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Program Requirements

Students must complete a minimum of 12 4-unit graduate courses (200 series) for the Ph.D. degree, for a total of 48 units (not including independent study courses and research credits). This includes the 5 core courses described below (4 units each, for a total of 20 units), as well as an additional 7 elective graduate courses (4 units each, for a total of 28 units). The large majority of these elective courses are expected to be completed in a student’s area of focus.

Required Core Courses

PSY 200A-Proseminar for 1st Year PhD students: Designed to acquaint early-stage graduate students in core professional knowledge and skills central to the discipline of psychological sciences, as well as the research topics of focus by faculty in Psychological Sciences at UC Merced.

PSY 200B-Proseminar for 1st Year PhD students: A course that builds on the content presented in 200A, with additional focus on further professional development and advanced topic discussions as well as the research topics of focus by faculty in Psychological Sciences at UC Merced.

PSY 202A-Advanced Psychological Statistics I: The goal of this course is to teach the skill of thinking statistically so that the student can learn new techniques independently. Topics covered include: descriptive and inferential statistical techniques; correlation and linear regression with one predictor and multiple predictors; linear statistical inference.

PSY 202B-Advanced Psychological Statistics I: The goal of this course is to teach the skill of thinking statistically so that the student can learn new techniques independently. Topics covered include: descriptive and inferential statistical techniques; correlation and linear regression with one predictor and multiple predictors; linear statistical inference

PSY 204-Research Design and Methodology: This course provides in-depth training on core research methods used in psychological sciences. Topics include: The nature of causal inference; experimental and quasi-experimental designs including randomized experiments, nonrandomized control groups studies, time series, regression discontinuity; generalizing from experiments; ethical issues and ethical principles of research conduct; practical problems in experiments.

In addition to course work, the following milestone projects are required:

  • Pre-Candidacy Thesis, expected to be finished prior to the start of Year 3
  • Qualifying Exam, expected to be finished prior to the start of Year 4
  • Doctoral Dissertation, expected to be finished before the end of Year 6

Students are expected to be engaged in research throughout their tenure under the guidance of their Faculty Advisor or Mentor. Typically students contribute to or complete additional research projects beyond the milestones listed above, typically leading to several conference presentations and journal publications.

Detailed descriptions of these program requirements can be found in the Policies and Procedures document. A sample curriculum and timeline for the completion of these requirements can be found below.

Fall Semester

Spring Semester

Year 1

PSY200A Professional Seminar I

PSY200B Professional Seminar II

PSY202A Advanced Psychological Statistics I

PSY202B Advanced Psychological Statistics II

Elective graduate course (typically in designated area)

Elective graduate course (typically in designated area)

Year 2

PSY204 Research Design and Methodology

Elective graduate course (typically in designated area)

Elective graduate course (typically in designated area)

Elective graduate course (typically in designated area)

Graduate Research for Pre-Candidacy Thesis

Graduate Research culminating in completion of Pre-Candidacy Thesis

Year 3

Elective graduate course (typically in designated area)

Elective graduate course (typically in designated area)

Graduate Research

Graduate Research

Begin Candidacy Exam preparation

Complete Candidacy Exam

Year 4

Graduate Research for Doctoral Dissertation

Graduate Research for Doctoral Dissertation

Prepare Doctoral Dissertation proposal

Defend Doctoral Dissertation proposal

Year 5

Graduate Research for Doctoral Dissertation

Graduate Research for Doctoral Dissertation

 

Defend Doctoral Dissertation

Year 6 (optional)