Students are admitted to the Ph.D. Program generally, not to a specific lab or research group (as in some other Ph.D. programs). By the end of the first year, students will have knowledge of faculty research and of various projects underway in the Program or Department. Within the first two years, a student will typically collaborate with one or more faculty who, eventually, become a research advisor(s).
Students begin the first year of coursework with classes in research design and statistics. These two courses provide the necessary skills to understand research methodology as well as critically evaluate research. In these courses students are expected to develop individual research proposals and use computer-based statistical packages to analyze data. These experiences have proven invaluable as the doctoral students begin to focus on their own research interests through the development of the second year research project which is closely supervised by individual faculty. Submission of the research proposal for the “Second Year Research Project” is a requirement for Research Design I (taken in the spring semester of first year). These research projects provide students with the opportunity to collect data, conduct sophisticated statistical analyses and present their findings to the doctoral faculty and student body at the Annual Poster Session upon completion of their projects. Students are also encouraged to present their research at regional and national conferences.
Students begin to develop dissertation proposals during their third year of training. They are then able to devote themselves full-time to work on their dissertation prior to their internship experience in the fifth year. Beginning work on the dissertation early in their third year enables students to complete the program within a five year period.
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