PhD training is intended to develop high levels of expertise in developing research questions, conducting research, analyzing and interpreting data, and interpreting existing theory and research in psychology (i.e., scholarship). Consequently, the curriculum consists of hands on research experience, high level graduate seminars in your area of interest, and a certain number of graduate level foundation courses dealing with quantitative methods and substantive areas of research and theory that are critical for your program goals.
In addition, PhD students also complete 12-15 semester credits in a minor or supporting program. If you choose a traditional minor, all work will be in a single field related to the major. If you choose a supporting program, you will take courses in other departments selected to enhance your educational and career interests. Many graduate departments in the University offer course work that can be used for a graduate minor or supporting program. You may wish to consider courses in biology, child development, computer science, educational psychology, genetics, industrial relations, information and decision sciences, management and organization, mathematics, medicine, neuroscience, philosophy, sociology, speech pathology, and statistics. Psychology offers courses in statistics, as do the School of Statistics, the Division of Biostatistics, and the Department of Educational Psychology.
To help ensure breadth of scholarship, all students in the doctoral program must satisfy the general distribution requirement in four areas outside their specialty (see the Graduate Student Handbook (PDF)). Currently, this requirement is satisfied by satisfactory performance in designated courses. You also must show competence in your area of specialization by writing either a separate special examination or, with your adviser's approval, an extensive review paper. When you finish the special examination or review paper, and the course work in your minor program, you will take a preliminary oral examination conducted by a four-member committee that includes major and minor advisers. The final requirement for the PhD is to pass a final oral examination defending your completed thesis.
See the Graduate School Catalog for additional information on doctoral program requirements.
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