Program Requirements for Psychology

Applicable only to students admitted during the 2010-2011 academic year.

Psychology

College of Letters and Science

Graduate Degrees

The Department of Psychology offers the Master of Arts (M.A.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees in Psychology.

Admission

Program Name

Psychology

Address

1285 Franz Hall
Box 951563
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1563 

Phone

(310) 825-2617 

Email

gradadm@psych.ucla.edu  

Leading to the degree of

M.A., Ph.D.

The Psychology department admits only applicants whose objective is the Ph.D., although students may be awarded the M.A. en route to the Ph.D.  

Admission Limited to

Fall 

Deadline to apply

December 1st 

GRE (General and/or Subject), TWE

GRE: General and Subject in Psychology, taken within the last five years 

Letters of Recommendation 

Other Requirements

In addition to the University’s minimum requirements and those listed above, all applicants are expected to submit the departmental application and a statement of purpose.

Admission to the Ph.D. program normally requires an undergraduate degree in psychology. However, students from other areas (particularly the mathematical, physical, biological, and social sciences) may be admitted. Admission is for Fall Quarter only and on a full-time basis only.

Applications must be complete and received by the department by the deadline to be considered.

Interviews (in person or by phone) are required for clinical area finalists.

Students entering the graduate program must demonstrate adequate breadth of preparation in psychology and related disciplines. Applicants are expected to have taken undergraduate survey courses in the following: (1) psychological statistics; (2) two of the following areas: learning, physiological psychology, or perception/cognitive psychology; and (3) two of the following areas: developmental, social, or personality/abnormal psychology. In addition, it is recommended that applicants have taken the following college-level coursework: one course in biology or zoology; one course in mathematics (such as calculus); and two courses in the physical sciences (physics and/or chemistry). A course in anthropology, philosophy, or sociology may be substituted for one of the physical sciences courses. These recommended courses may be waived by the student’s adviser.

Students who have not had training in the areas cited typically enroll in courses in these areas, but students may also petition to substitute this coursework with an individual program of study that provides the appropriate breadth.

The individual program may include undergraduate coursework, graduate coursework, readings followed by an examination, or some combination of these. Emphasis is on breadth and preparation, both within and outside the department. The plan of study should include a firm date of completion and requires approval of the graduate studies committee. Continuation in the Ph.D. program is contingent on satisfactorily clearing undergraduate deficiencies by the end of the fourth quarter in residence. 

Master’s Degree

Advising

See under Doctoral Degree.

Areas of Study

Not applicable.

Foreign Language Requirement

None.

Course Requirements

Requirements for the M.A. degree are nine graduate courses (36 units), including Psychology 250A-250B-250C, 251B-251C (research project must be completed), and at least three of the four required core courses (students should refer to Doctoral Degree Course Requirements for further details). One 596 course (four units) may be applied as an elective. Courses in the 400 series may not be applied. All undergraduate deficiencies must be cleared before the M.A. degree is awarded.

Teaching Experience

Not required.

Field Experience

Not required.

Comprehensive Examination Plan

Doctoral students should consult the department for details on the master’s comprehensive examination.

Thesis Plan

None.

Time-to-Degree

Doctoral students typically receive the master’s degree by the end of their fourth quarter in residence.

Doctoral Degree

Advising

Upon admission to graduate status, each student is assigned an adviser on the basis of the student’s interests as indicated in the application. Students are required to meet with their adviser each quarter, to receive approval of their enrollment plan. Students who would like to change advisers may request to do so. Students are evaluated quarterly while satisfying core program requirements, a period of time expected to span over six quarters. The evaluations are conducted by the Graduate Evaluation Committee at the end of the Fall and Spring quarters and students are then notified in writing as to whether they are making satisfactory progress in the program.

Major Fields or Subdisciplines

Students are required to obtain a thorough background in research methodology and psychological theory. Major specialized training is available in the following areas of psychology: behavioral neuroscience; clinical; cognitive; cognitive neuroscience; developmental; learning and behavior; quantitative; or social psychology. Students admitted in either the behavioral neuroscience or cognitive areas may take the program in cognitive neuroscience. The course requirements for the cognitive neuroscience program serve as a combined major and minor. Students who select this option remain in their area of admission for administrative purposes. Students may also receive specialized training in community psychology, culture, brain and development, experimental psychopathology, health psychology and political psychology.

Foreign Language Requirement

None.

Course Requirements

Students should refer to the Psychology Handbook available on the departmental web site for additional information on courses that can be applied toward the program requirements listed below.

General Core Course Requirements

The core program includes a research sequence (Psychology 251A-251B-251C), a statistics sequence (Psychology 250A-250B-250C), and four additional core courses. Psychology 250A and either 250B or 250C must be completed in the first year; Psychology 251A-251B-251C must be completed by the end of the Fall Quarter of the second year. The four additional core courses must be completed within the first six quarters in residence. Two core courses are selected from the student’s major area, and two courses are selected from two separate areas outside the student’s major. Core courses can be applied toward major or minor area requirements.

Students must enroll in one independent study course each quarter, beginning with Psychology 251A in the Winter Quarter of the first year. Students may select from the following independent study courses: Psychology 251A, 251B, 251C, 596, 597, 599. In addition to Psychology 251C in the second year, each year at least one of these courses must be a research-oriented individual study course, i.e., Psychology 596 or 599.

By the end of the second year, students must complete at least three second-year graduate courses, including one quantitative course approved by the department. During the third year, students must enroll in a minimum of three graduate-level courses, plus one quarter of Psychology 596. At least one quarter of Psychology 596 or 599 should be taken during the fourth year and each remaining year in the graduate program.

Major Area Course Requirements

Course applied toward the major must be passed with a grade of B- or better.

Behavioral Neuroscience. Neuroscience M203 and either Neuroscience M202 or Psychology M117A. Students interested in molecular biology generally take option 1 and minor in neuroscience. All majors take eight units from the Psychology 205 series, three quarters of Psychology 212, and two behavioral neuroscience seminars approved by the department.

Clinical. Psychology 270A-270B-270C, 271A-271B-271C, 271D, 273A-273B-273C, 277, 289A-289B-289C, and two advanced clinical courses. Students who wish to apply Psychology 298 courses toward this requirement must obtain departmental consent.

Psychology 287 may not be applied toward fulfillment of the Advanced Seminar Requirement.

Practicum and Internship Requirements for Clinical Students

(1) At least 400 hours of approved, supervised pre-internship practicum (Psychology 401) are required, of which 150 hours must involve direct clinical service and 75 hours must be formal scheduled supervision. These hours are usually completed during the second through fourth years. All advanced students working with clients must enroll in Psychology 401 (one to four units).

(2) The equivalent of one-year’s full-time supervised internship (Psychology 451) in an acceptable setting approved by the faculty, is required. This is usually taken in the fourth or fifth year. Students should contact the department for further information on internship requirements.

In exceptional cases, a student who has completed at least nine months of an approved internship may petition to file the dissertation and receive the Ph.D. degree if the student has (1) completed all academic requirements; (2) passed the final oral examination; (3) received doctoral committee approval to file the dissertation; (4) provided evidence of satisfactory completion of at least nine months of an internship approved by the faculty; and (5) obtained approval from the clinical area chair. If the petition is approved, it is with the clear understanding of the student and the department that the remaining months of internship that are required by the American Psychological Association will be completed as outlined in the internship contract. Such petitions are considered to be exceptions rather than the rule. Documentation of subsequent internship completion will be provided by the Director of Clinical Training.

Cognitive. Psychology 260A-260B and four additional cognitive area courses approved by the department.

Cognitive Neuroscience. The following course requirements satisfy both major and minor area requirements in cognitive neuroscience: Neuroscience M202, M203 (or four units from the Psychology 205 series if the student has an adequate background in cellular electrophysiology); three quarters of Psychology 212, Psychology 260A-260B, four units of Psychology 205 (in addition to the four units from the Psychology 205 series that may have been selected above), and one course from the Psychology 207 series. Four courses in the cognitive area approved by the department are also required, including at least one core course and one seminar.

Computational Cognition. The following course requirements satisfy both major and minor area requirements for cognitive area students who elect the major area track in computation cognition: Psychology 260A-260B, two cognitive area courses, Statistics 200A, and four psychology courses to be approved by the department.

Developmental. Psychology 240A, and either 240B or 240C, three quarters of 241, and two additional developmental area courses approved by the department.

Health Psychology. Psychology 215A, two quarters of Psychology 425, and four additional courses approved by the department. One quarter of Psychology 425 must be taken simultaneously with Psychology 215A.

Learning and Behavior. Four learning and behavior courses approved by the department, and enrollment in Psychology 201 is required each quarter the course is offered.

Quantitative. Five quantitative area courses and several additional courses in mathematics or biostatistics. The mathematics/biostatistics requirement is usually satisfied by taking three graduate courses or two graduate and two upper division courses approved by the department.

Social. Two quarters of Psychology 226A-226B-226C during the first year and three additional quarters in years two and three. Students also must complete five area courses approved by the department.

Minor Area Course Requirements

Students must select one minor area. Courses applied toward the minor must be passed with a grade of B- or better. Students may minor in any of the areas listed under Major Fields or Sub-Disciplines, with the exception of clinical, as well as in the health psychology or political psychology. Students may petition for individualized minors or a minor in experimental psychopathology. Training is also available in community psychology.

The minor is normally satisfied by taking three to four specified courses as indicated below. In planning a minor, students should note that minor area courses cannot be selected from among those that could satisfy the major area requirements. Other options are also available; students should see departmental bulletins for further details. The following is a list of courses required to complete the standard departmental minors.

Behavioral Neuroscience. All behavioral neuroscience minors must take four units of Psychology 205 and eight additional units of behavioral neuroscience and/or neuroscience courses approved by the department.

Cognitive. Three cognitive courses approved by the department, two of which must be from Psychology 259 through 266.

Computational Cognition. Two courses in computational methods and one course in statistics. Course selection must be approved by the department.

Culture, Brain and Development. Psychology M247, one course in culture, one course in development, and one course on the brain. Course selection must be approved by the department.

Developmental. Two courses in Psychology 240A, 240B or 240C and one additional developmental area course approved by the department.

Experimental Psychopathology. Four courses petitioned and approved by the clinical area.

Health Psychology. Psychology 215A, 251B, two quarters of 425 and one additional health psychology course (four units) on relevant topics approved by the health psychology faculty and the department.

Human-Computer Interaction. Psychology 298 (special topic is Introduction to User Interface Design), and two additional courses in Psychology, Information Studies and/or Design|Media Arts. Course selection must be approved by the department.

Learning and Behavior. Two courses from Psychology 200A, 200B or 200C and one additional learning and behavior course approved by the department.

Quantitative. Three quantitative area courses approved by the department.

Political Psychology. Students should see the Psychology Handbook for details.

Social. Psychology 220A, 220B, and one additional social area course approved by the department.

Teaching Experience

All students are required to take Psychology 495 during the first year of the graduate program.

Written and Oral Qualifying Examinations

Academic Senate regulations require all doctoral students to complete and pass University written and oral qualifying examinations prior to doctoral advancement to candidacy. Also, under Senate regulations the University oral qualifying examination is open only to the student and appointed members of the doctoral committee. In addition to University requirements, some graduate programs have other pre-candidacy examination requirements. What follows in this section is how students are required to fulfill all of these requirements for this doctoral program.

The qualifying examination generally consists of three separate segments. The first is an examination administered by the major area, which examines in breadth the student’s knowledge of the major field. The second segment is an individualized examination, required by the behavioral neuroscience, clinical, health, quantitative and social areas. The individualized examination examines the student’s in-depth knowledge of the area of specialization. The third segment is the University Oral Qualifying Examination. All Ph.D. requirements must be completed before students are allowed to take the University Oral Qualifying Examination. The oral qualifying examination must be taken by the end of the fourth year in residence. Students should contact the department to obtain qualifying examination guidelines for each area.

Advancement to Candidacy

Students are advanced to candidacy and awarded the Candidate in Philosophy (C.Phil.) degree upon successful completion of the written and oral qualifying examinations.

Doctoral Dissertation

Every doctoral degree program requires the completion of an approved dissertation that demonstrates the student’s ability to perform original, independent research and constitutes a distinct contribution to knowledge in the principal field of study.

Final Oral Examination (Defense of the Dissertation)

Required for all students in the program.

Time-to-Degree

The normative time-to-degree for doctoral requirements is six years. Students are required to complete various stages of the program as follows:

Core Program: No later than the sixth quarter at the end of the second year of the program.

Coursework Requirements: Prior to taking the University Oral Qualifying Examination.

Comprehensive Examinations: Students should refer to individual area guidelines, available from the Graduate Program Coordinator.

University Oral Qualifying Examination: Must be completed no later than Spring Quarter of the fourth year of the graduate program.

Final Oral Examination: Must be completed within three years of passing the University Oral Qualifying Examination.

Degree Requirement Completion: All requirements form the Ph.D. degree, including the filing of the dissertation must be completed within six calendar years of the date of admission to the graduate program.

Termination of Graduate Study and Appeal of Termination

University Policy

A student who fails to meet the above requirements may be recommended for termination of graduate study. A graduate student may be disqualified from continuing in the graduate program for a variety of reasons. The most common is failure to maintain the minimum cumulative grade point average (3.00) required by the Academic Senate to remain in good standing (some programs require a higher grade point average). Other examples include failure of examinations, lack of timely progress toward the degree and poor performance in core courses. Probationary students (those with cumulative grade point averages below 3.00) are subject to immediate dismissal upon the recommendation of their department. University guidelines governing termination of graduate students, including the appeal procedure, are outlined in Standards and Procedures for Graduate Study at UCLA.

Special Departmental or Program Policy

In addition to the standard reasons noted above, a student may be recommended for termination who receives two grades of B- or one grade lower than B- in the core program or who does not meet the time requirements for completion of the core program. Such cases are considered by the Graduate Evaluation Committee. If it is approved by the departmental chair, a recommendation for termination is made to the Graduate Division by the Vice Chair of Graduate Studies.

Area committees also may recommend that a student be terminated. Grounds for a recommendation for termination include: a pattern of unsatisfactory performance in other course work; failure of a qualifying examination; substantial violations of professional or ethical standards as those standards are defined by law or by the Ethical Principles of Psychologists of the American Psychological Association (adopted January 24, 1981; American Psychologist, 1981, 36, 633-638); or, for clinical students, inadequate professional skills. A recommendation for termination also may be initiated by the Graduate Studies Committee for insufficient progress toward the Ph.D. degree, as evidenced by a failure to obtain the degree within seven calendar years following matriculation or three years following advancement to candidacy. These recommendations are evaluated by the Graduate Studies Committee. If approved by the departmental chair, a recommendation for termination is made to the Graduate Division by the vice chair of Graduate Studies.

Students are informed by the Vice Chair for Graduate Studies when actions concerning them are under consideration by the Graduate Studies committee. A student may appeal a recommendation for termination to the departmental chair.