Psychology Cognitive and Brain Sciences Ph.D. Assessment Plan

Mission Statement

Experimental psychology is a basic component of any academic program in psychology. The Experimental Program is committed to quality training of students at the graduate and undergraduate levels and the production of high quality research. It is our goal to offer courses and training in the specific areas represented by our faculty research. We strive to train our students to become researchers and/or teachers in experimental psychology. Since our faculty members are expected to maintain active research laboratories, we provide a fertile environment for graduate and undergraduate students to participate and learn about the research process. It is our purpose to provide masters and doctoral graduate students with extensive background in several basic areas of research, to train them so that they can plan and execute original research in the field and expose them, 'in depth' to a concentrated area of research. These actions are intended to prepare masters graduates for advanced study and turn doctoral graduates into viable candidates for academic positions and successful applicants for external funding.

Student Learning Outcomes

1. Students will be able to demonstrate a thorough knowledge of basic theory and methods that forms the foundation of experimental psychology.

Student Performance Indicators
  • Students will complete written comprehensive exams in areas chosen by each of the experimental faculty.
Assessment Method
  • Each faculty member will evaluate and submit an assessment reflecting each student's performance on the comprehensive exams.

2. Students will be able to demonstrate a working knowledge of ethical treatment of human and/or animal subjects in experimental psychology.

Student Performance Indicators
  • All students will earn certification via an online human subjects (IRB) ethics course.
Assessment Method
  • Faculty will monitor completion of IRB ethics training.

3. Students will be able to demonstrate a working knowledge of the design, methods and procedures for experimental psychology.

Student Performance Indicators
  • Students will prepare and submit a thesis proposal.
  • Students will defend their Master's thesis.
Assessment Method
  • Master's thesis proposals will be evaluated by each student's committee.
  • Student's defense of final Master's thesis will be evaluated by student's master committee.

4. Students will be able to demonstrate skills and knowledge needed to independently recognize meaningful lines of inquiry, and to independently design and conduct experimentation in Psychology

Student Performance Indicators
  • Students will submit a dissertations proposal.
  • Students will submit and defend their dissertation.
Assessment Method
  • Students' committees will evaluate and approval of PhD dissertation proposal.
  • Student's dissertations and defense will be assessed by student's committee to consider acceptance of final PhD dissertation.

5. Students will be able to demonstrate the skills and ethics needed to effectively teach courses in psychology to undergraduate level students.

Student Performance Indicators
  • Students will complete Teaching Assistant and/or Course Instructor assignments within the Psychology department.
Assessment Method
  • Evaluated by students using student evaluation forms submitted each semester. Performance also evaluated by the instructor of the course (if not the graduate student).

6. Students will be able to demonstrate the skills and knowledge required to successfully compete for external funds and employment.

Student Performance Indicators
  • Students will compete for grant funding.
  • Graduates will secure employment in a field related to their area of emphasis.
Assessment Method
  • Record each student's grant/fellowship awards.
  • Records for post degree employment placement.

7. Students will be able to demonstrate skills and knowledge needed to present scientific research in a professional and efficient manner.

Student Performance Indicators
  • Students/Graduates will submit Master's thesis and PhD dissertation abstracts for presentation of talks and/or posters at professional meetings as a first author.
  • Following completion of Master's Thesis and PhD Dissertation students/graduates will submit manuscripts to peer reviewed journals as a first or co-author.
Assessment Method
  • Faculty will evaluate theses and dissertation presentations, monitor students' acceptance for presentations at professional meetings.
  • Faculty will monitor record of acceptance of manuscripts submitted to peer reviewed journals as a first or co-author.