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Behavioral Science Program

Program Description

Curriculum and Programs of Study

The Graduate School requires a total of 90 course and research credits for the Ph.D. degree in psychology (18=dissertation; 6=thesis; 66=course credit). Specific departmental and program requirements are as follows:

Departmental Requirements
The department requires preparation in five major areas: l)foundations of psychology and content area; 2)research methodology and data analysis; and 3) advanced knowledge; 4) multicultural competence; and 5) research proficiency. These requirements must be met by all doctoral students, regardless of area of concentration. The following requirements must be met by successful completion of the designated courses unless transfer credit is approved for equivalent courses taken at another institution (see below).

Foundations of Psychology:
Any four courses from among the core content areas (PSY 600-609 series) must be completed (up to two may be transferred from prior graduate work). Core areas include: physiological psychology, learning, developmental psychology, perception, cognition, personality, social psychology, theories and systems of psychology, multicultural psychology, and advanced psychopathology.

Research Methodology and Data Analysis:
Three courses must be taken in sequence: Experimental Design (PSY 532); Advanced Quantitative Methods(PSY 533); and, Methods of Psychological Research and Experimental Design (PSY 6ll).

Advanced Knowledge:
Students must pass written and oral comprehensive examinations. Written exams are typically taken in the third or fourth year, and address methodological issues, specialty area(s), and general core knowledge. Areas on which the examination will focus are determined in consultation with the student's committee. The oral examination is taken shortly after successful completion of the written exam.

Multicultural Competence:
Students earning a graduate degree in the URI Psychology Department should be able to demonstrate multicultural competence in all of the following:

Didactic Component: Consistent with the Departmentís goal of curricular flexibility, all graduate students will complete PSY 600, Multicultural Psychology, or another graduate course that the studentís committee or the Psychology Departmentís Graduate Curriculum Committee has approved as dealing primarily with issues in multicultural psychology; or complete a didactic learning experience in multicultural psychology in the context of an independent study.

Research Component: In keeping with Institutional Review Board requirements, all graduate students will include a section in their thesis/dissertation proposals that articulates how the issue of multiculturalism has been considered with respect to the choice of topic, methodological approach, participants, measures, procedures, and the interpretation of the research. This is not intended to limit the studentís choice of topic, participants, or method, but to assure that the student expresses the ways in which various choices are made and the implications of those choices for the subsequent interpretation of results.

Applied Component:All graduate students will demonstrate multicultural competence through one of the following activities, or a suitable alternative approved by the studentís committee:

  • A practicum dealing with a multicultural client group or setting;
  • Teaching a course on multicultural psychology or teaching a course in psychology (or a related discipline) in which multicultural issues are infused throughout course content;
  • A comprehensive examination question about an issue in multicultural psychology, or written from a multicultural perspective; or
  • A research study primarily addressing a multicultural question or involving diverse participants.

Research Proficiency: A doctoral dissertation (PSY 699: 18 credits) must be completed. Students entering without a Master's degree in Psychology must do a Master's thesis (PSY 599: 6 credits) prior to attempting a doctoral dissertation. Students with a Master's degree in Psychology must demonstrate research competency. This can be done by having a previously completed Master's thesis reviewed and accepted by the student's committee or completing a research competency project.

Behavioral Science Program Options
The Behavioral Science Program relies on students' Program Committees (i.e., Master's and Doctoral Committees) to work with students to design uniquely tailored programs of study that will meet the students' needs within the constraints of requirements and available resources. Students choose their course work from a variety of courses depending upon their area of interest. As noted earlier, emphasis is placed on methodological and quantitative skills in both coursework and practicum experience. Beyond the required 3-course sequence in Research Methodology and Data Analysis (PSY532, PSY533, & PSY611), other courses are available that allow students to broaden their skills in this area including Small N Designs, Psychometric Methods, Factor Analysis, Evaluation Research, Non-Parametric Statistics, and Structural Modeling. Focus areas in Multicultural and Gender studies and in Health Psychology are also available.

All first-year students are required to take a one-credit orientation seminar seminar each semester during the first year (PSY 615C).