Procedures for Thesis Defence

When a graduate student is approaching the completion of his or her program, there are a number of requirements which must be met. To streamline the process and to insure that nothing is omitted, the department would like your cooperation in implementing the following procedures:

Master's Candidates:

  1. The committee meets and agrees that the thesis is ready for the oral examination, as required by the College of Graduate Studies and Research (CGSR).
  2. The supervisor advises the Graduate Secretary who drafts a memo to CGSR. This must be done three weeks before an M.A. oral examination.
  3. The supervisor informs the Graduate Secretary of the date and time of the oral examination.
  4. The supervisor asks the Graduate Secretary to book a room and find a chair for the oral examination.
  5. Student must email a pdf copy of thier thesis to Graduate Secretary.
  6. Paper work is created by the Graduate Secretary.
  7. Following a successful defence, it is the responsibility of the student to apply for graduation and upload their thesis to the ETD site.

Doctoral Candidates:

  1. The committee meets and agrees that the thesis is ready for the oral examination, as required by CGSR. 
  2. The supervisor advises the Graduate Secretary of the name of the external examiner (with 2 alternating external examiners) and the day and time of the oral examination. The Graduate Secretary prepares Form GSR 300.1 requesting the appointment of an external examiner and sends it to CGSR. This must be done four weeks before the Ph.D. oral examination.
  3. The student must email pdf copy of their thesis to Graduate Secretary for printing and emailing.
  4. PhD. paper work is completed by CGSR and bought to the defence by the Dean's Designate (selected by CGSR).  Once a date, time and place for the oral examination is arranged this information will be posted by the department.
  5. Following a successful defence, it is the responsibility of the student to apply for graduation and upload their thesis to the ETD site.

Note: It is important that the student have no contact with the external examiner prior to the defence. 

Ethics

Psychology Research Ethics Committee

The Behavioural REB has approved the composition and procedures of Psy-REC.  The committee is responsible for approving ethical protocols for undergraduate course research projects and honours theses.  The committee has been authorized to approve minimal risk protocols, including those that involve vulnerable populations such as children or adolescents.  When we encounter a protocol that in our opinion exceeds minimal risk then we will conduct an initial review and forward the application to the Behavioural REB requesting an expedited review on your behalf.

The procedures for Psy-REC are as follows:

  1. Undergraduate research projects (including Honours Theses) may be submitted to the committee for research ethics approval.
  2. Download the application form.
  3. We expect that instructors/supervisors will work with students to complete the ethics application form, and will carefully review the applications before submission. Please refer to the Application Guidelines while completing your application form as it provides recommended standard statements for inclusion in the applications and a listing of the most common reasons that applications are not approved.
  4. Prepare one printed copy of the application (including appendices) signed by all researchers (students and supervisors) AND an electronic copy (does not need signatures). Electronic copy may be composed of multiple documents (i.e., application form and appendices).
  5. Submit printed signed copy to Psychology main office (Arts 154) AND email an electronic copy to jamie.campbell@usask.ca.  The printed and electronic copies must be the same except the electronic copy does not require signatures).
  6. Submissions received by Monday noon will be screened for completeness and forwarded to Psy-REC if complete.
  7. Feedback by email from Psy-REC by the following Monday.

If a research study is part of a project or program of research that has already been approved by the Behavioural REB, then ethics approval is not required. Instead, the principle investigator should add the student's name to the project with the Behavioural REB. Note that this only applies if the student's project does not deviate in any significant way from the research for which approval was granted by the Behavioural REB. In specific, the following conditions must be met: (1) the Behavioural REB ethical approval must be currently active and; (2) the student's research project must not deviate from the research approved in terms of recruitment procedures, target participant population, methodology, data collection methods/instruments or consent procedures/forms. Deviations in any one of these areas necessitates application to Psy-REC for approval.

At this link you can find an example of a consent form.

Computer policies and procedures

Honesty and Integrity

The University of Saskatchewan Council has approved a document entitled The Guidelines for Academic Conduct.  The guidelines identify expectation about ethical behaviour expected from all those who work and learn at the university.

The guidelines include honesty and integrity expectations of graduate students, in their course work, including assignments and examinations, in their research and scholarly activities for theses and dissertations, and in their interactions with others in internship or practicum placement.

The document includes this section on the role of the student.  Please visit and read the document.  It is your responsibility to be familiar with it.  As well, the academic penalties associated with misconduct can be found here.

Violence prevention plan

Sexual harassment policy

Policy Concerning Complaints of Sexual Harassment, Abuse of Power, Disrespectful Treatment, and Discrimination Guiding Principle

The Department of Psychology does not accept sexual harassment, abuse of power, or discrimination on the basis of age, race, religion, gender, sexual preference, or disabilities, by any member of the department (Faculty, student, or staff). The following procedures are intended to help to guide the actions of students, faculty and staff who have concerns about sexual harassment, abuse of power, disrespectful treatment, unfair discrimination, or other serious concerns about their working relationships within the department. We wish to emphasize point #1 below, to the effect that students, faculty, and staff all have several choices about how to handle their concerns, but their choices may be influenced by various university regulations and/or collective agreements.

1.    Choice of procedure

  • Students may choose to consult the University of Saskatchewan Sexual Harassment Officer, or to follow the university procedure identified for student grievances, or to follow the Department of Psychology procedure presented below.
  • Faculty and staff may choose to consult the Sexual Harassment Officer, or to follow the grievance procedures identified in their collective agreement, or to follow the Department of Psychology procedure presented below.

2.    Collective responsibility

  • It is the responsibility of all members of the Department to monitor their own behaviour to ensure that it is ethical and fair toward subordinates and colleagues, and to take corrective action themselves if they violate these expectations.
  • It is the responsibility of all members of the Department to try to take corrective action if they become aware of incidents of sexual harassment, abuse of power, or unfair discriminatory behaviour. Subject to the following procedure, such corrective action might include supporting the person making the complaint in taking action, approaching the alleged offender directly, or informing the Department Head about the problem.
  • It is the responsibility of all members of the Department to help to avoid gossip and its damaging consequences, particularly by minimizing discussion of alleged offenses with people who are not directly involved.

3.    Department of Psychology procedure

  • Direct approach - if possible, the person making the complaint (the "complainant") will directly approach the person who is believed to have engaged in offensive or harassing behaviour (the "alleged offender"), discuss the issue informally, and seek a resolution of change in behaviour. In some situations, the complainant may not feel able to approach the alleged offender directly because of 1) the nature of the offence, 2) vulnerability to probable harm, and/or 3) the perception that direct confrontation will produce negative consequences as a result of an unfair power differential between complainant and alleged offender. In these cases, the complainant should discuss the issue with the Head of the department.
  • Registering a complaint with the Department Head - if as indicated in a. above, the complainant felt unable to use the direct approach, or if no resolution is reached via the direct approach, then the complainant should talk to the Head of the department about the issue, including a neutral confidential observer in the meeting if desired by either party.
  • Complainant's consent - The complainant has the option of either (i) asking that the Head keep the complaint confidential, or (ii) giving permission for the Head to investigate the offense and to take corrective action. The Head will discuss with the complainant the potential outcome and implications of each alternative. In the case of (i), the Head's actions are restricted (by due process requirements) to discussions with the complainant, and no other action can be taken. The Head will hold the information in confidence without written record and, if further complaints are received about the same alleged offender, the Head will then consult with all complaints to see if they wish to proceed with a joint complaint and provide permission for investigation. In the case of (ii) due process and fairness to the alleged offender require that the complainant must make the complaint to the offender to obtain his/her response. The Head will make every effort to ensure that the complainant is making an informed decision about the course of action to be taken and within the requirements of due process will attempt to minimize any consequences of the investigation to the complainant.
  • Consultation - The Head may, at his/her discretion and with the complainant's consent, consult with the graduate chair, the executive committee, or others in seeking a resolution to a complaint.
  • Discipline - Any disciplinary consequences for the offender will be governed by the appropriate university regulations or collective agreement. Such disciplinary consequences could, subject to the regulations or collective agreement, include a reprimand or imposition of a requirement for corrective action.
  • Time frame - If the present procedure for consulting the Department Head about a complaint is invoked, it should be initiated soon after the event. The Department Head should handle the complaint as rapidly as possible given the necessary time for thought and consultation.
  • Avoiding gossip - Because of the damaging consequences of gossip, the complainant, the offender, the Head, and persons consulted by the Head are asked to minimize discussion of the complaint with persons not involved in the process.

Graduate Teaching Fellowships

The Department of Psychology is committed to increasing the teaching skills of its graduate students, and recognizing the hard work and talent of students who have come to join our graduate program.

Graduate Teaching Fellowships (GTFs) and related top-up awards serve the following purposes:

  • Giving students teaching experience, preferably in a developmental sequence of tasks such as marking assignments, consulting with students outside of class, developing lab activities and assignments, lecturing, and compiling grades.
  • It is the hope of the department that reaching assistanships will cumulatively be a valuable developmental experince for graduate students, leading toward teaching and leadership.
  • Helping to fund the cost of graduate studies for many of our students.
  • Giving the department access to skilled administrative assistance.
  • Helping to cover the undergraduate teaching needs of the department

GTFs are funded from various sources, including the College of Arts and Science and the College of Graduate Studies and Research.


A "full" GTF consists of approximately $13,100 from September to April, with a 240 hour work requirement.  GTF recipients who have satisfactorily fulfilled their duties during the September through April period, who are registered as full-time graduate students for the following summer period, and who are in good standing in their graduate program of studies (minimum GPA 75% and satisfactory progress as determined by the Advisory Committee) are eligible for a Summer Supplement  of $1,000/month from May to August. 

GTF funds are also used in some cases to top up external awards such as SSHRC, CIHR and NSERC scholarships and fellowships.  Top-ups are given only to students who have successfully applied for money from a source external to this university; they are not given for awards from U of S sources nor for awards for which students have not applied.  The normal amount of top-up for an external award of $16,000 or more is $3,000 with a 120 hour work requirement, which the student can accept or decline.  For external awards of less than $16,000, the amount of the top-up and the work hours are prorated.

In some cases, a faculty supervisor will fund part or all of a graduate fellowship from a research grant.  In this case, the student's GTF hours will be assigned to that supervisor for work in that lab.  The supervisor may have other work expectations (unpaid or paid in some other fashion), related to the student's academic program of studies and research, which may be negotiated with the student, but these should not interfere with the student dedicating at least 40 hours per week to his or her own research and studies.  

The general principle followed in awarding GTFs is to maximize funding provided to students while maintaining reasonable parity across students and across programs.  An effort is also made to maintain parity in the types of tasks assigned to students, so that all students can help with both higher-level teaching functions as well as more routine types of work.  Most students will be assigned to two or three different faculty members over the course of the year.  More senior students will be given more responsibility, including teaching a section of an undergraduate course on their own, with the support of a faculty mentor, after the PhD comprehensive examinations are completed.

The fundable years are as follows: 

  • Clinical Psychology and Cognition and Neuroscience: 1 year in the M.A. program plus 3 years in the Ph.D. program
  • Applied Social Psychology: 2 years in the M.A. program plus 2 years in the Ph.D. program
  • Culture and Human Development:  A student transferring from a M.A. to a Ph.D. after 1 year is eligible for 1 year of M.A and 3 years of Ph.D. funding, while a student transferring during their second year is eligible for 2 years of M.A. and 2 years of Ph.D. funding


Students who receive external awards may or may not be given top-ups outside those fundable years depending on the availability of funds.  Students are expected by their graduate programs to apply for external awards with the support of their supervisors.

GTF funds are paid out monthly, at the end of the month.  No advances are available.

GTF requirements and duties


To be eligible to hold a GTF, students must be in good standing in their graduate program, with no graduate marks below 70%.  They must be registered as full-time students, which means devoting at least 40 hours per week to their academic program of studies (not including the GTF work).

During the summer, faculty are asked to register their requests for GTF assistance with the department office.

At the beginning of the Fall Term, graduate students receiving GTFs will be tentatively assigned to faculty.  The respective faculty and students will be asked to meet to discuss the student's responsibilities and to write these down in an agreement signed by both parties.

One frequent difficulty arises when students wish to book their vacation early.  They may then be absent at a time when GTF assistance is particularly important. 

To get around this problem, the following guideline is offered.

  • If you are going to book a trip out of town in December, either wait until the final examination schedule is posted in October, or else book your flight after 23 December. In either case, discuss the issue with the instructor whom you are assisting
  • Similarly, if you are going to book a trip in April, either wait until the final examination schedule is posted around the end of February, or else book your flight after 29 April. In either case, discuss the issue with the instructor whom you are assisting.
  • In addition, any absence during academic year should be discussed with the supervising instructor to ensure that it does not conflict with expected TA duties
The work performed by Graduate Teaching Fellows requires very high standards of integrity and professionalism.  In their role as Teaching Assistants (TAs), graduate students are expected to keep scheduled appointments and to complete work assignments in a professional, meticulous, and timely manner.  TAs are obliged to provide rigorous and fair evaluation of student performance, and to maintain strictly professional relationships with students while they are under TA tutelage.  It is important to avoid any personal bias in marking.  TAs should communicate clearly their expectations and demands, and be responsive to the requests and needs of the students.  Any difficulties that arise in connection with work assignments or student interactions should be brought to the immediate attention of the work supervisor (e.g., the course instructor).   Specifically, if they have difficulties with solving a problem, they should always contact the instructor and inform him or her about the students' requests, together with the decisions and promises they communicated to the students.

Students serving as TAs may be asked to:

  • Prepare and teach one or more class sessions, with assistance from the instructor
  • Attend specific class meetings
  • Mark exams, papers and assignments based on standards provided by the instructor
  • Provide consultation or tutoring on course material to individuals or small groups of students
  • Help to assemble course material
  • Proctor exams (supervise writing, vigilance for academic dishonesty, ensure all necessary exam materials are returned to instructor)
  • Develop the skills and knowledge needed to teach an undergraduate course independently after the comprehensive exams are completed

Students serving as teaching assistants should take an active role in communicating about the work with the instructor.  For example, they should negotiate dates and times for work to be done, and let the instructor know about their other work demands (coursework, research and practicum) so that these can be taken into account in assigning duties.  That said, TAs should recognize that their work will not always come at the ideal time and it has to get done anyway.

TAs should not be expected to work more than an absolute maximum of 20 hours in any single week (counting all TA obligations together), as this would interfere with their work on their own studies and would contravene their obligations as full-time students.  This maximum should not be reached more than once in a term.  The normal limit should be 10 hours or less.  Instructors in charge of TAs should plan to accommodate these limits.

What a TA should do if academic dishonesty is detected or suspected

The instructor should discuss with the TA what to do about possible cases of academic dishonesty.  All graduate students are provided with information about university policies in this regard, but instructors may nevertheless differ in their views on how proctoring of examinations should be carried out, so there should be discussion of the details.    In the meantime, here are some basic suggestions.

1.    During an Exam
  • Inform the student that you have reason to suspect they are engaged in cheating
  • If they are cheating off another student, separate the students to different areas of the room
  • Remove from the student any materials from which they may be cheating (crib sheets, notes, books etc., not approved by the instructor)
  • Allow the student to complete writing the exam
  • Carefully and completely document all the pertinent information (name of student and detailed circumstances) and provide this to the supervising instructor who will forward the case to the appropriate university board if necessary

2.    On an Assignment
  • Carefully and completely document all the pertinent information (name of student(s) and detailed circumstances) and provide this to the supervising instructor who will forward the case to the appropriate university board if necessary    
  • If you are marking either an exam or an assignment in which you suspect academic dishonesty, you must not let this factor into the grade for the exam, the assignment, or the course. Only the Academic Dishonesty Board has the ability to assign a penalty for academic dishonesty.
  • Note: We all have a responsibility to deal with suspected cases of academic dishonesty. According to University Council Guidelines for Academic Conduct "Assisting in or covering up any academic dishonesty is itself misconduct. Faculty should report academic misconduct to the appropriate authority".  

To instructors re: expectations of their TAs 

In recent years, a few graduate students have been faced with heavy demands from instructors supervising their TA assignments.  For example, an instructor might expect the TA to do many hours of work on marking a final exam within a five-day period, at a time when the graduate student is facing his or her own demands for coursework, exams, and possibly other TA assignments.  This has led on a few occasions to excessive stress levels for the graduate students and dissatisfaction for the instructors.
 

Instructors should be aware of the following: 

  • The main goals of our program of Graduate Teaching Fellowships and related top-up awards are to give students a developmental sequence of teaching experiences, and to help to fund the cost of their studies.
  • A student on a full GTF in our department is expected to work an average of 8-10 hours per week on all TA assignments put together.
  • The absolute maximum number of hours that should be expected of any TA in any week, taking into account all TA assignments together, is 20 hours.  This maximum should not be reached more than once in a term.  In any case, instructors should discuss the distribution of TA workload at the beginning of the term, and reach a written agreement observing the above conditions.
  • An individual student may be assigned as a TA to several different instructors who are likely not aware of each other's requirements of the student.  There is thus the possibility of multiple demands exceeding the 20 hr/week limit placed on the student.  Students have been advised to bring this matter to attention of the instructors they are assigned to work with, and to negotiate appropriate changes to the workload with the instructors.  
  • Students have been advised that, in the event that they are unable to negotiate appropriate changes to workload as necessary they should, in the first instance, consult with their Program Coordinator, then if necessary the Graduate Chair, and then the Department Head.  If a satisfactory resolution of the matter cannot be achieved at the Department level, the student is advised to consult with Human Resources.

Academic honesty and integrity

The University of Saskatchewan Council has approved a document entitled The Guidelines for Academic Conduct.  The guidelines identify expectation about ethical behaviour expected from all those who work and learn at the university.

The guidelines include honesty and integrity expectations of graduate students, in their course work, including assignments and examinations, in their research and scholarly activities for theses and dissertations, and in their interactions with others in internship or practicum placement.

The document includes this section on the role of the student.  Please visit and read the document.  It is your responsibility to be familiar with it.  As well, the academic penalties associated with misconduct can be found here.

Academic dishonesty: Types, degrees, and consequences

Poster printing

The HGIS Lab is offering to print high-quality full colour reproductions of large scale documents at a special rate for any student in the Department of Psychology.  In order to facilitate processing of orders, the Lab asks that all PSYCH requests adhere to the following conventions:

Print Size

Standard poster dimentions of 36 x 48 inches (portrait or landscape) will be printed for a flat rate of $35. Other sizes are possible and will be charged at a rate of $4 per square foot.  Paper trimming is unavailable in the Lab.   EMAP has developed poster templates (http://www.emap.usask.ca/resources/powerpoint.php) for students to use, free of charge.

Important:

Ensure that document dimensions have been properly set before forwarding your work for printing.  This is especially critical for PowerPoint documents which require the page dimensions to be set before beginning your layout. Documents must be converted to Adobe PDF or TIFF from PowerPoint or other applications, and must have proper pages sizes specified prior to conversion. For most applications, document size is defined in the 'Page Set-up' dialog box.

File Formats

Only Adobe PDF files and TIFF files will be accepted for printing at the special rate. (Due to different Adobe prograns, please include the original file on USB port etc when submitting poster just in case of a corrupt file when converting).

*Note: Microsoft PowerPoint documents

Due to the variable way in which Microsoft PowerPoint handles fonts, colour profiles and images, PowerPoint printouts are often inconsistent with the original screen version. PowerPoint documents must be converted to Adobe PDF or TIFF prior to submission for printing.

Submitting Work

Ensure that the document version you drop off for printing has been carefully proof-read. This is your responsilibity. Due to time requirements, the lab may not be able to print revised copies. Reprints are charged at the regular lab rate of $4/sq ft. Due to the large files sizes involved, documents should be saved on a USB stick or portable drive, or on a CD/DVD which can be delivered to Room 218 Kirk Hall. It is the students responsibility to inform us that they are with the Dept of Psychology. If you wish to call ahead, the number is 966-1333 and days of work are Mondays/Wednesdays/Thursdays.

Payment

The HGIS Lab accepts ONLY cash (exact change) for payment. Unfortunately debit and credit cards can NOT be accepted.

We can also do CFOAPAL's if your Supervisor will be paying for the printing. Just have your supervisor email us and we will take that as confirmation of approval.