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 (gradinfo@psych.wisc.edu) 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
 

BBB

Same as general departmental requirements, except that students will register for the BBB proseminar in all years while in residence.


CCN

Same as general departmental requirements


Clinical

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.


Developmental

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).


IGM

Same as departmental requirements


Perception

Same as departmental requirements


Social

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

Second Year Retention Decision

First consideration: Area groups and mentoring committees will evaluate the performance of second-year students following the defense of the First Year Project.

 

Students who perform well on the First Year Project and who are meeting expectations in other important domains (e.g., coursework, research skills) will receive a brief letter from their area group chair before the spring semester of the second year noting their accomplishments to date. Receiving a positive letter mid-year does not guarantee a positive retention vote in the spring.

 

Students who perform poorly on any component of the First Year Project (written document, public presentation, defense) as assessed by their mentoring committee or who are failing to meet expectations in other important domains (e.g., coursework, research skills) as assessed by their mentoring committee and area group will receive a letter from their area group chair and the Associate Chair for Graduate Studies before the start of the spring semester of their second year. The letter will outline concerns raised by the faculty and note any actions the student can take to address the concerns before the spring retention vote. Students who receive such a letter should be aware that the faculty may vote not to retain them in the spring.

 

Second consideration: The Faculty of the Psychology Department will meet late in the spring semester of students’ second year to evaluate their performance and determine whether they should be permitted to continue working toward the Ph.D. The evaluation and determination will be based on:

 

  1. Performance in graduate-level courses as assessed by course instructors and by grades.
  2. Performance on the First Year Project as assessed by the mentoring committee and by attendees of the First Year Project Symposium.
  3. The evaluation by the advisor of the student’s research ability.

 

At the spring meeting, faculty can vote to retain a student, not retain a student, or provisionally retain a student. Students who receive a negative vote will not be allowed to continue working toward their Ph.D. Students who receive a provisional retention vote will receive a letter from their area group chair and the Associate Chair for Graduate Studies outlining concerns raised by faculty, with information about how (and by when) students must address the concerns. Students who do not address the concerns outlined in the letter (as determined by the faculty body) will not be allowed to continue working toward the Ph.D. beyond their third year.

 

Students who are not retained for the Ph.D. may still receive a master’s degree in psychology, provided they meet criteria for one. See here: https://grad.wisc.edu/current-students/masters-guide/#what-you-need-to-do

 

Determining Satisfactory Progress for Years 1, 3, and beyond

 

Area groups and mentoring committees will review graduate progress and report assessments to the entire faculty at least once a year. In judging satisfactory progress, faculty will consider students’ progress on milestones (First Year Project, Preliminary Exams, Dissertation Proposal), research, and other area group and department requirements. Students can enter a state of unsatisfactory progress in any of these areas at any time. Students who are determined to be making unsatisfactory progress will receive a letter from their area group chair and the Associate Chair for Graduate Studies outlining concerns raised by faculty, with information about how (and by when) students must address the concerns. Once the concerns are addressed, the student will enter a state of satisfactory progress.

 

If a student does not address concerns outlined in the letter by the indicated deadlines, the Psychology Department will then inform the Graduate School that the student is not making satisfactory progress. At that point, the student may be asked to leave the program entirely and may also be ineligible to receive university funding (TA-ships and fellowships).

 

At the University of Wisconsin–Madison, departments set their own standards and policies for determining and informing students about their progress. However, the Graduate School does have minimum requirements for satisfactory progress (see here: https://grad.wisc.edu/documents/satisfactory-progress/). Note in particular the Graduate School’s requirement that students maintain a minimum graduate GPA of 3.00 in any coursework taken as a graduate student.

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.