Graduate Student Handbook
Dr. Mike Vitevitch | Fraser Hall, Room 4023| firstname.lastname@example.org | 4-9312
- Brain, Behavior, and Quantitative Science: Dr. Tim Pleskac | Fraser Hall, Room 411 | email@example.com
- Clinical: Dr. Rick Ingram |Fraser Hall, Room 335C | firstname.lastname@example.org | 4-9819
- Social: Dr. Monica Biernat | Fraser Hall, Room 405 | email@example.com | 4-9815
Cindy Sexton | Fraser Hall, Room 426 | firstname.lastname@example.org | 4-9800
Shared Service Center Representatives
The Department of Psychology’s Graduate Academic Advisor is your first stop for any questions related to graduate study. If you would like to research an issue in advance of speaking with your department or if you still have questions, the following offices can provide assistance:
COGA reviews all student petitions of University and College policy, issuing decisions on behalf of the College or referring as required to a faculty committee and/or the Office of Graduate Studies. The more common student petitions relate to Enrollment, Graduate Credit, Leave of Absence, and Time Limit Extensions.
COGA is a resource if you have questions about petitions or graduation requirements that your department is unable to answer. Refer to the COGA website for current staff contact information.
All students enter the department with the expectation of earning the Ph.D., as the department does not admit students seeking the terminal master’s degrees.
Minimum Requirements and Prerequisites
In addition to the University Requirements for admission described in the University Policies and Degree Requirements section of this handbook, the Department also has the following pre-requisites for graduate admission:
- An undergraduate or master’s degree in the field of study OR at least 15 credit hours in psychology, including a first course in statistics and a course in experimental psychology or psychological research methods
- The Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
To apply for admission into our graduate program, please submit all application materials no later than December 1st. The Department does not admit new students for the spring or summer terms.
Application Materials & Procedure
Applicants to our program should complete the KU Application for Graduate Study.
Please be aware that the following items will need to be prepared in advance and uploaded with the online application:
- A current C.V. (Curriculum Vitae) or resume
- A Statement of Purpose (Please see the program selection page on the online application for more specifics regarding what your statement of purpose should address)
- Name and email for 3 references, preferably from those who have worked with you and know your research interests and abilities
- An official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score report. Although the online application will ask you to self-report your scores, official scores must also be sent directly from GRE. KU’s University code is 6871.
- Copies of official transcripts from all institutions from which a degree was obtained and from all institutions attended post-bachelor’s. Please note, if admitted, you will need to request all transcripts be sent from previous institutions directly to KU’s Graduate Admissions Office:
Non-Native Speakers of English
The Office of Graduate Studies requires applicants, international or domestic, whose native language is not English to demonstrate English proficiency. See “Admissions” under University Requirements and Policies section of this document for more information regarding the University’s requirements for providing proof of English proficiency.
On rare occasions the department may recommend an applicant who does not meet the University’s minimum requirements for provisional admission. This may occur, for example, if a student’s overall undergraduate GPA is deficient but the major GPA, GRE scores, and other application materials suggest strong potential for success in graduate study. All recommendations for provisional admission are contingent on approval by the College and University.
To continue in the program, students admitted provisionally must meet with the DGS at the start of the academic term, must comply with any requests for additional meetings or communications, and must earn at least a 3.0 GPA in the first semester of graduate coursework at KU.
For technical questions regarding the online application or general questions regarding required documentation, please contact the Graduate Academic Advisor, Kirsten Hermreck, at 785-864-4195 or email@example.com. If you have academic programmatic questions, please reach out to one of our four program directors:
- Brain, Behavior, and Quantitative Science: Dr. Tim Pleskac (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Clinical/Clinical Health: Dr. Rick Ingram (email@example.com)
- Social: Dr. Monica Biernat (firstname.lastname@example.org)
See “Grading” under the University Policies & Degree Requirements section for further information regarding University minimum grading requirements.
In the Department of Psychology, we consider academic integrity essential to our work and we expect students to adhere to its principles in conducting research. This means that student acknowledge the sources they use in their academic work and cite them fully and correctly; not acknowledging a source constitutes plagiarism. Student should consult with faculty well before due dates if they are not sure about how to handle a source. Academic integrity also means that work on examinations and assignments must be carried out by authorized means. Students are subject to sanctions by the University for Academic Misconduct if they violate these principles. Definitions are provided in the University Senate Rules and Regulations.
To be considered in “good standing” in any graduate program, the University requires graduate students to maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 (or “B” average) and be making timely progress toward meeting their degree requirements. Students should defer to their program’s specific handbook to ensure their making timely progress towards their degree. For additional information on good standing, as well as probation and dismissal procedures for those students that do not meet the requirements for good standing, see the University Policies for Degree Requirements section of this document.
Each student in the graduate program is assigned a Faculty Advisor who provides guidance with regard to course selection, developing and articulating career goals, and designing experiences consonant with career goals. The Faculty Advisor will be responsible for involving the student in initial research activities and eventually for the master’s thesis, oral comprehensive exam, and dissertation projects. The Faculty Advisor will be requested to provide information regarding the student’s progress toward completing their graduate program requirements. Students and faculty advisors are encouraged to complete a mentoring agreement with their advisor and to collaboratively revisit that agreement annually (see Appendix E)
Change in Faculty Advisor Policy
Under some circumstances, it is beneficial for a graduate student to be paired with a new faculty advisor. These situations may come about for a variety of reasons, including changes in thematic focus, need for additional expertise, departure or retirement of the faculty advisor, or incompatibility of student and advisor. Successful change in mentorship will be contingent upon the identification of an appropriate new advisor and the willingness of the prospective new advisor to assume the responsibilities. Proposed changes in advisor assignments will be ultimately approved by the Program Director, and must be signed by both the student and the new advisor(s).
Students can initiate this process any time by contacting their Program Director and/or the Director of Graduate Studies and filling out a Change in Faculty Advisor Form (see Appendix G). Psychology department leadership is available to help guide the student through the change, which can include help in identifying a new advisor, communicating with the original advisor, and assisting in the transition. In addition to completing the Change in Faculty Advisor Form, the student and new advisor are strongly encouraged to complete a Mentoring Agreement (see Appendix E) outlining the details of the new mentoring partnership. This mentoring agreement should outline consequences for not meeting degree and research milestones and be re-evaluated yearly by the advisor and student. Upon completion, the Change in Faculty Advisor Form and Mentoring Agreement should be submitted to the Graduate Academic Advisor to be saved in the student’s file.
If the student must change advisors due to a faculty member departure or retirement, the original faculty advisor should work with the student to identify a new appropriate faculty advisor to the best of their ability. Additionally, the original advisor should outline what their future involvement in the student’s research will entail, including serving as a co-chair or member on the student’s thesis or dissertation committee.
Students can also consult extra-departmental resources such as the University Ombuds, who can provide support in the process. If a student wishes to continue a project that was initiated with the original mentor, details of transferring the project should be worked out with the original advisor, and Director of Graduate Studies if mediation is required.
The Psychology Department engages in a process of annual evaluations for each graduate student. Depending on the program, these are conducted by a subcommittee of faculty members or the program faculty as a whole. These reviews are intended to give students helpful guidance as they progress through the program. Advisors should be giving students ongoing advice and support that identifies both challenges and means of overcoming them. The annual review is intended to provide a concise evaluation of students’ progress in the program from a more macro-level viewpoint.
Students’ annual evaluations will be developed based on feedback from their advisor, information from professors about performance in classes, students’ professional activities during the year, students’ performance feedback from their funding source (GTA, GRA, fellowships), progress toward degree, and professional development.
These annual reviews are internal documents. Students should feel free to meet with the DGS, program director, and their advisor to discuss the annual reviews.
The Department of Psychology encourages students to attend professional development opportunities on- and off-campus, including proseminars, workshops, and research talks. Students should join professional societies, read relevant professional journals, and attend and present their research local and at regional and national conferences.
The Department of Psychology advises that graduate students make an attempt to resolve issues, especially matters concerning grades, directly with the instructor or party involved, or with the department chair. If a grievance arises that cannot be resolved directly, or if the student does not feel comfortable attempting to resolve the issue with the department chair, the student should then follow the department’s official grievance procedure, which has been approved by the University and may be found by following the link: Department of Psychology Grievance Procedure
If a graduate student has compelling reason to seek exemption from program requirement or University policy, they may submit a petition to the graduate faculty.
In certain circumstances, petitioners should write a letter addressed to the program director, explaining the reasons why the student is seeking exemption from specific rules, as well as how the educational goals the rules reflect will still be fulfilled. Where applicable, this petition should be accompanied by a letter of support from the student's advisor and/or the appropriate supporting materials. The letter should be sent to the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS), who then refers the petition to the graduate faculty, which will convene to consider the petition.
In cases where the policy or requirement is a departmental requirement (for example, a course requirement for degree) the program director will issue a final decision (for example, that the student may be exempt from a Ph.D. course requirement based on coursework taken at the M.A. level at a previous institution). If the petition is approved, the student should submit the document to the Graduate Academic Advisor for record keeping.
In cases where the policy or requirement being petitioned is a University policy, the graduate faculty will decide whether to support the student’s petition. If the faculty is in support, the department will submit a petition form to the College Office of Graduate Affairs accompanied by supporting materials as required. The petition form specifies the supporting material needed for each kind of petition. These materials must accompany the petition sent to COGA. COGA’s petitions web page provides additional information regarding University petitions, including supplemental documentation that may be required by the University. Additional information regarding the more common University petitions, such as Leave of Absence, Enrollment requirements, and Time Limit Extensions may also be found in the University Policies & Degree requirements section of this document.
In cases where the graduate faculty declines to support a University petition, no paperwork may be submitted to COGA. COGA only accepts student petitions in cases where there is documented departmental support and when the petition itself is submitted by a representative of the department.
Students should always consult with their Program Director or DGS prior to submitting a petition to the graduate faculty to ensure that a petition is necessary and that all the appropriate supporting documentation is accounted for.
The Department of Psychology appoints Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) to serve as Teaching Assistants (TAs), who assist the instructor of record, or Assistant Instructors (AIs), who serve as the instructor of record. To be appointed an AI position, a student must have their Master’s degree, or intend to complete their thesis defense on or before September 15th (Fall) and February 15th (Spring). While TAs are assigned a teaching mentor, AIs should select their own teaching mentor to for evaluation purposes. GTAs should work closely with their teaching mentor to establish duties and expectations for their appointment. Please see Appendix A & B for evaluation and observation form templates.
Those holding a .50 FTE assistantship for the 2018-2019 academic year benefit from a $15,500 stipend, 100% remission of tuition, and payment of up to 3 hours of student fees. All applicants to the doctoral program will be considered for a GTA appointment. All offers of financial assistance are contingent on approval by the College and the University, and on the availability of funds from the state. The Memorandum of Agreement made between the University of Kansas and the Board of Regents with the Kansas Association of Public Employees (representing the Graduate Teaching Assistants) limits the duration of the GTA contract to a total of six years for MA/PhD students, or five years for PhD only students.
The department will provide information to students when summer AI and TA appointments are available. Generally, students who have taught a class in person are eligible to be considered to teach one online section of that course during the summer. The availability of summer teaching is subject to the administration and varies from year to year.
Graduate Research Assistantships within the Department are overseen by specific faculty members or regulated by the terms of certain fellowships. GRAs should consult with their faculty supervisor regarding their responsibilities and duties. While students are encouraged to work with their faculty supervisor to resolve any issues with the appointment, GRAs may also contact the Director of Graduate Studies to help mediate if necessary.
- All GTA/GRA appointments are governed by the MOA between the University of Kansas, Lawrence, the Kansas Board of Regents, and the Kansas Association of Public Employees.
GTA/GRA/GA Paychecks are available to view in HR/Pay the Monday before a pay day. If using the system for the first time, the system will need to register the login and then go through an update before any information is accessible. Log in and then log out. Wait a few hours and then log in again. They system has registered you as a user when the main home page menu shows the Self-Service option. Navigate to Self Service à View Paychecks. Current deductions and direct deposit information may also be viewed and updated via the HR/Pay system.
Each program within our department has different requirements for the Master’s degree. Refer to your program’s degree requirements for specifics.
Students should also carefully review the University’s Master’s Degree Requirements, found under Degree Requirements in the University Policies and Degree Requirements section of this document.
A defense on the thesis is required by the Office of Graduate Studies. When a student has selected their 3-person committee, they should contact the Graduate Academic Advisor to begin the defense scheduling process. The Graduate Academic Advisor will communicate on behalf of the student to schedule the defense, reserve a room, and complete pre-approval paperwork prior to the exam. The thesis defense scheduling process should begin no later than two months prior to the earliest possible defense date.
The student should send the final draft of their thesis to each committee member via email (or in hard copy by request) at least ten calendar days prior to the scheduled date of the thesis defense to enable committee members to examine it fully. Committees may request the document sooner, and students are encouraged to work directly with their committee to determine when the final document should be distributed to their committee. The grade (Satisfactory, Honors, or Unsatisfactory) for the defense is determined by majority vote of the three-member thesis committee.
For more information regarding requirements for formatting and submitting your thesis, please see Graduation section under University Requirements & Policies. Students should also carefully review the University’s Oral Exams policies, in the University Policies and Degree Requirements section of this document.
All admitted students enter with the intention of completing their Ph.D. Students who have earned an empirical thesis-based Master’s degree at another university may be admitted to the graduate program at the Ph.D. level if they completed a thesis which, according to the Graduate Studies Committee meets the standards for such work at the University of Kansas. Once admitted, students should consult with their program director to have the Master’s requirement waived.
Each Psychology program within our department has different programmatic requirements for the Doctoral degree. Refer to your program’s degree requirements for specifics.
Students should also carefully review the University’s Doctoral Degree Requirements, found under Degree Requirements in the University Policies and Degree Requirements section of this document.
Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship Requirement
Research skills are important elements of any graduate program and should complement the student’s research topic. Coursework necessary to meet this requirement should commence early in the program, but must be completed at minimum prior to the oral comprehensive exam. If a student and faculty advisor wish to request for another course to count, they should submit a petition to their Program Director and file the approved petition with the Graduate Academic Advisor. For all online tutorials, students should send a .pdf of their certificate of completion to the Graduate Academic Advisor. Each program requires the following:
CLINICAL PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS:
PSYC 975 (3 hours) Online Tutorial: HRPP-Ethics
PSYC 968 Online Tutorial: HIPAA
One other stats course
SOCIAL PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS:
PSYC 790 Joint proseminar with Quantitative program (2 hours per semester)
PSYC 818 or 819 Online tutorial: HRPP-Ethics
As specified in contract Online tutorial: RCR (Responsible Conduct of Research)
Oral Comprehensive Exam Procedures
Each Psychology program within our department has different programmatic requirements for the Oral Comprehensive exam. Refer to your program’s degree requirements for specifics.
An oral comprehensive examination (also referred to as a dissertation proposal) is required by the Office of Graduate Studies. When a student has selected their 5-person committee, they should contact the Graduate Academic Advisor to begin the exam scheduling process. The Graduate Academic Advisor will communicate on behalf of the student to schedule the exam, reserve a room, and complete pre-approval paperwork prior to the exam. The oral comprehensive exam scheduling process should begin no later than two months prior to the earliest possible exam date.
The student should send the final draft of their document to each committee member via email (or in hard copy by request) at least ten calendar days prior to the scheduled date of the exam to enable committee members to examine it fully. Committees may request the document sooner, and students are encouraged to work directly with their committee to determine when the final document should be distributed to their committee. The grade (Satisfactory, Honors, or Unsatisfactory) for the exam is determined by majority vote of the five-member exam committee. See Appendix C: Oral Comprehensive Exam Rubric for more information regarding grading criteria.
Students should also carefully review the University’s Oral Exams policies, in the University Policies and Degree Requirements section of this document.
After passing the comprehensive oral examination, the Office of Graduate Studies requires that doctoral candidates must be continuously enrolled in at least six hours each fall or spring semester, including at least one dissertation hour, until 18 hours have been completed or until graduation, whichever comes first. After the 18 hours are completed, the student must enroll in at least one dissertation hour per semester until all requirements for the degree are met. Post-comprehensive enrollment may include enrollment during the semester or summer session in which the comprehensive oral examination has been passed provided that the exam is taken on or before December 31st (Fall), May 31st (Spring), or July 31st (Summer).
Post-comprehensive students are not required by the Office of Graduate Studies to enroll during summer session, unless the dissertation defense occurs during the summer session. Doctoral students should consult with their faculty advisor and graduate academic advisor to determine whether any other policies or programmatic requirements require them to enroll during the summer.
Students are responsible for abiding by University enrollment requirements during the post-comprehensive period. For more information, see Post-Comprehensive Enrollment section under University Requirements & Policies. Please contact the Graduate Academic Advisor with any questions about post-comprehensive enrollment.
A final examination on the dissertation is required by the Office of Graduate Studies. When a student has selected their 5-person committee, they should contact the Graduate Academic Advisor to begin the defense scheduling process. The Graduate Academic Advisor will communicate on behalf of the student to schedule the defense, reserve a room, and complete pre-approval paperwork prior to the exam. The dissertation defense scheduling process should begin no later than two months prior to the earliest possible defense date.
The student should send the final draft of their dissertation to each committee member via email (or in hard copy by request) at least ten calendar days prior to the scheduled date of the dissertation defense to enable committee members to examine it fully. The grade (Satisfactory, Honors, or Unsatisfactory) for the defense is determined by majority vote of the five-member dissertation committee (the members of the dissertation committee plus a Graduate Studies Representative who is recommended by the dissertation committee chair and/or the department and approved by the Office of Graduate Studies). See Appendix D: Dissertation Defense Rubric for more information regarding grading criteria.
After completing the Dissertation Defense, students must make sure to complete the Graduate Student Department Checkout Sheet (Appendix F) before the department will approve their application for graduation. For more information regarding requirements for formatting and submitting your dissertation, please see Graduation section under University Requirements & Policies. Students should also carefully review the University’s Oral Exams policies, in the University Policies and Degree Requirements section of this document.
The KU Health Psychology Graduate Certificate requires 12 hours of coursework including one of three primary Health Psychology courses: PSYC 832: Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, PSYC 833: Acute and Chronic Illness, OR PSYC 834: Physical Aspects of Health and Disease: ; and three 3-hour elective courses chosen from a list of approved courses. To find a list of all approved courses, see the Health Psychology Certificate handbook or the approved course list by semester. Students may also petition the Director to take an alternative course offered and not listed in the handbook.
Admission to the Graduate Certificate Program
Psychology department graduate students who wish to pursue a Health Psychology Graduate Certificate should consult with the Dr. Kirk or Dr. Hamilton. The Department will then request that the College/school add a certificate to a graduate degree-seeking student’s plan. All others will need to complete an application for admissions.
Current non-psychology department KU graduate students should include the following materials in their application to the certificate program:
- A statement of one’s interest in Health Psychology
- A current KU advising report
- Letter of support from home department
Applicant who are not enrolled in a KU graduate program must have completed a bachelor’s degree with a 3.0 or higher. These applicants should include the following materials in their application to the certificate program:
- A copy of all official transcripts from all previous post-secondary educational institutions
- Official GRE scores; the University of Kansas’s code is 6971
- A letter of recommendation from persons familiar with their academic work or potential for graduate school.
If you completed a Bachelor’s degree with a demonstrated academic competence in psychology or a related discipline and wish to take an upcoming graduate-level course in the Department of Psychology, you may apply as a non-degree seeking (NDS) student. Please note undergraduate prerequisite course completion is typically necessary to succeed in graduate-level coursework. If you intend to enroll in coursework via NDS status for non-graduate study pursuits and personal interests, please specify what courses you would like to complete in the department in the personal statement. Not all courses in our department are open to NDS students; please contact our graduate academic advisor before applying to receive a list of courses closed to NDS students.
If you intend to use completed NDS coursework to strengthen your profile for graduate study, please contact the Director of Graduate Studies to determine your options. Completion of NDS coursework to fulfill prerequisites will not guarantee admission to the KU graduate program in psychology. However, students who have studied psychology and/or gained appropriate experience via self-study and who lack fulfillment of academic area prerequisites may consider applying to the department as NDS students to make up any gaps in academic study.
- Spring – January 1
- Summer – May 1
- Fall – August 1
- A Brief Personal Statement indicating your academic preparedness and personal or professional motivation for taking coursework in the Department of Psychology
- Official Transcripts from undergraduate and post-baccalaureate institutions
- Applicants who indicate English is not their native language: Proof of English proficiency, as required by the Office of Graduate Studies.