MS Project/ Thesis

Students must complete a Master's thesis project proposal and a Masters thesis project. The Master's Project is intended to maintain the spirit of the traditional Master's Thesis, but to allow sufficient flexibility to advance the student’s career. The committee, based on one of the following options, decides the composition of the project:

1) A traditional masters project. This option follows original Masters Thesis model without the required UGS paperwork

2) An empirical paper written for a peer reviewed journal. The quality of the paper should be determined to be competitive for publication as judged by the standards of Developmental Psychology, and formatted in APA format.


Students working on their Master's Project should register for Supervised Research Credits. They should not register for Master's Thesis Credits. Supervised Research Credits indicate that they student is working on their research in conjunction with/ approval of their faculty advisor and committee members.


The deadline to complete the master project defense is three weeks before the deadline to submit paperwork to the graduate school for graduation.

For both the proposal and the project, students must submit the document to the assigned committee at least four weeks before the scheduled defense. Committee members are expected to return the document to the student, with comments, within two weeks of receipt. To be considered for graduation that semester, the final document and faculty advisor memo (see Signatures below) must be turned into the Graduate Director, at the latest, three weeks prior to the deadline of the University Graduate School.


The committee is to be comprised of at least three members with Graduate Faculty Status in the Department of Psychology. At least two members of the committee must be members of the Developmental Science Program. To avoid conflict of interest, at least one member of the committee should not be an author on the submission in the case where the student is choosing to prepare an empirical paper (option 2).

Additional members outside of the Department or of the University may serve as ad hoc members of the committee, provided that they have expertise in the area of study, have a graduate degree, and are approved by the other members of the committee.


The Master's Project proposal and the masters project both consist of a written and an oral portion. A defense is not a formality; it is intended to allow the student to evidence sufficient knowledge in the field of Developmental Science. Students must defend both the written and oral portions. There are specific requirements that must be followed by all students and committee members:

1) It is expected that all committee members be present at the defense, although presence through video-conference is approved by the consent of the committee.

2) The date, time, and location of the defense must be announced publicly one week before the scheduled defense. The style of announcement for the formal Master's Thesis should be used.

3) The student’s colleagues are allowed to attend the defense.

4) The student should proceed to the defense only with unanimous consent of the faculty on the committee.


The student should be evaluated based on the rubrics established by the College of Arts and Sciences, and appended to this document. If the empirical paper option is chosen, the document defended to the committee should be “submission ready” for the targeted journal. The student is determined to have passed the defense and may apply for graduation upon unanimous agreement of those faculty on the committee holding Graduate Faculty status at FIU. In the event that agreement is not unanimous, the student may re-defend the oral portion, the written portion, or both- as decided by the committee. If a unanimous vote cannot be obtained, the Director of Graduate Studies in Psychology will serve as mediator.


Signatures of all committee members are required. A memo from the chair of the thesis committee is also required stating that the thesis meets the standards of Developmental Science. This memo should include signatures of all committee members. This memo should be turned in, along with the thesis, to the Director of Graduate Studies in Psychology.