the dissertation proposal is approved, it must be created before students submit the Right to Defend form to the Graduate School.

Continuous Enrollment in PSY 599

After the proposal is approved and when all degree coursework has been completed, students must enroll for at least one dissertation credit (PSY 599) every fall and spring semester until the dissertation is successfully defended. The continuous enrollment requirement applies to the summer semester only when students defend their dissertation during the summer months. Students should review Continuous Registration requirements in the Dissertation section of the Graduate Catalog for information about registering for PSY 599 or PSY 599.01.

Conducting Dissertation Research

After the proposal is approved, students should begin conducting their dissertation research. While it is appropriate to consult with faculty members, students are expected to conceptually understand the statistics and analysis of the data that is presented in the dissertation. Any significant changes in the research project, after the proposal has been approved, may require additional IRB or IACUC review and approval, if applicable. Students should consult with their dissertation committee chair before making any changes to their approved proposal or research project.

Defending a Dissertation

Graduate students must defend their dissertation in a public forum. Before scheduling a defense, students must have a current dissertation uploaded to ProQuest. Although the dissertation does not have to be fully formatted, it should contain all of the required dissertation chapters. The dissertation must comply with the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association and the Graduate School's dissertation policies, which are available on the Graduate School's Academic (Dissertation Assistance) website. Student must complete and submit the RIGHT TO DEFEND FORM, which is available on the Graduate School's Academics (Forms) website. The completed Defense Form should be submitted to the Graduate School. The Graduate School will review the dissertation in ProQuest. If the dissertation is acceptable, the Graduate School will notify students by email that they may schedule their dissertation defense. If the Graduate Programs Office is not copied on this email, students must forward the Graduate School's email to the Graduate Programs Office. The Right to Defend email must be on file in the Graduate Programs Office before students can schedule their dissertation defense.

The dissertation must be defended at a time that is mutually agreeable to the student and dissertation committee. Students must schedule the defense at least three weeks in advance of the acceptable defense date and time. The dissertation must be defended between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, while classes are in session (i.e., excluding University holidays, final exams week, or semester breaks). When an acceptable time has been determined, students should contact the Graduate Programs Office to reserve a room. The Graduate Programs Office will notify the student when a room has been reserved for the defense.

At least three weeks before the scheduled defense, students must submit to the Graduate Programs Office, by 12:00 p.m. (Noon), a printed copy of the dissertation. Students must also provide a copy of the dissertation to their dissertation committee; the copy may be printed or sent electronically, depending on the preferences of the committee members. The Graduate Programs Office will announce the scheduled defense to the department's graduate students and faculty members. The defense will also be posted on the University Events website and on the bulletin board across from the department's office. Students must also complete the Graduate School's OUTCOME OF DEFENSE FORM, which is available on the Graduate School's Academics (Forms) website. Students should take the Outcome of Defense Form to their dissertation defense.

The department encourages psychology graduate students to attend a dissertation defense in order to observe the process. The defense is also open to the University academic community. Students should consult with their dissertation chair if students would like to invite non-academic parties (i.e., family and friends) to their defense. Individuals observing a defense may ask the student questions and provide comments about the presentation. However, participation by such individuals should not monopolize the presentation. Since the defense is a formal evaluation of the trainee, the committee chair has the discretion of whether or not to recognize individuals for questions or comments during the presentation. The department prohibits any refreshments at the dissertation defense.

At the defense, students should discuss the importance of the dissertation topic, their research and the methods employed, analysis of the data, and their conclusion. When the defense has ended and there are no more questions, everyone should leave the room except for the dissertation committee and any other psychology faculty members. The committee will discuss the quality of the dissertation and defense, taking into account the consistency between the dissertation proposal and defense, and the incorporation of required changes identified at the dissertation proposal, if applicable. Psychology faculty who have an opinion about the dissertation are encouraged to present their remarks for consideration by the dissertation committee. The decision to approve or withhold approval of the dissertation defense is the responsibility of the committee. The committee must reach a consensus about the status of the defense. When a consensus has been reached, the student will be asked to return to the room and will be informed of the committee's decision.

The dissertation committee can reach one of three decisions about the dissertation: approved, a provisional approval with required changes, or not approved. If the committee approves the dissertation, the committee members should sign the Outcome of Defense Form. If the decision is a provisional approval, the committee should discuss the changes required in the dissertation with the student. The committee chair should provide the student with a written list of the required changes. Students are responsible for incorporating the changes before the dissertation committee will approve the dissertation. After the changes have been made and the dissertation is approved, the dissertation committee should sign the Outcome of Defense Form. Students must submit a copy of the signed Outcome of Defense Form to the Graduate Programs Office. If the dissertation is not approved, the student should discuss any viable options with the dissertation committee.

Students must upload the approved dissertation to ProQuest. Students must also complete the FINAL DEPOSIT CHECKLIST, which is available on the Graduate School's Academics (Forms) website. Students must submit the signed Outcome of Defense Form and the Final Deposit Checklist, and any copyright permissions, if applicable, to the Graduate School. The Graduate School will examine the dissertation in ProQuest to determine if the dissertation complies with the University's dissertation policies. If the Graduate School notifies students of required changes, those changes must be made and the revised dissertation must be uploaded to ProQuest before the University will accept the dissertation as meeting degree requirements for graduation. If the required changes are not completed before the thesis final deposit filing deadline, graduation will be postponed until the following semester.

Publication of Data

If the dissertation is published or if a paper is presented at a professional convention, authorship should follow the provisions of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. An agreement between students and their dissertation committee should govern whether committee members are identified as co-authors.

Forms

The links below are agreements and forms for doctoral program trainees and supervisors. Click on the link to download the form or to log in to Select Survey. If a form does not download or is impossible to complete on a computer, contact the Graduate Programs Office at psygrad@ilstu.edu. The completed form should be printed, signed, and dated. Forms identified as Select Survey are automatically submitted to the department when completed, and do not require a signature or date.

2016-17 Doctoral Policies and Procedures  (August 2016)

Forms