Other Requirements

In addition to courses, the major requirements for the doctoral program in psychology are

  • The M.A. thesis
  • The research tool requirement
  • The Ph.D. candidacy examination
  • The doctoral dissertation 


Students are required to submit an empirical thesis in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the master's degree. An approved thesis proposal must be on file by June 15 of the second year of graduate study for the student to register for the third year practicum. We expect students to complete and defend the thesis project by the end of the third academic year in the program.

Research Tool 

The research tool requirement may be completed by appropriate coursework in statistics, instrumentation, or computer science. The department has designated courses, including the two statistics courses required of all students, which can be used to fulfill this requirement. Successful completion of four of these courses with a grade of A or B will satisfy the Graduate School's research tool requirement.

Candidacy Examination 

All students in a Ph.D. program within the Psychology Department are required to pass an extensive candidacy examination that includes a written component.  The doctoral candidacy examination samples the student’s knowledge and ability to integrate theory and research relevant to the student’s area of concentration.   To that end, students must prepare a portfolio to the clinical faculty to demonstrate their abilities in the three following categories: (1) Research Productivity; (2) Engagement in the Broader Professional Community; and (3) Clinical Competence in Assessment and Psychotherapy.   Evidence of Research Productivity involves the submission of two manuscripts, one as a first author.   Evidence of Engagement in the Broader Professional Community involves attending and presenting three conference posters.   Evidence of Clinical Competence in Assessment and Psychotherapy is shown through passing two case conferences that are scheduled as part of a student’s training the PSC.  Students should start working on material for their portfolio when entering the program, but portfolios may not be reviewed until after their master’s thesis has been defended.  In addition, the candidacy exam portfolio needs to have been passed before the student proposes their dissertation.   


All candidates for the Ph.D. are required to submit an empirical dissertation which has the potential to make a substantial contribution to the field of psychology. An approved dissertation proposal must be on file by September 1 of the year in which students intend to apply for an internship.

Contact Us

Department of Psychology
Psychology-Computer Science Building room 400

Director of Graduate Studies
Kevin Wu, Ph.D

Graduate Studies Assistant

Admission Questions