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Ph.D. Program - Experimental Psychology

Meetings & Examinations

Several meetings and examinations required during the graduate program are listed below. This is a minimum number, and students are urged to meet with their committees at other times to discuss their progress.

  1. An initial Student Advisory Committee meeting is to be held no later than the middle of the second semester, preferably during the first semester. At this time, the student should fill out the Educational History Form Ð PhD. and a copy given to his/her advisor. This meeting will give students an opportunity to discuss their background, interests, and goals, with their prospective committee. The student is not expected to have decided on a research topic before this meeting, and changes in committee memberships may occur as research plans crystallize. During this discussion, the committee will suggest coursework and research experiences which would be helpful to the student; the committee will distinguish between recommended and required coursework. Within two weeks of the meeting, the chair of the committee will send a summary of the decisions to the student, the committee members, and the Program Director. A completed copy of the Evaluation Form should also be filed with the Graduate Programs Coordinator in Room 312D. The SAC Evaluation Form Ð PhD, may be used for this feedback. The chair of each Experimental psychology student advisory committee must be a member of the Department of Psychology, and at least one member of the committee must be a faculty member of the Experimental program.
  2. Second and third-year committee meetings must also be held. At these meetings, the Educational History Forms should be updated and annual SAC Evaluation Forms completed. In addition to guidance in the selection of coursework, these meetings will address the following issues:

    • direction and evaluation of predissertation research,
    • acquisition of relevant computer skills,
    • exposure to the manuscript review process, and
    • experience in proposal writing.
  3. Comprehensive examination. Once the student has completed the required coursework and predissertation and has been approved by the full faculty to form a Doctoral Committee, he/she will meet with the Doctoral Committee to determine the format and timing of the Comprehensive exam. The purpose of the exam is the demonstration of expertise by the student in the areas necessary for the performance of his/her intended dissertation.

    The Comprehensive exam will include (a) a theoretical or integrative review paper and/or (b) a series of written answers to questions contributed by the members of the student's doctoral committee. This may be done closed-book or open-book, with a variety of time options. In addition, the Comprehensive exam may also include any, or a variety, of the following ideas:

    • manuscript review of selected article
    • development of course outline, selection of texts, and preparation/delivery of lecture
    • demonstration of methodological techniques, such as computer analyses, instrumentation, qualitative analyses
    • oral exam based on (a) or (b) above.

    A final copy of this exam and a signed copy of the Comprehensive Examination Completion Form should be given to the Graduate Programs Coordinator to be placed in the student's file. The completion of this exam, along with approval of the student's coursework, satisfies the requirements for the Admission to Candidacy.

    If the Comprehensive Examination includes the Integrative Review Paper option, the guidelines for that paper follow: The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the student's ability to integrate a wide range of literature, to synthesize this material, and to write in a scholarly and appropriate style. The topic will be developed by the student in cooperation with his/her Doctoral Committee.

    The model for this paper is a manuscript that could be submitted to a journal similar to Psychological Review or Psychological Bulletin. It may include meta-analyses or empirical data, but that is not to be the primary focus of the paper. The maximum length of the paper is 50 pages.

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