Thomas Harriot College of Arts & Sciences
Department of Psychology
Students enrolled in the I/O concentration at ECU complete a total of 45 semester hours of coursework. Students may choose to complete either an internship or a thesis; however, we encourage students to consider doing both. Click here for the official program entry in the official ECU Graduate Catalog.
Students in the I/O concentration can complete an internship that provides practical experience in an organizational setting. An internship is an opportunity to do professional work under the supervision of another professional, and may entail either personnel research or applied activities, such as training, selection and appraisal, job analysis, or other similar functions.
An internship must meet the following minimal criteria:
Internship Placement Procedures
Although the program can facilitate the internship assignment, self-placements, arranged by the student, are encouraged with prior approval from the Program Director. Written evidence that the placement will meet the minimal requirements for an internship assignment is required prior to the student accepting the position. This statement should include:
The comprehensive exam is administered during the spring semester (April) following the second year of coursework.
A student has three hours to complete the exam. The primary purpose of this exam is for the student to provide the most correct and succinct answer to the provided questions; thus, all questions must be answered in 15 pages or less. The format of the exam requires the student to answer three out of five questions.
The comprehensive exam consists of essay questions related to the following topical domains:
The exam items are written by faculty who teach the graduate classes listed above. Students may approach any of the professors involved to seek study guides/reading lists.
If the student receives either an A or a B from the first reader (grader) on each of the three questions, this constitutes the student's final grade on the examination. If the student receives either a C or an F from the first reader, the examination automatically progresses to a second reader. If the second reader returns the same letter grade (any pluses or minuses will be ignored), this constitutes the student's final grade. If the first and second readers' evaluations differ, then the examination goes to a third reader, in which case the final grade is simply the median of the three grades given.
Students who receive on three exams:
A student is allowed to retake the exam one additional time, no sooner than the subsequent semester (excluding summer semesters). If the second attempt is unsuccessful, the student is terminated from the program.
The Master's thesis is an optional component of the educational experience for the Industrial/Organizational (I/O) Psychology graduate student. The thesis requires the student to work closely with a faculty member on a research project that will be evaluated by a committee of faculty members. The objectives of the thesis project include:
Committee Chair and Members
It is critically important for the graduate student to identify an area of interest and conduct additional readings in that area as early as possible. Although not a requirement, the student will usually find it advantageous to select a topical area in which a faculty member in the program has substantial research expertise. Once the student has chosen a suitable area for thesis research and a faculty member who is able and willing to provide direction, the student should formally ask that professor to serve as the chair of his/her thesis committee. In consultation with the thesis chair, the student will then select at least two additional faculty members from the Department of Psychology and formally ask them to serve on the committee.
All committee members must meet the requirements for and currently hold ECU Graduate Faculty status. Although the thesis chair is responsible for directing the student's project, all committee members are expected to provide resource and evaluative functions during the thesis project. Furthermore, all committee members will attend the proposal meeting, discuss the student's performance, attend the oral thesis defense, and vote regarding the acceptability of the thesis.
Once a thesis topic has been identified and a committee established, the student works with the chair and committee members, as necessary, to prepare a proposal. The proposal should include the following sections: (1) Introduction, (2) Literature Review (including specific research hypotheses), (3) Proposed Method (including proposed data analysis plan), and (4) References. The proposal should be formatted based upon the most current APA Publication Manual and the Graduate School Manual of Basic Formatting Requirements for Theses and Dissertations (located on their website:www.ecu.edu/gradschool).
As soon as the proposal has been prepared to the extent that the student and chair feel confident about presenting it for review, a committee meeting should be scheduled. Each committee member will receive a copy of the proposal at least one week prior to the proposal meeting. During this meeting the student will present the thesis proposal and respond to questions from the committee members. The format of the meeting is to be decided by the thesis chair – ranging from a formal presentation to a working meeting.
The committee will recommend changes, if any, that need to be made to the proposal (e.g., depth of the literature review, design of the study, nature of the hypotheses). Once all of the committee members have approved the proposal, the student is responsible for completing and submitting the ECU Pre-Thesis Research Approval Form. Furthermore, it is the student's responsibility to ensure that all research has been approved by the University and Medical Center Institutional Review Board (UMCIRB;www.ecu.edu/irb) or the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), as applicable, prior to the start of data collection. The proposal meeting should be conducted prior to data collection.
Completing the Thesis
Following the proposal meeting, the student is responsible for keeping the committee chair informed of his/her progress with data collection and analysis, and, if necessary, should discuss the project with any of the other committee members. Once the study has been completed, the student will begin preparing the final manuscript. Early drafts should be developed by the student in close consultation with the committee chair and should include (1) Results, (2) Discussion, and (3) Conclusions, as well as (4) an updated Method section. These early drafts are not typically shared with other committee members unless so requested by the thesis chair. Refer to the most current APA Publication Manual and the Graduate School Manual of Basic Formatting Requirements for Theses and Dissertations for specific guidance on manuscript formatting requirements.
Once a final draft has been approved by the thesis chair, the student will provide each committee member with a copy of the final manuscript at least one week prior to the scheduled thesis defense. A copy will also be placed in the Department of Psychology (e.g., Rawl 303) for public review. The thesis defense may not be scheduled until this final copy has been distributed. The student is responsible for e-mailing an official notice identifying the time and location for the defense. This notice should be sent at least one week prior to the defense and should include (1) the title of the thesis, (2) the name of the student, (3) the name of the thesis chair, and (4) the names of all other committee members. This notice is usually sent via email notification to all faculty and graduate students via the ECUPSY-L listserv (address your email to ECUPSY-L@Listserv.ecu.edu). Below is an example of the typical notice that is sent:
Re: Thesis Defense: Evoked Potentials, Expressed Anger, and Circulating Androgens
Faculty and graduate students are cordially invited to attend the defense of Ima Student's Master's thesis, "Evoked Potentials in the Nucleus Spurious: Relationship with Expressed Anger is Moderated by Level of Circulating Androgens." The defense will take place in Rawl 303 from 2:00 PM until 3:00 PM on Tuesday the 30th of February, 2007. Dr. Martha McClintock is chairing the thesis committee, and Drs. Gustav Fechner and Pierre Flourens are serving as thesis committee members.A copy of the thesis is available for public review in the graduate seminar room (Rawl 303).
If the student chooses the thesis option, then a final oral examination (referred to as a thesis defense) administered by the Thesis Committee must be completed. The thesis defense is open to all students and faculty who wish to attend. The student defending his/her thesis is expected to make a formal presentation of approximately 30 minutes. The presentation should focus on (1) the research problem, (2) hypotheses, (3) methodology, (4) analyses, (5) interpretation of the data, and (6) implications of the findings. Following the presentation, the student will address questions from the students first, then from the committee members, and then from other faculty members in attendance. The committee will then deliberate in private regarding the acceptability of the student's thesis. If approved, the student will make all requested changes and submit the final thesis for appropriate signatures. Additionally, committee members will complete the ECU Thesis Scoring Rubric. If the thesis is not approved, the student will need to make the requested changes and schedule a second thesis defense.
Depositing the Thesis
Following the defense, the student must complete any corrections or additions that are indicated by the committee. Once the final draft of the thesis is completed, the student should obtain the appropriate signatures from the committee and submit the manuscript to the Department Chair for review and signature. Students should allow at least one week for the Department Chair to read and return the thesis. The student then follows the Graduate School's procedures for electronic submission of the thesis. The Graduate School will check to ensure that all of the required sections of the thesis/dissertation are included and will provide the student with a receipt certifying completion of the thesis/dissertation.
Students choosing this option will register for PSYC 7000 for thesis course credits during the fall and spring semesters of their second year. The grade of S will denote satisfactory progress in research, and credit hours will be included in overall attempted and earned hours. This will ensure that graduate students making satisfactory progress will remain eligible for federal financial aid for the longest period of time allowable. The grade of U will denote unsatisfactory progress in research; credits will not be earned but credit hours will be included in attempted hours. Upon successful defense of the thesis and approval by the Graduate Dean, the grade of R will be assigned by the Registrar's Office upon receipt of the Thesis/Dissertation Acknowledgement Form from the Graduate School. Grades of S, U, and R will carry no quality points and will not be included in the calculation of grade point averages. (Any grade of Q in PSYC 7000, assigned under the former grading system prior to spring 2011, will be replaced with a grade of R at the time of completion and approval of the thesis.)
Throughout this process, the student should meet department and university deadlines and follow the format requirements of the department and the university. Students should check the Academic Calendar and note the deadline for submitting theses to the Graduate School for the semester they wish to graduate, and allow time to make corrections requested by their Committee prior to submitting to the Department Chair.