Formal Requirements and Advising Document

Graduate Program in Psychology

Version: 6/21/2021

Table of Contents

Introductory Notes

This document is composed of four parts. Part 1 presents the formal requirements for the Ph.D. program in Psychology at Yale University. All graduate students and faculty members should carefully review these requirements periodically. Questions about these requirements should be addressed to either the Departmental Registrar or the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS).

Part 2 presents departmental policies and best practices concerning the advising relationship between a graduate student and that student’s adviser or advisers and the mutual expectations that govern these relationships. This section also describes Area and departmental procedures related to the assessment of graduate student milestones and progress-to-degree.

Part 3 catalogs the Psychology Department and Graduate School or Arts and Sciences (GSAS) policies related to leaves of absence, study in-absentia, vacation time, reimbursements, and other issues.

Part 4 describes the duties and responsibilities of the Director of Graduate Study and the Graduate Program Advisory Committee.

Students should note that this document describes the minimal requirements for the Ph.D. degree in Psychology. While satisfying these formal requirements, students should also have frequent discussions with the faculty about those additional (and often independent) activities — such as publishing papers and presenting research at conferences — that may also be important for achieving their professional goals.

For students in the Clinical program, there are additional requirements related to breadth that are prescribed by the American Psychological Association and that are necessary for clinical licensure. Students should refer to the Clinical Area Mission Statement or consult with the Director of Clinical Training regarding these additional requirements.

In addition, all graduate students and faculty members should carefully review the requirements and regulations for the Ph.D. provided by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. These requirements must also be satisfied and can be found online at the Graduate School Programs and Policies webpage.

Part 1: Program Requirements

1.1 Summary of Program Requirements

This section contains a brief outline and summary of the departmental graduate requirements. Each requirement is then described at greater length in the remainder of this document.

The requirements were designed so that they can be completed within a five-year period. Thus, the expected time-to-degree of the Psychology Graduate Program is five years, with the exception of students in the Clinical Area who are required to complete a clinical internship in their 6th year. While a 6th year of funding for non-clinical students can be extended in some circumstances, it requires the consent of the DGS and Area faculty and the approval of the GSAS (see section 3.1).

1.2 Primary Requirements

Graduate students in Psychology have one primary formal requirement to fulfill during each semester of their first three years, beginning with their 2nd semester, and ending with their 6th semester (see bolded items below). Graduate students and faculty must have an advising compact by the end of the first semester (see section 2.2). In the remaining semesters graduate students and faculty have progress reports (see Appendix A and reviews (see Appendix F) to submit.

Semester Requirement Due Date Responsible
All Nov 15 and May 1 Biannual Progress Report Student
1 Nov 1 Advising Compact Adviser and Student
2-8+ Nov and May Faculty Progress Review Adviser and Student
2 May 1 First Year Research Paper Student
2 or 3 May or Sept First-year Symposium Student
3 October 1 Pre-Dissertation Proposal Student
4 April 1 Pre-Dissertation Draft Student
4 April 15 Pre-Dissertation Comments Committee
4 May 10 Pre-Dissertation Final Paper Student and Committee
5 Nov 1 Theme Essay Draft Student
5 Dec 1 Theme Essay Final Student
6 April 15 Dissertation Prospectus (Long Form) Student and Committee
6 May 15 Prospectus Meeting Student and Committee
6 June 1 Dissertation Prospectus (short form) Student
7+ Dec and May Dissertation Progress Report Student and Adviser
8+ May 15 Meet with Dissertation Committee Student and Committee
8+ March 15 May degree deadline Student
8+ Oct 1 Dec degree deadline Student

During students’ 4th and 5th years, their primary requirements consist of conducting the dissertation research, writing the dissertation, and having it evaluated (including at their final Oral Examination). These requirements are described in detail below, but different students complete these final stages of their graduate careers at different times. In all cases, students will meet annually with their Dissertation Committee by May 15th from the 4th year on to review their progress on the Ph.D., unless a 5-person Committee Meeting is held that year (as described more fully in the ‘Dissertation Prospectus’ section).

It is the student’s responsibility to keep track of due dates. Major deadlines are noted in the table above. Students should subscribe to the Graduate Program calendar published by the Departmental Registrar which includes both major and minor due dates.

1.3 Course Requirements

By the end of their second year, all students are expected to have completed a minimum of three graduate courses, two of which must be outside the student’s area of concentration (and in different areas). These will typically be 500-level and designated as core courses by the DGS in consultation with the faculty of the different Areas. The program’s faculty has consistently endorsed the need for intellectual breadth in the subdisciplines of Psychology. Thus, core courses are designed to satisfy the breadth requirement of our program by providing foundational knowledge in different areas of Psychology.

In the event that there is an insufficient number of core course being offered (for example, due to faculty leaves of absence), sufficiently broad 600-level courses can substitute for a core course if approved in advance by the DGS and course instructor.

In this instance, a student who wants to take a 600-level psychology course as a core course may approach the instructor to ask if the instructor will provide additional readings or assignments, beyond what is required for the whole class, for it to have the breadth and foundational content to count as a core course for that student. Instructors are not required to make such accommodations for students. If the faculty member is willing to offer additional work to a student so that the 600-level course may qualify as a core course, the arrangement should be made clear in writing to the student (with copies of the arrangement sent to the department Director of Graduate Studies and to the department Registrar). The written record of the arrangement must include (a) how the list of readings will be broadened (if necessary); (b) what additional work for the student will be required, (c) how mastery of the additional material will be evaluated (e.g., a couple of additional questions on an exam, an additional paper); and (d) what core area the course fulfills. These arrangements must be made and formalized in writing by the start of classes and must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies.

The fourth required course is Data Analysis (PSYC 518a, in the first semester). A student with advanced training in statistics and data analysis may petition to substitute a more specialized statistics course from outside of the department. However, this requires prior approval of the student’s adviser and DGS.

During the 3rd year and beyond, students should continue taking those more specialized (600-level) courses that are appropriate for their educational goals.

In addition, each semester all students are expected to register for both (1) the ‘Current Works’ course in their home ‘area’ (PSYC 7xx) and (2) a ‘Research Topics’ course (PSYC 7xx) by their research adviser.

1.4 Submitting Milestone Papers and Approvals

Keeping track of milestone documents (e.g., drafts and final versions of first year project papers, pre-dissertation papers, theme essays, prospectuses, and biannual progress reports) and approval forms is a challenge for the Departmental Registrar and DGS. Until Yale provides a universal system for storing such documents, our graduate program has implemented an electronic storage system based upon the BOX secure cloud storage system. The Departmental Registrar will assign BOX folder to first year graduate students. Students are responsible for uploading their milestone documents and approval forms to their individual BOX folders by the document’s due date. The BOX software generates an email to the Registrar and DGS alerting them that the document was uploaded.

Milestone documents uploaded to BOX must use the naming convention established by the department. Please see Appendix G for details regarding this naming convention.

1.5 First-Year Research Project

The faculty believe that there is great value to beginning research as soon as possible, and that all graduate students should have at least one research project planned, underway, and perhaps completed by the end of their first year. To this end, each first-year graduate student is required to enroll in ‘First Year Research’ during both semesters, and to turn in a First-Year Research Paper to the faculty by the end of their second semester. Students also are required to present their First-Year project in a department-wide symposium (see section 1.5.7).

1.5.1 Content

The research project reported in the First-Year Research Paper can take many forms, and students should be in close contact with their project adviser throughout the research about the possible formats and contents of the Paper. As noted below, the Paper will be evaluated both by the project adviser (who must be a primary faculty member in the Department of Psychology) as well as by two other departmental faculty members. Examples of projects that may be suitable include experimental or laboratory research, field studies, surveys, etc. In all cases, because students will conduct this project during their first year, careful replications of previous studies or reports of null results or preliminary ‘pilot’ data collection are completely acceptable, as are reports of collaborative research projects on which students are not the lead investigator. (In this latter case, however, the Research Paper itself must still be written solely by the student, even if co-authors may take the lead in writing up other versions of the research.) Reports of data collected during students’ undergraduate careers, however — or other data collected prior to students’ matriculation at Yale — are not acceptable. It is not expected that the resulting paper will always be of publication quality, or that the reported project will always be complete. Indeed, in some cases the project itself may continue, and may form the core of the student’s Pre-dissertation Paper, due the following year.

1.5.2 Format

In most cases the First-Year Research Paper will take the form of an APA-style manuscript, formatted as for submission to a journal. However, faculty project advisers may suggest alternate formats for certain projects, and so students should determine the format of the document in consultation with their advisers.

1.5.3 Due Date

The First-Year Research Paper should be approved and signed (on the cover page) by the project’s faculty adviser and then uploaded into the student’s BOX folder using the required naming convention (see Appendix G) no later than May 1st of the second semester. As with most papers, note that the write-up of First-Year Research Papers will inevitably take considerably more time than students anticipate. Students are encouraged to begin work on this requirement as soon as is feasible, and to produce intermediate drafts for review by faculty project advisers. Students should be in contact with their project advisers about how much lead time they will require to read and evaluate drafts (including the final draft) before the May 1st deadline. Final drafts should also be submitted directly to the two additional faculty readers, as noted below.

1.5.4 Course Registration

While conducting this research, and preparing the First-Year Research Paper during their first two semesters, students should register for “First Year Research”PSYC 920a (during the fall semester) and PSYC 920b (during the spring semester).

1.5.5 Choice of Adviser

It is expected that each student will have arranged for an adviser to supervise the project that will be reported in their First-Year Research Paper no later than the beginning of the second semester. Students are encouraged to discuss this possibility with any faculty members who they think might serve as appropriate advisers. Thereafter, it is expected that each student will have at least one adviser of record, who will be responsible each semester for evaluating them, subsequent to the submission of their Biannual Progress Reports. Students will often continue working with the adviser of their first-year research project during the subsequent year and beyond.

In other cases, a useful and positive outcome of this project may be the realization that students’ interests lie elsewhere, and so students should always feel that it is appropriate to explore alternative advising relationships. Students may switch laboratories and advisers when such moves make sense for their evolving interests and plans, if a more appropriate faculty member is willing to assume the responsibilities as adviser. Students considering such possibilities are encouraged to discuss them with the involved faculty members, as well as the DGS. To change advisers, students must (a) document that the original adviser and the DGS have been informed and/or consulted about the change, (b) document that the new adviser formally accepts the student as an advisee, and (c) file this documentation with the Departmental Registrar.

1.5.6 Evaluation

Students obtain valuable information about their research progress and plans when several faculty members read their First Year Research Papers. As such, two faculty members in addition to the student’s adviser will read the Paper and provide evaluative comments. Students may request which two additional faculty they would like to evaluate their papers. Such requests should be submitted by email to the DGS by April 25th and students should have secured agreements to read their First Year Research Papers from the requested faculty members before submitting their names. The First Year Research Paper receives a grade that is assigned by the student’s adviser in consultation with the two faculty readers.

1.5.7 First-year Symposium

The capstone of the First Year Research project is the First Year Symposium. First year students present 12-minute oral summaries of their research to Psychology faculty and students followed by a brief question and answer period. The symposium is both supportive and celebratory. The symposium was normally held in May of the student’s first year, but was moved to the beginning of the subsequent fall semester during AY 2019-2020, and AY 2020-21 to partially compensate for the impact of the pandemic on research. At the time of this writing in Spring 2021, it has not been decided whether this will be a permanent change in the symposium date.

1.6 The Pre-Dissertation Paper

In the second year, students are expected to form a Pre-Dissertation Committee and to submit a Pre-Dissertation Proposal (both near the beginning of their 3rd semester), and to submit a Pre-Dissertation Paper (near the end of their 4th semester). Work performed for the First-Year Project may be included, but in all cases the Pre-Dissertation paper must reflect additional substantive work beyond the First-Year Project.

1.6.1 Formation of the Pre-Dissertation Committee

The Pre-Dissertation Paper must be approved by a 3-person faculty committee. At least 2 of the 3 faculty must have their primary appointment in the Psychology Department, and the student’s primary adviser is always a member of the committee. This committee evaluates the Pre-Dissertation Proposal and eventually the Pre-Dissertation Paper (described below), and also provides students with feedback concerning their overall progress and course of study. Students should form their Pre-dissertation Committee in consultation with their primary adviser, discussions with other faculty, and, when appropriate, discussions with the DGS. Once students have asked the 3 members of this committee to participate, and they have agreed, they should record these decisions via submission of the Pre-dissertation Committee form (presented as Appendix B of this Document). This form must be turned into the departmental Registrar during the 3rd semester, along with their Pre-Dissertation Proposal which must be uploaded into the student’s BOX folder (as described below).

1.6.2 Pre-Dissertation Proposal

Students must submit a short Pre-Dissertation Proposal for the research that will form the foundation of their Pre-Dissertation Paper. This proposal is due near the beginning of the 2nd year. It should take the form of a 2–4-page double-spaced summary of the proposed research project, including descriptions of the theoretical questions, the procedures, a tentative timeline, and discussions of possible problems that may be encountered. Students should consult their primary research adviser for discussion of any special content or format for the proposal that might be well-matched to the project itself. The Pre-Dissertation proposal, signed by the primary adviser, is uploaded to the student’s BOX folder and distributed to each member of the student’s Pre-Dissertation Committee. The committee members will subsequently provide feedback regarding the project’s nature, breadth, and feasibility, its likely suitability for a Pre-Dissertation Paper, its compatibility with both faculty resources and with the student’s long-term goals. Of course, as the research itself progresses, students may find that their plans are diverging from those initially reported in the Pre-Dissertation Proposal. This is common and expected, but in such cases the student should consult with their Pre-Dissertation Committee about their evolving plans as they change, in particular about their suitability for the Pre-Dissertation Paper.

1.6.3. Format and Content of the Pre-Dissertation Paper

To a first approximation, the content and format of the Pre-Dissertation Paper are identical to those of the First-Year Research Paper, as described above. In many cases, the project itself will be a continuation of the First-Year project; in some cases, the project may be completely independent, and/or conducted with a new faculty adviser. Reports of pilot data collection or null results are acceptable. It is expected, however, that the research reported in the Pre

Dissertation Paper will be deeper and more intensive than that reported in the First-Year project, reflecting the accumulation of research experience; this is regardless of whether the topics of both papers are continuous or not. And in contrast to the requirements for the First-Year Research Paper, the project must be one for which the student is a lead investigator, and the resulting paper must report a completed project. The primary purpose of this requirement is that the paper demonstrate that students can professionally and competently employ the research methods of their chosen specialty, and can clearly communicate the rationale, methods, results, and interpretation/conclusions. As with the First-Year Research Paper, reports of data collected during students’ undergraduate careers are not acceptable. (Exceptions may apply, for example in the case of national datasets being submitted to substantial secondary analyses. Students should consult their Pre-Dissertation Committees regarding the appropriateness of such options.) Students should consult frequently with their faculty adviser and with their Pre-Dissertation Committee concerning the evolving nature of their research, and its suitability for a Pre-Dissertation Paper.

1.6.4 Submission of Published or In-Press Papers for the Pre-Dissertation Requirement

As noted above, an ability to publish the results of the Pre-Dissertation project is not required; null results, incomplete studies, and careful replications are all sufficient. However, the publication of a research paper may also be a sufficient condition for satisfying the Pre-Dissertation Paper requirement. Such papers should be published or accepted for publication in a journal of sufficient quality (as determined by the student’s Pre-dissertation Committee), and should report research for which the student was the lead investigator (and thus presumably the first author), and which was conducted since the student joined the graduate program at Yale.

1.6.5 Due Dates

The Pre-Dissertation Committee form and the Pre-Dissertation Proposal (signed by the primary adviser) must both be submitted no later than October 1st, shortly after the beginning of the 3rd semester. The form should be submitted to the Departmental Registrar. The Proposal itself should be uploaded to the student’s BOX folder and distributed to each of the members of the Committee. Students should consult with their faculty adviser about appropriate timelines for completing the initial drafts of the proposal before it goes to the full Committee.

The Pre-Dissertation Paper itself should be uploaded to the student’s BOX folder and distributed to each member of the Pre-Dissertation Committee no later than April 1st of the student’s fourth semester. The faculty adviser will likely wish to review drafts and suggest revisions to the document before this due date, so students should consult with them about appropriate timelines for completing initial drafts

An evaluation of the Pre-Dissertation Paper will be prepared by the Pre-Dissertation Committee, and will be communicated to the student by April 15th. The final approved version of the Pre-Dissertation Paper — signed (on the cover page) by the project’s faculty adviser to indicate the Committee’s approval — must then be uploaded to the student’s BOX folder no later than May10th.

1.6.6 Course Registration

While conducting this research, and preparing the Pre-Dissertation Paper during the second year, students should again register for “Pre-Dissertation Research”PSYC 930a (during the fall semester) and PSYC 930b (during the spring semester). (This is true even for those students whose First-Year Research Papers were approved as Pre-Dissertation Papers at the end of their first year.)

1.7 Theme Essay

The first of two primary requirements during the 3rd year — and the primary step following the Pre-Dissertation Paper — is the submission of the Theme Essay, due near the end of the 5th semester.

1.7.1 Purpose

The Graduate School requires all students to complete a qualifying exam as part of their training, and satisfactory completion of this requirement is also necessary to obtain either the Master of Philosophy or Doctor of Philosophy degree. The Theme Essay serves as the qualifying exam for the Department of Psychology.

1.7.2 Content and Format

The Theme Essay presents a scholarly overview of the state of knowledge and of the major approaches to research within the student’s chosen research area. Thus, the focus of the Theme Essay is more specific than ‘Psychology’ as a whole, but it is broader than the dissertation topic. In this sense, a primary function of the Theme Essay is to demonstrate the student’s breadth of competence, beyond the specific questions and approaches of the dissertation. The Theme Essay is designed to maximize flexibility and student self-determination, and it can be written in a wide variety of formats. The only formal requirement for

its format and content is that these features be approved by the student’s Theme Essay Committee, and different formats may be more or less appropriate for different students and projects. Examples of possible formats include (but are not limited to) a review paper or a handbook chapter. If a student has written a collaborative paper (e.g., a published literature review or book chapter) that may match the purpose of the Theme Essay, they should talk to their Committee about whether it may be acceptable, given that this requirement is an opportunity for the faculty to assess the student’s own thinking and writing. Regardless of format, it is expected that the Theme Essay is of publication quality when submitted to the committee for review.

1.7.3 Theme Essay Committee

The Theme Essay is evaluated by a 3-member faculty committee. This committee may include all, some, or none of the same individuals who served on the student’s Pre-dissertation Committee. Students should contact faculty ahead of time to verify their ability to serve on the committee; and to obtain their approval for the form and scope of the proposed Theme Essay. The committee membership itself is documented on the Theme Essay Certification Form (presented as Appendix C of this document. The same constraints on the membership of this committee as on the Pre-Dissertation Committee apply. Because there is no separate Theme Essay Proposal, students should consult with each member of their Theme Essay Committee about the content of their Theme Essay throughout the course of the 5th semester.

1.7.4 Course Registration

Students should register for PSYC 923a (“Theme Essay”) during their 5th semester.

1.7.5 Due Dates

A full draft of the Theme Essay, approved by the student’s primary adviser, should be submitted to the Committee for review no later than November 1st of the 5th semester. The Committee will read, evaluate, and suggest revisions to the document. The final version of the Theme Essay, approved by all Committee members, must be submitted (along with the Theme Essay Certification Form, presented as Appendix C in this document) no later than December 1st of the 5th semester and uploaded to the student’s BOX folder. Students should consult with their primary adviser on an appropriate timeline for completing an initial draft of their Theme Essay for their adviser’s review, prior to its submission to the Committee.

1.8 Dissertation Prospectus

The second primary requirement for the 3rd year of the graduate program is the production and evaluation of the Dissertation Prospectus, during the 6th semester. The purpose of the Prospectus is to formalize a plan for the dissertation, and to receive feedback on it from the student’s Dissertation Committee.

1.8.1 Content

The Dissertation Prospectus should summarize the proposed dissertation research, including:

  • A concise review of the relevant literature, describing the historical and theoretical context
  • Descriptions of the theoretical questions and hypotheses
  • Descriptions of the methods to be used
  • Descriptions of the likely analytic techniques to be used
  • Descriptions of the possible outcomes and their theoretical implications
  • Discussions of potential problems that may be encountered, and how they will be dealt with
  • A tentative timeline for the conduct of the research

Students should consult their primary research adviser for discussion on any special content or format for the proposal that might be well-matched to the project itself.

The proposed dissertation research itself need not involve any particular methods, and its nature will be dictated by the underlying research questions. The only formal requirement for the proposed research is that it be approved by the Dissertation Committee. It is expected, however, that the scope of the proposed research will be considerably greater than that reported in the Pre-Dissertation Paper, in terms of (a) the amount of research to be conducted, (b) the completeness with which the underlying questions and phenomena are actually pinned down and thoroughly explored and explained; and (c) the importance of the research as a contribution to the field of psychology as a whole. A dissertation may include the student’s Pre-Dissertation project if the Dissertation Committee approves.

1.8.2 Dissertation Prospectus Meeting

The Dissertation Prospectus will be evaluated by a 3-person Dissertation Committee. This committee may include all, some, or none of the same individuals who served on the student’s Pre-dissertation Committee. Students should contact faculty ahead of time to verify their ability to serve on the committee; the committee membership itself is documented on the Dissertation Prospectus Certification Form (presented as Appendix D of this document). On the basis of the prospectus, the committee will provide feedback regarding the project’s nature, scope, feasibility, and likely suitability for a Ph.D. dissertation — as well as its compatibility with faculty resources, trends in the field as a whole, and the student’s own long-term goals. This feedback will be communicated during a formal meeting with the student, and this meeting must occur prior to the formal submission of the Prospectus to the department and to the Graduate School.

The constitution of the Dissertation Committee should be discussed with the student’s primary research adviser. It is also worth noting that the Dissertation itself will be reviewed by the Dissertation Committee plus two additional Readers (the “5-person” committee), and that in some circumstances students or their advisers may wish to add a 4th or 5th member — eventual Reader(s) — to the Dissertation Committee at this stage. In any case, students should keep those additional faculty members who may eventually be asked to serve as Readers informed of their plans and progress.

1.8.3 Two Different Formats

In almost all cases, the Dissertation Prospectus itself will take two formats. The first format is a longer version intended for review by the Dissertation Committee. Students should consult their primary adviser and their Committee as a whole for guidance on the optimal length and format of this document, but it should be sufficient to concisely convey all of the information noted above. This will frequently result in documents that are between 10 and 25 double-spaced pages.

A more concise version of the Dissertation Prospectus must also be submitted to the Graduate School as part of their formal requirements. This version must be no more than 7 double-spaced pages, and should be a crystallized version of the longer Prospectus. (Note that this shorter version would almost never be sufficient to allow for a full Dissertation Committee review, whereas the longer version does not meet the Graduate School’s archival requirements for Dissertation Prospecti.) This version may also be less technical than the version submitted for review to the Dissertation Committee, and should be comprehensible to Deans and to faculty in other Departments.

1.8.4. Course Registration

Students should register for DISR999 for each semester that they are working on their dissertation. When students register for this course, they will be asked to submit dissertation progress reports (DRP) each semester. Students will receive an email from the graduate school when the report is due. Once the student completes the report, the student’s faculty adviser receives email notification to evaluate progress, to judge the expected completion date of the dissertation, and to indicate whether or not they have discussed career goals with the student. Once completed by the student and the adviser, the DPR is routed to the DGS.

1.8.5 Due Dates

There are two relevant due dates for the Dissertation Prospectus. The initial (longer) version of the Prospectus must be submitted to each member of the Committee no later than April 15th of the 6th semester. Then, two copies of the final (shorter) version must be uploaded to the student’s BOX folder— along with the completed Dissertation Prospectus Certification form (included in this document as Appendix D), signed by each member of the Dissertation Committee — no later than June 1stof the 6th semester. In between those two due dates, the student should hold their formal Dissertation Prospectus meeting by May 15th, during which the Dissertation Committee will convey their feedback and perhaps suggest revisions. The student should consult with the Committee on the best date for this meeting, balancing (a) sufficient time for the members to read and evaluate the longer Prospectus (and for the primary adviser to read and evaluate the shorter version) with (b) sufficient time for the student to implement any required revisions. The student should take charge of setting this meeting up ahead of time, preferably by initiating planning in early March.

Students who have taken a one semester leave of absence should note that the June 1st deadline for depositing their Dissertation Prospectus is the only GSAS deadline for the academic year. This can create a problem with the timing of a student being admitted to candidacy (see below) and, consequently, with registering for their 7th semester. Students who have taken a one-semester leave should complete their Dissertation Prospectus and Dissertation Prospectus meeting during the fall semester prior to their 7th semester so that a vote to candidacy can be held by the end of the fall semester. Students should check with the Department Registrar or with the DGS to make sure that their Dissertation Prospectus and Dissertation Prospectus meeting is completed before the final primary faculty meeting of the fall semester so that a vote to candidacy can be taken.

1.8.6 Admission to Candidacy

The policy of the Graduate School regarding “admission to candidacy” for the Ph.D. degree now states that students must be formally admitted to candidacy by the end of their 3rd year of study (i.e., the end of their 6th semester). At that time, the student must have completed all pre-dissertation requirements and must have submitted an approved dissertation prospectus. Students who have failed to complete this requirement are not allowed to register for a seventh semester. Please note that while the 7th semester is typically the fall semester for most students, it will be the spring semester for students who have taken a one-semester leave of absence (see above).

The admission to candidacy requires a positive vote of the faculty and this vote is discussed further in Section 2.8.

1.8.7 Post-Prospectus Revisions to Dissertation Plans

Students will commonly find that their plans for dissertation research evolve after their Dissertation Prospectus is approved and after they are advanced to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree. Sometimes these changes will be relatively minor, and sometimes they will be substantive (e.g., when a certain experiment or method fails). Such changes are to some degree an inevitable part of research, since the trajectory of scientific projects can never be fully predicted ahead of time. When such changes occur, whatever their scope, students are strongly advised to consult closely with their Dissertation Committee about how the changes will affect the project’s nature, scope, timing, and likely suitability for a Ph.D. dissertation. Many potentially serious problems at the final stage of evaluation can be avoided by continuing discussion with the Dissertation Committee when plans change.

1.8.8. Dissertation Committee Progress Review Meetings

Students will meet with their 3-Person Dissertation Committee, normally in the spring but no later than May 15th, annually from their fourth year on, until the academic year in which their 5-Person Committee meets. The purpose of this meeting is to review progress on the dissertation, to provide feedback on post-prospectus revisions to dissertation plans, and, if the student desires, to discuss possible new revisions. This meeting can occur in different ways, such as in a meeting devoted solely to this purpose or with Dissertation Committee members attending a lab group meeting in which the dissertation work is presented or discussed. The student will receive written feedback, with input from all Committee members, based on that meeting.

1.9 The Ph.D. Dissertation

The written culmination of a student’s graduate career is the Ph.D. dissertation. The conduct of the research underlying the dissertation, as well as the preparation of the dissertation itself, constitutes that primary task of students during their final years of graduate study.

1.9.1 Dissertation Content

The format of the Ph.D. Dissertation is flexible, and should be chosen in consultation with the primary research adviser, based on the nature of the project itself. One possibility is to produce a single report, divided into chapters, with each following from the other in a single narrative. This possibility corresponds to the traditional model for a Ph.D. dissertation. A disadvantage of this model is that the dissertation typically diverges from the typical format of scientific publications; as a result, considerable revision may then be needed in order to rework the dissertation for eventual publication (often in a series of smaller reports).

A second model for the Dissertation is to produce a series of largely independent research papers (‘chapters’), bracketed by an appropriate Introduction and General Discussion. This model has a potential disadvantage in that it less readily supports a long and complex narrative of the sort that may be required to explain some phenomena. An advantage of this model, however, is that it more closely matches the current practices of scientific publication, since each ‘chapter’ can be submitted for publication largely as-is. In some cases, chapters of the dissertation will be papers already published or in-press (suitably reformatted and cited). In this case, however, it is expected that the Introduction and General Discussion of the dissertation will discuss the larger context and the theoretical picture that binds each chapter together. For example, whereas the chapters may primarily be reports of empirical findings, the Introduction and/or General Discussion could provide the basis for a review paper or commentary on a theoretical issue.

There are also other possible dissertation models. Students are encouraged to discuss possibilities with relevant faculty, and to review the Departmental archive of previous dissertations (especially recent ones). In the end, the only formal requirement for the format of the dissertation is that it be approved by the student’s 5-person Dissertation committee (as described below). In all cases, however, the Ph.D. dissertation constitutes a substantial and innovative research contribution to the field of Psychology, and it comprehensively explores and explains its chosen topic.

1.9.2 Dissertation Formatting

Unless otherwise agreed upon by a student’s 5-person dissertation committee, the manuscript itself should be formatted according to APA rules, except that footnotes, tables, and figures should be inserted into the text at the appropriate points, rather than being collected at the end of the manuscript.

1.9.3 5-Person Dissertation Meeting

The Ph.D. Dissertation is reviewed by a Committee consisting of 5 faculty members (the Dissertation Committee and two additional Readers). Formation and Constitution of 5-Person Dissertation Committees

5-person dissertation committees must be formed according the following 5 constraints:

  1. The student’s primary research adviser will be a member of the committee.
  2. At least two members of the committee must be faculty within the student’s home departmental ‘area’.
  3. At least one member of the committee must be from outside the student’s home departmental ‘area’.
  4. One member of the committee who is a primary faculty member in the Psychology department but who is not the primary adviser should serve as Chair of the committee and should run both the 5-person Meeting and the Oral Examination, as described below.
  5. The majority of the committee (i.e., at least 3 members) must be primary faculty in the Psychology Department.

Typically, 3 of the 5 members of the Dissertation Committee will be members of the Committee that approved the dissertation prospectus, though sometimes changes are appropriate. When desirable and feasible, experts from other departments or universities may be included as committee members, so long as the constraints above are satisfied. Three of the five committee members will also serve as ‘Readers’ of the dissertation, and must submit Readers’ Reports to the Graduate School following the Oral Examination. Though students and their advisers should collaborate to decide on the appropriate membership of the committee, note that the DGS has final approval of the committee members.

Note that while the student’s adviser is a member of the 5-person committee, the Psychology faculty has decided that the adviser may not chair this committee. Thus, the chair can be any primary faculty member of the Psychology department except the student’s adviser. The constitution of the full 5-Person Dissertation Committee must be submitted for review via the 5-Person Dissertation Committee Formation form (included in this document as Appendix E). The DGS is responsible to the GSAS for the composition of the Dissertation Committee and thus this form must be submitted and approved by the DGS before the 5-person committee can meet.

1.9.4 Scheduling

It is expected that the dissertation will first be reviewed (perhaps several times) by the primary research adviser. When the student and the adviser deem the dissertation to be complete and ready for review, the student should contact the member of the 5-Person committee to schedule the first meeting. This meeting, unlike parts of the Oral Examination, is private, and is attended only by the student and by the 5 committee members. The meeting typically lasts between 1 ½ to 2 hours. It is expected that the student will submit complete copies of the dissertation to each member of the committee preferably 2 weeks and no later than 1 week prior to the 5-person meeting. Students are encouraged to contact individual committee members to ascertain whether they prefer electronic or printed copies (or both). Students may also choose (but are not required) to convene their Committee for an initial meeting prior to the official 5-Person meeting, if they desire feedback from the full Committee on the project before the dissertation is completed. This initial meeting could provide guidance on how to complete the project, but cannot replace the official 5-Person meeting if the dissertation itself is not complete.

Students are responsible for scheduling these meetings, and should stay aware of other salient scheduling constraints — especially the large number of 5-person meetings and Oral Examinations that tend to cluster near to the degree deadlines imposed by the Graduate School. The most efficient way to schedule these meetings is to first canvas faculty about general timeframes, and then to forward a list of possible days and times to the full committee via email. Each committee member can then remove those days/times when they cannot meet from the list, and then forward the result to the rest of the committee. After each faculty member has responded, the remaining list will consist of dates and times that work for everyone.

1.9.5 Format

The objective of the five-person meeting is to advise the candidate on the status of the dissertation, as well as to informally evaluate the student’s grasp of the material and of the surrounding literature. At the beginning of the meeting, the committee may ask the student to leave the room while they have an initial brief discussion about the status of the dissertation. The student will then be invited back into the room, and the committee will proceed to offer suggestions and to ask questions. The format of this part of the meeting can be decided by the committee as a whole, with the Chair tasked with running the meeting and keeping track of time. Students will typically not be asked to make presentations during this meeting, but they may wish to have potentially useful materials available, such as figures, analyses, demonstrations, etc. Near the end of the meeting, the student will again be asked to leave the room, and the committee will discuss the dissertation and their recommendations. As part of this discussion, the Committee will vote on whether the student has passed the meeting, and is ready to proceed to the Oral Examination; each member on the committee will have one vote for this purpose. The student will then be invited back into the room, and the Chair will convey the outcome of the meeting.

1.9.6 Possible Outcomes

In unusual cases, the committee may approve the written dissertation as-is, and require no revisions prior to the Oral Examination. More commonly, the committee will request various revisions to the dissertation. These required revisions could be relatively minor, or could involve extensive rewriting and/or additional discussions. In the most unusual cases, the committee may conclude that the dissertation will not be acceptable, no matter how rewritten, and that further data collection is required. (Students can help to avoid this outcome by keeping their committee members informed as to the nature and progress of their work as it evolves.) Committees may require that such revisions be submitted and re-evaluated prior to the Oral Examination, or may (in the case of relatively minor revisions) allow students to complete the final changes after the Oral Examination. When changes are minimal, the committee may decide to deputize the primary adviser to evaluate and approve the final edits.

It is up to this committee not only to evaluate the written dissertation, but also to approve the student’s status as ready to proceed to the Oral Examination. If the committee has serious concerns about the work, and/or if extensive or important revisions are required, the committee may require an additional (i.e., second) private 5-person meeting before the Oral Examination. In terms of scheduling, this possibility can never be ruled out until the initial 5-person meeting itself is actually held. (If necessary, the committee could require multiple interim private meetings before they certify that the student is ready for the Oral Examination.)

1.9.7 5-Person Meeting Minutes

The candidate is required to take minutes of the meeting(s) and to subsequently submit them in writing to all members of the five-person committee and to the Departmental Registrar. This is intended to prevent misunderstandings regarding the nature of recommendations and required changes. These minutes should be submitted no later than one week after the 5-person meeting. Committee members will have the opportunity to respond to the written minutes by clarifying issues they raised or requests they made for changes to the written dissertation. Students should not proceed with modifications to the dissertation until all committee members have approved the revised written minutes.

1.10 Oral Examination

The Oral Examination, unlike the initial 5-Person meeting, is in part a public departmental event, attended by the student, the 5-person committee, other interested faculty and students, friends, and family. An Oral Examination is expected for all students, regardless of the outcome of the initial 5-person committee meeting, and regardless of how recently they may have given other forms of departmental talks. The Oral Examination is the culmination of a student’s career as a graduate student, and (along with the formal Graduate School commencement ceremony) it marks an important transition in the student’s academic career.

Oral Examinations have always been open in principle to other members of the community, but attendance beyond the 5-person committee was rare in recent years. As of 2008, we are strongly encouraging all interested parties to attend these meetings!

The faculty voted in 2018 to allow the DGS to waive the requirement for an Oral Examination when petitioned by a student and supported unanimously by the student’s 5-Person Committee. However, waivers were only to be made for a compelling reason. Since the most common reasons for such petitions have been related to travel issues, the faculty clarified that attendance via videoconferencing can be substituted if physical attendance is not possible by either the student or by a member of the student’s committee.

1.10.1 Format

Oral Examinations will be run by the Chair of the student’s 5-Person

committee (who, as a reminder, can be any primary faculty member in the Psychology Department who is on the committee except the student’s primary research adviser). With possible minor variations, the Examination will proceed through the following steps, with the Chair in charge of timing:

  • The student will give a brief (~ 20-30 minute) overview presentation of the dissertation research.
  • The audience will then have an opportunity to ask questions of the student. (Committee members will typically not ask questions during this time.)
  • The committee and the student will then meet in a private session. During this time, the committee members may ask the student additional questions about the dissertation research, and offer additional suggestions.
  • The committee will then meet in private to determine the outcome of the meeting, and whether the student has passed the Oral Examination (with each member of the committee having one vote). This private meeting typically occurs with the student, friends and family waiting nearby.
  • The committee will announce the decision to the student and other interested parties, after which celebration may ensue.

1.10.2 Possible Outcomes

Whenever possible, 5-person committees and students should not go into the Oral Examination while serious reservations about the dissertation (or about the student’s ability to present it) remain. Instead, the committee should request an additional private 5-person meeting prior to the Oral Defense, during which those reservations can be further evaluated and discussed. It is expected that the written Dissertation itself will be approved (perhaps subject to final minor required revisions, which may be verified by the primary research adviser) before the Oral Examination begins. If, at the conclusion of the meeting, the 5-Person Committee decides that the Oral Examination was unacceptable, the following alternatives exist. First, the Committee may require additional written material to be submitted and approved before the student is certified as having passed the Oral Examination. (This could be the case, for example, when the student’s discussion of certain issues or responses to certain questions during the Oral Examination was judged to be insufficient.) Second, the Committee may require further private meetings, or (in unusual cases) a second public Oral Examination before the student is certified as having passed the Oral Examination. In these cases, the student may not be able to have the degree conferred on the expected date.

1.10.3 Scheduling

Students are responsible for scheduling the Oral Examination, via the same procedures as the initial 5-Person Committee meeting. Because the meeting is public, however, several constraints and opportunities should be investigated. Often, it may be convenient for students to hold their Oral Examinations during open area “Lunch” talk slots, though this is not required. (Coordinators of these talk series should keep these possibilities in mind, and perhaps save some slots for this purpose.) Other convenient slots are unused faculty-meeting and Departmental Colloquium slots. Students at this stage are encouraged to consult the Departmental Registrar for those times and rooms that may be free or used during various times. A version of the Dissertation approved for the public defense by the 5-Person Committee must be available to the Committee members and to other interested faculty members at least one week before the public defense.

1.11 Procedures for Submitting Dissertations to the Graduate School

1.11.1 Formatting

Specific instructions for formatting and submitting the completed approved Dissertation to the Graduate School can be viewed or downloaded online at the dissertations submission process webpage.

1.11.2 Graduate School Deadlines

The deadlines for submitting the dissertation to the Graduate School and petitioning for the Ph.D. are March 15th for degrees formally conferred in May, and October 1st for degrees formally conferred in December. (Commencement ceremonies, however, are normally held only in May.) Students should consult with faculty about the various roles that these deadlines do and do not play. (For example, they are required to avoid certain fees and in order to participate in the commencement ceremonies themselves, but the formal conferral of the degree is not typically required in order for students to begin postdoctoral fellowships, faculty jobs, or other positions. In these cases, the Department Chair or DGS can certify in writing that the student has completed all work related to the Ph.D. requirements, and is simply awaiting formal degree conferral.)

Part 2: Advising and Evaluating Progress

Graduate study can be a richly rewarding experience. However, graduate study requires challenging and sustained intellectual work and depends upon experimental outcomes that are uncertain. Success requires support, constructive feedback, and expert advice. The Yale Psychology Graduate Program is based upon a close mentoring model, in which each student has a primary faculty adviser (and, in some instances, two members jointly advising) charged with providing that support. The adviser supervises the student’s research, providing timely advice and critical feedback. The primary adviser is responsible to the department for each advisee’s progress through the department’s formal degree requirements as detailed in Part 1 of this document.

Advising is a continuous process with formal and informal components. For example, advising occurs during regular individual meetings of adviser and student to discuss ideas for research and outcomes of studies, during discussions that occur in larger group lab meetings, with written feedback on paper drafts, when reviewing the outcomes of experiments, during follow-up meetings after an oral presentation, when giving advice about career goals and professional development, and in many other ways. While the primary adviser supervises the student’s progress through the program’s requirements, advising can come from many other sources, including other members of the program’s faculty, from affiliated faculty in other departments, and from the student’s peers. This section presents polices for advising and for evaluation of a student’s progress-to-degree. Clear and consistent communication is vital to the advising relationship. The formal processes laid out here will help ensure that accurate information is conveyed in a timely manner. Recognizing that unequal power exists between advisers and advisees, these processes also should help to mitigate the difficulty of presenting and receiving constructive feedback.

2.1 Summary of Formal Advising Requirements

In the next sections, formal processes for advising and evaluation are described. The first process is the development of an Advising Compact (2.2). The adviser and student meet at the start of the student’s training to discuss their goals and expectations for their relationship. This discussion should be comprehensive and include details related to lab norms and culture, to consideration of ethical lab practices, to the development of specific goals for the first year of training. The Advising Compact is not a static document, but should be reviewed on a regular basis to make sure that both the student’s and adviser’s expectations are aligned and are communicated in a respectful manner.

The second process has three sequential components and is conducted biannually for all students. The first component is the Biannual Student Progress Report (2.3) in which the student provides both a cumulative summary of accomplishments since entering the program (a Curriculum Vita) along with specific accomplishments and milestones met since the prior biannual report.

The second component is the Biannual Faculty Progress Review (2.4) in which the student and adviser meet to review the Student Progress Report and determine goals for the next period. In this meeting, the student and adviser will also review what goals were met in the prior period and whether and why some goals were not completed. This meeting also provides an opportunity to review and revise the initial Advising Compact.

The third component is the Area Progress Review (2.5) where the faculty of the student’s Area meet and, informed with each student’s progress report and faculty progress review, evaluate the progress of all students in their Area.

In the event that concerns are raised at any stage for any student in the biannual review processes described above, the DGS will be alerted and those concerns will be discussed further at the Biannual Departmental Progress Review (2.6) where possible remedies are formulated. Possible outcomes of the Departmental Progress Review can be found in Section 2.6 below.

In addition to the processes described above, positive faculty votes are required for a student to continue beyond the second year of the program (see 2.7) and to be admitted to candidacy (see 2.8).

2.2 Advising Compact

As the adviser-advisee relationship is the cornerstone of our program, it is important that both the faculty adviser and student advisee have an explicit understanding of the responsibilities and expectations that govern this relationship. The department has thus strongly encouraged the creation of a formal advising compact between advisers and advisees to document this relationship. The creation and periodic review of the advising compact provides an opportunity to discuss, review, and adjust responsibilities and expectations.

The Advising Compact document may take different forms. Some faculty members will wish to create a single document applicable to all advisees, while others may wish to tailor the document to fit the needs of each advisee. Regardless of the format, there are common issues related to these relationships that should be discussed explicitly and then documented. Ideally, these issues should be first discussed when the student is considering joining the laboratory. For example, the adviser could publish a canonical advising compact on the lab’s website. The advising compact should be periodically reviewed and modified, if necessary. The Biannual Progress review (see Section 2.3, below) provides an opportunity to review the compact as part of a larger discussion about the student’s progress.

Whatever form the Advising Compact takes, it should be deposited in the student’s BOX folder along with any revisions that may occur over the ensuing years.

2.2.1 Advising Template

What follows is a compendium of common questions and discussion points regarding the expectations of the adviser and the advisee that form the basis of an Advising Compact. Sample advising compacts have been provided in Appendix H of this document.

2.2.2 General Lab Work Expectations

The core of our program is the laboratory experience, and so the informal rules and norms for each lab should be made explicit. Time management and the possibility of a student becoming overwhelmed with obligations and demands over electronic media should also be explicitly addressed.

Here are some discussion points regarding expectations concerned with lab work expectations.

  • What are the expectations for the adviser and the advisee with respect to being physically present in the lab, and for working remotely from the lab?
  • What are the lab policies with regard to time off and vacation? (see section 3.2).
  • What are the lab norms and policies regarding time spent working on projects in other labs and with other advisers?
  • What are the lab norms and policies regarding time spent volunteering for departmental or university committee work, or for teaching outside of the stipend?
  • What are the lab norms for communicating via phone, email, Slack, or other electronic means? What is an acceptable latency for responding to electronic queries? Are there quiet periods when electronic communication within the lab is discouraged?

2.2.3 Research

It is essential that the student and adviser discuss expectations about research topic selection at the outset of their relationship, and return to this issue during advising meetings throughout the student’s graduate training.

Discussion points regarding research should include:

  • What are the expectations regarding the student’s independent development of research projects and/or the trajectory of developing a program of research and what role does the adviser play in that process?
  • What are the lab norms for authorship for publications of student research, collaborative intra-lab research projects, and inter-lab research projects?
  • Will grant or other funding issues influence the research topics chosen for study, and/or the ability to carry out research?
  • What are the lab expectations for the pace of completing research, presenting at meetings/conferences, and publishing research?
  • What are the lab norms and expectations for attending and for presenting research at scholarly conferences? What expenses are covered for conference attendance and how and when are expenses remunerated?

2.2.4 Communication Guidelines

Clear communication about expectations and feedback on performance is critical in maintaining a healthy relationship between the student and adviser.

Here are some discussion points regarding communication:

  • What are the frequency and duration of meetings between the adviser and advisee?
  • Who is responsible for scheduling these meetings and preparing the agenda?
  • What is the procedure when a meeting must be canceled (by either the adviser or advisee) and for rescheduling a canceled meeting?
  • Will individual advising meetings be routinely scheduled in the evenings or on weekends?
  • How should needs-related accommodations for accessibility/religious/physical disability be communicated?
  • What are the adviser’s expectations for when milestone drafts of departmental requirements or other written work should be provided for feedback? When is a ‘rough draft’ too rough to circulate?
  • What turn-around time should a student expect for receiving feedback on drafts?
  • How quickly should an adviser expect their feedback to be incorporated into a new draft by the student?
  • How does the adviser encourage lab norms for offering feedback that is constructive and not only critical?

2.2.5 Resolving Conflicts

Resolving intra-lab and inter-lab conflicts quickly is essential for maintaining a healthy work atmosphere.

Here are some discussion points regarding resolving conflicts:

  • What are the procedures for raising concerns about conduct within the lab, or between different labs, among faculty, advisees and/or lab staff?
  • What are the procedures for resolving conflicts between student and adviser?
  • If a student is feeling overly stressed, how should this be communicated to the adviser?
  • If the advisee has concerns about the behavior of the adviser, when and how should this be communicated to the adviser?
  • Note: There are many resources available to students who might need guidance regarding how to handle an issue with their adviser. Within the department students can meet with the DGS, any member of the GPAC, members of CREJ, or the Chair. Outside the department students can contact a Dean’s Designee, the Title IX office, the SHARE center, the University-wide committee on sexual misconduct, the Office of Institutional Equity and Access, or Yale University Hotline (877-360-YALE).
  • Under what circumstances might a student be dismissed from the lab, or be subject to departmental review or formal probation?

2.2.6 Expectations for Ethical Behavior

All students and faculty should be aware of norms for ethical lab behavior. This includes conducting research carefully and transparently, as well as creating lab and departmental environments that are inclusive and respectful.

Here are some discussion points regarding lab ethics:

  • What are expectations for all lab members (advisor, advisee, staff, undergraduates, etc.) in creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive work environment? See Yale policies here.
  • What are the procedures for reporting observed unethical behavior of others (in research and non-research domains), harassment, or discrimination within the lab and outside of the lab?
  • What are the lab expectations regarding research documentation, including keeping raw data, reporting issues encountered during programming and/or data collection, documenting data analysis and saving outputs, keeping and dating manuscript drafts, and following journal guidelines for reporting information and keeping co-authors informed of progress?
  • Under what IRB protocol is my research conducted, what are the consent procedures, and what are the requirements for documentation?
  • What do I do if I discover an error in my data or in my analyses?

The Advising Compact should be reviewed by the adviser and advisee at each Biannual Faculty Progress Review and revised if necessary. To provide a basis for the student’s first semester of graduate study, the student and adviser should use the Faculty Progress Review form to devise an initial set of goals for the first semester.

2.3 Biannual Student Progress Report

  • Twice each year, in mid-November and by May 1st, each graduate student in the department must submit a Progress Report providing a cumulative list of professional activities, including:
  • Research accomplished
  • Papers published or in-press, and submitted manuscripts
  • Conference presentations (posters and talks)
  • TF or other teaching assignments
  • Courses taken
  • Other professional presentations (e.g., lab meetings, departmental ‘lunch’ talks)
  • Awards and honors
  • Departmental service or service to the field

In addition, each submitted Progress Report should contain a brief discussion of the student’s:

  • Most significant accomplishments from the preceding 6 months
  • Goals (and most important opportunities for improvement) for the next 6 months
  • Areas of desired additional mentoring or training

These progress reports should help students to keep track of their identity as professional psychologists, and enable the faculty to gauge students’ progress, and to attain an explicit understanding of each student’s educational needs in the context of our graduate program. Faculty also use these reports in preparing biannual evaluations of their advisees.

2.3.1 Forms

A template for these reports is provided in Appendix A of this document.

2.3.2 Due Dates

Completed Progress Reports are due each year on November 15th and May 1st. Copies should be turned in both to the student’s adviser of record, and to the Departmental Registrar and uploaded to the student’s BOX folder.

2.4 Biannual Faculty Progress Review

The student and adviser(s) then meet in-person to discuss the completed Biannual Progress Report. At this time the adviser should provide an assessment of the student’s progress, provide constructive feedback, discuss areas for improvement, and provide a sense of the student’s standing in the lab and in the department. A form (Appendix F) is provided for the adviser that summarizes the outcome of this meeting and which should then be signed by the adviser and the student and uploaded to the student’s BOX folder where it may be accessed by the DGS and Departmental Registrar.

The form for this meeting was deliberately designed to guide a frank discussion of a student’s strengths and to highlight areas for improvement. Giving and receiving feedback can be uncomfortable, but it is an important part of a healthy advising relationship, and essential for a student’s professional growth. Advisers who have concerns about an advisee’s performance and/or standing in the department should document and communicate these concerns to the student as soon as possible (even if before the biannual review), but must document any concerns in the biannual faculty progress review form.

The biannual faculty progress review meeting also provides an excellent opportunity for the student and faculty adviser to review their Advising Compact (see section 2.2) and make changes if necessary.

2.4.1 Forms

A template for these reports is provided in Appendix F of this document.

2.5 Biannual Area Progress Review

The Area faculty meet after each student and faculty member in the Area have completed their progress review meetings and before the end-of-semester Departmental Program Review (2.6). All members of an Area receive copies of both the student’s Biannual Progress Report (2.3) and the Faculty Progress Review (2.4) and review the status of all students in their Area. Most issues concerning student progress are resolved at this meeting. However, if concerns are raised about the progress of particular students, these concerns will be brought to the attention of the DGS for discussion during the Departmental Program Review (2.6).

2.6 Biannual Departmental Program Review

The DGS conducts a Program Review at a primary faculty meeting near the end of each semester. At this meeting students are approved to continue beyond the second year (2.7), students are voted to candidacy (2.8), and where fall and spring degree lists are approved.

Issues raised about the performance of particular students at Area meetings (2.5), or raised by faculty members in other Areas (e.g., readers on first year or pre-dissertation papers, TF supervisors) are discussed by the full faculty.

There are two possible outcomes of such discussions.

The first, and most likely, outcome is that the adviser and/or the DGS will be asked by the faculty to meet with the student to discuss the concerns that were raised. During this discussion, the student will have an opportunity to voice their perspective. This discussion will focus upon how the concerns should be addressed, on establishing a timeline for remediation, and a consideration of the consequences if the remediation is not successful. The DGS may also summarize the problem, the plan, the timeline, and the consequences in a letter that is transmitted to the student. A letter from the DGS is informal and internal to the Psychology program, but nevertheless conveys the sense of the faculty that a performance issue has been raised that must be addressed.

The second more formal, and less likely, outcome is that the student will be placed on probation with the GSAS. Formal probation is automatic in some instances if the student has failed to meet a GSAS requirement or deadline, such as failing to submit a dissertation prospectus by the 7th semester, or not completing the ‘Honors’ course requirement. However, formal probation can also result if a student is not meeting the requirements of the program; for example, by failing core courses, or by consistently turning in substandard work. In these latter examples, the student would normally have been altered to these concerns through our biannual review process, and counseled accordingly as described in the preceding sections. Thus, formal probation might be the consequence of a failed plan for remediation. However, while formal probation by the GSAS is usually preceded by informal counseling, this is not required by GSAS.

The outcomes discussed above refer to academic performance and progress. However, the GSAS has a separate disciplinary process that is conducted outside of the department if there is suspicion of academic fraud or other serious misconduct. These policies are set by the GSAS and can be found here:…

2.7 Departmental Approval of Continuation Beyond the 2nd Year

In order for students to remain in the program beyond their second year, the faculty must vote to approve their continuation in a formal vote. This evaluation of students is based on their records and progress in the program to date, informed by the first four Biannual Progress Reports, the Faculty Progress Reviews, the First-Year

Research Paper and the Pre-Dissertation Paper. This decision is also based on the faculty’s judgment about the student’s potential for independent research. Passing each of the basic requirements listed below in the first two years is necessary but not always sufficient evidence of such potential.

2.7.1 Basic Requirements

The basic requirements for departmental approval of continuation beyond the 2nd year are:


Satisfactory completion of a minimum of 3 basic (500-level) courses, two of which must be outside the student’s area of concentration (and in different areas), as well as a course on Data Analysis (PSYC 518a, required in the first semester).

First-Year Research and Pre-Dissertation Papers

Completion of the First-Year Research Paper (as judged to be satisfactory by the project adviser) and of the Pre-Dissertation Paper (as judged to be satisfactory by the Pre-dissertation Committee)

Honors Certification

Fulfillment of the Graduate School requirement of grades of Honors in at least two full (500- or 600-level) courses.

A Positive Faculty Vote

The final determination of each student’s ability to continue in the program beyond the second year is by a majority vote of the faculty at the time of the spring evaluation meeting, near the end of the academic year.

2.7.2 Appeal Procedures

If the faculty votes not to allow a student to continue in the program, and the student wishes to appeal the decision, the student should discuss this with the DGS to determine what options are available, as specified by the Graduate School regulations. The DGS can inform and advise the student on the best course of action. A significant step in the appeal process is that the student must submit a letter of appeal to the Dean of the Graduate School. The Dean may indicate to the DGS what, if any, further faculty action is required, but the final decision rests with the Dean.

2.7.3 Petitioning for an MS Degree

The semester after the successful completion of the 2nd year, a student may petition for an MS degree. Petitions to receive the degree in December are due in early October. Petitions to receive the degree in May are due in mid-March. Petition forms are available online at the GSAS degree petition webpage.

2.8 Voting to Candidacy

The requirements for admission to candidacy are discussed in Section 1.8.5 above. Briefly, students are eligible for candidacy following the completion of all program requirements and the completion of dissertation prospectus approved by the student’s 3-person committee.

A student’s admission to candidacy requires a positive vote of the faculty. Although very unlikely, it is possible that a majority of the

faculty will vote against candidacy for a particular student if they do

not believe that the student is ready or able to conduct

dissertation-level work. For example, a student may have changed Areas and there is concern among the faculty that the student is not yet

sufficiently prepared in this new domain of scholarship. In such an

instance, additional requirements may be mandated by that Area or by the DGS. It is also possible that a documented record of ‘barely adequate’ performance in prior Faculty and Departmental Reviews has raised a concern that the student will not successfully complete a quality dissertation. Because students must be advanced to candidacy by the 7th semester, a vote not to admit a student to candidacy will result in formal probation and, possibly, to dismissal from the program.

2.9 Changing Adviser

All graduate students must have a primary member of the Psychology faculty serving as their adviser of record. While affiliated or retired Yale faculty can serve on a student’s committees, and can be part of an advising team for the student, affiliated and retired faculty members cannot serve as a student’s primary adviser. Failure to have a primary adviser is cause for dismissal from the program.

2.9.1 Students Wishing to Change Advisers or Add a Formal Co-Adviser

In most cases, a student’s adviser is chosen when the student is accepted to the graduate program, as our program’s admissions offers are made by the presumptive adviser. However, graduate students may change their primary adviser while enrolled in the program. This can happen for a number of reasons; for example, the student may find that their research interests have changed and are now better aligned with a different faculty mentor. Perhaps the student wishes to add an official co-adviser. Or perhaps the student finds that the current lab is a poor fit for interpersonal reasons. Normally, changing advisers is a simple and amicable process. Students who wish to change advisers are encouraged to speak with a secondary adviser (perhaps someone on their previous departmental requirement committees or one informally assigned by an area), the DGS, and/or Chair. In some instances, however, there are complicating issues.

One complicating issue is if the student is also switching their area of concentration (e.g., from Cognitive to Social). A change of area requires the assent of the new area’s faculty members. In some instances, the new area may require that additional courses be taken or that other remedial steps may be required to ensure that the student has the appropriate foundation to undertake scholarly work in the new area. In past years, students switching areas have been required to read foundational papers and discuss those papers in an oral presentation to the new area faculty.

If a student wishes to switch into the Clinical Area, this request must be made by the end of the first year and requires additional discussion with the Director of Clinical training and primary Clinical Area faculty. It is extremely rare that students can switch into Clinical from another area.

A second complicating factor is if the student wishes to change advisers after they have been voted to candidacy (see Sections 1.8.5 and 2.8). Since the prospectus was supervised by the former adviser, the student and the new adviser must provide a plan for how the approved dissertation work will proceed. If the line of research proposed in the approved prospectus is abandoned by the student, a new prospectus and prospectus meeting may be required. Students should discuss this possibility with their new adviser and the DGS.

A third complicating factor is if the student is changing advisers because the former adviser has left Yale or retired from Yale. In such circumstances, the DGS will attempt to help the student identify a new adviser. If the former adviser is moving to a different academic institution or retires, the student may ask their former adviser to serve as a member of their dissertation committee. However, the former adviser cannot be the student’s primary adviser of record or the chair of the dissertation committee.

To summarize, all students must have a primary faculty member adviser to remain in the program. Changing a adviser is a common occurrence but there are complicating circumstances. The DGS will attempt to help a student find a new adviser, but the department is not obligated to assign a new adviser. For these reasons, a change in a student’s adviser must be approved by the DGS.

2.9.2 Dismissal from a Lab

A faculty member may determine that they can no longer effectivity advise a student and thus may withdraw as that student’s primary adviser. Although a rare occurrence, there are two circumstances in which this typically occurs.

The first reason is that the student is not adhering to the mutual expectations documented in Advising Compact or has not been responsive to remediation plans that have been devised as part of the biannual review process. For example, the student may be underperforming academically, has not attained research or departmental milestones, has behaved unethically, or is frequently absent from the lab or lab meetings.

The second reason is that the student’s interests have diverged significantly from that of their primary faculty adviser, and the adviser does not feel competent to supervise the student’s research in these new areas.

Dismissal from a lab is not necessarily the same as dismissal from the graduate program. The student may remain in the program if they can find a primary Psychology faculty member willing to serve as a new adviser. The DGS will assist the student to help the student identify such a faculty member. However, if the student is unable to find a new primary Psychology faculty adviser within a reasonable interval (by the end of the semester where procedures are initiated), the student may be placed on formal probation with the GSAS or dismissed from the program.

Any student who is dismissed from a lab will have been given fair warning through the formal procedures outlined in this document. The issues leading to dismissal must be discussed with the student at the Biannual Progress reviews and through the Faculty Progress Review and Area and Departmental Progress Review process (see sections 2.3-2.6). Though it is difficult to articulate an exact timeline for dismissal procedures, and may vary depending on the precipitating issue, it is expected that prior to dismissal there will be several meetings (including the student and adviser, among area-group faculty, among the full faculty) to discuss the concerns. Moreover, prior to formal dismissal, in most instances (barring unethical behavior), at least a semester of feedback and opportunity for remediation would have been provided.

Part 3: GSAS and Program Policies

This section sundry policies including leaves of absence, vacation, and studying in absentia are also included here.

3.1 Teaching Fellowships

The Yale Psychology graduate program requires four terms of teaching, which are normally completed in the second and third years of the program. Students are asked by the Departmental Registrar about their teaching preferences who surveys the students in the teaching pool prior to the start of each semester. The DUS, DGS, and Departmental Registrar work together to assign students to courses. While a good faith effort is made to satisfy each student’s preference, it is not always possible and a student may be assigned to a non-preferred course. Psychology faculty teach several large introductory courses that require many TFs which constrains the assignments. As a general rule, courses are only assigned a TF is the enrollment exceeds 35 students. Some exceptions are made for writing intensive courses and laboratory courses. A second TF is usually assigned when the enrollment exceeds 50 students, and additional TFs are assigned for each additional 50 enrollees. If a course’s enrollment increases or decreases during the drop/add or shopping period, then it is possible that a TF will be reassigned.

The typical teaching fellow assignment in Psychology is a ‘TF20’, which specifies a commitment of no more than an average of 20 hours per week. This is considered equivalent to teaching two sections of a lecture course. If a student assigned as a TF20 finds that their assignment is averaging more than 20 hours per week, the course instructor and DGS should be promptly notified.

3.2 Sixth year stipends

The Yale Psychology graduate program is designed to be completed in five years and the offer letter each student receives when accepting admission explains how those five years will be financially supported. However, financial support for a 6th year of study is possible in some circumstances. There are three support mechanisms for a sixth year of study.

The first applies only to Clinical Area students who are supported by an APA-approved clinical internship. Normally, these programs pay all or a substantial portion of the student’s 6th year stipend. In circumstances where the internship’ stipend is less than the Yale stipend, the student should bring this to the attention of the Director of Clinical Training and/or the DGS as it is possible that the gap in support may be provided by GSAS.

The second method is for the student to request a 6th year teaching

stipend. The 6th year stipend provides full support in exchange for two semesters of teaching at the TF20 level. There is no summer support following the completion of the 6th year teaching stipend.

A request for a 6th year stipend is not automatically granted and requires the support of the student’s Area faculty, the approval of the DGS, and the approval of GSAS. In deliberating whether a student should be extended an additional year of support, the student’s need for extra time will be carefully considered. The DGS is required to guarantee to the GSAS that the student will complete their Ph.D. in the 6th year and graduate. If a department’s record of successful completions for students receiving 6th year support is poor, then the GSAS may limit or refuse to fund additional stipends. Students should also be aware that 6th year students increase the department’s graduate census and, thus, limit the number of first year students that can be admitted. For these reasons, students anticipating the need for a 6th year of support should discuss this possibility early with their advisers.

The third method for receiving a 6th year of support is dependent upon a student receiving external funding during their graduate training. The typical circumstance is a student who receives a 3-year NSF predoctoral fellowship, although other funding sources may also qualify. If a student has at least one year of study in which no Yale support is required during a non-teaching year (i.e., they do not accept a combined-award), they are usually eligible to delay their normal 5th year dissertation fellowship to their 6th year. Teaching is not permitted during a dissertation fellowship, and so the student is not permitted to teach during a 6th year of support through this mechanism.

If a student accepts any support in a given year from Yale to ‘top up’ their external funding, this is considered a combined-award and is considered the same as if Yale provided all of the student’s support for that semester or year. Note that the rules regarding combined-awards are determined by the GSAS and are documented here:…

Students who have obtained external funding and are contemplating a 6th year of study without a teaching obligation should be aware of the current GSAS policies, which may change depending upon the dollar amount of external funding and the current Yale stipend.

3.3 Yearly Research and Scholarship Schedule

The stipend that students receive from GSAS is for full-time study and includes summer research support for five years of study. Students who receive a 6th year stipend do not receive summer research at the conclusion of the spring semester of their 6th year.

Graduate students may take two weeks of vacation time beyond the stated University holidays and the time between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day. Vacations must not conflict with any academic, research, or teaching obligations, and vacation time does not accrue across budget years. Although classes are not held, Spring and Fall recesses and summers are not considered Yale University holidays.

3.4 Leave of Absence

There are three types of leaves of absence: (1) medical leaves, (2) personal leaves, and (3) parental leaves. Rules regarding leaves of absence are set by the GSAS policy and not by the department. The details for applying for a leave of absence can be found here:

and here:


Students wishing to take a leave of absence should be aware that there are time limits on the duration of a leave, and exceeding that duration may require reapplication to the graduate program. As per GSAS policy, reentry to the graduate program may require the submission or completion of a paper or project that provides evidence of the student’s readiness to participate in the program. This paper or project should be developed in consultation by the student, the student’s adviser, and the DGS, and approved by the cognizant GSAS Dean.

3.5 Requests to Study In Absentia

The Graduate School requires that graduate students be in residence for a minimum of 3 years during their Ph.D. program (<…). Occasionally students who have completed this residency requirement in their first three years, and who have completed the departmental requirements through the theme essay and dissertation prospectus wish to complete their dissertations away from Yale. This is referred to as studying in absentia.

There are two circumstances in which a student might wish to study in absentia. The first is to travel to a location away from Yale specifically for the purpose of gathering data, conducting field work, or learning new techniques that are essential to their research. This is sometimes also referred to as studying abroad (although the location needn’t be outside of the U.S.). Students who wish to study in absentia for these purposes must gain approval from their dissertation adviser who then presents the student’s plan to the full faculty for a vote. If the vote is affirmative, and the DGS concurs, then the student must apply to the GSAS using the form that can be found at the link above. Students should be aware the studying in absentia has implications for their Yale-provided health coverage and a travel waiver might be needed to obtain health coverage when away from Yale.

In the second circumstance, students may, for personal reasons, simply wish to live away from Yale while continuing to work on their dissertations. The faculty of the Psychology Department, while understanding the individual reasons that lead some students to wish to work away from Yale, strongly discourages this use of in absentia status for several reasons. A good deal of a graduate education comes from interacting with faculty and other students on a daily basis in lab meetings, lunch meetings, colloquia, and informal meetings. Students who are away from Yale cannot fully benefit from these intellectual exchanges, nor are they contributing fully to the intellectual community at Yale. In addition, it is more difficult for advisers to supervise students who are not on site, particularly if they are still collecting data for their dissertations. Again, it is in the context of informal interchanges between advisers and students that problems in research design, implementation or analysis are often detected and solved, and other important issues dealt with. Students who are absent from Yale may meet with their advisers electronically on a regular basis, but they do not benefit from the substantial advising (and opportunities to mentor fellow students) that occur informally when they are on site. As a result, requests to study in absentia will be approved only in extraordinary circumstances, and it should not be justified primarily by a student’s wishes to work away from Yale for personal reasons.

3.6 Working beyond the stipend

The expectation is that the annual Yale stipend is sufficient to permit full-time study by the student and outside work that would retard a student’s progress to degree is discouraged. Indeed, outside work that averages more than 10 hours per week is not allowed by the GSAS. Students contemplating taking on outside work should discuss this with their advisers so that the potential impact of this work upon their progress-to-degree can be discussed.

On occasion, students may be presented with opportunities to take on additional teaching responsibilities for additional payment after they have completed their teaching requirements. Such opportunities for teaching beyond the stipend have become increasingly rare since the inception of the 6th year teaching stipends. However, opportunities for summer teaching are occasionally available. Students who wish to take on additional teaching should discuss this with the advisers so that the potential impact of these additional obligations upon their progress-to-degree can be discussed. Teaching beyond the stipend requires the approval of the DGS and the support of the student’s adviser.

3.7 Reimbursements

The department’s policy is that research-related costs should never be covered out-of-pocket by students or staff. Non-research out-of-pocket expenses being incurred by lab members is discouraged, though some instances (e.g., travel bookings) can qualify as exceptions if (and only if) the purchaser prefers that route. In all exceptional cases where out-of-pocket expenses are needed for these unique (or emergency) reasons, they must be pre-approved by the relevant Principal Investigator. Sciquest or PCards should be the default mechanism for all appropriate business expenses vs. out-of-pocket purchases, per university policies. 

Part 4: DGS and GPAC

4.1 Director of Graduate Studies

The following is taken from the GSAS website page describing the general role of the Director of Graduate Studies, or DGS:

“A senior faculty member, appointed by the dean, serves as director of graduate studies (DGS) for each department or program. The directors of graduate studies are responsible for the satisfactory administration of the programs and function as advisers and guides to all graduate students in their respective departments and programs. They help graduate students to plan an appropriate course of study and research, and advise on and approve course schedules. The DGS acts as the liaison between each student in the department or program and the Office of the Dean.”

In general, the DGS serves as the intermediary between the GSAS and the student. Questions about GSAS policies can often be directly answered by the DGS. In cases where the DGS does not know the answer, the DGS has the contacts within the GSAS to get the authoritative answer.

In the Department of Psychology, the DGS has the following specific duties:

  • The DGS attends the monthly meetings held by the GSAS Dean and conveys changes in policies and procedures to the Psychology faculty and graduate students.
  • The DGS and Chair prepare for and attend the annual review of the Psychology graduate program which determines the program’s total census and targets for the upcoming admissions cycle.
  • The DGS is responsible for the Admissions process for new graduate students.
  • The DGS oversees the biannual progress evaluation cycle as described in Part 2 of this document. In the event that a remediation plan for a student is requested by the faculty, the DGS is responsible for organizing the plan in consultation with the student and that student’s adviser.
  • The DGS shares responsibility for assigning TFs for Psychology courses with the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) and the departmental registrar.
  • The DGS organizes the First Year Symposium.
  • The DGS (working with the Departmental Registrar) is responsible for approving all course schedules, approving exceptions to Core courses, approving course changes, and ensuring that all requirements for the degree are met.
  • The DGS is responsible to the GSAS for requesting and approving 6th year funding.
  • The DGS approves the composition of the 5-person committee.
  • The DGS can help arrange leaves of absences and help in a student’s reentry into the program after returning from a leave of absence.

In addition to those specific duties, the DGS serves as a resource to individual graduate students. For example, the DGS can help mediate interpersonal conflicts between a student and other graduate students, or between a student and that student’s adviser. The DGS can assist a student in finding a new adviser or changing to a different lab. The DGS will maintain confidentiality in all interactions with students unless required by law to report the matter, as in a Title IX complaint.

4.2 Graduate Program Advisory Committee

The Psychology Department leadership created a Graduate Program Advisory Committee (GPAC) to assist the DGS. The GPAC is composed of a single representative from each of the five content Areas. The main duties of the GPAC are as follows:

To help the DGS shape policies related to the graduate program.

To assist in the Admissions process for new graduate students.

To determine the winners for the three major graduate awards (see below).

4.3 Graduate Awards

The GPAC and DGS receive nominations and then selects the winners for three graduate awards that are given annually at the May departmental event that marks the end of the academic year.

4.3.1 The William Kessen Teaching Award

This award is to be presented annually to honor William Kessen in recognition of his enormous contributions to teaching and mentoring students. The award honors a graduate student in psychology who best exemplifies the spirit, vitality, and commitment to teaching for which Professor Kessen was known. Nominations can be made by faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, and staff. The student selected should have completed at least two semesters of teaching or service as a Teaching Fellow. The William Kessen award includes a $500 prize.

4.3.2 The Jane Olejarczyk Award

The Jane Olejarczyk award is given annually to the graduate student in our program who has contributed most significantly to the quality of graduate student life in the Department. The kinds of contributions that might qualify for this award include, but are not limited to, the organization of the colloquium series, the initiation of a new student seminar program, unusual committee service, special commitment to the Graduate Student Organization in Psychology, establishment of shared resources for the graduate students of our Department, fund raising, and related activities. Academic performance in the program is not a consideration for this award. However, the nominee must be in good standing. The Jane Olejarczyk award includes a $500 prize.

4.3.3 The James Grossman Dissertation Award

The James Grossman Dissertation Award will be given at the time of commencement to the author of an outstanding Ph.D. dissertation in Psychology, with preference for an author and dissertation embodying some of the characteristics of James Grossman’s scholarship, such as creativity, use of incorporation of other disciplines, and clinical work with children, but dissertations in any area of psychology will be considered. The James Grossman award includes a $2000 prize and the winner’s name is announced at the Graduate School’s May convocation awards day.

Version History

Version: 6/21/2021

6/21/21: GM made minor edits while converting the document from Word format to HTML. GM added section on the duties of the DGS and GPAC.

5/12/21: The draft version submitted to the graduate students and faculty on April 30, 2021 was accepted by an unanimous vote of the faculty and with no comments or requests for further clarification from the graduate students.

4/30/21: A final draft of a substantial rewrite of the Psychology Graduate Program Requirements was distributed to graduate students and faculty on April 30, 2021. This revision was written by Gregory McCarthy (GM, DGS) and Arielle Baskin-Sommers (ABS) with significant input and consultation from GSA representatives Meghan Collins, Xanni Brown, and Ariel Chang. This version was also vetted by GPAC members Julian Jara-Ettinger, Dylan Gee, Maria Gendron, and Ilker Yildirim.

This revision was undertaken in response to a GSAS requirement for each department to develop an Advising Document that codifies departmental policies and best practices for graduate student advising. This revision did not alter existing requirements with two exceptions: A minor changes in the due date for the fall progress reports, and for final draft of the Theme Essay milestone document. The revision did, however, codify in writing policies regarding core courses, oral examination, 6th year support, study in abstentia, and rules for depositing milestone papers in the Box storage system.

The revision organized the document into four parts. Part 1 contains the formal requirements with clarifications. Part 2 contains the new Advising Document, Part 3 contains departmental policies. Part 4 clarifies the roles of the Director of Graduate Studies and the Graduate Program Advising Committee. The Appendices include new progress reporting forms and sample Advising Compacts.

6/21/17: Updated all dates and URL’s in the document (Andrea Chamba, Lynn Butler, Gregory McCarthy)

5/29/14: Updated the URL for dissertation formatting guidelines (Lauretta Olivi, Brian J Scholl)

8/21/13: Added section about vacation policy; Added info about new ‘First Year Research’ course # (PSYC 920); Updated ‘Choice of Adviser’ section to specify the steps that should be taken to change advisers; Revised wording of the ‘Requests to study in absentia’ section (Jack F Dovidio, Brian J Scholl)

8/27/12: Added info about Dissertation Committee Progress Review Meetings starting in the 8th semester (to ‘Summary of Requirements’ and ‘Dissertation Prospectus’ sections); Added additional info about counting 600-level seminars for the 3-course requirement (to ‘Departmental Approval of Continuation Beyond the 2nd Year’ section); Clarified that Dissertation Prospectus Meetings should be planned by early April; Emphasized that Pre-Dissertation Papers must reflect additional substantive work beyond First-Year Papers; Clarified required composition of 5-Person Dissertation Committees (in ‘Formation and Constitution of 5-Person Dissertation Committees’ section and Appendix E); Noted requirement that requests to study in absentia must include a letter from the proposed host institution; Noted that an approved Dissertation must be available to the faculty no later than one week prior to an Oral Examination (Jack F Dovidio, Brian J Scholl)

8/22/11: Added note about 600-level courses counting for the 3-course requirement (Brian J Scholl)

5/24/11: Eliminated ‘Submitting First-Year Research as a Pre-Dissertation Paper’ section; Amended ‘Requests to study in absentia’ section; Added ‘Evaluation’ subsection of ‘First Year Research Paper’ section (Brian J Scholl)

5/11/10: Added ‘Requests to study in absentia’ section; Eliminated obsolete footnote 2; Updated Appendix D dates; Updated due dates for predissertation project (Brian J Scholl)

4/14/09: Updated due dates for dissertation prospectus (Brian J Scholl)

2/27/08: First version of updated requirements (Brian J Scholl)

Appendix A

Biannual Student Progress Report Form

Click here for Appendix A in Word format.

Click here for Appendix A in PDF format.

Appendix B

Pre-Dissertation Committee Form

Click here for Appendix B in Word format.

Click here for Appendix B in PDF format.

Appendix C

Theme Essay Certification Form

Click here for Appendix C in Word format.

Click here for Appendix C in PDF format.

Appendix D

Dissertation Prospectus Certification Form

Click here for Appendix D in Word format.

Click here for Appendix D in PDF format.

Appendix E

5-Person Dissertation Committee Form

Click here for Appendix E in Word format.

Click here for Appendix E in PDF format.

Appendix F

Biannual Faculty Progress Review Form

Click here for Appendix F in Word format.

Click here for Appendix F in PDF format.

Appendix G

BOX Folders

Keeping track of milestone documents (e.g., drafts and final versions of first year project papers, pre-dissertation papers, theme essays, prospectuses, and biannual progress reports) and approvals (Appendix forms) is a challenge for the Departmental Registrar and DGS. Until Yale provides a universal system for such documents, our graduate program has developed an electronic storage system based upon BOX. BOX is a cloud storage system that is very similar to Dropbox and Google Drive through which folders can be synchronized and shared across users and devices. You can access shared folders through a web browser and/or you can choose to synchronize your BOX folder to the file system on your personal computer.

Each student will have a BOX folder into which all milestone documents are uploaded. Students in the clinical training program will also have subfolders to upload clinical worksheets. Your faculty advisers will have access to this folder, and will upload their biannual evaluations into the same folder. However, please note that no other student will have access to your folder.

Because your BOX folder is shared with the Psychology faculty, it provides a convenient method for sharing draft documents for which feedback is provided with your committee members. Indeed, you and your advisers can directly edit the files in your BOX folder. This can be done with MS Word or other word processors. You can also email URL links to your files, rather than emailing the documents themselves as large attachments. BOX also has a ‘notes’ facility, whereby collaborators can leave comments that are associated with a document, while not becoming part of the document itself.

The DGS and departmental registrar need to keep track of milestone documents. BOX folders can be easily searched for files with particular names. Therefore, we have imposed a naming convention on milestone documents so that a list of documents across BOX folders can be easily created with a simple search. Here are the naming conventions for your milestone documents. Please use these naming conventions so that we can quickly find your milestone documents among the many hundreds of files in the BOX folder system.

Let’s assume a student named Jane Smith with a NetID of js23 who matriculated to the graduate program in 2012. She would be provided a folder named: Smith_Jane_2012_js23

Files placed within this folder would be named using a sequence of fields separated by underscores (not hyphens or spaces). In this example, the file name Smith_FYP_2013_Final.docx would contain the final version of Smith’s First Year Project report. The names for different milestone documents can be found in the table below.

Note that the filename extension (docx) indicated would be typical for a MS Word document; however, you are not required to use Word and so this extension can be whatever your word processor uses. If you prefer, you can upload PDFs of all of your documents.

In this example, we are presuming there is only a single ‘Smith’ matriculating in the class of 2021. If there is both a Jane Smith and a William Smith, then the DGS will ask that these students use SmithJ and SmithW in their file names.

Please note the the ‘X’ following the Draft refers to the draft number. The ‘YY’ within the year field refers to the year the document was uploaded. Approval documents refer to a signed Appendix form that is appropriate for the requirement (e.g., AppB refers to Appendix B for predissertation approval).

Year Due Date Milestone File Name
All Nov 15 Fall Progress Report Smith_Progress_20YY_Fall.docx
All May 1 Spring Progress Report Smith_Progress_20YY_Spring.docx
1 Nov 1 Advising Compact Smith_Advise_2021.docx
2 before May 1 FYP Draft Smith_FYP_2022_DraftX.docx
2 May 1 FYP Final Smith_FYP_2022_Final.docx
3 Oct 1 Prediss Proposal Smith_PreDissProp_2022.docx
4 April 1 Predissertation Draft Smith_PreDiss_2023_DraftX.docx
4 May 10 Prediss Final Smith_PreDiss_2023_Final.docx
4 May 10 Prediss Approval Smith_PreDiss_2023_AppB.pdf
5 Nov 1 Theme Essay Draft Smith_Essay_2024_DraftX.docx
5 Dec 1 Theme Essay Final Smith_Essay_2022_Final.docx
5 Dec 1 Theme Essay Approval Smith_Essay_2022_AppC.pdf
6 April 15 Prospectus Long Draft Smith_PropLong_2023_DraftX.docx
6 May 15 Prospectus Long Final Smith_PropLong_2023_Final.docx
6 May 15 Prospectus Approval Smith_PropLong_2023_AppD.pdf
6 June 1 Propsecus Short Final Smith_PropShort_2023_Final.docxf
6+ March 15 Dissertation Smith_Diss_2025_Final.docx
6+ March 15 Dissertation Approval Smith_Diss_2025_AppE.pdf

Appendix H

Sample advising compacts

Template advising compact for the Baskin-Sommers lab

Template advising compact for the McCarthy lab