Graduate Program Requirements

Aspects of the requirements for the Ph.D. in psychology are explained in greater detail in departmental memoranda available to enrolled graduate students. Complete degree requirements can be found on the Psychology Graduate Studies website: https://grad.ucdavis.edu/programs/gpsc

Course Requirements

Students complete at least six graduate courses, three of which must be offerings of the Department of Psychology. At least one of the 6 courses is a “breadth course” and must be outside of the student’s area of specialization. This breadth course can be in another area of the Psychology Program or a relevant graduate level course offered by another department.  Students are required to complete, with no lower than a B grade, three courses in statistics (PSC 204-series) covering psychometrics and the analysis of experimental and correlational data, analysis of variance and covariance, and multivariate analysis. 

Individual Research Project


Each student, under the supervision of a faculty member, designs, conducts, analyzes and writes a publishable report on a research project. This individual research project begins during the first year in the program and is completed prior to the oral qualifying examination. All students are expected to involve themselves in research throughout their graduate studies.

Ongoing Research

 

Advanced Inquiry in Psychological Science


The goal of this course is for students to develop expertise in one or more areas of psychology relevant to their research and to demonstrate that expertise, through written work, to their advising committee. The timing of the course will vary from student to student but many students will complete it late in the second year or early in the third year, after the completion of most of the coursework. This course must be completed before the student can schedule their QE.

Oral Qualifying Examination (QE)


Once the written examination has been passed and all other requirements (including course work) are satisfied, students begin preparation for the oral qualifying examination. The primary purpose of the QE is to validate that the student is academically qualified to conceptualize a research topic, undertake scholarly research, and successfully produce the dissertation required for a doctoral degree. In addition, the QE provides an opportunity for the QE committee to provide important guidance to the student regarding the chosen research topic. The QE should be taken no later than the student’s 9th quarter in the program (end of the 3rd year). Students advance to candidacy for the Ph.D. after passing the QE. A dissertation proposal is due within one year of passing the QE.

Dissertation

 
Once the oral examination has been passed, the student must file for candidacy for the Ph.D., and a dissertation committee is appointed by the graduate dean. The student must then develop and carry out an empirical investigation of a significant problem in the chosen area of specialization. Once the dissertation has been completed, the candidate may be asked to defend the dissertation in a formal oral examination.
 

Progress Reviews


Student progress is assessed annual using the Graduate Studies Student Progress Assessment tool. The student’s individual advising committee (pre-QE) or dissertation committee (post-QE) meets to assess progress before filling out the assessment tool.

Typical Timeline and Sequence of Events


 YEAR 1

Fall

Winter

Spring

 

PSC 204A
Content Course

PSC 202: Area Brownbag
PSC 200: First Year Proseminar

 

PSC 204B
Content Course
PSC 202: Area Brownbag
PSC 299: Research

 

PSC 204C/D
Content Course
PSC 202: Area Brownbag
PSC 299:Research

 

YEAR 2 

Fall

Winter

Spring

 

Content course
PSC 202
PSC 299

 

 

Content course
PSC 202
PSC 299
Submit individual Research Project paper

 

Content course
PSC 202
PSC 299

 

 

 YEAR 3

Fall

Winter

Spring

 

PSC 202
PSC 299

PSC 202
PSC 299
PSC 298: Advanced Inquiry in Psychological Science

 

PSC 202
PSC 299
Oral Qualifying Exam

 YEAR 4

Fall

Winter

Spring

 

PSC 299D

PSC 299D
Submit Dissertation Proposal

PSC 299D

 YEAR 5

Fall

Winter

Spring

 

PSC 299D

PSC 299D

PSC 299D
Submit Dissertation