Psychological Sciences

The Department of Psychological Sciences offers two graduate degrees: a Master of Science (M.S.) and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.).

Master of Science

Students enrolled in all Ph.D. program concentrations except Ecological Psychology are expected to complete a Master’s degree as part of the Ph.D. program. (Students who enter the Ph.D. program with a Master’s might be eligible for a waiver of the Master’s requirement by the Division Head of the relevant Concentration). The Master’s program requires a minimum of 30 course credits. Ordinarily, the Master’s degree should be completed within three years; all work for the Master’s degree must be completed within six years.

Master of Science Requirements. The Graduate School offers two types of master’s programs: Plan A (Thesis) and Plan B (Non-Thesis). Ph.D. students in the Psychological Sciences Department are typically expected to complete a Plan A (Thesis) master’s as part of the Ph.D. program. In some situations students may be allowed to complete a Plan B master’s if they will not continue in the Ph.D. program. This decision is up to the discretion of the Major Advisor and Division Head. A description and requirements of each Plan are indicated below.

Plan A (Thesis). This plan emphasizes research activities and requires a minimum of 30 course credits which must include: PSYC 5104 (minimum of “B-” required for students completing the Ph.D.); GRAD 5950 or 5960 for a minimum of nine credits. Plan A Master of Science students must complete a Master’s thesis, following the rules specified by the Graduate School.

Plan A Final Examination. Near the close of the candidate’s period of study, not later than one year after the completion of coursework, the student must pass a final examination under the jurisdiction of the advisory committee. This will be an oral examination (defense) based on the candidate’s thesis and issues relevant to the thesis.

Plan B (Non-Thesis). This plan emphasizes comprehensive understanding of a more general character than the thesis plan and requires a minimum 30 credits of advanced coursework, which must include: PSYC 5104 (minimum of “B-” required for students completing the Ph.D.); PSYC 5800 for a minimum of three credits. The research project must be approved by the student’s Advisory Committee.

Plan B Final Examination. Near the close of the candidate’s period of study – not later than one year after the completion of coursework – the student must pass a final examination under the jurisdiction of the Advisory Committee. The examination is arranged by the Major Advisor with the assistance of the Associate Advisors.

Doctor of Philosophy Program Divisions

The Psychological Sciences Department has six Divisions with Ph.D. Programs are offered in the following areas of concentration: Behavioral Neuroscience (Behavioral Neuroscience Division); Clinical Psychology (Clinical Division); Developmental Psychology (Developmental Division); Ecological Psychology (Perception, Action, Cognition Division); Industrial and Organizational Psychology (Industrial and Organizational Division); Language and Cognition (Perception, Action, Cognition Division); Neurosciences (Behavioral Neuroscience Division); Social Psychology (Social Division).

General Requirements for Ph.D. Plan of Study. For all divisions, the Department requires 15 credits of Doctoral Dissertation Research (GRAD 6950 or 6960); plus 15 credits of Ph.D. content coursework, which must include nine credits of breadth courses and course requirements that vary with the student’s chosen area of concentration and division (see details below). In addition to those requirements, all Ph.D. students must complete two statistical courses: PSYC 5104 and 5105. The Ph.D. in Psychological Sciences does not have a related area or foreign language requirement.

Ph.D. Plan of Study Psychological Sciences Department Requirements. Predissertation Research: at least one completed research project. This requirement can be met by a Master’s thesis or by a minimum of six credits of PSYC 5800 when appropriate.

Department Breadth Requirements. In order to expand the student’s knowledge beyond their specific area of study, a minimum of nine credits (typically three courses) of graduate work outside the student’s Division required. Usually any graduate class outside the student’s Division or the department will count as breadth, assuming it meets the following guidelines: PSYC 5104 and 5105 may not be used to fulfill the breadth requirement; no more than two quantitative courses, defined as courses that count for the Graduate Certificate Program in Quantitative Research Methods, may be used for breadth. No more than one breadth course may be taken with any one instructor, aside from the following classes: a course in grant writing; PSYC 5100, 5140, 5285; COGS 5001; three credit hours of PSYC 5801, taken with a faculty member outside the student’s Division, will meet Department breadth requirements as one course. (However, the Head of that faculty member’s Division must consent to this.) Students in the Perception, Action, Cognition Division who are in the Language and Cognition Concentration may use courses given by the Ecological Psychology faculty as breadth courses. Students in the Ecological Psychology program may, likewise, take courses offered by the Language and Cognition faculty to fulfill the breadth requirement. Upper level undergraduate classes in other departments and other courses may be considered for breadth on a case-by-case basis. Courses in other departments that are cross-listed as PSYC courses will not count towards the departmental breadth requirement if the PSYC version of the course is in the student’s Division, even if the student registers for the course under the external department course number. (BME 6086, cross-listed as PSYC 5270 will not count for BNS students). Students entering the program with a master’s from a different (Psychology or non- Psychology) department or division may have up to six breadth credits waived (up to two classes). A grade of at least “C+” must be earned in all courses elected for the purpose of meeting the departmental breadth requirement. If, in undertaking to meet the breadth requirement, a student fails to earn a grade of at least “C+” in any one course, but earns an overall average grade greater than “C+”, that student may submit a request to the Associate Department Head/Coordinator of Graduate Studies for a review of their case. The breadth requirement should ordinarily be completed in or before the semester in which the student takes the General Examination.

Quantitative Methods Requirements. All graduate students are required to take (or be exempted from) PSYC 5104 and 5105. Each student must earn a grade of at least “B-” in both courses to meet Department requirements for the Ph.D. Any student with no previous statistics experience or who has a need to review undergraduate statistics should take STAT 1100Q on an audit basis before taking PSYC 5104. Note that the six required credits of Quantitative Methods should be listed on the Ph.D. Plan of Study in the “Related Area” section and do not count towards the breadth requirement or minimum number of required Ph.D. credits and should not be listed in the Ph.D. Plan of Study “Coursework” section on page 2. Students who have taken statistics coursework prior to their enrollment in the Ph.D. program, may be eligible for a waiver of one or both of the Quantitative Methods courses.

Licensure Requirement. Students interested in licensure should contact their program for details on American Psychological Association recommendations and relevant courses offered by the department.

General Examination. Students must pass a General Examination. Details may vary across divisions.

Dissertation Proposal. Before dissertation research is undertaken, a research proposal must be approved.

Dissertation and Final Ph.D. Oral Defense. Students must pass an oral defense and submit an approved thesis.

Degree Milestones. In addition to these general requirements, students within a given Division must satisfy the following division-level requirements: Master’s Thesis and Defense (not required for Ecological Psychology Concentration), Ph.D. Qualifying Examination; Ph.D. Prospectus; Ph.D. Dissertation Document and Defense.

Behavioral Neuroscience Concentration Required Courses. PSYC 5104, 5105; four semesters of Behavioral Neuroscience (BNS) seminars; two graduate-level BNS courses from two different areas of expertise, taught by different BNS psychology professors; at least six credits of graduate research; for the Ph.D., students must obtain at least 24 total credits in addition to any credits going towards the master’s degree.

Behavioral Neuroscience Concentration, Master’s Only Option Required Courses. At least 30 total credits including no more than six at the undergraduate level; PSYC 5104; two to four semesters of Behavioral Neuroscience (BNS) Seminar, for terminal master’s students two semesters are required, but it is recommended that the student enroll each semester in the program up to the fourth semester. For Ph.D. students who are initially obtaining a master’s, four semesters are required; two BNS courses with at least one graduate content course from each of two different areas of expertise (i.e., taught by different BNS psychology professors; at least six credits of graduate research.

“Plan A” Additional Requirements. A master’s thesis, with oral defense and a committee of three faculty members. At least three to four semesters in the program are recommended.

“Plan B” Additional Requirements. A written master’s examination is required, consisting of either: three questions from different faculty members (at least two in Behavioral Neuroscience), which each serve as the basis for a 10-15 page paper to be completed in 7-10 days; or a research report or literature review, which is reviewed by the master’s committee.

Clinical Psychology Concentration 1st Year Required Courses: GRAD 5950; PSYC 5104, 5105, 5300, 5301, 5302, 5303, 5304, 5305, 5307, 5399; PSYC 6301 and 6302 the Practicum in Adult/Child Psychotherapy (observation only).

Clinical Psychology Concentration 2nd Year+ Required Courses: GRAD 5950, and 6950 (once master’s is completed); PSYC 5300, 5332, 5306, 5140, 5399, 6301, 6302; an additional three related classes, totaling nine credits.

Clinical Competence. To receive the Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, students must demonstrate clinical competence in training experiences in our training clinic and in off-site clinical placements, as well as a full-year internship.

Developmental Psychology Concentration Required Courses: five of these seven courses by degree’s end**: PSYC 5410*, 5420, 5425, 5440, 5450, 5460, 5470*.

* All students must take either PSYC 5410 or 5470.

**A “developmental related course” from another division/department can substitute for one of these courses (other than PSYC 5410 or 5470), as per list of pre-approved courses or by permission of Developmental Psychology faculty.

Pre-Master’s Required Courses: GRAD 5950, 5960; PSYC 5104, 5105, 5400*, 5499*; PSYC 5800* or 5801*.

* To be taken each semester.

Post-Master’s Required Courses: GRAD 6950, 6960; PSYC 5400*, 5499*; PSYC 5800* or 5801*.

* To be taken each semester.

Industrial and Organizational Psychology Concentration M.A. Required Courses: Nine credits of GRAD 5950; PSYC 5104, 5105, 5123, 5600, 5614, 5615, 5699, 5701; MGMT 6203.

Doctor of Philosophy Required Courses: Four courses in Industrial and Organizational Specialization Seminars by degree’s end; nine credits in Departmental Breadth Seminars; 15 credits of GRAD 6950; GRAD 6930; PSYC 5600, 5699; and Field Research Experience or equivalent.

Doctor of Philosophy Degree Milestones: Master’s Defense; General Examination; Dissertation Proposal; and Dissertation Defense.

Ecological Psychology Concentration Required Courses: PSYC 5104, 5553, 5554, 5571, 5574; STAT 5665; and one of the following courses: PSYC 6505; PSYC 5570 when taught as Current Topics in Cognitive Science: Developmental Systems, or Introduction to Complex Systems, or Longitudinal Data Analysis; or STAT 5825.

Language and Cognition Concentration Required Courses: PSYC 5567, 5568; four courses taught by the Language and Cognition faculty; three breadth courses taught outside the Language and Cognition division; a two course sequence in statistics, including PSYC 5104 or 5105.

Neuroscience Concentration Required Courses: PSYC 5104, 5105; four semesters of Behavioral Neuroscience (BNS) seminars; two graduate-level BNS courses from two different areas of expertise, taught by different BNS psychology professors; at least six credits of graduate research. For the Ph.D., students must obtain at least 24 total credits in addition to any credits going towards the master’s degree.

Neuroscience Concentration, Master’s Only Option Required Courses. At least 30 total credits, including no more than six at the undergraduate level; PSYC 5104; two to four semesters of Behavioral Neuroscience (BNS) Seminar; for terminal Master’s students, two semesters are required, but it is recommended that the student enroll each semester in the program up to the fourth semester. For Ph.D. students who are initially obtaining a master’s, four semesters are required; two BNS courses with at least one graduate content course from each of two different areas of expertise taught by different BNS psychology professors; and at least six credits of graduate research.

“Plan A” Additional Requirements. A master’s thesis, with an oral defense and a committee of three faculty members. At least three to four semesters in the program are recommended.

“Plan B” Additional Requirements. A written master’s examination is required, consisting of either three questions from different faculty members (at least two in Behavioral Neuroscience), which each serve as the basis for a 10-15 page paper to be completed in 7-10 days.; or a research report or literature review, which is reviewed by the master’s committee.

Social Psychology Concentration Requirements. Students must take at least one seminar from three different social psychology faculty members across their tenure in the program.

Pre-Master’s Required Courses: PSYC 5104, 5105, 5700, 5701, 5703, 5799; at least one of the following each semester: PSYC 5800; GRAD 5950, 5960.

Post-Master’s Required Courses: PSYC 5770, 5799, 6790; at least one of the following each semester: GRAD 6950, 6960; PSYC 5800.

Post-Master’s Social Breadth Requirement. Students select three courses from PSYC 5101, 5120, 5170, 5770, 6730, 6731, 6732, 6733, 6750, 6753, or 6771.

The programs are offered by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.