A strength of the Experimental Program is its emphasis on a professional mentor relationship between faculty and students. This relationship encompasses both formal and informal training in the professional life of a psychologist. A Student Advisory Committee (SAC) directs course selection, research training, and teaching experience. In addition, this Committee ensures exposure to other important aspects of faculty life, such as research proposal writing, manuscript evaluation, and job-search skills.
Upon matriculation, each student is assigned an advisor. Together, the advisor and student select two additional faculty to form the Student Advisory Committee. At least two members of the Committee must be regular members of the Department of Psychology, and at least one member must be from the Experimental Program faculty. The composition of this Committee, including the initial advisor, will, in all likelihood, change as the student progresses through the program and comes to know more faculty members. The membership of the Student Advisory Committee may be changed at any time by notifying the Program Director. This Committee should meet annually, in the Fall semester.
The primary functions of this Committee are to advise the student on his/her program, to monitor the student's progress and provide feedback to the student, and to keep the Experimental Program faculty informed about the student's progress. The duties of the Student Advisory Committee include (but are not limited to) the following:
- guidance in the selection of core and methodology courses. This includes a review of preparation and recommendations for additional work,
- direction and evaluation of the predissertation research,
- selection of an appropriate group of courses (6 hours minimum) taken outside the Department,
- acquisition of relevant computer skills,
- exposure to the manuscript review process, and
- experience in proposal writing.
When the Student Advisory Committee determines that the student is ready to form a Doctoral Committee, a recommendation will be made to the faculty, who are responsible for approving this recommendation. To form a Doctoral Committee, students must have completed core coursework; 6 hours of 509, 528, 6 hours of statistics; and the predissertation research project. However, all students must complete two (2) semesters of work in the program before forming a Doctoral Committee. The Student Advisory Committee may make additional requirements, such as further work in statistics or computer skills. Once the student is approved to form a Doctoral Committee, the Doctoral Committee replaces the Student Advisory Committee. The composition of the Doctoral Committee includes a dissertation chair and three additional faculty, one of whom is outside the Psychology Department. The duties listed above also apply to that committee, especially 3-6.