Department of Psychology at Illinois State University
Doctoral trainees must complete a dissertation in order to satisfy graduation requirements for a doctoral degree. If completing a master's degree before the doctoral degree, trainees must successfully defend their master's thesis (i.e., dissertation committee signed the Outcome of Defense form and the accepted dissertation has been uploaded in ProQues) before trainees can begin any dissertation procedures. Trainees must complete their doctoral degree requirements, including the dissertation, within eight years beginning with the first semester of enrollment.
The department's dissertation procedures are presented on the identified websites. Trainees should also review the Dissertation section in the Graduate Catalog. See the Graduate School's Dissertation Assistance website for additional information about continuous enrollment, graduation deadlines, etc.
A doctoral dissertation is an original and independent research 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 trainees 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. Trainees 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. Trainees are responsible for reviewing and complying with the department's Dissertation Procedures.