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Thesis examination by the Department of Psychology

Presentation of theses

Although Masters’ and Doctoral theses may vary considerably in presentation, the main guideline to be followed is the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. You should also comply with the University regulations and discuss the presentation with your supervisor. Past theses are obtainable by contacting the Departmental Secretary, Room 108, William James Building, and can be used as models.

Examination procedure for MA/MSc thesis

The MA/MSc thesis is examined by an internal examiner (normally a member of the Department of Psychology), and an external examiner whose name is submitted through the Master’s Degree Coordinator and Head of Department to the Division for approval. The supervisor first obtains the agreement of the examiners to examine the thesis, before submitting their names to the Master’s Degree Coordinator. The supervisor is not an examiner but may submit a report on the thesis for the examiners to consider.

Each examiner submits a report on the thesis and recommends a grade. No oral examination is required, but corrections may be required before final approval is given to the thesis. The Master’s Degree Coordinator combines the reports and submits them to the Head of Department with a recommended grade. The final grade is approved by the Head of Department and the relevant Pro Vice Chancellor.

Grading scale: Master's

Letter gradeClass of thesis
A- to A+Distinction
B to B+Credit
C-, C, C+ and B-Pass

Examination procedure for PhD Thesis

PhD examinations involve the appointment of an overseas and a New Zealand examiner, and an internal examiner. The PhD Coordinator, coordinates the administrative aspects of the examination. The supervisor is not an examiner. Formal reports are written by all examiners. The procedure for PhD examination is as follows (the University Calendar should be consulted for a detailed description of the examination procedures):

  • The supervisor forwards the names and full addresses of the three examiners, to the PhD Coordinator, along with an indication that they have agreed to serve, and the final title of the thesis
  • The PhD Coordinator prepares a form for the Head of Department’s signature, recommending appointment of the examiners. From this point, the formal responsibility for the examination lies with the University
  • Three copies of the thesis are submitted to Student Record Group, Registry. (Note: Ethical clearance reference numbers are to be included where animals were used.)
  • The supervisor may make a report on the student’s work for the examiners to consider
  • The reports from the external examiners (overseas and New Zealand) are sent to the PhD Office and then to the internal examiners
  • The PhD Coordinator then makes arrangements for the oral examination. The supervisor is invited to attend the oral, chaired by the PhD Coordinator
  • Where revision is undertaken, it is done in consultation with the supervisor and to the satisfaction of the departmental internal examiner who reports to the PhD Coordinator
  • The PhD Coordinator returns a final recommendation to the PhD Office on the award of the thesis