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Developmental Psychology Requirements

These requirements apply to all students entering the developmental psychology doctoral program at the start of the 2001-2002 academic year or later, and are in addition to the requirements of the Graduate School (see the Graduate School Handbook). The Department of Psychology admits students only for the Ph.D. degree. Thus, these guidelines as set out here are intended to apply to doctoral students. Requirements for the Developmental Area Group differ from those of the department and the information contained in this document supercedes that described in "Guidelines: Graduate Program in Psychology, University of Wisconsin­ Madison " (June, 1999).

The study of developmental psychology may be achieved by focusing upon one or more of the many different content areas in Psychology. The graduate major in developmental psychology will be individualized to allow graduate students maximal flexibility in maintaining a niche within the Developmental Area Group while also incorporating substantial training from other area groups within the Psychology Department or other departments. The goal of this individualized approach is to allow the student to emphasize the content area(s) of primary interest to her/him. It is important to note that the individualized curriculum of the Developmental Area Group is intended to support flexibility in constructing a Psychology Ph.D. with an emphasis on developmental processes. The Developmental Psychology program is not appropriate for students whose graduate study does not emphasize psychological science. However, developmental students are actively encouraged to draw upon faculty expertise and course offerings from across the University.


    Each graduate student in the Developmental Area Group will formulate an individualized plan of study in collaboration with her/his major professor. The curriculum plan should be designed to be consonant with the student¹s specific educational goals. A preliminary version of the curricula must be submitted to the Chairperson of the Developmental Area Group within 1 week of the beginning of the student¹s second semester. It is important to note that the student¹s individualized plan of study need not be an inflexible listing of courses to be taken. Rather, the intent of the plan is to help students formalize a statement of their professional goals and to show how the courses they are planning to take and their research endeavors are related to those goals. Therefore, the individualized plan should include flexibility and the expectation that a student¹s goals and ideas will develop during their time in graduate school. During the student¹s third semester of graduate study, the student and major professor will meet with the developmental faculty for an extended discussion of student progress and the individualized curriculum. After this meeting, the final version of the individualized curriculum requires written approval from the Developmental Area faculty and any subsequent changes to the curriculum require written approval from the developmental area faculty. Curricula will not be "provisionally accepted." Final decision regarding acceptance of an individual student¹s curriculum rests with the Developmental Area Group, not the major professor. Bi-annual evaluation of satisfactory student progress will be based upon this individualized plan, and an approved final curriculum is required for satisfactory progress after the student¹s third semester.

    Curricula must consist of four segments: methodology, developmental breadth, developmental depth, and psychology breadth. Graduate students are required to enroll in Psychology 706: Proseminar in Developmental Psychology until they have passed their Preliminary Examination.

    Individualized curricula must conform to the following constraints:

    a. Curricula must include a minimum of three graduate methodology courses. The spirit of this requirement is that methodology courses are intended to provide the skills necessary for designing and analyzing research projects. Students in the Developmental Area Group are strongly urged to complete Psychology 610 and to take more than the minimum requirements1.

    b. Breadth in developmental psychology will be accomplished through the developmental area core course, Psychology 960: Core Issues in Developmental Psychology. This is the only required course and must be completed during the student¹s first year of enrollment.

    c. To provide the student with breadth in psychology, the curriculum must include at least two graduate courses (that sum to at least 6 credit hours) of Psychology courses outside of the developmental area group. At least one of these courses must be designated a Core course. The individualized curriculum system makes it incumbent upon the student and major professor to ensure that graduate students become acquainted with faculty and students who work in areas of psychology other than their own.

    d. Depth in the area of special interest will be achieved through 4-5 graduate courses (that sum to at least 12 credit hours) selected by the student. These courses will not include the developmental core course, the two outside developmental psychology courses, and the three methodology courses. The exact number of courses will be determined by the student and major professor. At least six of these credit hours must be taken within the Department of Psychology. One credit hour "proseminar" courses may not be used to fulfill this requirement.

    e. To earn the Ph.D., the student must fulfill the two Graduate School requirements: (i) at least 32 graduate level credits, excluding audits or pass/fails, at UW-Madison (it is expected that students will complete significantly more than 32 graduate level credits), and (ii) the Graduate School Minor Requirement. The developmental faculty will allow overlap between courses in the individualized curricula and those taken for the minor.

    f. Curricula should include a statement that integrates the student¹s interests, goals, planned coursework, and research.


    Graduate students must be engaged in supervised research in each semester. During the first year in the graduate program, each student will complete the First Year Project Requirement as described in the "Guidelines: Graduate Program in Psychology." The project should involve collecting all or part of the data. However, it will sometimes be appropriate for a student to work on data collected by other laboratory members. Projects that do not involve working with real data are unacceptable. The Director of Graduate Studies is responsible for selecting the student¹s first year project faculty committee. Because of the variety of content areas investigated by developmental graduate students, the Developmental faculty will recommend to the Director of Graduate Studies that only one committee member (e.g., the major professor) need be drawn from the Developmental Area Group providing that the major professor is a member or affiliate (with graduate student privileges) of the Developmental Area Group. If the major professor is not a member or affiliate member (with graduate student privileges) of the Developmental Area, then at least one member of the committee must be drawn from the Developmental Area faculty.


    Formal review of each student¹s progress will be carried out each year by the Developmental faculty based upon the student¹s individualized curriculum. Therefore, the individualized curriculum must include a time-line describing criteria for satisfactory progress beginning in the third semester. On the basis of this information, the Area Group chairperson will inform the student, in writing, of the student¹s progress. In the Fall of the student¹s second year, the student will be present at the faculty evaluation of student progress and greater focus will be paid to the student¹s coursework and curricular plans. After this meeting, the developmental faculty will vote on the approval of the student¹s final curricular plan. If the plan is not approved by the area group, the student will be required to submit a revised curricular plan prior to the end of the third semester in order to remain in satisfactory progress.

    The following guidelines will be applied to evaluating the progress of all developmental graduate students:

    a. Basic coursework requirements should be completed by the end of the third year (including at least two methodology courses completed by the second year). However, students are encouraged to continue taking seminars on developmental topics throughout their graduate student careers. An average grade of B or better and no grade lower than a BC is required for all Methodology courses.

    b. The Developmental core course, Psych 960: Core Issues in Developmental Psychology, must be completed the first year with a grade of B or better.

    c. The First Year Project must be presented at the beginning of the student¹s second year with a grade of "fair" or better.

    d. The major professor will present information on the student¹s research activities and progress.


    Certification constitutes permission from the Developmental faculty for the student to take the preliminary exam. The date of the student¹s preliminary exam is at the discretion of the major professor, but cannot be before the beginning of the third year. A student who has completed 3/4 of their individualized curriculum may apply for certification from the Developmental faculty.

    Courses that may offer appropriate instruction in methodology include the following. Note that students are not limited to these courses as means to fulfill the methodology requirement. However, since these are courses with which the faculty are familiar, it is not necessary to provide additional information about the courses when submitting a proposed individualized curriculum. Students should inquire about methodology courses in other departments and include a syllabus from new courses when submitting their proposed curriculum to the Area Group.

    610 Statistical Analysis of Psychological Experiments
    615 Quantitative Methods in Psychology
    710 Design and Analysis of Psychological Experiments
    711 Multivariate Analysis

    302 Algebraic Language programming
    364 Introduction to Data Base Management
    460 Complex Information Processing

    711 Strucural Equation Modeling
    773 Factor Analysis
    862 Multivariate Analysis
    870 Test Theory

    362 Multivariate Analysis
    751 Survey Methods for Social Research
    752 Measurement and Questionnaires for Social Research
    952 Mathematical and Statistical Applications
    955 Qualitative Methodology

    333 Applied Regression Analysis
    349 Introduction to Time Series Analysis
    351 Introduction to Nonparametric Statistics
    411 Sample Survey Theory and Methods
    421 Applied Categorical Data Analysis
    756 Applied Multivariate Analysis
    775 Introduction to Bayesian Decision and Control
    849 Theory and Application of Regression and Analysis of Variance I
    850 Theory and Application of Regression and Analysis of Variance II


    Please use the following outline as a guide for submitting Individualized Curricula proposals. For all proposed courses, please provide: department, course number, course title, and credit hours. Because many graduate courses are not offered regularly, it is acceptable to list an alternative course.

    I. Identifying Information. Student name, entering semester, major professor

    II. Content Area of Interest. Brief description of student¹s specific area of interest within developmental psychology and curricular theme.

    III. Methodology Requirement. Proposed methodology courses (minimum = 3)

    IV. Developmental Breadth Requirement. Note that student is currently enrolled in Core Issues in Developmental Psychology or provide explanation and plan for completing this course. Also note that this is the minimum requirement; students have the option of designing an individualized curriculum that includes greater breadth.

    V. Developmental Depth Requirement. List approximately 12 - 15 credit hours of courses related to area of interest. Excluded from these credit hours are the developmental core course, methodology courses, psychology breadth courses, and proseminar courses.

    VI. Psychology Breadth Requirement. Six psychology credit hours in areas other than student¹s primary area of interest. At least one core course from a Psychology area group other than Developmental.

    VII. Timeline. Provide a timeline indicating how satisfactory progress should be determined beyond Year 2. Specifically, list what will be completed by the end of each year. (At least two methodology courses should be completed by the end of Year 2; all required coursework should be completed by the end of Year 3).

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