Thesis Proposal & Defense

Step OneThe Proposal

    1. Select a thesis chair & committee in the first semester. Obtain signatures of committee members on Thesis Committee Form and submit to Program Director. Form: 
    1. Work with the thesis chair and committee members to develop a thesis research project.
    2. Prepare a proposal (ideally by the end of the second semester).
    1. Your committee must approve the completed thesis proposal.
    2. Committee must sign the Thesis Proposal Form.
    3. Graduate Director must sign the Thesis Proposal Form.
    4. Department Chair must sign the Thesis Proposal Form.
    5. Thesis Proposal Form can be found at: Thesis Proposal Form.


    1. You must complete the training course of the Collaborative Insitutional Training Initiative (CITI). 
    2. Information about this training is available at: IRB Resources Training


  • The Psychology Department Human Subjects Pool procedures can be found at Psych Research Subjects Pool

    1. The Insitutional Review Board (IRB) application for the thesis research approval should be completed no later than the Fall semester of the second year. 
    2. Obtain Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval for the study or exemption before beginning thesis research.  This is required, even if a student intends to use archival data (i.e., performed secondary analysis on a database previously collected for a different purpose). 
    3. Students should work closely with their thesis chair to complete the IRB materials and forms.  IRB Resources
    1. Thesis Proposal Form submission should be completed no later than the Fall semester of the second year. 
    2. Thesis Proposal Form must be submitted to Graduate College with IRB attached.
    3. To expedite the process, the Thesis Proposal Form can be submitted to the Graduate College while the IRB approval is pending. 
    4. Form can be found at: Thesis Proposal Form
    5. The Thesis Proposal Form serves as a record of proposal approval and must bear the original signatures of the student, the student's thesis committee members, the Department Chair, and the Graduate Director. 
  • 1. The Thesis Proposal  Form serves as a record of proposal approval and must bear the original signatures of the student, the student's thesis committee members, the Department Chair, and the Graduate Director.  

    2.  You are responsible for obtaining Dean of the Graduate College approval and signature.

    3.  The signed Thesis Proposal Form serves as a commitment between the student and the university. 

    4.  The Graduate College will return a copy of the approved thesis poposal form to the student (and the committee chair) who will forward this information to the Graduate Director for tracking purposes.

    5.  The Office of the Graduate College will retrain the original approval proposal form with attached thesis project description.


  • Thesis workshops are offered every semester and provide valuable assistance and tools in the process. Information on the current student workshops can be found in the weekly Graduate Bulletin sent to Graduate Students via email from the Graduate College.

    1. Faculty members have many responsibilities. Please consider their schedules while planning yours (especially in the summer).
    2. Consider financial limitations of your project. If you have a project that requires funding or special equipment, you should talk to your thesis chair about potential funding sources (limited funding is available through the Psychology Department) or try to redesign the project.
    3. Limited resources are available for collecting data. Consider project cost in terms of the source and number of participants
    4. Practical considerations and time constraints on graduation given by the Graduate College.

Step Two Before the Thesis Defense

    • Determine whether the thesis is ready for defense.
    • Upon approval of the thesis chair, the student will send defensible copies of the thesis to other committee members (this document will serve as the focus of the defense)
    • Coordinate with the student and committee to schedule the date/time of the defense
    • Ensure that thesis format is consistent with Graduate College guidelines formatting (guide for formatting at:

      • Note: Graduate College will send notifications of formatting problems directly to the student and Thesis Chair.  Improper formatting prior to submission to the Graduate college could result in graduation delays.
    • Review thesis document; prepare questions for oral presentation/defense
  • 1.  Please log in

    2. Select "Student" tab

    3. Select "Student Records" tab

    4.  Select "Apply to Graduate" tab

    5.  Log-in to "Student Graduation Application"

    6.  You will need an alternate email (non-Texas State)

    7. Validate and answer all questions

    8.  You must "Submit" to be complete 

    • Ensure that the format of the thesis conforms to Graduate College guidelines (See Graduate College thesis guide for formatting at:

      • Improper formatting prior to submission to the Graduate College could result in graduation delays and unnecessary tuition fees.
    • Consult with the Thesis Chair and committee to schedule the date/time of defense.  Deadlines can be found at:

    • Complete a room reservation request here.
      • Special presentation needs beyond standard computer/projector needs (e.g., tele-/video-conferencing ability) should be specified in the request.  Advanced notice in such circumstances is recommended.
    • After your thesis approval by thesis chair, distribute thesis to committee members for review at least two weeks before defense (any deviations from this timeline, especially late distribution, must be approved by all members for the committee, or there may be delays in defense/graduation).
    • Prepare a 35-45 minute oral presentation of your research. Coordinate this with your thesis chair, as most (if not all) will expect a Power Point presentation. Your chair may also have other instruction or expectations: please ask about these in advance.

Step ThreeDay of the Thesis Defense

    • Bring a copy of comprehensive exam report to defense to be signed by all committee members after the defense: Comp Exam Report
    • Bring a copy of the Learning Outcomes Assessment of the oral presentation (to be completed by the committee after the defense) Learning Outcome Form doc
    • Bring a copy of the Thesis Submission Approval form (subs as signature page for electronic submission) Thesis Submission Approval Form
    • Prepare questions to clarify thesis content and/or student expertise
    • Complete/sign the comprehensive exam report and learning outcome assessment (and sign the Committee Approval Form).
      •  If the thesis is acceptable as written, the committee may also sign the Committee Approval Form.
      •   If the thesis requires minor edits (whose completion is left to the discretion of the supervisor/Thesis Chair), committee members may also opt to sign the Committee Approval Form.
      • If any committee member wishes to see edits before signing, it is his/her option to request this condition before signing off on the document.
  • Note:  The defense consists of 2 phases:  an open oral presentation (open to the public) and a closed question period/defense (candidate and committee members only)

Step Four  After the Thesis Defense

    • Submit the signed comprehensive exam report to Program Specialist, who will forward to the Graduate College.
    • Return the completed Learning Outcomes Assessment to Program Specialist
    • Editing the thesis post-defense:
      • If no edits are necessary, return the completed Committee Approval Form to the student to submit to the Graduate College so that they will begin reviewing the thesis once it is uploaded by the student in Vireo.
      • If minor edits are necessary, all committee members will sign the Committee Approval Form EXCEPT the thesis chair.  The thesis chair will sign the documents when edits are done to his/her satisfaction.
      • If major revisions are necessary, committee members can choose to review edits prior to signing off on the final thesis (via approval form).
    • The Graduate College will notify the thesis chair, who can then double check to make sure that the edits have been made to his/her satisfaction (if applicable)
    • The thesis chair approves the final copy of Vireo
    • All paperwork (comprehensive exam report and committee approval form) and the completed, formatted thesis must be received by the Graduate College before the final deadline:
    • The committee member has no responsibilities after the thesis defense.
  • After the Dean of the Graduate College approves the thesis, the process is as follows:

    For online submission (recommended):

    • Complete all required revisions (check deadline dates)
    • When you receive an email in Vireo that states "your document has been approved", the student does not need to take any further action.
    • Optional: Take an additional printed copy plus any for personal use on thesis quality paper to the circulation desk in the Alkek Library
    • Pay the binding fee

    Key(s) Return:

    • Return Key to any cabinet(s) that you have used. Return to Program Specialist in the Psychology Department.
    • Return Key to any door(s) that you have used. Return to Access Services.

Workflow for Thesis Defense Summary (Sections 2-4)

Click here or Thesis Defense Workflow docx


Policy on Thesis Defense

The thesis defense and public presentation are to be scheduled in accordance with policies and timelines of the Graduate College.  All thesis committee members are expected to attend the thesis defense.  However, there are times when a member may not be physically present.

Contact Graduate Director for options.