Psychology Ph.D. Program

General Requirements of the Graduate Program

Course Work

Students take four courses each semester for the first two years, including one semester of Problem, Theory, and Method (PSYC-301), and two consecutive semesters of Statistical Methods (PSYC-302). In subsequent semesters in residence, students take two or three content courses and research or reading courses. A total of 16 one-semester courses is required for the Ph.D.


Students demonstrate qualification to begin dissertation work by completing a portfolio of elements totaling 6 points during the first three years. Examples of elements include conference posters, papers, journal submissions, and grant proposals. More Portfolio Information

Independent Research Project

Each student must be actively involved in research from the beginning of their graduate training. At the end of their first year, students will present their work-in-progress in poster format at an annual Graduate Research Conference. At the end of their second year, they will present this work at the Conference as an oral paper. The project will be deemed complete when it is written up in the format of a journal article. Students wishing to obtain a formal M.A. should consult the University Web site for M.A. requirements. More Independent Research Project Information

Credit for Prior Graduate Work

Prior completion of a master’s degree in psychology at an institution requiring an empirical master’s thesis may, at the student’s request, be recognized by waiver of: 1. First- and second-year independent research projects; 2. Up to six content courses because of equivalent (non-applied) graduate courses at the prior institution; and 3. Up to two portfolio elements provided the previous work (e.g., conference presentations, articles submitted for publication) meets the standard requirements for portfolio elements. Previous completion of graduate work in psychology or a related discipline that did not result in a master’s thesis may be recognized by waiver of some requirements at the discretion of the program chair.

Ph.D. Dissertation

The student demonstrates the ability to conduct research by the presentation of an acceptable dissertation. A dissertation committee of three faculty members is formed to supervise all phases of the research. A dissertation proposal is first written and defended at a meeting with the committee and other faculty who have read the proposal. Once completed and approved by the committee, the dissertation is presented publicly to the psychology faculty, graduate students, and appropriate guests, and is open to questions from the faculty. The format of this oral examination is that of a professional presentation. The candidate is expected to demonstrate the ability to address questions on their work and on related matters. This oral includes at least the committee and two additional faculty members. Dissertation Requirements

Special Resident Status

A student who has not completed a requirement on schedule will be placed on Special Resident status for no longer than one year. During this time, only directed readings or research relating to the incomplete work can be pursued, and the student will not be supported by a stipend. Failure to complete requirements may result in termination from the graduate program.