Training Through Research

The Biological Psychology faculty (Drs. Bell, Cate, Chiu, Diana, Friedman, Harrison, Jones, King-Casas, Richey, and Scarpa) view research experience as an integral aspect of graduate training. Students are expected to participate in a variety of research opportunities to develop the necessary theoretical, conceptual, and empirical skills used in designing and executing their own independent research programs. Given our commitment to training researchers, all students are expected to demonstrate initiative in doing research with their chosen advisors, and also encouraged to develop joint research with other faculty and graduate students. Students may change advisors and committee members to best reflect their evolving interests if these diverge from those initially in place at the start of their graduate training. Students are expected to participate fully in the research experience by presenting their work at major conferences, publishing research in competitive journals and, when appropriate, writing grants.

Typically, students follow this general timeline toward the completion of their degree requirements: Prior to completion of 12 semester hours, students are required to select a graduate advisor and form a graduate advisory thesis committee. This thesis committee consists of three faculty members help the student formulate a research project that culminates in the award of the M.S. degree. All students must complete their Master's thesis research and 30 total academic credits (including research hours) prior to being allowed to continue in the doctoral program. On completion of the M.S., students must apply for continuation in the doctoral program, as well as form a doctoral plan of study and a doctoral committee consisting of four or five faculty members. Typically completion of the and application to the doctoral program occur no later than the Fall semester of the third year. Doctoral studies include a preliminary examination (a preliminary exam committee of four or five faculty members and dissertation project (doctoral committee). The preliminary  examination is typically completed by the middle of the fourth year and the dissertation project is typically completed by the end of the fifth year of study.