Program Requirements

The following is a summary of requirements for the Applied Cognitive Science concentration of the Applied Psychology Ph.D. degree offered in our department. Please consult the Psychology Department Graduate Student Handbook and the Graduate Bulletin for further details. The Bulletin and Department Handbook contain the official set of rules and requirements and therefore take precedence over any information provided here.

Overview of program requirements/milestones

This document contains a table summarizing the program requirements and the expected timeline of completing those requirements.

Course Requirements and Descriptions

Students in the Applied Cognitive Science Ph.D. program are required to complete at least 72 hours; 41 of these hours are in the cognitive concentration, and the remaining 21 hours are for dissertation work.

Research and Quantitative Core (10 Hours):

PSY 8214: Quantitative Methods in Psychology II
Advanced experimental design and methods with emphasis on Analysis of Variance

PSY 8803: Advanced Quantitative Methods
Study of advanced analytic and multivariate quantitative methods applied to contemporary problems and research

PSY 8513: Psychological Research Methods
Practicum in the techniques of planning and execution of various areas of psychological research

Cognitive Science Core (6 Hours):

PSY 8703: Advanced Cognitive Science
The science of intelligent systems as understood through the contributions of psychology, linguistics, artificial intelligence, anthropology, neuroscience, and philosophy

PSY 8713: Issues and Methods in Cognitive Psychology
Exploration of theoretical issues and research methods in current cognitive psychology

Cognitive Science Integration (6 Hours):

PSY 8723: Cognitive Models of Skill
Introduction to cognitive modeling, with a focus on computational models of skill acquisition and expert skill

PSY 8773: Distributed Representations in Cognition
An introduction to computational modeling of cognition with a focus on computational models that use distributed representations

Cognitive Psychology Integration (6 Hours from the Following List):

PSY 8743: Perception and Attention
An advanced survey of classic and current research on human perception and attention including the underlying neural and psychological mechanisms

PSY 8753: Advanced Human Memory
An advanced survey of classic and current research on human memory from the biology of memory to the neuroscience of memory

PSY 8763: Expertise and Cognitive Skill Acquisition
An advanced survey of the scientific literature on human acquisition of cognitive skills and expertise with a focus on theories that address human performance

Advanced Graduate Seminars (6 Hours):

PSY 8653: Applied Cognitive Reading Seminar
Seminar exploring current topics in Applied Psychology and Cognitive Science

Research and Professional Skills (12 Hours):

PSY 8683: Cognitive Science Research Skills
An introduction to computational and writing research skills necessary for a research career in cognitive science

PSY 8693: Advanced Cognitive Science Research Skills
A survey of advanced computational and writing research skills necessary for a research career in cognitive science

PSY 8783: Cognitive Science Professional Skills
An introduction to the professional skills necessary for a successful research career in cognitive science

PSY 8793: Advanced Cognitive Science Professional Skills
Advanced professional skills necessary for a research career in cognitive science including initiating a lab, establishing collaborations, and securing a research position

Cognitive Science Seminar (5 Hours):

PSY 8731: Applied Cognitive Science Research Seminar (ACCESS)
Presentations of research in applied cognitive science

Dissertation (21 Hours):

PSY 9000: Dissertation Hours

First Year Project (FYP) Requirements

During the first year, students complete a research project as a demonstration of research proficiency. The purpose of the FYP is to ensure that students master the necessary research skills early in the program, which will allow them to develop as independent researchers.

FYP Committee: Within the first 6 weeks of entering the program, students form a committee consisting of at least three faculty members. This committee is responsible for approval and evaluation of the FYP.

FYP Proposal: The FYP proposal is due to students’ committees and the Program Director by 5:00PM on the last day of instruction in the first semester. Once the committee approves the proposal, the student is allowed to collect data on that project and begin writing the report.

FYP Report: The FYP report is due to committees and the Program Director by 5:00 PM on the first day of instruction of the third semester.

Second Year Project (SYP) Requirements

During the second year, students complete a Second Year Project, which, ideally, will continue the line of research initiated during the FYP. This document should be of sufficient quality to be submitted to a journal for publication.

SYP Committee: Within the first 6 weeks of the third semester, students form a committee consisting of at least three faculty members. This committee may or may not be the same as the FYP committee; again, the committee is responsible for approval and evaluation of the SYP.

SYP Proposal: The SYP proposal is due to students’ committees and the Program Director by 5:00PM on the last day of instruction in the third semester. Once the committee approves the proposal, the student is allowed to collect data on that project and begin writing the report.

SYP Report: The SYP report is due to committees and the Program Director by 5:00 PM on the first day of instruction of the third year (fifth semester).

The General Exam

By the end of the fifth semester, students take a general exam consisting of questions that are synthetic in nature and not rigidly tied to specific courses. Students are expected to demonstrate mastery of basic facts and show that they can connect and apply the information in creative and constructive ways.

The currently approved general exam reading list can be found here. This list will be updated on an annual basis, but you can expect many of the same papers to be there from year to year. Start reading from this list upon joining the program.

The Specialty Exam

The specialty exam consists of a written review paper in the style of a Psychological Bulletin review article. Research must be integrated around a central theme, must provide a critical review, and must suggest avenues for future research. A list of articles to be reviewed is due by the middle of the sixth semester, and the specialty exam is due by 5:00 PM on the first day of instruction in the seventh semester.

The Dissertation

Doctoral Committee: Students form a committee consisting of at least four members of the graduate faculty. The committee chair must be a core faculty member of the Applied Cognitive Science Program. At least half of the committee must be members of the Psychology Department, and at least one member must be from outside the department.

The Oral Comprehensive Exam (Dissertation Proposal) : Students set a meeting to present their dissertation proposal to their committee; during this meeting, the student and committee meet to discuss the dissertation proposal and make any necessary changes to experiment methodology. Once the Oral Comprehensive Exam is passed, the student can begin data collection on the proposed research.

The Dissertation Defense: After the dissertation research and document are complete, the student and the committee meet again. After the dissertation is successfully defended, the student will make necessary changes, format the document, and submit it for the fulfillment of the degree.