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Graduate Bulletin Homepage |School of Education |Graduate Program Curricula | Program Leading to the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Psychology

Program Leading to the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Psychology

Professional training in educational psychology relates human behavior, cognition, and development to the educational process as it occurs in the home, in peer groups, in schools, and in the workplace. This is a research-based program of study where students are trained to conceptualize research problems, design research strategies, and conduct studies within the broad framework of educational psychology. This training is accomplished through a course of study that provides a foundation in psychological theories of learning, human development, statistics, measurement and evaluation, individual differences and special education, and research methods. Graduates of this program are prepared to assume positions as college and university teachers, research scholars, and practitioners for a wide variety of professional careers in state and national agencies that deal with policy development and practices. This program is approved by the New York State Division of Education, although it is not a licensure qualifying program.

Requirements for Admission
In addition to the general University requirements for admission to graduate study, for admission to graduate work without deficiencies in the Division of Educational Psychology and Methodology, candidates must present a minimum of 12 credits of undergraduate or graduate coursework in psychology, educational psychology, education, or related fields. Typical requisites for admissions include:
  1. At least one of the following:
    A 3.0 cumulative average in the applicant's last 60 hours of undergraduate course work.
    A 3.2 cumulative average in a master's degree program
    A 3.5 cumulative average in 9 hours of graduate study taken before admission
  2. Acceptable scores on the Graduate Record Examination (Verbal and Quantitative Tests)
  3. A well-written personal statement that reflects the applicant's knowledge of and interest in doctoral study in educational psychology, and reveals a match between the applicant's goals and the program offerings.
  4. Three letters of recommendation, including at least 2 letters from instructors or professors familiar with the applicant's previous academic work.

Diversity among student backgrounds and views is desired. To this end, the admissions committee also considers applicants' accomplishments and personal qualities as reflected in their application statements and recommendations.

Applications should be received in the Office of Graduate Admissions by January 15th, Successful applicants normally commence their doctoral studies in the subsequent fall semester.
The Division of Educational Psychology and Methodology welcomes applications from qualified overseas students. Applicants whose native language is not English are required to submit scores on the Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL) administered by the Educational Testing Service. (The university requires a minimum score of 213 on the TOEFL test.)

Program of Study (72 credits minimum)
Candidates in this program of study and research must complete at least 72 credits of graduate coursework, approved by their faculty advisor, that satisfy the following requirements:

1. E Psy 630 Statistical Methods II

2.A foundational core of 5 courses (15 credits) at the 500/600 level must be completed by all students. At least 3 of these courses must be completed within the division. This core includes one course from five of the six following areas:

  • Development
  • Learning
  • Individual differences and special education
  • Research methods
  • Measurement and evaluation
  • Statistics

3. In addition to this core, a doctoral sequence of courses (27 credits) at the 600/700 level must be completed by all students. A majority of these courses should be completed within the division. The doctoral sequence must be coherent with respect to student interests and goals, with that coherence consistent with educational psychology as a scientific discipline. This sequence includes at least one course from five of the six following areas:

  • Development
  • Learning
  • Individual differences and special education
  • Measurement and evaluation
  • Research methods
  • Statistics

4. At least 24 credits in research must be completed by all students. These credits must be distributed in the following way:

  • At least 12 credits for a masters thesis (E Psy 699) or Research Apprenticeship ( E Psy 797)
  • No more than 6 dissertation credits (E Psy 899) may be applied to the 72 credit degree total. These must be completed over a minimum of two semesters.
  • The remaining credits may be satisfied by research based independent study(ies), or by additional Research Apprenticeship credits.

5. Professional Apprenticeship (E Psy 780) - 3 credits

6. Research tool requirement

7. Pre-dissertation research requirement

8. Comprehensive examination

9. Dissertation

Pre-Dissertation Research Requirement

The purpose of the pre-dissertation research requirement is to ensure that students engage in the research process prior to the initiation of the dissertation process. The proposed model for implementation embodies an apprenticeship or mentoring perspective; that is, students are provided opportunities to engage in research activities in collaboration with or supervised by faculty. Most students satisfy this requirement in the context of a research apprenticeship (EPSY 797).

Specific objectives include:

  1. Development of knowledge and skills relevant to the conduct of psychological and educational research, through active participation in independent (supervised) or collaborative research activities.
  2. Supervised experience in the conduct of research, optimally including participation in all phases of the research process from question/hypothesis formulation to preparing a written report for professional publication or presentation.
  3. Provision of opportunities to develop professional credentials through professional publications and presentations.

To satisfy this requirement, there must be a product of the research experience, such as a research report, poster, a conference presentation, or a paper submitted for publication.

Because they include such products, the following research experiences satisfy the predissertation research experience, without specific approval by the Predissertation Research Committee:

  1. The "special project' for EPSY 680 (Research Project in Educational Psychology).
  2. The "culminating project" for the CAS.
  3. EPSY 890 (Research and Independent Study) if it had been approved as satisfying the "special project" requirement for the masters degree.
  4. A masters thesis done within the division.

Whether the following types of research experiences satisfy the predissertation research criteria is considered less clear-cut:

  1. 1. EPSY 697 (Independent Study in Educational Psychology).
  2. 2. EPSY 797 (Research Apprenticeship).
  3. 3. EPSY 890 (Research and Independent Study) completed for purposes other than to
    satisfy the "special project" requirement for the masters degree.
  4. 4. Research products (papers, conference presentations, posters) that were co-authored.
  5. 5. Research done in affiliation with one or more faculty members.
  6. 6. A masters thesis done at another institution or outside of the division.

In these less clear-cut situations, students are to submit their product to the Predissertation Research Committee, together with a written statement of their own contribution to the research project. The faculty supervisor is to provide a written confirmation of the student's role. It is not required that the student be the sole or first author of the research paper or other product.

Comprehensive Examinations
Two formats for the comprehensive exam are available.

A. Review paper and research proposal,
B. Two take-home exams:
(1) Learning/Development, usually offered in January, and
(2) Methodology, usually offered in summer.

Students should select a format after consultation with their advisor.

Research Tool Requirement
To fulfill the research tool requirement, three options are available to students:

  1. A student, with the advice and consent of the advisor, should take and pass (with a grade of B or higher, B minus is not acceptable) at least one course (minimum of 3 hours) covering an area of research methodology appropriate to the student's research focus. It is incumbent on the student to present a supporting rationale to the advisor. A list of divisionally approved courses, which will be reviewed and revised periodically, will be made available to faculty and students. If the student wishes to take a course not on the current list, he or she may petition the Research Tool Committee for approval.
  2. Students may make a proposal and carry out a specific project, or series of projects, on aspects of research methodology. The proposal must spell out in some detail the research competencies he or she anticipates will ensue from this work. Such work will often entail demonstrating ability to use the computer to carry out various data analyses. Satisfactory interpretation of results will be part of this requirement. The Research Tool Committee will deal with each student who chooses this option on a case by case basis.
  3. Students may choose to author (or in some cases) to co-author an article on some aspect of either statistics or research methodology. The paper should be written as if to be published, and will generally entail close supervision by one or more faculty. This proposal is to be submitted to the Research Tool Committee for approval.

Professional Apprenticeship
Doctoral students are required to complete one semester (3 credits) of an apprenticeship relevant to their professional goals. This apprenticeship is ordinarily served as an instructor of an undergraduate course in educational psychology. Other apprenticeships may be served as test and measurement consultants or as academic advisors to masters students. Apprenticeships are closely mentored by faculty, and there is a regular seminar for apprentice instructors.

Full Time Study in Residence
Students are not required to meet this requirement.

Admission to Candidacy
A student is admitted to candidacy for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in educational psychology upon the following:

  1. Satisfactory record in course and seminar study; at least a B (3.0) average in all resident graduate courses applicable to the degree;
  2. Satisfactory completion of research tool requirement with at least a B grade (B minus is not acceptable);
  3. Satisfactory completion of the comprehensive qualifying examination;
  4. Satisfactory completion of the pre-dissertation requirement;
  5. Final approval of the dissertation proposal.

In general, the Ph.D. dissertation serves multiple purposes, which might be broadly classified as follows:

  1. A substantive and original contribution to knowledge, grounded in the discipline of Psychology, with application to Education.
  2. A demonstration of mastery of a body of techniques and methods which render one's conclusions defensible on methodological grounds.


Last updated on 7/10/2008