First-Year Project

All doctoral students are required to complete and submit a research project during their first year—even if you entered the program with a relevant Master’s degree.

Fall Semester

The student should enroll in PSYC 571 (First-Year Project) and agree on a topic of mutual interest with his or her advisor. The advisor will guide the student to relevant literature. The student should become immersed in the literature, consulting the advisor on a regular basis; weekly meetings are typical. With the advisor’s guidance, the student should begin formulating specific plans for research. In practice, the advisor often plays a large role in formulating and designing the student’s first-year project, with the student learning from this experience how projects develop from an abstract idea to a concrete design and procedure.

The collection of data for the first-year project may occur during the first semester, but more likely will begin in the second semester. However, during the first semester, first-year students often are expected to help conduct ongoing projects directed by their advisors. This experience provides new students with valuable knowledge about the actual procedures of research, as well as aiding their advisors.

By 5:00 p.m. on the last day of finals of the fall semester, the student should have completed and submitted a paper containing a literature review and demonstrating command of the relevant prior work. At the end of the paper, the student should propose a project motivated by the literature review. This document must be submitted to the student’s advisor and to the Graduate Coordinator.

Spring Semester

Students who have not already begun to collect project data do so in the spring semester. The advisor may help in analysis and interpretation of the data, and may make suggestions about how the report should be written, but the report should represent the student’s own work.

By 5:00 p.m. on the last day of finals of the spring semester, the student should submit a final copy of the first-year project to both his or her advisor and the Graduate Coordinator. This is a hard deadline and not subject to extension. If the research is not quite complete, it should be written as completely as possible.