For Current Graduate Students

Department Information

Click here to learn more about Graduate Student Resources, Opportunities, Experiences, and Accomplishments!

  • PSYS Graduate Student Guidebook Information about course requirements, thesis procedures, policies, and facilities.
  • Internships for Clinical Students Get information about choosing and completing an internship, as well as the forms you'll need.
  • Study plan for study abroad/field experience courses If you want to take a course offered by any department that includes a field experience or study abroad, get this form, complete it, and submit it to the Director of Graduate Studies for your program (either electronically or as a paper copy) as early as possible and before you pay any fees associated with the course.

Completing a Thesis or Independent Research Project

  • Recommended timeline Follow this timeline to graduate in May, or push everything back two months if you plan to graduate in July.
  • Time management You have to stick to a schedule to get your project done. Read Kuther's advice with commentary by Dr. Kerri Pickel.
  • Bracken Library provides numerous resources to help you with your research. From the main page, you can access databases (e.g., PsycINFO), view a calendar showing workshops on various topics such as tecnhiques for searching databases, reserve a study room, and order articles through Interlibrary Loan that are not held by Bracken. Reference librarians are available to meet with you to provide individualized support.
  • Starting to organize your literature review can seem overwhelming. Read some helpful tips.
  • How do you move from conducting the lit review to developing a specific research idea for your project? Here are some strategies to help you see how you can go beyond existing studies.
  • Writing well isn't easy, but it's a skill you can learn. The Purdue Online Writing Lab has helpful sections on APA style, the writing process, mechanics, grammar, and punctuation, as well as tips for academic writing.  Click on the site map to find each section easily.
  • Ball State grants There are several funding sources for graduate student research expenses and for graduate student travel to conferences. Note that the Hollis Fund is specifically for psychology students.
  • Read some tips to get ready for your proposal meeting, but ask your chair for advice also.
  • Bring the Thesis Proposal Form [choose “Topic Approval Form (Master's - 6 hr)”] to your proposal meeting. Your thesis committee signs this form when they approve your proposal. You do not need this form if you are completing an independent research project rather than a thesis.  After your successful proposal meeting and IRB approval, you can register for thesis hours (THES 698). You will need a total of 6 thesis hours to graduate.  For detailed instructions, see the Guidebook (available at the link above under "Department Information").  If you're completing an independent research project rather than a thesis, you can register for PSYS 698 at any time with the permission of your research advisor. You can choose to earn up to 6 hours in PSYS 698.
  • You must submit two forms to the Graduate School to finalize your thesis. One is the Thesis Final Approval Form [choose "Final Approval Form (Master's 6 hr - Sample)"], which you create using a template and have your committee sign when they approve your finished thesis. The second form is the ETD Signature Form [choose "ETD Signature Page (Research Paper, Thesis, Creative Project, or Dissertation)"]. Bring both forms to your defense meeting. You do not need these forms if you are completing an independent research project rather than a thesis.
  • Guidelines for thesis submission The Graduate School requires you to submit the final version of your thesis electronically. Find out how. Deadlines can be found here also. Independent projects are not submitted to the Graduate School.
  • What does a finished thesis look like? Here are some previous PSYSC students' theses, recommended by faculty as good examples.
  • Kevin Blankenship
  • Chris Childs
  • Tayla Lee
  • Kim Miller (Kim received the BSU Distinguished Thesis Award for her research)
  • Josh Staller
  • Wesley Stoller
  • Want to see the big picture? Griffin's guide to writing a thesis ptovides a good overview.

Ball State Graduate School Information

Resources for Applying to Doctoral Programs

Some of the resources cited below are books that you can find in the PSYS Advising Resource Center (ARC) in NQ 120, in Bracken Library, and at online bookstores like Amazon. These books include:
1. The Complete Guide to Graduate School Admission: Psychology, Counseling, and Related Professions by Patricia Keith-Spiegel and Michael Wiederman.
2. Getting In: A step-by-step plan for gaining admission to graduate school in psychology by APA.
3. The Savvy Psychology Major by Drew Appleby.

Another good resource is the "Applying to Grad School" page on APA's website (noted as "APA Grad School page" below). One of the links on this page discusses how to make a successful transition from a master's to a doctoral program.

  • Timeline for the application process. Time management is everything. Create a workable timeline and stick with it.
    Recommended resources:
    APA Grad School page; Getting In (see recommended timeline in the introduction)
  • Determining your qualifications and choosing appropriate programs. Apply to programs for which you are qualified and that fit with your research interests and career goals. Be sure to ask your research mentor for advice.
    Recommended resources:
    APA Grad School page; The Complete Guide
    Getting In; see instructions and worksheets in Ch 5 to evaluate program strengths and weaknesses.
    APA’s list of accredited clinical, counseling, and school doc programs 
    US News program rankings and tips 
    Norcross, Kohout, and Wicherski article: acceptance rates and financial considerations 
    Helms and Schnorf article: finding programs that fit with your research interests 
    Birchmeier, Shore, and McCormick article: finding programs that fit your goals 
    Norcross and Castle article: consider PsyD programs
  • Identify programs with faculty members with whom you would like to work. Contact those professors to learn whether they are accepting students and to put yourself on their radar. Get advice first about how to compose an e mail to professors: Kelsky article
  • Should you retake the GRE? Some considerations: Is there a good reason to expect you’ll improve your score? Do you have the time and resources to prepare? Get advice from a test prep coach and see the APA Grad School page.
  • Getting letters of recommendation. You’ll need to decide whom to ask, when to ask them, and what information to provide to help them write a good letter.
    Recommended resources:
    APA Grad School page; The Complete Guide 
    The Savvy Psychology Major
  • Writing a CV. Make sure your CV contains the right information and is organized effectively.
    Recommended resources: 
    Landrum article
    The Savvy Psychology Major has sample CVs.
  • Writing a personal statement. This is your chance to convince the admissions program to accept you, so it's crucial to create a persuasive, well-written statement. If the program provides instructions for writing the statement, follow them closely.
    Recommended resources:
    The Complete Guide 
    The Savvy Psychology Major 
    Sleigh article 
    Appleby and Appleby article lists some mistakes to avoid.
  • While you’re waiting to hear from schools. You can track other applicants’ posts about specific programs and share information about the application experience in general at the Grad Café.
  • Preparing for and attending interviews. Spend some time preparing for interviews before you go.
    Recommended resources:
    The Complete Guide
    Getting In (practice answers to questions you might be asked and make a list of questions you want to ask)
    Oudekerk and Bottoms article
  • How to accept and reject offers. If you receive multiple offers, how do you choose the one that’s best for you while maintaining professionalism? Don’t keep unwanted offers on the table, and don’t miss response deadlines.
    Recommended resource:
    The Complete Guide
  • What to do if you don’t get accepted. Don’t be discouraged; there is a Plan B.
    Recommended resources:
    Getting In 
    Advice from a former PSYS master’s student

Professional Associations

  • Association for Psychological Science This national organization promotes "scientifically oriented psychology in research, application, teaching, and the improvement of human welfare." At this site you can get information about membership, the annual conference, resources for graduate students, teaching tips, links to psychology resources, and more.
  • American Psychological Association The mission of this national organization is to "advance psychology as a science and a profession." Visit this site for information about membership, the annual convention, student resources, publications, and more.
  • American Psychological Association Insurance Trust Students on a clinical internship can get malpractice insurance through APA.
  • Midwestern Psychological Association This site for this regional psychology organization offers information about membership and the annual spring meeting in Chicago.
  • American Psychology-Law Society The Division 41 organization of the APA is "devoted to scholarship, practice, and public service in psychology and law." This site provides information about conferences, grants, careers, psychology and law doc programs, references and more.

Financial Support

  • Graduate Assistantships Browse openings posted by various campus offices at Cardinal Career Link.
  • Partnership for Prescription Assistance See if you qualify to get your prescription meds for free.
  • Student health insurance Learn about insurance available to Ball State students.
  • Student Travel Agency Search for travel deals available to students.
  • Early Head Start free full day child care (for children 6 weeks to 36 months). Call Mary Capps, 288-3000, ext 5057.
  • Some local businesses offer discounts to BSU students, so be sure to ask. For example, students get 10% off at Marsh grocery stores on Saturdays; get more information at the customer service desk.