COMPREHENSIVE EXAMS AND RESEARCH
All students must pass a written First Doctoral Examination before proceeding beyond 45 credits (i.e., end of Year 2) and a Second Doctoral Examination before the end of their fifth year in the Program. Students are expected to be engaged in empirical research with Neuropsychology Program faculty members throughout their doctoral academic career, completing both the Second Year Research Project and the Dissertation.
1. The First Doctoral Examination, Part I, covers Research Design and Statistics, while Part II covers Neuropsychology. Examination questions are created by the Neuropsychology Examination Committee from a pool of questions submitted by Program faculty. For Part 1, students must design an experiment based on information derived from one of three possible scenarios. For Part 2, students must answer three of five questions relating to neuroscience and clinical neuropsychology. The exam is administered on two days at the beginning of the Fall and Spring semesters. Exam answers are graded by groups of faculty members on a Pass/Fail basis. Students must earn at least four ratings of Pass (out of a possible six) to complete this Program requirement.
2. The Second Year Research Project is conducted by the student in a faculty member’s research lab and should culminate with a research report of publishable quality by the end of the second year in residence. The project is equivalent to a Master’s Thesis and students can apply for and receive an en-route Masters Degree upon completing the First Doctoral Examination and the Second Year Research Project.
3. Dissertation Research: Students are required to submit a topic proposal for the dissertation no later than the end of their fourth year in residence. At this time, a Dissertation Committee comprised of at least three faculty members is formed; the Chair of the Dissertation committee must be a member of the Neuropsychology Doctoral Faculty and at least two members must be Neuropsychology Program Faculty. After the Dissertation committee has approved the written dissertation, two additional readers, one typically from outside the university and always from outside of the Program, are asked to review the written document. Outside readers from within the university are approved by the Program Head; those from outside of the university must be approved by both the Program Head and GC Psychology Executive Officer following review of credentials (e.g., CV). The Dissertation Defense may be scheduled when four of the five members have approved the dissertation. The dissertation defense consists of a public portion, 30 minutes in length, during which the candidate presents a summary of the dissertation research and answers questions from the audience. The remainder of the defense is conducted in closed session with the five member dissertation committee.