University of Wisconsin–Madison

Program Requirments

The University of Wisconsin – Psychology Department maintains a database of previously taught courses and a three year possible teaching horizon. The database can be searched by course, professor and semester, allowing students to more accurately plan their academic graduate coursework.

Office of the Registrar – Schedule of Classes

Satisfactory Progress


Coursework Requirements

Coursework Requirements
Rev. August 2010

These are the general coursework guidelines for all psychology graduate students.

Minimum Departmental Course Requirements

  • Students are required to take two semesters of statistics/methods (610 and 710) and six additional courses. Two of the six additional courses should be outside the student’s area of research expertise.
  • Average grade of B or better and no grade lower than a BC in six courses.
  • Psychology 610 and 710 are required and students must earn a grade of B or better in each course.
  • Graduate level courses are numbered 600 or higher and do not include “Proseminars” or professional development courses.
  • Eight week courses count as half courses. Two half courses are equivalent to one full course.
  • By end of Year 3, all departmental course requirements should be completed.

Proseminar Requirement

  • Students must register for and attend a Proseminar meeting each academic year semester (Fall/Spring) during their first three years. Students are encouraged to continue to register for and attend a proseminar in later years while in residence.

Research (990) Credits

  • After registering for all courses, proseminars, and other electives, a student who does not have dissertator status may fill their schedule with 990 credits. For reference, the Graduate School considers full time enrollment as 8-15 graduate level credits (no audit or pass/fail) during the academic year. Graduate level courses are defined as 300 level and above by the Graduate School.
  • All dissertators must enroll in 990 credits. Further, dissertators register for 3 credits, no more and no less. These credits must be comprised of only 990 credits, unless one is enrolling in a proseminar or a course that is directly related to dissertation research or clinical practica (e.g., 805).

Summer Enrollment

  • Students holding an academic year (i.e., Fall/Spring semesters) TA, PA, or RA appointment or a UW Fellowship do not need to enroll in summer.
  • Students with a RA summer appointment must enroll in at least two graduate level credits in summer.
  • Trainees, and fellows (NRSA, NSF, etc.) that are being paid during the summer months must enroll in at least two graduate level credits in summer.
  • Dissertators must be enrolled in three credits during the summer if they are expecting to successfully defend their dissertation and graduate during the summer session
  • Students holding spring TA, PA, or RA appointments are eligible for summer tuition remission, if necessary

Professional Development Requirement

  • All graduate students are required to take the online training modules on Human Subjects Protection and on Responsible Conduct of Research. Students who use animals are also required to complete the Animal User Online Certification. Proseminar courses regularly include sessions devoted to research ethics. Students are also required to complete a workshop on writing or grant writing. A variety of opportunities are available on campus, including full courses on grant writing. Graduate students have the option of fulfilling this requirement during their 1st or 2nd year. Students should email the Graduate Coordinator ( to document when they complete the workshop on writing or grant writing.
  • Graduate students are strongly encouraged to obtain some teaching experience (e.g., TA, etc.) while they are in residence at UW. Teaching experience is an important part of training in professional development, especially for students going into careers which involve teaching.

Ph. D. Minor

  • The Graduate School no longer requires a minor concentration for cohorts beginning Fall 2013. For students began before 2013, you can chose the previous minor consisting of 9 credits taken outside the major area of concentration. Students have two options available in order to fulfill the minor requirement. One option is to minor in an outside department and enroll in 9 credits in only that department. The other option is to choose a distributed minor, which can include credits from within the psychology department, as long as they are not within your area group, as well as credits from any department outside of psychology.


Area Group Coursework Requirements


Same as general departmental requirements


Same as general departmental requirements


Clinical Guidelines: Licensure Track

Content Courses: Two full semesters in psychopathology are required (numbers TBD). Five clinical courses are required. Those clinical courses are Cognitive Assessment, Diagnostic Assessment, 803 Advanced Techniques, 911 (Theory) and 911 (Foundations). History of Psych 913 and a course in Systems Neuroscience is also required. Methodology Courses: Three methodology courses are required. Those courses are 610, 710, & 806.


Students must take at least 8 courses; two of these courses must be Psychology 610 and 710. Note that eight-week courses count as half courses; two half courses are equivalent to one full course.

In selecting coursework, students should aim to achieve breadth in psychology, breadth in developmental psychology, and depth in a special area of interest; this may mean taking more than the minimum number of required courses. Further, students should ensure they have sufficient exposure to methods (including statistics) that are relevant for research in developmental psychology; this may mean taking more than the two methods classes required by the Department (i.e., courses beyond 610 and 710).


Same as departmental requirements


Same as departmental requirements


Students in the Social Area are required to take at least 8 courses; two of these courses must be the statistics sequence (PSY 610 and 710). The remaining 6 courses should be distributed as follows: 1 advanced statistics or methods course, the advanced social psychology seminar (PSY 728), 1 topical seminar in Social Psychology, and 2 graduate level content courses outside of the Social Area.

Graduate students are required to enroll in the Social Area Brown Bag (PSY 703) each semester. Note that PSY 703 may not be used to fulfill the content or methodology course requirements.

Satisfactory Progress

Retention Decision

The Faculty of the Psychology Department will meet in October of the student’s second year to evaluate the student’s first year progress and to determine whether he or she should be permitted to continue working toward the Ph.D. This evaluation will be based on:

  1. Performance in graduate level courses as assessed by the course instructors and by grades.
  2. Performance on the first year project as assessed by the selected committee and by attendees of the First Year Project Symposium.
  3. The evaluation by the advisor of the student’s research aptitude.
Departmental Requirements

During their tenure in the department, students shall be judged by the student’s area group and advisory committee to be making satisfactory progress if they have fulfilled the following requirements. Area groups and advisory committees will review graduate student progress at least once per year.

  1. Research Requirements: A student will be in a state of unsatisfactory progress if the student is not making satisfactory progress in research as judged by the area group or mentoring committee. The student enters a state of unsatisfactory progress upon notification by the area group or mentoring committee.
  2. Area Group Requirements:

    If a student is, for any reason, judged not to be in a state of satisfactory progress, the student’s area group may apply to the Graduate Committee to have the student restored to satisfactory progress. Any decision that a student is in unsatisfactory progress should have been preceded by written warnings to the student that unsatisfactory progress is a possible outcome if the warnings are not heeded. Students and faculty should be aware that University policy does not permit a student to receive ANY support from the University: TA-ship or RA-ship, while in unsatisfactory progress. Any student determined to be making unsatisfactory progress should be given explicit details (including deadlines) for how the student can return to satisfactory progress, and notification that the decision can be appealed to the Graduate Committee and beyond, if desired.

Graduate School Requirements

Graduate School requirements for satisfactory progress, as set out in the Graduate School Handbook and reproduced below.

Grades. Any student’s continuation in the Graduate School is at the discretion of the Graduate School, the student’s major department, and his/her major professor. The Graduate School requires an average record of B or better in all work (excluding research credits) taken as a graduate student. (Grades of P and S are for this purpose considered to be satisfactory at the B level, grades of Incomplete are considered for this purpose to be unsatisfactory if they are not removed during the next semester of residence.) In special cases the Graduate School permits a student who does not meet this standard to continue on probation upon recommendation of the major professor.