Course syllabus for

Degree Project in psychology, 30 credits

Examensarbete i psykologi, 30 hp
This course syllabus is valid from autumn 2022.
Please note that the course syllabus is available in the following versions:
Course code
Course name
Degree Project in psychology
30 credits
Form of Education
Higher Education, study regulation 2007
Main field of study 
AV - Second cycle 
Grading scale
Fail (U), pass (G) or pass with distinction (VG)
Department of Clinical Neuroscience
Decided by
Programnämnd 8
Decision date
Revised by
Education committee CNS
Last revision
Course syllabus valid from
Autumn 2022

Specific entry requirements

Passed results from semester 1-7 of the psychology programme consisting of 210 credits and at least 15 credits from semester 8.


The objective of the course is for students to enhance their knowledge, skills and abilities in psychology and psychological methods by planning and executing an independent empirical project for a 30 HCE Scientific project in the field of psychology.

On completion of the course, the students should be able to

  • search scientific databases, extract relevant publications and review, evaluate and summarise publications of relevance to the content of their project paper
  • identify and formulate a point of scientific inquiry in the field of psychology with respect to the resources and time available
  • independently define, analyse and discuss study design and method in relation to the point of inquiry, and with respect to the prevailing ethical rules
  • independently search, collect, evaluate and interpret relevant information in relation to scientific issue
  • independently compile, analyse and interpret collected data in relation to a problem under supervision in written form according to the academic language and scientific attitudes that are practice in the main field of study psychology
  • as seminars independently discuss critically evaluate and discuss own and others' theses based on relevance for the subject as well as based on methodological and ethical questions
  • in connection with the seminar discussion of the own thesis be able to summarise and account for the parts of the thesis in English with support in a PowerPoint presentation
  • demonstrate an ability to comply with accepted scientific practice and ethical rules; integrity in their research and documentation; and an awareness of the responsibilities of research involving human subjects
  • discuss and understand the importance of collaboration in attaining a high level of quality in all parts of the research process
  • demonstrate the ability to identify his need of additional knowledge and to take responsibility for his knowledge development.


At the beginning of the course, the students selects one of the thesis subjects offered in the field of psychology. Available thesis subjects are decided on by the examiner in consultation with the research faculty around the psychologist programme, and students are welcome to submit suggestions. Possible subjects include e.g.

  • conducting, analysing and reporting of psychological experiments
  • analysis and reporting of data from an established research project
  • psychometric evaluations of instruments with relevance for the psychology
  • systematic literature surveys, containing quality assurances with help quantitative methodology e g metaanalytisk methodology, of current published psychological research
  • analysis of collected data against an in advance set issue
  • conducting a secondary analysis of published data on the basis of a new point of inquiry.

The course begins with the drawing up of a project plan that lays out the general structure, content and timing of the work to be done. At this stage, the scope of the project is defined and a time plan is established. Earlier knowledge in literature search is validated. Information about how supervisor is contacted is given. Under supervision, the students proceed to carry out their own thesis project, during which they have opportunities to test and develop knowledge and methodological skills of relevance to their subject. The course is completed with an examination seminar where the thesis is ventilated and is summarised in English by the author.

Teaching methods

The course includes an introductory lecture on writing a project paper and literature searches. The thesis may be written individually or together with another student in the course. However, if not written individually, each student should on request be able to account for his or her contribution to the presented thesis. The thesis project is to be conducted under supervision and is assessed after scientific discussion between author of the thesis and peer reviewer. The author/-s of the thesis should furthermore summarise their thesis in English, in about 15 minutes and with support of a PowerPoint presentation, also written in English.

Proposals on topics should be delivered to examiner no later than some weeks in on the autumn semester. Each suggested topic should then be documented with defined problem area, definition of central literature and methodology, and for the thesis specific expected learning outcomes.

During the initial weeks of the thesis course, students and supervisor delimit and define the topic, and a time plan is established. With support in supervision, the students should then plan, carry out and report an independent scientific work.

Completed projects are reported in a scientific paper to be debated with an opponent during a concluding seminar. Participation in these project paper seminars is compulsory and entails active presence at other students seminars, and opposing another scientific project paper.


Achieved learning objectives are examined through presentation of the thesis in a thesis seminar where the thesis, the defence, the presentation and the opponent performance are evaluated by the examiner. Students collaborating on a thesis should on request be able to individually declare their own contribution to the thesis, as well as actively participate in the examination as follows.

The various parts are awarded the following grades:
a) Written thesis can receive the grade Fail (U), Pass (G) or Pass with distinction (VG)
b) Respondent performance (defence and discussion of own project paper) can receive the grade Fail (U) or Pass (G)
c) Presentation and summarising the own thesis in English, during about 15 minutes and with support of a PowerPoint presentation. The presentation can receive the grade Fail (U) or Pass (G)
d) Opponent performance for another project paper can receive the grade Fail (U) or Pass (G)

Supervisor assesses if the work has reasonable possibility to achieve criteria for at least the grade Pass (G) and can be presented to review in a thesis seminar. The seminar is an occasion for feedback and an opportunity to alter the thesis is given after the seminar. Final grade of the thesis is awarded after the final version has been submitted to examiner.

Course grade
The grade Pass (G) on the entire course, requires the grade Pass (G) on all four parts above (a, b, c and d), as well as active participation on three of the thesis seminars that are announced during the course. 
The grade Pass with distinction (VG) on the entire course, requires the grade Pass (G) on the respondent, presentation and opponent performances parts (b, c and d), active participation on three of the thesis seminars that are announced during the course, and the grade Pass with distinction (VG) on the written thesis (a).

In the event of a student obtaining a Fail (U) grade for respondent or opponent performance (and in the event of absence), written supplementary assignments may be demanded by the examiner.

​If a student obtains the grade Fail (U) for the presentation in English, the student will receive a list of measures needed to be taken before a new presentation.

In the event of a student obtaining the grade Fail (U) for the thesis, the student is offered some further supervision to alter the thesis to adhere to the demands for obtaining the grade Pass (G); a grade that may only be obtained after a new seminar.  Submission dates for revised thesis are the same as the examination resit dates during the following term.

Absence from compulsory course elements
The examiner decides whether, and if so how, absence from compulsory course elements can be made up. Study results cannot be reported until the student has participated in compulsory course elements or compensated for any absence in accordance with instructions from the examiner. Absence from a compulsory course element could mean that the student cannot retake the element until the next time the course is offered.

Possibility of exception from the course syllabus' regulations on examination
If there are special grounds, or a need for adaptation for a student with a disability, the examiner may decide to deviate from the syllabus's regulations on the examination form, the number of examination opportunities, the possibility of supplementation or exemptions from the compulsory section/s of the course etc. Content and learning outcomes as well as the level of expected skills, knowledge and attitudes may not be changed, removed or reduced.

Transitional provisions

If the course is cancelled or goes through substantial changes, information about interim regulations will be stated here.

Other directives

f the thesis project is delayed and thus takes more than two semesters from the start of the course, the student cannot expect to be supervised by the original supervisor, which may limit the possibility for the student to conclude the thesis project in accordance with the original plan.

Course evaluation takes place according to KI's local guidelines. Students are informed of the results and any measures taken on the course website.

Literature and other teaching aids

Mandatory literature

Sternberg, Robert J.; Dietz-Uhler, Beth.; Leach, Chris. The psychologist's companion : a guide to scientific writing for students and researchers
Vetenskapsrådet CODEX. Regler och riktlinjer för forskning. Tillgänglig [online]
Template for theses and KI:s criterias for assessment of degree projects are found on KI's virtual learning platform.

In addition to what is already mentioned, all mandatory methodological literature from previous courses of the programme, is also mandatory reading of this course.

Articles according to instructions.

In-depth literature

Bem, D.J Writing a review article for Psychological Bulletin
Kazdin, A.E Preparing and Evaluating Research Reports
Kazdin, Alan E. (ed) Methodological issues & strategies in clinical research
Kazdin, Alan E. Research design in clinical psychology
Rosenthal, R Writing meta-analytic reviews: Psychological Bulletin, 118
Svenska skrivregler
Wilkinson, L Statistical methods in psychology journals: : Guidelines and explanations
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