PhD Program Requirements and Policies
Updated August, 2015
Graduate students are expected to complete their graduate studies in Psychology within 5 years (6 years for those students in the Clinical program). The suggested time line below is approximate and flexible. Your advisor will assist you in constructing a plan of study that is appropriate for your particular program and training needs. The specific forms that need to be submitted are also listed here. Further details on requirements for the Master’s, comprehensive examination, Ph.D. dissertation, and specific program requirements can be found by clicking on the links to the right.
1st Year: Master’s Proposal
Meet with your advisor to outline a plan of study.
Begin to explore research ideas with your advisor.
Form your Master’s committee.
Prepare a proposal for your Master’s thesis or project and have it approved by the committee.
Submit the Master’s Proposal form (Form #1) to the Graduate Coordinator and complete the Master’s Plan of Study via GradPath.
2nd Year: Master’s Completion
Carry out your Master’s research thesis or project and complete all Master’s course requirements.
Write up Master’s thesis or project and submit it to the Master’s committee for approval.
Complete the Master’s Completion of Degree Requirements via GradPath and submit the Master's Acceptance form (Form #2) to the Graduate Coordinator.
3rd Year: Comprehensive Examination
Meet with your advisor to plan the examination and complete your Doctoral Plan of Study via GradPath.
Form your comprehensive examination committee and submit the committee names via GradPath for approval.
Meet with your committee to approve the plan of study and decide on the examination format.
Submit the Written Comprehensive Proposal form (Form #3) to the Graduate Coordinator.
Complete the written comprehensive exam or write a comprehensive examination paper.
After written exam is passed, submit the Written Comprehensives Requirements form (Form #4) to the Graduate Coordinator.
Schedule the oral examination with your committee members and submit the Announcement of Doctoral Comprehensive Exam via GradPath. When the oral examination is completed, the committee chair will submit the results via GradPath.
4th Year: Doctoral Dissertation Proposal
In consultation with your advisor, plan your dissertation research.
Form a dissertation committee, and submit the Doctoral Dissertation Committee Appointment form via GradPath no later than six months prior to the dissertation defense.
Prepare a written proposal for your dissertation research and have it approved by your committee.
Submit the Doctoral Dissertation Proposal form (Form #5) to the Graduate Coordinator.
Carry out your dissertation research.
5th Year: Doctoral Dissertation Defense
Complete dissertation research and all doctoral course requirements.
Write up the dissertation research and submit it to your committee at least two weeks prior to the dissertation defense.
Schedule the dissertation defense and submit the Announcement of Final Oral Defense form via GradPath.
Complete the dissertation defense and make final revisions to the document before submitting it to the Graduate College.
NOTE: Clinical students will apply for their internship year after completion of the comprehensive examination and the dissertation proposal. See the Clinical Graduate Student Handbook for more details.
Departmental Curriculum Requirements
A graduate student's curriculum is composed of a set of departmental core requirements, which include departmental required courses, additional courses in the major program, courses in a minor area, an empirical Master's project/thesis, written and oral comprehensive examinations, and an empirical Doctoral dissertation.
Departmental required courses include:
PSYC 500A: Issues of Psychological Theory and Research
Three graduate level courses in Statistics and/or Research Methods beginning with an overview course (PSY 510**). Other courses may include PSY 507a and PSY 507b and their associated labs (PSY 597a, 597b), or other graduate courses in research methods or statistics offered by the Department or another department if approved by the student’s advisor. An independent study course that focuses on specialized statistical methods and supervised by an instructor with statistical expertise may also count towards the statistics requirement, with a course outline approved by the student’s advisor.
** Students with a strong background in statistic or who have completed a graduate statistics course may elect to take a statistics test upon entering the program in order to omit PSY 510 and enroll directly in more advanced stats courses. Contact the Director of Graduate Studies for more information on taking the statistics placement test.
Psy 596T: Teaching of Psychology. This course is a mandatory prerequisite for any student who wishes to teach in winter/summer sessions. Other 3-credit graduate level teaching courses offered though the Office of Instruction and Assessment may be substituted, with prior permission from Dr. Julie Feldman.
Students accepted into the Ph.D. program who have completed graduate level courses may be able to obtain credit for these courses in the Ph.D. program. Students with a Master’s degree from another institution may transfer up to 30 units to the Ph.D. program. Students who have completed some graduate courses elsewhere may transfer in up to 30 units. Transfer courses must be deemed equivalent to courses currently offered in the Psychology department. In order to qualify as a transfer course, students should provide a course syllabus to the faculty member currently teaching the equivalent course for consideration. If the faculty member considers the coursework equivalent, then she/he will contact the Program Director and the Director of Graduate Studies. Transfer courses must be approved by the area Program Director and the Director of Graduate Studies. The Graduate Coordinator can provide students with more details on transfer courses. Courses can only be transferred in the first year of the graduate program.
The Graduate Minor Area
Courses in a minor area may be chosen from the Psychology departmental graduate programs or offerings from other departments or colleges at the University. A graduate minor in Psychology consists of 9 units and should be selected in consultation with your advisor. It is recommended that nine units be taken in psychology or from courses that are cross-listed to psychology. Courses from other departments may be added to the student's minor program if approved by the advisor and the chair of the student's minor committee.
A minor area completed through a department other than Psychology must meet the specific minor requirements defined by the outside department. The outside department (or interdisciplinary program) will specify the number of credits required to fulfill their minor requirements, and this number sometimes exceeds nine units. Check the outside department website for requirements.
PLEASE NOTE: Courses that fulfill departmental requirements may not be counted as fulfilling the minor requirement. For example, students wishing to do a graduate minor in Psychology with an emphasis in statistics must complete 3 statistics courses beyond the basic three-course departmental statistics requirement.
Master’s Degree Requirements
Students must complete 30 course units which must include between 1 and 6 Master’s project units (Psy 909) or Master’s thesis units (Psy 910). 30 Units (1/2 need to be letter graded), 1-6 Thesis units (909-2 members or 910-3 members) - 2 members must be tenure track.
The Master’s research project (Psy 909) may be a focused empirical study or may utilize extant data. The Master’s project committee will include two faculty, the primary supervisor and one other faculty member within Psychology. Students completing the Master’s research project must enroll in at least one credit of Psy 909 (Master’s Report).
If a student wishes to archive their Master’s research, they may enroll in Psy 910 (Master’s Thesis) in lieu of Psy 909. The Master’s thesis requires three committee members.
The Master’s proposal should be reviewed and approved by the Master’s committee members. This process does not require a formal proposal meeting, although a meeting is highly recommended. The proposal should be completed prior to the beginning of the fall semester of the second year.
The written Master’s project report (or thesis) should be completed and approved by the committee prior to the beginning of the fall semester of the third year. There is no requirement for a formal Master’s defense, although a meeting is highly recommended. All revisions to the Master’s document should be completed prior to the beginning of the fall semester in the third year.
In addition to the written Master's report, all second year students will present their masters research at a MA research forum held toward the end of the spring semester (late April or early May). Students can elect to present their project as a poster or an oral presentation.
Students who have not completed their Master’s thesis by the beginning of the fall semester of their third year may be placed on probation, with the stipulation that they should complete both the Master’s thesis and their comprehensive exams by the beginning of the fourth year in the program. Please see the information on Graduate Student Evaluations below for more details.
Students entering the graduate program with a Master’s degree from another institution may receive credit for completing an equivalent empirical thesis elsewhere. To receive credit, the student should provide a copy of the completed thesis to their advisor and one other faculty member in Psychology. The two faculty members will read the thesis and decide whether it meets the Psychology department standards. If approved by both faculty, the advisor will inform the Graduate Coordinator that the student has fulfilled the thesis requirement.
The Comprehensive examination is a requirement of the Graduate College and must be completed before admission to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree. The Comprehensive requirement should normally be undertaken in the third year of residency, but cannot be completed until the Masters thesis has been approved. The Comprehensive requirement must be completed before the Doctoral dissertation proposal can be submitted. The Comprehensive consists of a written examination, covering the major and minor fields of study, followed by an oral examination of at least one hour and no more than three hours in length. The Comprehensive examination requires the student to display a broad knowledge of the field as well as depth of knowledge in their area(s) of specialization.
The written Comprehensive examination in the Psychology Department can be fulfilled in one of two ways: either by the preparation of one or two papers (one in the major and one in the minor) in the scope and style of Psychological Bulletin or Psychological Review, OR by the completion of a set of examination questions prepared by the student’s Comprehensive committee. Both types of examinations require the student to demonstrate breadth of knowledge in the field of psychology and depth of knowledge in their area(s) of specialization. The exact format of the examination questions is determined by the advisor and the Comprehensive committee but should follow the guidelines described below.
Steps to be taken to complete the Comprehensive requirement:
Students should begin discussions with their major advisor concerning the breadth of knowledge that is expected for the Comprehensive exam. The advisor should recommend suitable readings and coursework that are designed to meet the breadth requirement. At the same time, the students should also discuss with their advisor the research areas that will constitute the particular area(s) of specialization. These discussions should begin early in a graduate student’s career, preferably during the first year.
After completion of the Master’s requirements, students, in consultation with their major advisor, should form a committee for the Comprehensive examination. The Comprehensive committee must consist of four members, three in the major area and one in the minor area. This Comprehensive committee need not include the same members as the Dissertation committee. Three of the four members should be within the Department of Psychology. Exceptions can be approved by the advisor and the Program Director.
Students should arrange to meet with each Comprehensive committee member to discuss the content of the Comprehensive examination. At this meeting, students should seek confirmation of their expectations with respect to the breadth and depth of knowledge required in their paper or exam and the specific content areas that will be covered. Students should request from each committee member suggestions for coursework and a list of readings that are appropriate to the goals of the Comprehensive examination.
If students elect to complete a written exam, the exam may be in-house or take-home. In-house exams typically allow for 3 hours of exam time per examiner, which may be spread over days (usually 2 days). Take-home exams may take up to one day per examiner.
The comprehensive paper or written examination answers should be provided to all members of the committee, who will submit their pass/fail/abstain vote directly to the student’s advisor. Only one failing vote or abstention is allowed. Two or more failing votes or abstentions constitute a failed exam. A failed written examination may be re-taken once at the discretion of the committee. A failed comprehensive paper may likewise be revised once at the discretion of the committee.
When the written portion of the Comprehensive examination has been passed, the student should schedule three hours for the oral part of the examination with the committee members. The oral exam must be at least one hour and no more than three hours in length.
All committee members must be in attendance at the oral exam. If more than one member of the committee or the student is participating remotely for the exam (via Skype or teleconference), please inform the Graduate Coordinator prior to the exam. An oral exam with more than one person participating remotely must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies.
Questions during the oral exam cannot focus specifically or solely on the areas covered in the written exam or the comprehensive paper. Instead, students will be questioned broadly about their knowledge of psychology in general as well as their area(s) of specialization. The student will not be allowed any external aids during the Comprehensive oral examination.
At the conclusion of the oral examination, Committee members will provide a confidential pass/fail/abstain vote using ballots obtained from the Graduate Coordinator. The committee members should consider the student’s competency on both the oral examination and the written examination or comprehensive paper in casting their vote. Only one failing vote or abstention is allowed. Two or more failing votes or abstentions constitutes a failed oral examination. A failed oral examination may be re-taken once at the discretion of the committee within 3 months of the failed oral exam.
When the oral examination is completed successfully, the committee chair will return the ballots to the Graduate Coordinator. The committee chair is responsible for initiating the Results of Oral Comprehensive Exam form in GradPath. The chair will receive an email reminder, with a link in the email to the form, to submit the results as soon as the oral Comprehensive examination is completed. Failed exams must also be reported via GradPath, and a new date for the oral examination selected, should the committee elect to allow the student to re-take the oral examination.
Ph.D. Requirements and Doctoral Dissertation
Students must complete a total of 63 units of coursework for the Ph.D. These include 36 units of coursework within their major area, 9 units of coursework to fulfill a minor area in Psychology (for details, see the section on the minor requirements), and 18 dissertation units. Note that up to 30 units of Master’s courses, not including the thesis or project units, can be transferred to the Ph.D. and can serve as either major or minor coursework.
All Ph.D. candidates, having successfully completed the Master’s degree and the Comprehensive examination, must complete a dissertation which meets accepted standards of scholarship and demonstrates the candidate's ability to conduct original research.
Steps to be taken to complete the Doctoral dissertation:
In consultation with the advisor, students should select a Dissertation committee. The Graduate College requires a minimum of three members, all of whom must be University of Arizona tenured or tenure-track. The fourth member may be tenured or tenure-track, or a special approved member. Special members must be pre-approved by the Head of Psychology and the Dean of the Graduate College. Any members beyond the fourth can also be tenured or tenure-track, or special approved members. All dissertation committee members are expected to attend the final defense. If any members will be participating by Skype or speaker phone they must attend the whole defense and this must be pre-approved by the Graduate College in advance. Please notify the Graduate Coordinator if this should be the case.
Students should develop a proposal for their dissertation research in consultation with their advisor and the Dissertation committee members. The written proposal should be similar to a grant proposal, including background literature, the specific aims of the project, the methods, any preliminary results, and the scope of the intended work. Once the proposal is submitted to the committee, the student will meet with the committee to formally present the proposal and obtain feedback.
It is highly recommended that student obtain approval of their dissertation proposal from all committee members BEFORE they engage in extensive research projects. The committee is not bound to accept research projects simply because they have already been completed, if they feel that the research project does not meet accepted standards of scholarship.
A dissertation may include already-published work where the student is first-author. Publications may also be included where the student is not the first author, if a substantial amount of the work in the publication was carried out by the student. Published papers are appended to the dissertation in their published format. A “portfolio” of published papers is acceptable as the dissertation. The portfolio must include an introductory chapter describing the overarching themes of the work, and a final discussion section that integrates the various published papers included in the portfolio. Alternatively, the dissertation may include a combination of chapters describing unpublished research and published journal articles.
After completing the research projects outlined in the proposal, the dissertation document should be written following the specific guidelines and formatting provided by the Graduate College.
The dissertation document should be submitted to committee members no later than two weeks prior to the defense. Once the committee has had sufficient time to read the document, the student should schedule the defense with the committee members.
Note that all members of the committee must be present at the defense. If a committee member will be present via Skype or via teleconference, they are required to be present continually for the entire presentation and discussion. Approval must be obtained from the Graduate College in advance of the defense, if a committee member will not be physically present. Please inform the Graduate Coordinator at least two weeks prior to the defense in order to obtain approval by the Graduate College.
If a committee has only three members, all members must approve the dissertation. If the committee has four or five members, there may be one dissenting vote.
The committee may a) approve the dissertation without revisions, b) approve the dissertation with minor revisions, or c) require major revisions prior to approval. When revisions are required, the committee will provide the student with a written list of required revisions and a date for completion of the revisions. The committee may elect to have the major advisor approve the revised document, or required other or all members of the committee approve the revisions.
Once the final version of the dissertation is approved, the chair will send an email to the Graduate Coordinator and the degree specialist in the Graduate College verifying they have accepted the dissertation revisions and submit final paperwork to the Graduate College.
Specific Requirements for Programs in Psychology
Listed below are specific and unique requirements for each of the programs in Psychology – Clinical, Cognition & Neural Systems, Social, and Ethology and Evolutionary Psychology. Unless otherwise noted by the program, departmental requirements and policies as outlined above regarding the Master’s, comprehensive examination, Ph.D. requirements, Doctoral dissertation, and graduate evaluations apply to ALL graduate students in Psychology.
Clinical Psychology Program Requirements
Details of the requirements for the Clinical Psychology program can be found in the Clinical Psychology Graduate Handbook (CLICK HERE).
Structure of curriculum (requirements, timing, units)
The curriculum of the Clinical Psychology Program encompasses (a) university and departmental requirements; (b) requirements specific to the clinical program, including core courses, practica, and breadth requirements; (c) elective clinical and general courses; and (d) the predoctoral internship. All required courses are part of the major in clinical psychology; the electives can satisfy either major or minor requirements, depending on the individual student's track. Minor (concentration) areas that have been frequently chosen include clinical neuropsychology, family psychology, health psychology, statistics (see below), child clinical psychology and college teaching. According to the UA Graduate College, a minor consists of a minimum of nine credit units; when a minor is chosen outside of psychology (e.g., in Family Studies and Human Development or Statistics), the outside department (or interdepartmental program) may specify the number of credits required to fulfill their minor requirements, and this number sometimes exceeds nine units. Credits that are counted toward departmental requirements cannot be counted toward a minor subject (e.g., statistics courses); any minor in these topics would require nine additional credits on top of the departmental requirement. However, clinical program requirements (e.g., social psychology) can count toward the minor. For example, if someone were to minor in social, biological, cognitive, or developmental psychology, they would need only to accrue six additional units in the area of study.
The following outline includes indicators of progression through the program– for example, certain courses should be taken in specified years, and the comprehensive exam (often called, prelims or comps) has to be completed and the dissertation proposal approved before a student is eligible for internship application.
500a History (3 units, fall of first year)
586 Ethics (3 units, spring of first year)
Statistics and Methods, 9 credits, as follows: (1) Introductory Statistics, PSYC 510 with an associated lab that includes programming applications; (2) One of the following advanced courses in Research Design and Statistical Analysis: a. PSYC 507a with an associated lab (PSYC 597a), b. PSYC 507c Analysis of Variance, or c. evidence of having taken an equivalent graduate course (to be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies in combination with AJ Figueredo); and, (3) One other course that is: a. Any graduate course in research methods or statistics offered in the Department, b. A course offered in another department if approved by the student’s graduate committee, or c. An independent study supervised by an instructor with statistical expertise, with a course outline approved by the student’s graduate committee.
Statistics Minor: Students have two options to obtain a minor in statistics. The Graduate Interdisciplinary Program in Statistics offers a 12 unit minor that requires the foundational course STAT 566 with other coursework agreed to by the graduate committee. A faculty from the statistics GIDP must be included on the graduate committee. Information on the statistics minor can be obtained at http://stat.bio5.org/?q=curricula.html#statminor. The other alternative is for students to do a minor in Psychology with an emphasis in statistics. This requires an additional three (3) 3-unit courses agreed upon by the graduate committee; these three courses are in addition to those used to fulfill the major requirement.
NOTE: Students sometimes enter the program with a fair amount of statistics training. PSYC 510 is an introduction to graduate statistics. Accordingly, if a student has a moderately strong background in undergraduate statistics, or math, or has taken any graduate statistics, he or she is welcome to take a test to “place out” of the 510 course. Contact Dave Sbarra to learn more about taking this placement test with AJ Figueredo. If a student places out of 510, they are still required to take nine units of statistics courses, unless they formally demonstrate that they have taken equivalent classes elsewhere. Formal transfer credit can be arranged in this situation (see below).
2. Master’s project. A proposal should be approved by the beginning of the second year, with the thesis completed by end of second year or the beginning of the third year. The Master’s proposal should be written in either an empirical paper format or in an R01 grant proposal format (similar to the dissertation proposal), and approved by the student’s committee as a result of a committee meeting. The committee is composed of two faculty members, at least one of which is a core Clinical faculty. Note: Students are required to complete a study involving original data collection for either their master’s or dissertation. Appendix C includes detailed information about the departmental requirements for the master’s project.
3. Comprehensive Examination (written and oral). The written component comes before the oral exam; the written component has to be approved by the student’s committee prior to scheduling the oral exam, and both written and oral components of the comprehensive exam must be completed before approval of dissertation proposal. Students have two options for the written component: (1) An examination, the format of which (open or closed book) is determined by the student, his/her advisor, and the committee. The exam usually takes place over the course of a few days after a period of preparation. Students taking the examination option consult with their committee members to determine the exact scope of the areas they should study for each member. Test questions are derived from these agreed-up areas of study. The examination is scheduled for a specific time; or, (2) A comprehensive review paper, typically to those published in the journals Psychological Bulletin, Clinical Psychology Review, Perspectives in Psychological Science, or other discipline-specific journals. The parameters of the review paper are discussed with the committee members prior to the commencement of writing. Faculty members may provide feedback, and students are encouraged to get their committee to agree on the general scope of the review paper.
The comps committee is composed of four faculty members, at least three of which are core clinical faculty. Students may petition the CTC directly (email John Allen) to request a change in the core faculty requirement for the comps committee.
4. Dissertation. The dissertation is an empirical study. The study can be based on original data collection, secondary data analyses of an existing dataset from which the student carves new questions, or a meta-analytic study. A qualitative literature review or theoretical paper does not qualify for a dissertation. Before students are eligible to apply for internship, and no later than two weeks before the first deadline for submission of application materials, the student must: (a) submit a dissertation proposal written as a NIH grant proposal, (b) assemble the committee for a proposal meeting, and, (c) obtain the committee’s approval for the proposed plan. For guidelines on format and content of the proposal, see Appendix B. The dissertation committee is composed of four faculty members, at least three of which are core clinical faculty.
Clinical Program Requirements
1. Courses and practica
Assessment Sequence (Year 1)
621 Clinical Assessment Methods: 3 units, Fall [Allen]
694a Clinical Assessment Practicum: 2 units, Fall [Allen]
3 units, Spring [Prouty]
Intervention Sequence (Year 2)
625a,b Psychosocial Interventions: 4 units, Fall & Spring [Lawrence, Hamann]
694b Intervention Practicum: 3 units, Fall [Sbarra]
3 units Spring [Bowen]
Externship (Years 3 and 4)
Clinical work outside the department in university and community agencies, usually about 20 hr/wk in the third year and 10 hr/wk in the fourth year. All students on externship are required to register for 694c. Students must attend the seminar for two academic semesters, but be enrolled every year you work at an external placement. Students enroll in 696 during the spring of your 2nd year.
694c Consultation & Supervision: 1 unit, Fall & Spring [Shisslak]
694d Clinical Neuropsychology Practicum [Grilli]
694e Motivational Interviewing [Arkowitz]
694f Couple & Family Therapies [Lawrence]
Psychopathology course (before the second semester of year 3)
582 Advanced Psychopathology: 3 units, one semester [O’Connor]
2. Breadth of scientific psychology (see details in narrative, below):
Biological bases of behavior [area instructor: Allen]
One of the following courses:
504a Brain and Behavior [Grilli]
585 Psychoneuroimmunology [O’Connor]
696b Biological Bases of Behavior [Allen]
Additional courses that serve as partial fulfillment of 696b include:
Sleep and Sleep Disorders (578)
Clinical Neuropsychology (580)
Principles of Neuroanatomy (502)
Cognitive/Affective bases of behavior
One of the following courses:
506B Foundations of Cognitive Psychology (506b)
696c Cognitive/Affective Bases of Behavior [Grilli]
Additional courses that serve as partial fulfillment of 696c include:
Introduction to Cognitive Science (517)
Advance Human Memory (526)
Cognitive Neuroscience (528)
Introduction to Cognitive Science (517)
Social Bases of Behavior
560 Advanced Social Psychology [Greenberg]
696s Social Psychological Bases of Behavior [Sbarra]
Additional courses that serve as partial fulfillment of 696s include:
Inter-Group Conflict: Stereotypes and Prejudice (596 series)
Social Psychology: The Social Self (596 series)
Social Psychology: Attitudes and Persuasion (596 series)
583a Lifespan Developmental Psychopathology [Feldman]
SERP 601 Cognition and Development [Perfect; in Educational Psychology Dept]
696d Human Development Across Life-Span [Sbarra]
Additional courses that serve as partial fulfillment of 696s include:
Advanced Human Development (FSHD-547)
Advanced Adolescent Development (FSHD-503)
Topics in Human Development (FSHD-607 series)
NOTE: Each semester new courses are added/deleted from the University course catalog. Students who are interested in taking a class not listed above for potential full or partial fulfillment of a breadth area requirement should consult the 696 instructor of record (Allen: Biological; Grilli: Cognitive/Affective; Sbarra: Human Development; and Sbarra: Social) and ask them to evaluate the specific class syllabus in order to determine if the course provides full or partial fulfillment within a specific breadth area. It is the requirement of each student to provide the 696 faculty of record with the syllabi for approval; if a class is not listed above, it cannot be used to fulfill any breadth area requirements without the 696 faculty member’s approval in advance of a student taking the course.
3. Predoctoral internship
The predoctoral internship is a full-time, twelve-month training experience in either a CoA-accredited setting or in a setting approved by the Clinical Training Committee (CTC).
4. Elective courses, areas of emphasis, and additional clinical practica
Elective Courses listed in the Graduate Catalogue can be part of major or minor requirements. Graduate students who decide to take the clinical neuropsychology area of emphasis are required to take the complete Clinical neuropsychology sequence, including a basic course on Brain and Behavior (504a) followed by Clinical Neuropsychology: Dementias (504b). Both courses are pre-requisite for the Clinical Neuropsychology Practicum (694d). Although not required for the clinical neuropsychology sequence, students in this area of emphasis are also encouraged to take the Neuroanatomy (502) and graduate courses from the Neuroscience (NRSC) program. Sequence Director: Grilli.
The breadth of scientific psychology
Among the core values of our program is that psychology is one discipline, not separate, Balkanized programs. Some of the most exciting advances occur through interactions at the interface of separate areas. Research and practice in clinical psychology are enriched through collaboration with investigators in basic psychological processes and basic psychological science is enriched through attempts to understand clinical processes. Our faculty are models for collaboration in the breadth of scientific psychology through collaborative research and participation as faculty in other programs including Cognitive Science, Cognition and Neural Systems, Neuroscience, Family Studies, Social Psychology, Psychiatry, Policy, and Law, to name a few. This value of breadth and integration of science and application is seen in how we meet the requirements for breadth requirements as well. Students select from broad, general courses in biological bases of behavior, cognitive and affective bases of behavior, social bases of behavior, and human development across the life span. These courses are taught by faculty experts and clinical graduate students are enrolled with students from other program areas. In other words, these courses are not tailored to clinical psychology interests, but are broad graduate level courses in basic processes (see the list of courses in the previous section).
In many instances, students have acquired substantial expertise in a particular breadth area so that taking a general course in that area is repetitive and hinders students from advancing their expertise in new technologies or more specialized knowledge. To further tailor our program to the needs of the students, but to ensure that all students acquire the needed breadth in the areas listed above, we have created a competency-based training and a parallel structure in each of four breadth areas: biological, cognitive and affective, and social bases of behavior, as well as human development across the life span. Each area has an instructor who is a core clinical faculty with expertise in the specific breadth area (Allen: Biological; Grilli: Cognitive/Affective; Sbarra: Human Development; and Sbarra: Social). Each of these instructors conduct a core course of the PSYCH 696 series (696b,c,d, and s for biological, cognitive, developmental, and social, respectively) that is composed of the area’s cutting-edge topics and literature. Students who have acquired considerable expertise in an area, but may still need to cover some specific topics that would have been covered in a general course, can enroll in a 696 course to acquire the appropriate knowledge.
The faculty member in charge of each 696 course makes admission decisions and monitors student progress. As a general rule, admission is granted if a student already has adequate knowledge of at least a third of the material covered by the course syllabus, as evaluated by the area instructor. Students who want to be admitted to a 696 course should review the syllabus and meet with the instructor to evaluate existing competencies.
Students can meet the breadth requirements in no more than two of the breadth areas by taking competency-based PSYCH 696 courses. The other two breadth areas are to be covered by one of the approved area courses via the following process: Area-instructors review syllabi of other courses in the area and approve of courses whose coverage of the area is broad. If a student is interested in taking a course that is judged by the instructor as too narrow, the instructor guides the student to take specific topics or components of the area’s core (696) course so that the student can gain competency in the rest of the breadth area.
The materials for the 696 courses can be covered in one semester or can be accumulated throughout several semesters, the final of which is the semester for which the student registers. Students’ portfolios is periodically reviewed by the core clinical faculty responsible for the specific breadth area and when the student is ready, an evaluation of competency is administered by Allen (biological), Grilli (cognitive/ affective), Sbarra (human development), and Sbarra (social).
An Additional Note about Graduate Coursework: Obtaining Full Exemptions from Courses
On occasion, students enter the program having taken graduate courses that fulfill the requirements of the core statistics sequence course and/or one or more other required courses. If a student and their advisor of record believe the student has previously covered most or all of the topics covered in the departmental statistics sequence or one of the other program and departmental requirements (e.g., Psychopathology, History of Psychology), the student may petition the DCT (Sbarra) for full exemption from a given class. To petition the DCT, students should identify relevant University of Arizona instructors for the courses in question, review these choices with the DCT, and then ask relevant Departmental instructors to review prior coursework. Typically, students will email the instructor indicating that they have previously taken course X (e.g., “two introductory graduate statistics courses”) and are seeking an exemption from the department’s or clinical area’s requirements for this course. They should provide all relevant supporting information and ask the instructor to review the material to decide if this meets the requirements of their course. The student should CC the DCT on this email and ask the instructor to make an email recommendation about exemption directly to the DCT. The student may, at the discretion of instructor, need to meet with the instructor to clarify the material covered in the course, as syllabi and course descriptions sometimes prove insufficient. If the instructor feels the course requirements have been met, the student will be exempt from this departmental or clinical requirement. Students who have taken graduate courses in one of the four breadth areas should consult with the instructor of the respective 696 course (see p. 11 of the Handbook). If the DCT has concerns regarding a student’s exemption, the matter will be considered further by the Clinical Training Committee (CTC), who will make a final decision about the course requirement in question.
There is a difference between having a course requirement waived (for example, if a student wants to “place out” of statistics) and receiving formal transfer credit for graduate-level classes taken at other institutions. According to UA Grad College policy, students can formally transfer up to 12 credits from another institution. These courses need formal recognition on the student’s Plan of Study and need approval by the DCT (Sbarra), as well as the Director of Graduate Studies. Consult the Program Director to begin the process of formally transferring graduate credits. Students who wish to receive formal transfer credit for courses from a prior university/graduate program should consult with the Director of Graduate Studies; all other inquiries should be directed to the DCT (Sbarra).
Receiving “Credit” for a Master’s Degree Received Elsewhere
Some students who enter the graduate program have master’s degrees from other institutions. Students can receive “credit” toward the master’s thesis requirement in the UA Psychology Department by demonstrating that they have completed an equivalent thesis elsewhere. To demonstrate this, a student consults with their advisor and convenes a committee that includes their core clinical advisor, anther core faculty member, and a third faculty member (who does need to be a core clinical member). The student provides each of these readers with a copy of their thesis and asks that they inform their advisor whether or not the thesis meets the Psychology Department requirements. If all readers agree that the thesis passes our requirements, their advisor will contact the Program Director to indicate that they have fulfilled the Departmental requirement. The Program Director should then contact the Graduate Secretary to note that the student has formally passed this program requirement; formal recognition of this program requirement will be placed in their file. The student will not need to complete another master’s thesis.
Components and sequences of the curriculum: A summary
The first-semester history of psychology (500a), the second semester of ethics (586), and the two semesters of statistics and methods (beginning with 510) establish the general foundation of knowledge, understanding, and professionalism; and socialize students to careers in clinical science.
An assessment sequence, including a basic theoretical-methodological course (621) followed by a basic didactic Assessment Practicum (694a). Sequence director: Allen.
An intervention sequence, including a year-long seminar on Psychosocial Interventions (625a,b) that runs parallel to the Intervention Practicum (694b) and is followed by the Consultation and Supervision seminar (694c), which runs parallel to the clinical Externship in community agencies. Sequence directors: Sbarra and Bowen.
Optional: Clinical neuropsychology sequence, including a basic course on Brain and Behavior Relationships (504a), followed by Clinical Neuropsychology: Dementias (504b) and Neuroanatomy (502). 504A and 504B are pre-requisites for the Clinical Neuropsychology Practicum (694d). Sequence director: Grilli.
A course in advanced psychopathology (582)
Breadth requirements in the areas of biological, cognitive/affective, social psychology, and life-span development.
Courses that expand the scope of research methods from basic to field research and evaluation of mental health programs and policies, and a module on psychotherapy research within the required intervention seminar.
Courses that cover professional standards and ethics.
Most courses include coverage of cultural diversity and other dimensions of individual differences.
In addition to courses the program includes (a) continuous research development throughout the student's residence in the program including the completion of a master's thesis and a doctoral dissertation, and (b) continuous supervised clinical experience that enables students to accumulate about 500-700 direct clinical hours before they qualify for the required predoctoral internship.
I. Departmental Requirements (See Departmental Curriculum Requirements above)
II. Foundations of CNS: A two-semester core course (PSY 506A&B). Students in the CNS Program generally take this core course during the first two years (6 units). PSY 506A is intended to provide a basis for understanding how brains acquire, assimilate, store and retrieve information and how they compute adaptive responses to external inputs. Understanding these processes requires a basic working knowledge of both the theoretical principles and biological mechanisms underlying neural signaling, knowledge representation and data storage. PSY 506B covers basic concepts, foundational knowledge, and common paradigms in the study of perception, attention, memory, learning, language, and decision-making.
III. Additional breadth courses within the CNS Program: One course from each of the columns below (6 units).
PSY 501a/b: Psychophysiology
PSY 502: Neuroanatomy
PSY 503C: Intro to Computational Neuroscience
PSY 504A: Human Brain-Behavior Relations
PSY 520: Cognitive Neuroscience of Hearing
*PSY 524: Gerontology
*PSY 528: Cognitive Neuroscience
*PSY 530: Neural Bases of Language
PSY 544A: Computational Cognitive Neuroscience
SPH 545: Neurogenic Language Disorders in Adults
NRSC 560: Systems Neuroscience
*PSY 578: Sleep & Sleep Disorders
NRSC 582: Topics in Neural Development
NRSC 583: Topics in Neural Plasticity
NRSC 587: Biology of Neurological Disease
NRSC 588: Principles of Cellular & Molecular Neuro
PSY 596E: Biopsychology
PSY 596L: Intro. To Neural Data Analyses
PSY 597H: Neuroanatomy Lab (take with 502)
NRSC 653: Neuropharmacology/Drugs of Abuse
PSY 509: Psycholinguistics of Writing Systems
*PSY 524: Gerontology
PSY 526: Advanced Human Memory
*PSY 528: Cognitive Neuroscience
PSY 529: Advanced Perception
*PSY 530: Neural Bases of Language
PSY 532: Psychology of Language
PSY 533: Theories of Language Development
PSY 534: Perceptual Learning
PSY 536: Visual Cognition
PSY 538: Computational Linguistics
PSY 540: The Bilingual Mind
PSY 542: Lexical Systems
PSY 551: Phil & Psychology (Pragmatics)
PSY 568: Speech Perception
*PSY 578: Sleep & Sleep Disorders
PSY 596C: Cognitive Development
PSY 596F Cognitive Psychology: Topics
PSY 696F: Linguistic Theory and Applications
* Courses listed in both areas, which can be used to satisfy either distributional requirement.
III. Committee Meetings. Entering students are expected to complete appropriate coursework and to set a goal of completing their Master’s thesis/project in the second year of the program. By the end of the Spring semester of the first year, students must form a Master’s committee of faculty in the Cognition and Neural Systems Program, and meet with them as a group to discuss their coursework plan and the proposed direction of their research for the coming year. Either at this meeting, or at a subsequent one early in the Fall semester of the second year, students will present to their committee a proposal for their Masters Research. In future years, students must organize a meeting with their Committee as a group at least once per year, typically late in the Spring semester. At these meetings, students will give a short presentation on their progress, including a discussion of their completed and in-progress research, the courses they have completed and those they plan to take, and the proposed direction of their research for the coming year. The committee members will advise the students on their plans. Students and committee members will work together to ensure that each student’s program of study is sufficiently broad yet tailored to the student’s interests. Summaries of these Committee meetings will be given to the Program Director and placed in the student’s file.
IV. Seminars. All CNS students, with the exception of first year students, are expected to make at least one seminar presentation each semester. The primary venue for this is the CNS Seminar, held on Mondays @ 5pm. All CNS students must attend the CNS Seminar on a regular basis. Other venues for the mandatory talk include various area group meetings and journal clubs.
V. Completing the Program. Student may take any two additional courses from the lists above to complete the 18-unit requirement of the CNS Program. (The menu of courses will change, as new faculty members or courses are added. In addition, students may be able to substitute other courses by permission of their committee and the Program Director.)
VI. CNS Minor.
Students in the CNS Program who choose to minor in CNS may choose any three additional courses after consulting with their minor committee members.
A minor in CNS unaccompanied by a major in CNS can be earned by taking the core courses (PSYC 506A&B) and one other course from either the Neural Systems or the Cognitive column, for a total of 9 units.
Ethology and Evolutionary Psychology (EEP) Program Requirements
The curriculum for graduate study within EEP maximizes flexibility in planning individualized programs of study. This program of study is arrived at through extensive consultations with each student's graduate advisor and committee over time, as each student develops a unique direction within the broad domain of evolutionary social science, because it is not always possible to know this in advance or at the very beginning of one's graduate career.
Our program is inherently multidisciplinary and offers many choices for both areas of breath and areas of specialization. However, there are a few basic requirements that each student must fulfill within this otherwise open framework. First, each graduate student must meet all the normal requirements for graduate study in the Department of Psychology. Being an EEP Student does not exempt you from any of these requirements, such as the first-year proseminar (Psychology 500A).
In addition, there are several unique requirements for all EEP Students. The most basic one is our core course for both the major and the minor, which is “The Design of the Mind: Genes, Adaptation, and Behavior (Psychology 515)”. Furthermore, although the Psychology Department offers a variety of options for training in Graduate Statistics, EEP Students are especially required to take both semesters of Statistical Methods for Psychological Research (Psychology 507A and 507B) and the associated laboratory courses of Statistical Software for Psychological Research (Psychology 597A and 597B), which are taught concurrently. Many of our students also take several of the other courses available for additional enrichment in quantitative methods, but these basic ones are absolutely necessary for adequate training in the research methods that are most applicable to evolutionary psychology.
Because these methods are so essential to commencing a program of research in EEP, all incoming students are strongly encouraged to take and pass the Graduate Statistics Screening Examination that is required to place out of Psychology 510, which is a more introductory-level course, and to enroll immediately in both Psychology 507A and 597A instead during their very first semester in the program. It has been our experience that anyone who has met the standards needed to be admitted into EEP in the first place should easily be able to pass this introductory-level screening exam. Enrolling in more advanced statistical training from the outset has helped EEP Students to complete their Masters Thesis (which usually requires the application of these methods) within the recommended departmental timelines.
Social Psychology Program Requirements
Graduate training in social psychology at the University of Arizona is based on the research mentorship model. Graduate students are admitted to the Ph.D. program based not only on their merit but also on the basis of the fit of their research interests to those of faculty members in the program. There are currently four core faculty in the social psychology program. There are also a variety of faculty both in Psychology and other departments with strong backgrounds and interests in social psychology and related areas.
The primary purpose of our Ph.D. program is to train graduate students to become productive social psychologists who will contribute to the field in two ways:
• By contributing to the advancement of theoretical understanding and empirical research in social psychology.
• By effectively teaching courses within the domain of social psychology.
To be an effective researcher and teacher, when you leave the program, we want you to have:
• A broad knowledge base within social psychology;
• A strong understanding of statistics and methods;
• Extensive experience with the entire research process from conception to publication;
• Directions for your future research.
To achieve these goals, we expect the following from our graduate students:
1. Participation in all graduate courses offered by the social psychology faculty (1 or 2 each year). Graduate courses provide background in specific areas of social psychology. They also represent a forum for scholarly discussion, feedback, brainstorming and developing collaborations for future research.
2. Active participation in research from the first semester in the program until completion of the Ph.D. A Master's Thesis is to be completed by the end of the second year and a Dissertation is to be completed by the end of the fourth or fifth year. The department maintains a large subject pool and each faculty member has ample lab space for your research endeavors.
3. Experience T.A.ing and teaching courses in social psychology and related areas. Teaching is one of the best ways to develop breadth of knowledge and ideas for research.
4. Completion of a 9 credit minor (a departmental requirement). The minor requirement is useful because it provides breadth that should enhance future research endeavors and because it adds knowledge and skills that are often useful in seeking employment upon completion of the Ph.D. Your choice of minors in the department include: clinical, cognitive, health, law, physiological psych, and statistics. Minors outside the department are possible with your advisor's permission.
5. Active participation in all program-relevant activities. These include:
the Social Psychology Brown Bag Series and Lab Meetings. Research meetings provide a semi-formal opportunity for you to practice research presentations and discuss your ideas with the faculty and other students in the social program.
Colloquia And Other Activities Involving Visiting Social Psychologists. The Department Colloquium Series usually includes two social psychologists; occasionally unofficial visits occur as well. Students have the opportunity to meet and help host visiting colloquium speakers. This a great way to extend your intellectual network beyond the department.
Participation In Faculty Job Searches And Recruitment Of New Graduate Students. Getting involved with various recruitment activities provides students with insight into the job market and experience with evaluating applicants.
6. Participation in regional and national conferences, such as APA, APS, SPSP, and WPA. These conferences are an opportunity for you to make others aware of your work and to meet other people in the field. They are of great value for your own research and for your eventual job prospects.
7. Because our program is small, we cannot offer formal coursework to cover all of the areas within social psychology. Therefore, to develop a broad knowledge base in areas for which we don't have formal courses, you will need to make the effort to read classic works and keep up with theoretical and empirical progress on your own. We don't expect you to have the deep, detailed knowledge of every area that you should have for your areas of research specialty, but you should be familiar with the major theories, findings, players, and new trends in all of the major areas. We will of course be happy to help guide you in these efforts. Subscriptions for the journals JPSP and PSPB will greatly aid your efforts. There are a variety of periodic edited volumes that can also help. Prominent among these are:
• Advances in Experimental Social Psychology
• Handbook of Social Psychology
• Ontario Symposium Series
• Psychological Perspectives on the Self
• Social Psychology: Basic Principles
The following are the major areas about which you should have knowledge of the fundamental theories and methodologies:
• Attitudes and Persuasion
• Group Dynamics
• Health, Stress, and Coping
• Interpersonal Attraction and Close Relationships
• Interpersonal and Intergroup Conflict
• Personality Variables and Processes
• Prejudice and Stereotypes
• Prosocial Behavior
• The Self
• Social Cognition
• Social Influence
• Social Neuroscience
8. Finally, to establish the kind of publication record necessary to compete successfully in the job market, you will need to go far beyond what is formally required of you, and this is what we will expect of you. If you are highly motivated to be productive and influential in the field of social psychology, the training and experience provided by our program should allow you to launch a fulfilling career in the field of social psychology.
Evaluation and Retention Policy
The Department of Psychology program directors and advisors oversee the performance of all graduate students in order to ensure that they maintain academic standards that have been agreed upon by faculty members in the Department, and that they are making good progress. Graduate students must meet the Psychology Department degree requirements in a timely manner. When a student fails to meet program guidelines for satisfactory progress, the student will receive written notification with a clear statement of what the student must do and a date by which such actions must be completed. Students will be given an opportunity to appeal by following the appeals guidelines stated below. Students who fail to take remedial actions by the deadlines specified may be dismissed from the program, and a recommendation will be sent to the Graduate College to move the student to non-degree seeking status. Students have the right to appeal such decisions to the Graduate College.
Yearly Evaluations. Each September, students prepare progress reports that are examined by their major advisors and program directors, who prepare written feedback addressing (a) the student’s productivity and achievements, (b) the student’s progression through the program’s milestones, and (c) expectations for the coming academic year. These letters with feedback are then reviewed by the Psychology Department Director of Graduate Studies and the Head of Psychology in order to ensure that evaluation criteria are applied consistently across programs and advisors. The letter serves to establish an agreement between the student and the program regarding performance expectations.
Students are required to discuss the content of the letter with their advisor and sign the letter. A signed copy will be maintained by the Graduate Coordinator in the student’s file for record keeping. If the student disagrees with the content of the letter, further discussion with the advisor, the program director, or the Director of Graduate Studies takes place. Recommendations may be made to the Department Head regarding revisions, if any, to the letter. When a student falls behind schedule or in case of sub-standard achievement, the letter serves to provide students with advice regarding steps to remediate problems (e.g., setting deadlines, decreasing activities that are incompatible with timely completion), reminds the student of resources available to them, and notifies them of potential consequences if deadlines are not met.
A student who does not provide a yearly progress report or does not maintain adequate contact with their advisor and the department will be considered inactive and may be dismissed from the program.
Satisfactory progress. Students must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher in order to be considered in good standing in the Graduate College. Students whose GPA drops below 3.0 are automatically placed on probation by the College. Information regarding probationary status due to grades is available on the Graduate College website. In addition to the grade requirements set out by the Graduate College, students in Psychology are expected to complete their graduate studies following a five-year program. A “year” is considered a twelve-month period that includes the fall semester, spring semester, and the summer months.
Year 1: Approval of the Master’s proposal
Year 2: Completion of all requirements for the Master’s degree
Year 3: Completion of written and oral comprehensive examinations
Year 4: Approval of the Dissertation proposal
Year 5: Completion of all requirements for the Ph.D.
Note that the five year plan is extended to six years for graduate students in the Clinical Program to include the internship year.
A student is behind schedule when they:
• Have not proposed a Masters by the end of the first year.
• Have not completed all requirements for the Masters by the end of the second year.
• Have not completed written and oral Comprehensive Examinations by the end of third year.
• Have not completed a Dissertation proposal by the end of the fourth year.
• Have not successfully defended a Dissertation by the end of the fifth year, or the end of the sixth year for students in the Clinical Program.
The Evaluation Letter. The evaluation letter should include several key points:
• The letter should note the student’s productivity and achievements, including program milestones such as completing the Masters or comprehensive exams, publications and presentations of their work at professional conferences, and other academic achievements.
• The letter will state where the student is in their 5 year training schedule as outlined in the graduate program handbook. Students are either (a) ahead of schedule, (b) right on track, or (c) behind schedule.
• For students who are on track in the program, the letter will note what the expectations are for the coming year including expected dates of completion for upcoming milestones. If a student is behind schedule, the advisor should note any special circumstances that may have led to the delay in completing the milestones.
When the student is behind schedule in their progress, three levels of warning may appear in the evaluation letter:
Level 1 Caution: When a student is behind schedule, the letter will include a plan for getting back on track during the coming year with expected dates of completion for required milestones. The letter should encourage students to get focused and work with their advisor closely to stay on track. Students should be warned that failure to progress through the graduate program in a timely manner may result in academic sanctions in the future, including being placed on provisional status within the Department of Psychology or being dismissed from the graduate program.
Level 2 Provisional Status: Students who have been given a Level 1 caution in a previous evaluation and who fail to meet all the expectations outlined in the previous letter may be placed on provisional status. The evaluation letter will state that:
“Given that you did not meet all of the requirements outline in last year’s letter, you have been placed on provisional status within the Department of Psychology effective immediately. We encourage you to develop a plan with your advisor so that you meet all the program requirements listed below before the end of the (Spring/Summer) (year) semester. While on provisional status, you remain eligible to take courses and are considered for funding with the same priority as other students in your year, but you must focus on meeting the departmental milestones outlined below. Failure to do so may result in you being dismissed from the Psychology Department Graduate Program for lack of adequate academic progress and converted to non-degree seeking status, as per Graduate College Guidelines.”
The evaluation letter should outline the specific requirements with expected completion dates required in order for the student to be removed from provisional status.
Level 3 Non-degree Seeking Status: Students who have been placed on provisional status in the Department and who have not completed all the requirements outlined in the previous evaluation letter will be sent notification by registered mail that they are being officially dropped from the Psychology Department Graduate Program. The evaluation letter will state the following:
“The previous evaluation letter placed you on provisional status within the Department of Psychology and stated what you had to do in order to revert to good standing in the graduate program. Because you did not meet the requirements outlined in last year's letter, we are requesting that the Dean of the Graduate College dismiss you from the Psychology Graduate Program and convert your status to non-degree seeking graduate student, effective immediately. In order to re-enter the Psychology Graduate Program you would have to re-apply and be considered along with new applicants during the regular graduate recruitment cycle. The decision to accept you back into the graduate program would be at the discretion of the faculty.
A student who believes, with good academic reason, that they deserve redress or exception to this decision can formally petition for an exception. A petition form must be submitted to the Graduate College Degree Certification Office explaining all relevant facts. Such petitions must be accompanied by supporting documents and a letter of support from the student's Major Advisor, Director of Graduate Studies, or Department Head and required signatures. Petition forms are available from the Graduate College website.
Annual Progress Report Directions
Students will complete an annual progress report in September. Students are required to complete the progress report by the due date indicated in the email that is sent to them. The progress report will document academic progress, publications and conference presentations, awards and grants, and other achievements during the previous year. Clinical students will document their clinical hours as well. The report also provides students with an opportunity to outline their goals for the coming year and their overall plan for completion of the graduate program.
Once the student has filled out the report, it will be reviewed by their advisor who will include comments on their progress to date, achievements of note, or concerns they have regarding academic progress. These comments will then be forwarded to the Program Director who will review the annual report and draft an evaluation letter based on the comments of the advisor and following the guidelines set out in the Evaluation and Retention Policy, as described above. The letter will then be forwarded to the Director of Graduate Studies and the Head of Psychology for approval.
The completed evaluation letter will be sent to the graduate student for review. Students should meet with their advisors to discuss any concerns they have regarding the letter. They will then indicate by signing the evaluation letter they have met with their advisor and agree with any requirements and goals set out by the Program Director in the letter.
The Psychology Department views TAs as “Instructors in Training.” As such, TAs may be asked to learn, perform, and ultimately take responsibility for any or all of the duties of a full-time instructor. Suggested duties and responsibilities are listed in the form “Guidelines for TA Responsibilities” and the form “Guidelines for Online TA Responsibilities”, available on the Graduate Student Resources and Forms web page. This form should be completed jointly and signed by the TA and the instructor at the start of each semester.
TAs may be responsible for any or all of the following:
Grading tests, assignments, papers, drafts of papers
Constructing, proctoring, and grading tests and exams
Constructing, carrying out, and grading makeup tests and exams
Assistance with classes that may include lecturing (no more than three times) and class demonstrations
Assistance with class materials including photocopying, placing material on reserves, and managing the D2L website
Office hours** (not to exceed 3 hrs per week), answering student email
Reading the textbook or other course materials
Conduct review sessions or online discussions
Maintaining class records
Other duties that may include webpage management, SALT services, or note taking
** Please note that the Psychology Department policy is that all online courses must have “in person” office hours (not to exceed 3 hrs per week). Additional online office hours or student contact time should be negotiated with the instructor.
In general, TAs are not asked to:
Prepare an instructor’s lectures or PowerPoint presentations
Do research or readings that are not relevant to the course
Handle, on their own, incidents of academic misconduct without the instructor’s presence
Proctor exams on a regular basis without the instructor’s presence. In most large classes, two proctors will be needed; one of these should usually be the instructor. If the instructor is unable to attend, another proctor should be requested.
Have more than 3 office hours per week
Guest lecture without adequate notice and time to prepare (~ 1 week).
Complete grading of exams, papers or drafts without rubrics or reasonably clear grading guidelines
There may be times when these or other tasks are necessary, and these specific circumstances should be discussed and negotiated with the instructor. If a TA is concerned about the tasks they are being asked to undertake, they should discuss this with the Director of Graduate Studies as early as possible in the semester.
Midway through the semester, TAs may request feedback from the instructors concerning their performance. This feedback may be provided on the form “TA Mid-Semester Evaluation.”
At the end of the semester, instructors will be asked to complete the “Psychology TA Semester Evaluation.” Completion of this form is mandated by the Graduate College and the results of this evaluation are reported to the Graduate College. A “Low” evaluation may lead to termination of the TA. The mid-semester feedback is designed to ensure that all students are able to achieve a minimum rating of “Adequate.”
The following guidelines have been developed to facilitate communication between graders and instructors. In order for graders to receive a positive evaluation of their performance at the end of each semester, they should a) have a clear understanding of their responsibilities at the start of the semester and b) have the opportunity to improve their performance during the course of the semester. To ensure that these goals are achieved, the following procedures are recommended.
Graders will meet with instructors at the start of each semester during which time the duties and responsibilities of the grader will be outlined along with the percentage of time estimated for each of the expected tasks. The instructor and the grader should jointly complete the appropriate sections of the “Guidelines for TA Responsibilities" and both should retain a copy. Appropriate sections include “Grading Tests” and “Maintaining Class Records”. This is intended to be a working document and may be altered during the semester with the agreement of the grader and instructor.
Graders must be provided with grading keys and/or rubrics for grading all exams, papers, and draft papers.
The standard arrangement for graders is eighty hours for the entire semester. Graders should track their hours and keep the instructor informed as the semester progresses. If additional assistance is needed, it should be requested from the Graduate Coordinator.
Graders may be assigned the following duties:
• Papers (with guidelines/rubric)
• Drafts of papers (with rubric)
Maintain Class Records
• Posting marks
• Answer keys
• Posting announcements
Now a guide rather than a manual.
Aside from formal “front matter,” most formatting decisions are now up to candidate and committee.
Available from https://arizona.app.box.com/v/grad-gsas-dissformat