Wilfrid Laurier University Graduate Calendar - 2014/2015
Canadian Excellence

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology

The PhD program in psychology is concentrated in 5 fields: behavioural neuroscience, cognitive neuroscience, developmental psychology, social psychology and community psychology.

Behavioural Neuroscience
The objective is to train students to become independent research investigators in the field of behavioural neuroscience. An apprenticeship model provides students with an opportunity to acquire advanced academic knowledge in the biological basis of behaviour.  Human and animal psychological issues are addressed by exploring the interaction between behaviour and the nervous systems of animals.  Commonalities between humans and animals relating to cognitive, learning, and motivational processes and behaviour are explored to determine the role of the inner workings of the brain in these behaviours.    Students will develop basic and/or applied research skills in behavioural neuroscience. The PhD dissertation requires original research that contributes significant new knowledge to the field. Graduates are trained for positions in university, hospital, community, industry or government settings.

Cognitive Neuroscience
The objective is to train students to become independent research investigators in the field of cognitive neuroscience. An apprenticeship model provides students with an opportunity to acquire advanced academic knowledge in memory, language, and perception among other areas, using models common to cognitive neuroscience. Models and techniques will allow students to gain an understanding of “how people think” through understanding the brain processes that are ultimately responsible for the various processes identified by cognitive psychology. Students will be introduced to brain-imaging techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging, high density evoked potentials, and transcranial magnetic stimulation make. Students will develop basic and/or applied research skills in cognitive neuroscience. The PhD dissertation requires original research that contributes significant new knowledge to the field. Graduates are trained for positions in university, hospital, community, industry or government settings.

Community Psychology
The scientist-practitioner model of training forms the basis of the PhD program in the field of community psychology. The objectives are for doctoral students to develop: 1) critical thinking, knowledge, and ethical sensitivity in relation to social systems analysis and intervention, community research and evaluation, and human service policy, programs, and practice, and 2) skills for catalyzing social action and social policy initiatives related to community psychology, for conducting community research and evaluation, and for providing education and training both in university settings and in the community. Unlike the MA program, the PhD program is geared to prepare graduates as scholars in universities, as policy researchers/analysts in governmental and non-governmental settings, as community researchers and program evaluators, and as managers of human service organizations.

Developmental Psychology
The objective is to train students to become independent research investigators in the field of developmental psychology. An apprenticeship model provides students with an opportunity to acquire advanced academic knowledge in developmental psychology. Students will develop basic and/or applied research skills, including conducting experimental, observational, and applied research in cognitive development, language and reading development and in social and personality development. They will explore developmental issues related to educational and forensic psychology with research investigating some of the following areas: language, memory, and moral development, as well as learning and transitions across the lifespan. This research involves the use of both traditional (i.e., surveys, interviews, observations, behavioural testing) and innovative methods (such as narrative and discourse analyses, intermodal preferential looking, and large longitudinal datasets to study growth curves and causal models). The PhD dissertation requires original research that contributes significant new knowledge to the field. Graduates are trained for positions in university, hospital, community, industry or government settings.

Social Psychology
The objective is to train students to become independent research investigators in the field of social psychology. An apprenticeship model provides students with an opportunity to acquire advanced academic knowledge in social psychology. Students will develop basic and/or applied research skills on social cognition, the self, intergroup relations, social interactions, personality, political attitudes and behaviour, and life transitions. Spanning several levels of analysis (social, cognitive, physiological), this research examines individuals, dyads and larger groups using innovative methodologies (such as online reaction-time measures, experience sampling and longitudinal self-reports, physiological measurement, surveys, questionnaires, and direct observation). The PhD dissertation requires original research that contributes significant new knowledge to the field. This research has clear practical implications within personal, organizational, social, political, and therapeutic contexts. Graduates are trained for positions in university, hospital, community, industry or government settings.

Additional Information
 
Admission Requirements

Admission is contingent upon successful completion of a masters degree program. If a student applies with a MA or MSc degree from another university, she/he may be admitted to the PhD program; some make-up course work may be required depending on the courses completed at the masters level.

Additional Requirements

  1. The GRE General Test is required for applicants to the behavioural and cognitive neuroscience fields.
  2. The GRE General Test is recommended for applicants to the social psychology field.
  3. It is expected that the applicants to the community psychology field will have substantial experience in community practice.

 
Program Requirements

Training at the doctoral level in all five fields is based on a research apprenticeship model, in which students work closely with faculty supervisors conducting research.

Doctoral students are encouraged to teach a course as part of their program experience.

Course Requirements - Behavioural Neuroscience

  • The following three courses (as offered): PS861 - Seminar in Comparative Cognition, PS863 - Seminar in Behavioural Neuroscience, PS864 - Seminar in the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
  • PS856 - Research Seminar in Behavioural Neuroscience I, PS857 - Research Seminar in Behavioural Neuroscience II, PS858 - Research Seminar in Behavioural Neuroscience III. All PhD candidates are required to participate in these research seminars. The seminars will have a component devoted to training in teaching. The seminars are taken in each of the first 3 years (I, II and III in each of year 1, 2 and 3 respectively) of the PhD program and are marked on a pass/fail basis;
  • Elective: an additional required content course at the PhD level is an elective. Students are expected to take a course from one of the courses listed from PS860 - Seminar in Cognition, PS862 - Seminar in Perception, PS865 - Seminar in Cognitive Neuroscience, PS870 - Specialized Research and Methods in Social Psychology I: Attitudes and Social Cognition, PS871 - Specialized Research and Methods in Social Psychology II: Interpersonal Relationships and Group Processes, PS874 - Advanced Seminar in Social Developmental Psychology or PS875 - Advanced Seminar in Cognitive Developmental Psychology, another field in the PhD program, or from other graduate course offerings at WLU or graduate programs at other institutions. The course should provide for greater breadth of perspective in the student's dissertation area;
  • PS891 - Comprehensive Research Experience I and PS892 - Comprehensive Research Experience II. During the first two years of the PhD program, all students in the behavioural neuroscience area must complete two comprehensive research experiences under the supervision of a faculty member other than their advisor. The research experiences can take the form of either: 1) a research project, including a written report, or 2) a review paper; however, at least one must be a research project; and
  • PS899 - Dissertation.

Course Requirements - Cognitive Neuroscience

  • The following three courses (as offered): PS860 - Seminar in Cognition, PS862 - Seminar in Perception, PS865 - Seminar in Cognitive Neuroscience
  • PS866 - Research Seminar in Cognitive Neuroscience I, PS867 - Research Seminar in Cognitive Neuroscience II, PS868 - Research Seminar in Cognitive Neuroscience III. All PhD candidates are required to participate in these research seminars. The seminars will have a component devoted to training in teaching. The seminars are taken in each of the first 3 years (I, II and III in each of year 1, 2 and 3 respectively) of the PhD program and are marked on a pass/fail basis; 
  • Elective: An additional required content course at the PhD level is an elective. Students are expected to take a course from one of the courses listed from PS861 - Seminar in Comparative Cognition, PS863 - Seminar in Behavioural Neuroscience, PS864 - Seminar in the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, PS870 - Specialized Research and Methods in Social Psychology I: Attitudes and Social Cognition, PS871 - Specialized Research and Methods in Social Psychology II: Interpersonal Relationships and Group Processes, PS874 - Advanced Seminar in Social Developmental Psychology or PS875 - Advanced Seminar in Cognitive Developmental Psychology, another field in the PhD program, or from other graduate course offerings at WLU or graduate programs at other institutions. The course should provide for greater breadth of perspective in the student's dissertation area; 
  • PS891 - Comprehensive Research Experience I PS892 - Comprehensive Research Experience II. During the first two years of the PhD program, all students in the cognitive neuroscience area must complete two comprehensive research experiences under the supervision of a faculty member other than their advisor. The research experiences can take the form of either: 1) a research project, including a written report, or 2) a review paper; however, at least one must be a research project; and 
  • PS899 - Dissertation.

Course Requirements - Community Psychology

  • PS801 - Multi-level Modeling;
  • PS802 - Program Evaluation;
  • PS805 - Qualitative Research Methods;
  • PS880 - Theories and Ethics of Social Analysis and Intervention;
  • PS886 - Community-Based Participatory Research Theory;
  • PS887 - Application of Social Science Theories to Community Issues;
  • One elective graduate level course from outside the community psychology area (from other graduate courses in Psychology or other programs at the university). 
  • PS891 - Comprehensive Research Experience I and PS892 - Comprehensive Research Experience II. Students in the community psychology field must complete two review papers (they can be original research, critical reviews, or theory papers) for their comprehensive requirement. The review papers will be evaluated by 2 faculty members other than the student's PhD advisor; and
  • PS899 - Dissertation.

Course Requirements - Developmental Psychology

  • The following two courses (as offered): PS874 - Advanced Seminar in Social Developmental Psychology, PS875 - Advanced Seminar in Cognitive Developmental Psychology. These two courses will alternate every other year, usually taught by one faculty member in his/her area of specialization; 
  • PS800 - Advanced Multivariate Methods; 
  • Elective: an additional required content course at the PhD level would be an elective. Students are expected to take a course either from another field in the PhD program, or from other graduate course offerings at WLU or graduate programs at other institutions. Electives may include but are not restricted to: PS860 - Seminar in Cognition, PS861 - Seminar in Comparative Cognition, PS862 - Seminar in Perception, PS863 - Seminar in Behavioural Neuroscience, PS864 - Seminar in the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, PS870 - Specialized Research and Methods in Social Psychology I: Attitudes and Social Cognition or PS871 - Specialized Research and Methods in Social Psychology II: Interpersonal Relationships and Group Processes. The course should provide for greater breadth of perspective in the student's dissertation area; 
  • PS876 - Research Seminar in Developmental Psychology I, PS877 - Research Seminar in Developmental Psychology II and PS878 - Research Seminar in Developmental Psychology III. All PhD candidates are required to participate in these research seminars. The seminars will have a component devoted to training in teaching. The seminars are taken in each of the first 3 years (I, II and III in each of year 1, 2 and 3 respectively) of the PhD program and are marked on a pass/fail basis; 
  • PS891 - Comprehensive Research Experience I and PS892 - Comprehensive Research Experience II. During the first two years of the PhD program, all students in the developmental area must complete two comprehensive research experiences under the supervision of a faculty member other than their advisor. The research experiences can take the form of either: 1) a research project, including a written report, or 2) a review paper; however, at least one must be a research project; and 
  • PS899 - Dissertation.

Course Requirements - Social Psychology

  • The following two courses (as offered): PS870 - Specialized Research and Methods in Social Psychology I: Attitudes and Social Cognition, PS871 - Specialized Research and Methods in Social Psychology II: Interpersonal Relationships and Group Processes. These two courses will alternate every other year, usually taught by one faculty member in his/her area of specialization;
  • PS800 - Advanced Multivariate Methods;
  • Elective: an additional required content course at the PhD level would be an elective. Students are expected to take a course either from another field in the PhD program, or from other graduate course offerings at WLU or graduate programs at other institutions. Electives may include but are not restricted to: PS860 - Seminar in Cognition, PS861 - Seminar in Comparative Cognition, PS862 - Seminar in Perception, PS863 - Seminar in Behavioural Neuroscience, PS864 - Seminar in the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, PS874 - Advanced Seminar in Social Developmental Psychology, PS875 - Advanced Seminar in Cognitive Developmental Psychology. The course should provide for greater breadth of perspective in the student's dissertation area;
  • PS846 - Research Seminar in Social Psychology I, PS847 - Research Seminar in Social Psychology II, and PS848 - Research Seminar in Social Psychology III. All PhD candidates are required to participate in these research seminars. The seminars will have a component devoted to training in teaching. The seminars are taken in each of the first 3 years (I, II and III in each of year 1, 2 and 3 respectively) of the PhD program and are marked on a pass/fail basis;
  • PS891 - Comprehensive Research Experience I and PS892 - Comprehensive Research Experience II. During the first two years of the PhD program, all students in the social and developmental area must complete two comprehensive research experiences under the supervision of a faculty member other than their advisor. The research experiences can take the form of either: 1) a research project, including a written report, or 2) a review paper; however, at least one must be a research project; and
  • PS899 - Dissertation.

PhD Dissertation Requirements

The university regulations regarding the requirements for submitting a doctoral dissertation and scheduling the oral examination will apply.