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Ph.D. Program - Experimental Psychology


The dissertation must be an original major research project completed by you, which must meet the approval of your doctoral committee. In addition to approval of your doctoral committee, the University requires that your dissertation research coincide with your registration for course number 600, "Doctoral Research and Dissertation." Regardless of the time which you actually require to complete your research, your registration in course 600 must amount to a minimum of 24 hours. Except in the case of leaves of absence approved by the Department Head and the Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean of The Graduate School, this registration must be continuous, defined as at least three hours per semester, including the summer semester.

  1. Dissertation proposal meeting
    All Ph.D. candidates must hold a committee meeting to discuss a written dissertation proposal. This proposal, often in the form of a grant application, must be given to all Committee members a full week before the meeting. It should include a selected literature review of the research problem and a detailed presentation of the questions to be evaluated, the methods to be employed, and a discussion of data analysis and interpretation. A strong proposal will also be accompanied by pilot data. Proposals should also include a tentative time-table and budget, and address anticipated concerns or difficulties, practical or theoretical. A memo indicating that the dissertation proposal has been approved by the Committee should be given to the Program Director. It should also contact a brief timeline for completion of the research. A √íRecommendation for Approval of Dissertation Proposal√ď form must be completed and given to the Graduate Programs Coordinator.
  2. Admission to Candidacy
    Students must be admitted to candidacy one full semester prior to commencement, and must follow all Graduate School deadlines for submission of this form. All Departmental requirements must be completed before submission of this form. After committee members have signed the form, both the form and a copy of the student's Academic History (transcript) should be given to Connie Ogle (312D). Ms. Ogle will secure the Department Head's signature and will then forward the appropriate number of copies to The Graduate School.
  3. Dissertation defense meeting
    All Ph.D. candidates must hold an oral defense which covers both the dissertation manuscript and the field of study. Dates must be set in advance with The Graduate School and the date, time, and place communicated to the Director as soon as confirmed. The oral presentation may be attended by interested students and faculty, in addition to the student and his/her Committee, although the Committee may recess for private discussions at any time. All decisions are the sole responsibility of the Committee and all members of the Committee must attend the oral defense. The defense tests comprehension of the dissertation, evaluates the excellence of its execution, and probes the candidate's understanding of the work's relevance to broader issues in psychology. There are two separate decisions made: passing the student on the defense and approval of the written dissertation. Even with approval, revisions of the written document may be required.

The oral exam is not to be scheduled until the major professor has approved the dissertation. Complete copies of the dissertation must be distributed to all Committee members at least ten (10) days prior to the dissertation defense. Students should never plan to have their final defense in the summer, since scheduling is almost always very difficult. The Chair of your Committee will receive a Pass/Fail Form from The Graduate School prior to your defense, and all members of the Committee must sign this form at the time of the defense. After the defense, the Pass/Fail form should be given to the Graduate Programs Coordinator, who will make a copy for the student's file and forward the original document to The Graduate School. Students who fail an exam may be allowed to retake the exam, at the discretion of the Doctoral Committee. It is the responsibility of all students to follow current Graduate School policy and make sure that all forms, scheduling, signatures, etc. have been submitted or carried out.

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