Applied Social Psychology Graduate Handbook - PhD

2020-2021 Handbook

Introductory Remarks

Graduate study in Applied Social Psychology at the University of Guelph is designed to prepare students for applied research careers in a wide range of settings. Our program is best suited to those students who wish to investigate social processes and problems of significance to the general community and to specific groups, for example, problems in the areas of aging, health, law, inequality, community services, work, minorities, ethnic groups, and gender. At the PhD level, students will conduct research that makes a significant contribution to applied social psychology, continue to gain community experience (if desired), and continue to gain breadth and depth of knowledge through the qualifying exam and the remaining courses in theory, methods, and applied social content.  

 

Area-specific Typical Progress Sequence PHD AS

Please note that your program may vary depending on the thesis research project. For example, some projects will have extensive and time-consuming data collection stages, whereas others may take extra time at the analysis stage. These guidelines are typical for students continuing from the MA program at the U of Guelph. Be sure to work out goals and a timeline in consultation with your advisor and to update these in collaboration with your advisor every semester. Refer to the latest 5-year Course Rotation schedule document in your planning.

Course scheduling

PSYC*6380 (Multivariate Statistics for Psychological Research) and PSYC*6840 (Program Evaluation) are typically offered every year in the Winter. The typical instructors are:

• PSYC*6380 Ian Newby-Clark
• PSYC*6840 TBD

PSYC*6900 (Philosophy and History of Psychology) is typically offered every two years on even academic years in the Winter (e.g., W18, W20, W22). PSYC*6920 (Applied Social Psychology and Interventions) is also offered every two years on odd years in the Fall (e.g., F19, F21, F23). The typical instructors are: 

• PSYC*6900 Jeffery Yen
• PSYC*6920 Paula Barata, Benjamin Giguère

PSYC*6930 (Community, Culture & Global Citizenship) is offered every two years on even years in the Fall (e.g., F18, F20, F22), and is typically taught by Saba Safdar.

PSYC*6910 (Critical Approaches to Applied Social Psychology) and PSYC*6950 (Qualitative Methods in Psychology) are typically offered every two years on odd academic years, and in the Winter and Fall respectively. The typical instructors are:

• PSYC*6910 Jeffery Yen, Kieran O’Doherty
• PSYC*6950 Kieran O’Doherty

PSYC*6472 (Practicum II) and PSYC*6473 (Practicum III) are offered every year. Please consult with the AS practicum coordinator for more information.

PSYC*6521 (Research Seminar I) and PSYC*6522 (Research Seminar II) can be arranged with a faculty supervisor during any term. Note that these are independent/reading courses. You must find a faculty member to act as a supervisor to register for these courses.

Typical progress sequence for PhD students (continuing from MA)

PhD Year 1
Semester 1 (7) Fall
Courses

• PSYC*6900 Philosophy and History of Psychology

One of the following:

o PSYC*6380 [0.50] Multivariate Statistics for Psychological Research
o PSYC*6950 [0.50] Qualitative Methods in Psychology

Attend Applied Social Speaker Series (Brown Bag) - all sessions, and present at least once per year. 

One of the following three core AS courses

o PSYC*6910 [0.50] Critical Approaches to Applied Social Psychology
o PSYC*6920 [0.50] Applied Social Psychology and Interventions
o PSYC*6930 [0.50] Community, Culture and Global Citizenship

Practicum

• Discuss with practicum coordinator

PhD thesis

• Draft(s) of ideas for proposals submitted to advisor

Qualifying exam (see QE examination section for more details)

• None

Advisor-independent research

• Seek out research opportunities with other faculty members than primary advisor(s) (if applicable, discuss with your primary advisor(s))

Scholarships

• Apply for OGS
• Apply for SSHRC or other Tri council scholarship 
• Other options may also available depending on your research topic search the web and discuss with your supervisor
• Make sure to inquire about deadlines very early in the semester.

Semester 2 (8) Winter

Courses

• One of the following three core AS courses (if not already completed)

o PSYC*6910 [0.50] Critical Approaches to Applied Social Psychology
o PSYC*6920 [0.50] Applied Social Psychology and Interventions
o PSYC*6930 [0.50] Community, Culture and Global Citizenship

Attend Applied Social Speaker Series (Brown Bag) - all sessions, and present at least once per year. 

• One elective course to be determined in consultation with the student's PhD Advisory Committee and approved by the Graduate Area Representative

Practicum

• PSYC*6472 Practicum II (if applicable, discuss with your primary advisor(s) and the practicum coordinator)

PhD thesis

• PhD thesis proposal defended (see PhD Thesis proposal section for more information)
• Form PhD thesis committee (no later than the 10th week of the 2nd semester)
• Initial PhD committee meeting

Qualifying exam (see QE examination section for more details)

• Form committee
• Meet with committee members to finalize topic of QE paper
• Discuss relevant literature

Advisor-independent research

• Seek out research opportunities with other faculty members than primary advisor(s) (if applicable, recommended for research stream, discuss with your primary advisor(s)) 

Scholarships

• Typically, none. However specialized scholarships opportunities can be found at various times.

Applied Social Speaker Series (Brown Bag)

• Students are expected to attend all sessions.
• Students are expected to present at least once a year.

Semester 3 (9) Summer

Courses

• Typically available optional courses

o PSYC*6521 [0.25] Research Seminar I
o PSYC*6522 [0.50] Research Seminar II

Practicum

• PSYC*6472 Practicum II (if applicable, discuss with your primary advisor(s) and the practicum coordinator)

PhD thesis

• PhD thesis proposal draft submitted to advisor and advisory committee (see PhD Thesis proposal section for more information)

Qualifying exam (see QE examination section for more details)

• Submit proposal for paper to committee
• Meet with committee
• Obtain approval of proposal
• Submit relevant forms

Advisor-independent research

• Seek out research opportunities with other faculty members than primary advisor(s) (if applicable, discuss with your primary advisor(s)) 

Scholarships

• Revise OGS, SSHRC and any other grant application

*Important departmental milestones to achieve during the degree (full-time registration only): PhD must have their approved thesis proposal: 3rd semester. If the milestone is not met it will result in a “Some concerns” on the student’s progress report.

PhD year 2

Semester 4 (10) Fall

Courses

• One of the following three core AS courses (if not already completed)

o PSYC*6910 [0.50] Critical Approaches to Applied Social Psychology
o PSYC*6920 [0.50] Applied Social Psychology and Interventions
o PSYC*6930 [0.50] Community, Culture and Global Citizenship

Attend Applied Social Speaker Series (Brown Bag) - all sessions, and present at least once per year. 

• One elective course to be determined in consultation with the student's PhD Advisory Committee and approved by the Graduate Area Representative (if not already completed)

Practicum

• Discuss with practicum coordinator if interested in doing a third practicum (discuss with your primary advisor(s))

PhD dissertation

• PhD proposal Examination
• Ethics for PhD research (if applicable; note the REB review process typically takes 2 to 6 weeks)

Qualifying exam (see QE examination section for more details)

• Submit QP to committee
• Submit research dossier
• Advisor to submit evaluation form

Advisor-independent research

• Continue research opportunities with other faculty members than primary advisor(s) (if applicable, discuss with your primary advisor(s))

Scholarships

• Apply for OGS
• Apply for SSHRC or other Tri council scholarship
• Other options may also available depending on your research topic search the web and discuss with your supervisor

Semester 5 (11) Winter

Courses

• Typically course requirements are completed at this time.
• One of the following three core AS courses (if not already completed)

o PSYC*6910 [0.50] Critical Approaches to Applied Social Psychology
o PSYC*6920 [0.50] Applied Social Psychology and Interventions
o PSYC*6930 [0.50] Community, Culture and Global Citizenship

Attend Applied Social Speaker Series (Brown Bag) - all sessions, and present at least once per year. 

• One elective course to be determined in consultation with the student's PhD Advisory

Committee and approved by the Graduate Area Representative (if not already completed)

Practicum

• PSYC*6473 Practicum III (Depending on options for practicum)

PhD thesis

• PhD data collection /analysis
• And elaboration of follow up research (if applicable)

Qualifying exam (see QE examination section for more details)

• Oral examination

Advisor-independent research

• Continue research opportunities with other faculty members than primary advisor(s) (if applicable, discuss with your primary advisor(s))

Scholarships

• Typically, none. However specialized scholarships opportunities can be found at various times.

Applied Social Speaker Series (Brown Bag)

• Students are expected to attend all sessions.
• Students are expected to present at least once a year.

*Important departmental milestones to achieve during the degree (full-time registration only): PhD must have qualifying exam completed: 5th semester. If the milestone is not met it will result in a “Some concerns” on the student’s progress report.

Semester 6 (12) Summer

Courses

• Typically course requirements are completed at this time. 

Practicum

• PSYC*6473 Practicum III (Depending on options for practicum)

PhD dissertation

• PhD data collection /analysis
• And elaboration or pursuit of follow up research (if applicable)

Qualifying exam (see QE examination section for more details)

• Completed at this time.

Advisor-independent research

• Continue research opportunities with other faculty members than primary advisor(s) (if applicable, discuss with your primary advisor(s))

Scholarships

• Revise OGS, SSHRC and any other grant application

PhD year 3

Semester 7 (13) Fall

Courses

• Typically course requirements are completed at this time. 

o Attend Applied Social Speaker Series (Brown Bag) - all sessions, and present at least once per year. 

Practicum

• Practicum are not recommended in the last year of your degree.

PhD Thesis

• Completion of follow up research (if applicable)
• PhD data collection/analysis
• Thesis writing

Qualifying exam

• Completed at this time.

Advisor-independent research

• Continue research opportunities with other faculty members than primary advisor(s) (if applicable, discuss with your primary advisor(s))

Scholarships

• Consider applying for postdoctoral fellowships
• If applicable:

o Apply for OGS
o Apply for SSHRC or other Tri council scholarship
o Other options may also available depending on your research topic search the web and discuss with your supervisor

Semester 8 (14) Winter

Courses

• Typically course requirements are completed at this time.

Attend Applied Social Speaker Series (Brown Bag) - all sessions, and present at least once per year. 

Practicum

• Practicum are not recommended in the last year of your degree.

PhD dissertation

• Completion of follow up research (if applicable)
• PhD data analysis
• Dissertation writing

Qualifying exam

• Completed at this time.

Advisor-independent research

• Continue research opportunities with other faculty members than primary advisor(s) (if applicable, recommended for research stream, discuss with your primary advisor(s)) 

Scholarships

• Consider applying for postdoctoral fellowships

Applied Social Speaker Series (Brown Bag)

• Students are expected to attend all sessions.
• Students are expected to present at least once a year.

Semester 9 (15) Summer

Courses

• Typically course requirements are completed at this time.

Practicum

• Practicum are not recommended in the last year of your degree.

PhD dissertation

• Dissertation writing
• PhD thesis examination/defense

Qualifying exam

• Completed at this time.

Advisor-independent research

• Continue research opportunities with other faculty members than primary advisor(s) (if applicable, recommended for research stream, discuss with your primary advisor(s))

Scholarships

• None

Jobs and/or postdoc

• Draft job application materials (if applicable)
• Draft application for postdoctoral fellowships (if applicable)

*Important departmental milestones to achieve during the degree (full-time registration only): PhD must have defended their dissertation: 15th semester. If the milestone is not met it will result in a “Some concerns” on the student’s progress report.

Advisory Committee Membership

See Chapter II, heading Student Program, subheading Establishment of the Advisory Committee 

See also Chapter IV, heading Doctor of Philosophy, subheading Advising

See also Chapter IV, heading Doctor of Philosophy, subheading Department Regulations

 

Look for "Area-specific advisory committee membership" below CONTENTS for area-specific guidance if it exists. 

Area-specific Advisory Committee Membership PHD AS

Additional regulations specific to the Applied Social Psychology PhD program:

Typically, the advisory committee must consist of a minimum of three graduate faculty members. At least one of the members of the committee beyond the advisor will be from the University of Guelph AS graduate faculty. This committee should be formed no later than the 10th week of the student’s 2nd semester.

After the committee is formed, it is recommended that the student, their Advisor, and the committee members meet to discuss the expectations for that particular committee (e.g., does committee plan to have regular meetings, when does the student expect to have a proposal meeting).

Conflict with Advisor or Advisory Committee

See chapter III General information, heading Policy on Responsibilities of Advisors, Advisory Committees and Graduate Students and Graduate Student-Advisor Mediation Procedures, subheading Dispute Resolution Mechanisms (with flowchart)

See also Chapter IV, heading Doctor of Philosophy, subheading Department Regulations

 

Look for "Area-specific conflict with advisor or advisory committee" below CONTENTS for area-specific guidance if it exists.

Transfer of Advisors PHD AS

See Chapter IV, heading Doctor of Philosophy, subheading Department Regulations

Students are assigned a primary advisor (or co-advisors) upon admission. In rare cases a student may wish to change his or her primary advisor (or co-advisors). If a student wishes to change his or her primary advisor (or co-advisors) the student must notify the Area Graduate Program Coordinator. The coordinator will provide assistance to the student who seeks to transfer. In those cases where the advisor is also the Area Graduate Program Coordinator, the student should contact the departmental graduate studies coordinator.

Please note that transfers will be at the discretion of the faculty member(s) being asked to become the student’s primary advisor (or co-advisors).

If a faculty member agrees to become the student’s new primary advisor (or co-advisor), then typically a new advisory committee will be constituted under the direction of the newly appointed advisor.  Normally, at least one of the members of the existing advisory committee will continue as a member of the new advisory committee.  The decision to continue as an advisory committee member is at the discretion of the faculty member.

Look for "area-specific transfer of advisors" below CONTENTS for area-specific guidance if it exists.

Examination Committee Membership

See Chapter IV, heading Doctor of Philosophy, subheading Department Regulations

The student’s advisor in responsible for establishing the Examination Committee. It is important that the student does not directly contact the External Examiner. Once the student has an initial draft of the thesis ready for evaluation by their Advisory Committee, the advisor should begin establishing the Examination Committee.

1. They should forward a list of three potential External Examiners to the Graduate Secretary who will verify that the examiners are not currently on record with graduate studies (i.e., are not already taking part in the University of Guelph committees).

2. Provided that the Graduate Secretary and Advisor cannot identify any conflicts of interest, the Advisor will informally contact externals, verifying with them their availability, and that they are not planning to be serve on any other University of Guelph committees before the Final Oral Examination.

3. The Advisor will then identify the remaining committee members, verifying that each does not have any joint projects with the External Examiner.

4. The full list of proposed Examination Committee members should then be forwarded to the Department Chair (CC’ing the Graduate Secretary), for formal approval.

5. Once the External Examiner has been formally approved, the Advisor will obtain the examiners address, phone number, email address, availability for the defense over several weeks, and whether they are planning to attend the Final Oral Examination in person or by video conference.

**All members of the Examination Committee must receive a copy of the final draft of the PhD Thesis (i.e., which include the corrections requested by the Advisory Committee) at least one month (four weeks) before the date of the PhD Thesis Public Lecture & Examination.

Look for "Area-specific examination committee creation" below CONTENTS for area-specific guidance if it exists. 

Qualifying Exam

See Chapter IV, heading Doctor of Philosophy, subheading Qualifying exam

See Chapter IV, heading Doctor of Philosophy, subheading Department Regulations

Department of Psychology Form: Approval of Qualifying Examination Paper Proposal

Once the examination/defense has been setup by the Graduate Program Assistant, the Chair is responsible for following each program's specific process for the complete examination experience (e.g. questioning process from public attendees and examining committee, avoidance of asking own questions, following the time requirements, etc.). This process needs to be followed as precisely as possible to ensure fairness across all students within the program.

However, it is possible for the student and/or advisor to request a modification or accommodation to the process. All requests must be made to the Examination/Defense Chair who is responsible for ensuring that the process is fair to all students. Accommodations are possible as long as these are managed by the Defense/Examination Chair.  If you have a defense/examination coming up and would like to discuss an issue related to the process, please discuss this with your Defense/Examination Chair with as much advance notice as possible to allow this person to discuss with relevant others if necessary (e.g. Department Chair, Grad Studies) and/or to arrange the modifications.

Look for "Area-specific qualifying exam" below CONTENTS for area-specific guidance if it exists. 

Area-specific Qualifying Exam PHD AS

Additional regulations specific to the Applied Social Psychology PhD program:

The Applied Social PhD Qualifying Examination will take place no later than the 5th semester. Its three broad goals are to demonstrate the student's knowledge of the subject matter of Applied Social Psychology, ability to integrate material derived from his/her studies, and ability and promise in research.

Qualifying Examination Committee
Graduate Studies Requirements

The Examination Committee, appointed by the chair or director of the academic unit concerned, consists of five members:

The Chair/Director of the academic unit (or designate) or the Graduate Coordinator, who acts as chair of the Examination Committee (see Note 1)
Two members of the graduate faculty who are not members of the Advisory Committee (see Note 2)
Two members of the Advisory Committee
Normally, at least one of these members must be from outside the department in which the student is registered (see Note 3)

NOTE 1: The Chair is responsible for all arrangements (setting of meetings, initiation of communication with/between committee members and the student, decisions about format of communication, etc.). The Chair may not be on the Advisory Committee.

NOTE 2: For students in Applied Social Psychology, one member should be primarily from the AS area; it is strongly recommended that the other member should not be from the AS area.

NOTE 3: The outside member may be a member of the Advisory Committee.

Typical Committee for an Applied Social Student

Chair of Department, Graduate Coordinator, or designate
Advisor
Outside member of Advisory Committee
Applied Social area member not on Advisory Committee
Non-Applied Social area member not on Advisory Committee
It should be noted that the Qualifying Examination is an examination by the department, not by the Advisory Committee or the AS area. Therefore, the composition of the Qualifying Examination Committee should not be based on the proposed dissertation topic or the topic of the Qualifying Examination paper.

Qualifying Examination Components
The Qualifying Examination in Applied Social Psychology consists of two components.

1.  The Qualifying Examination Paper (QP):

1.1 Process of Development

As early as possible following the constitution of the student's Advisory Committee, the student will confer with her/his Advisor about the Qualifying Examination Committee's composition and the proposed QP topic, and will then submit the Qualifying Examination Committee Appointment form to the Chair of the Department. Following approval of the composition of the Qualifying Examination Committee, the student will meet individually with the members of the Committee to finalize the topic of the paper and discuss relevant literatures. 

The student then submits a proposal for the Qualifying Paper's content and structure (2-5 pages plus list of references) to the Qualifying Examination Committee, and meets with the Committee to receive comments and suggestions. The outline should clearly specify the topic and the scope of the paper and identify the literature(s) that will be reviewed (brief description(s), some examples of references) (see 3. under Criteria for Evaluation). It may also include a brief preliminary statement about possible critiques and issues (see 1. and 2. under Criteria for Evaluation). Once the Committee approves the proposal, the members sign the approval form and the student may commence work on the QP. It is recommended that a tentative date for submission of the paper (to be within 3 months of the proposal’s approval) and the oral examination (to be within 2 weeks of the paper’s submission) be set when the committee approves the proposal. The paper must be submitted within three months of approval, but the tentative deadline can be moved as long as it continues to meet the 3 months timeline.

1.2 Focus and Goals

The QP can focus on a topic that is unrelated to the dissertation or it can focus on the broader literature related to the proposed dissertation topic. It cannot be a review of the literature that relates most closely to the proposed dissertation topic. In other words, the QP cannot be transferred directly into the dissertation's literature review.

The student will submit a paper that demonstrates the ability to integrate theory, research, and/or practice within the field of applied social psychology. The paper may address theoretical, metatheoretical, methodological, epistemological, historical and professional issues as appropriate. It should include a review and critical analysis of the literature and directions for future research in the area. The paper should be deemed worthy of consideration for publication in a reputable journal.

1.3 Criteria for Evaluation (Expectations)

  1. Conceptual & Integrative Skills: Demonstrates a thorough grasp of the subject matter and insightfully integrates theory, research, and/or practice. Generates novel but solidly grounded ideas and concepts which are extrapolated from and extend the established literature.
  2. Critical Analysis: Presents concise and original critical analysis based on sound logical and/or empirical foundations. Identifies technical, conceptual, and procedural flaws and recommends appropriate remedies.
  3. Coverage of Research Literature: Summarizes and references a wide and representative cross-section of the relevant literature and presents this literature concisely.

Each of the three criteria must be addressed acceptably.

Minimum expected length is 30 pages and maximum length is 40 pages of text (i.e., excluding references).

1.4 Submission

Submission will be by electronic or hard copy, depending on the preferences of the committee members.

The QP must be submitted no later than 3 months from the date the Qualifying Examination Committee approved the proposal. (Submission will be by electronic or hard copy depending on the preferences of the Committee members.) Failure to submit the QP by this deadline will result in a grade of "Fail." Deviation of the QP from the proposal, if not approved by the Qualifying Examination Committee, may also result in a grade of "Fail."

The oral examination must be scheduled no later than two weeks after the QP is submitted to the Qualifying Examination Committee. 

The Qualifying Examination Committee will make a decision regarding the acceptability of the QP within 1 week of its submission.

1.5 Evaluation

Members of the Qualifying Examination Committee will submit their written comments and grades to the Chair of the Committee. If all members (or all but one) submit a grade of "Pass," the Chair will convey this decision to the student and committee members together with a synthesis of the comments. The Committee will not meet, the paper will be deemed "accepted," and the Chair will schedule the Oral Examination.

If there is more than one Abstention or vote of Fail, a grade of “Fail” will be assigned to the QP.  The Chair will convey this to the Committee and to the student.  The Chair will convene a meeting of the Committee with the student to discuss plans for submission of a new QP. The new deadline will be negotiated with the student and will take into account the extent of the required revisions, but must be set within 3 months of this meeting.  The new oral examination will be scheduled 2 weeks after the revised paper is due.   

NOTE: Members of the Examination Committee may advise the student towards completion of the written paper. However, members of the Committee will not comment on or review drafts of the written paper itself (or of the proposal). One of the goals of this qualifying examination component is that the student write a major paper without substantive feedback from any member of the Examination Committee.

1.6 Oral Examination

Within two weeks of the student’s submission of the QP, the Committee Chair will schedule the oral examination by members of the Qualifying Examination Committee. The oral exam will be held in camera, with only the student and committee members attending. The student will not be required to present an oral summary of the paper to the Committee. Instead, the Chair will call on each Committee member to ask his/her questions, with questions continuing until they are exhausted but no later than 2 hours after the oral began. The quality of the student's answers forms the basis for the Committee members' evaluation of the oral. The oral exam is judged a pass or fail by a majority vote. Abstentions count as "Fail."

In cases where the written QE was passed, but the student failed the oral exam, ‘revisions’ (preparation for another oral exam) should usually be expected to be completed within a matter of weeks. In exceptional circumstances students can be given up to a maximum of 3 months to prepare for another oral exam.

NOTE: A grade of "Pass" on the Qualifying Examination Paper requires a grade of "Pass" on both the Paper and the Oral Examination. A second failure on either the paper or the oral examination results in a recommendation to withdraw from the program.

 2. The Research Component:

It is expected that all students will avail themselves of opportunities to conduct, not just design, research during the course of their graduate studies. These opportunities will arise from the research seminars they take for course credit as well as from other research experiences, for example, involvement in a Research Centre such as the Live Work Well Research Centre or The Research Shop.

2.1 Submission

In consultation with the Advisor, the student will submit a Research dossier to the Examination Committee that includes a letter documenting the research that the student has done and the competencies that he or she has achieved. The dossier will include appendices that contain manuscripts, technical reports, publications, and other materials that testify to the quantity and quality of the student's research accomplishments. In the case of research projects that have involved any collaborators, the student will identify his/her unique contribution to the planning, design, implementation, analysis, and reporting of the research.

Students' dossiers will likely reflect their choice of streams in the program. Students in the scientist-practitioner stream will also submit letters from practicum supervisors that comment on the research completed under their supervision. Students may also include letters from other individuals (e.g., research supervisors, co-authors) commenting on their research contributions if they so wish.

Note that all students are expected to submit this dossier and all students must include evidence of research that is in addition to their MA thesis. The nature and extent of such evidence will vary; it should be sufficient to demonstrate that the student is capable of carrying out research beyond the MA level.

The Research Dossier will be submitted with the QP if not before.

The Research component also requires the completion of the form "PhD Advisory Committee Qualifying Examination Research Evaluation" by the student's Advisor indicating that the student is capable of carrying out research at the Ph.D. level.

2.2. Evaluation

It is assumed that the student and the Advisor will have attended to this component from the time of the student's entry into the program and that all students will present a dossier that is at least adequate. However, if the Committee judges that the Dossier is insufficient (i.e., a Fail), the student can make a second attempt to pass the component by taking up to three months (depending on how much time is available before the Qualifying Examination must be completed) to document additional research capabilities and/or experience. A second failure on this component results in a recommendation to withdraw from the program.

2.3 Overall Evaluation

The Examination Committee will make a decision about the overall grade (Pass/Fail) for the Qualifying Examination immediately following the Oral Examination on the Qualifying Paper. An overall grade of "Pass" requires a grade of "Pass" on each of the components of the examination (QP and Research).

See University Guidelines for information concerning appeal procedures and procedures in the event of an overall grade of "Fail."

2.4 Overview: Qualifying Examination Steps and Dates

NOTE: the time line given here is based on the expectation that the Qualifying Examination will normally be completed by the end of the 4th semester. It is designed to ensure that students will have no difficulty meeting the Graduate School deadline for completion (end of the 5th semester). [Dates in brackets refer to semesters for students entering the Program in September.]

Form Committee; following approval by Dept. Chair of Committee composition and submission of Committee Appointment form to grad secretary, meet individually with Committee members to finalize topic of Qualifying Examination Paper and discuss relevant literatures; inform AS area members.
When: by end of second semester. [Winter, Year I]

Submit proposal for paper to Committee, meet with Committee, obtain approval of proposal; submit approval form and copy of proposal to grad secretary.
When: End of second month, third semester [Spring, Year I]

Submit QP  to Committee.
When: within 3 months of approval of outline of paper by Committee (end of first month, 4th semester) [Fall, Year II]

Submit research dossier; Advisor to submit Research Evaluation form
When: With paper if not before.

Committee decision re acceptability of paper.
When: within 1 week of QP submission.

Oral examination.
When: (normally) within two weeks of QP submission. (end of 3rd month, 4thsemester) [Fall/Winter Year II]

Decision about overall grade for Qualifying Examination.
When: immediately following Oral Exam (end of 4th semester, Fall, Year II) (end of 5th semester at the latest) [Winter, Year II]

Area-specific Qualifying Exam: Research Dossier

The research dossier showcases the doctoral student’s accomplishments and skills in the research and professional practice domains. By way of summary and reflection, students write a statement that communicates the focus and goals of their research, areas of interest with respect to content and methods, and dissemination activities. Contract, consulting, and practicum work should also be included in the statement, with commentary about their significance for personal and community development.  

In this dossier students are expected to reflect on the ways their past coursework, research activities, and community practice experiences have shaped them as scholars and practitioners, and prepared them for their career plans. Ideally, the statement will attest to formative influences that go beyond the formal requirements they met for their undergraduate and graduate degrees, and it will also express an emergent identity as an applied social doctoral candidate.

Since it is recognized that students in the Applied Social graduate program will differ in the emphasis they place on academic and applied research, it is incumbent on the student to write a statement that informs the Qualifying Committee of their interests and goals, and supports it with relevant documents and letters from mentors, clients, collaborators, and/or field supervisors

Basic research skills & knowledge

The dossier will have a section that testifies to the student’s acquisition and mastery of basic research skills. It will inform the Qualifying Examination committee’s understanding of the theoretical underpinnings and social psychological questions addressed by the research. It may also include information about future research directions to be pursued in a postdoctoral or employment setting.

Application skills & knowledge

The dossier will also have a section that testifies to the student’s acquisition and mastery of professional or scientist-practitioner knowledge and skills. Practicum deliverables and non-proprietary products of contracts and consulting activities can be featured, along with explanations of their relevance to applied social psychology and to the understanding and amelioration of social problems and the promotion of social justice. The term application is broadly defined as any activity in which skills and knowledge associated with the process of research are used to address a specific problem, issue or concern.

In sum application covers any direct or indirect exchange between research producers (e.g. university researchers) and research users (including professionals or others whose work can benefit from research findings).

Content

The research dossier includes the following elements:

  1. A statement, which summarizes past basic research and applied experiences, including skills and knowledge gained, and outlines goals and expectations for the remainder of the student’s PhD and beyond. The strongly recommended length is 2 pages single-spaced. The statement can be a maximum of 3 pages single-spaced.

Note that if you have much past basic research and/or applied experiences and/or goals and expectations you will have to select which ones to focus on in this statement and may have to leave some out. In such cases, you are encouraged to select those experiences, which most reflect your vision of yourself as a researcher.

  1. A letter from your primary PhD advisor, which must be submitted directly to the committee.
  2. One or more letter(s) from someone who can attest to past/current experience in an applied setting (e.g., from a past practicum supervisor), which must be submitted directly to the committee.
  3. Evidence of research experiences, submitted as an appendix, such as
  • Certificates from seminars or workshops attended on special topics tied to basic research skills (e.g., Summer camp organized by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology)
  • Testimonials of research experiences (e.g., additional letters from a different person than the one listed in point 2 above who can attest to your past/current experiences)
  • Outlines of posters presented at professional conferences (if they are submitted you may provide the abstract instead of the outline) about basic research
  • Papers presented or submitted at professional conference about basic research
  • Manuscripts under review about basic research
  • Publications about basic research
  • Please do not include work in progress manuscripts or plan of study for dissertation
  1. Evidence of application experiences, submitted as an appendix, such as
  • Reports or manuals produced during a practicum
  • Journal logs that outline applied experiences that the students have maintained (e.g., highlighting how a student has negotiated some of the challenges in conducting group based interventions)
  • Certificates from seminars or workshops attended on special topics tied to applied research skills
  • Testimonials of applied experience (e.g., additional letters from a different person than point 3 above that can attest to your past/current experience in an applied setting, such as from a practicum supervisor)
  • Papers presented in an applied context (i.e., presentation given that focused on application as previously described)
  • Outlines of posters presented at professional conferences that focused on applied research (if they are submitted you may provide the abstract instead of the outline)
  • Papers presented or submitted at professional conference that focused on applied research
  • Presentation at the Applied Social Area Speaker series that focused on applied research
  • Manuscripts about applied research that are under review
  • Publications about applied research
  1. Evidence of research dissemination, submitted as an appendix, such as
  • Outlines of posters presented at professional conferences (if they are only submitted you may provide the abstract instead of the outline)
  • Papers presented or submitted at professional conference
  • Papers presented at the Applied Social Area Speaker series
  • Manuscripts under review in peer-reviewed journals
  • Peer-review publications

Note: Do NOT submit your MA thesis or your honours thesis. These have been completed for the fulfillment of requirements of a previous degree and cannot be “re-used” here. Publications, papers and/or posters derived from your MA thesis or honours thesis are acceptable.

  1. If the student wishes to submit other documents in an appendix s/he should discuss this with the committee.

Distinguishing basic research and application

Although research often has either a basic or an applied orientation, in many cases the distinction between the two types is not completely clear-cut. Thus, although for organizational purposes the research and applied aspects are described separately above, the student and the committee will recognize the potential overlap between these aspects when reviewing the dossier. Some elements of the dossier may be relevant to both the basic research and the applied experiences of students.

Curriculum vitae

The research dossier must also contain the most recent version of the CV of the student submitted in appendix.

Submission of Research Dossier

Students must submit their research dossier along with their qualifying paper at the latest. Students are encouraged to submit their research dossier in electronic format.

Evaluation of Research Dossier

The dossier is to be considered by the Qualifying Exam committee in their assessment of the exam. It does not, however, constitute a stand-alone element of the examination. Students cannot pass or fail the examination based on the dossier.

Thesis Proposal

See Chapter IV, heading Doctor of Philosophy, subheading Department Regulations

Department of Psychology Form: Approval of PhD Thesis Proposal

Look for "Area-specific thesis proposal" below CONTENTS for area-specific guidance if it exists. 

Area-specific thesis proposal PHD AS

All PhD students of the Applied Social Psychology program are expected to submit a Thesis research proposal to their advisory committee and get the committee’s approval before proceeding with their Thesis research work.

There are actually many steps in developing your proposed program of work for your PhD – but they will vary with the project, the student and the advisor.  You will need to work out an individual timeline with your advisor regarding the steps needed to get your proposal done

Normally the proposal will contain the following sections:

  1. Introduction
  2. Method
  3. Analytical approach
  4. Expected results (in the case of hypothesis driven work)
  5. References
  6. Appendices

Appendices normally contain:

  • Materials for the intended study (e.g., questionnaires to be used)
  • A schedule of the research program that the candidate will follow, including a sequence of milestones and objectives.
  • Other relevant information at the discretion of the student

Please note that in some cases the schedule will involve an update of the proposed Thesis work after one or more of the proposed studies have been conducted.

Proposals length vary can vary, most are typically 25 to 50 pages in length, excluding references and appendices. Check with your advisor. Proposals should follow the most recent APA formatting guidelines.

Typically, students will submit multiple drafts of their proposals to their advisor prior to submitting it to their committee. Students should ensure to plan ahead.

A minimum of two weeks will be allowed for any Advisory Committee member, including the advisor, to evaluate any work submitted to them.

When the PhD candidate’s Advisor has deemed that the candidate’s proposal is ready to be circulated to the committee the student will send an electronic copy to members of the advisory committee.

Students are encouraged to review the Department of Psychology Statistical Methods in Theses: Guidelines and Explanations with their committee (if applicable).

Once the committee has read the proposal, a meeting of the advisory committee will be scheduled to hold a proposal examination. Typically, the examination consists of an oral presentation by the student summarizing the proposed Thesis (approximately 20 minutes) followed by questions from the Examination Committee based on the research proposal. Evaluation of the proposal will be done holistically. Numeric grades are not required; instead the work is reported as either satisfactory or unsatisfactory.

The proposal should strive to evince critical and creative thinking skills, literacy skills and communication skills and a global understanding. Proposals must be professional and adhere to the highest ethical standards. Approval of the Thesis proposal also entails consideration of the feasibility of the study in terms of time limitations, expenses, and availability of participants, as well as its theoretical and applied value.

Students should note that as stated in the graduate calendar “The thesis is expected to be a significant contribution to knowledge in its field and the candidate must indicate in what ways it is a contribution. The thesis must demonstrate mature scholarship and critical judgement on the part of the candidate and it must indicate an ability to express oneself in a satisfactory literary style. Approval of the thesis is taken to imply that it is judged to be sufficiently meritorious to warrant publication in reputable scholarly media in the field.”

Advisory Committee Approval of the Thesis and Submission to Examination Committee

See Chapter IV, heading Doctor of Philosophy, subheading Thesis

See Chapter IV, heading Doctor of Philosophy, subheading Department Regulations

Once you are close to having a draft of your thesis prepared, you should follow the procedures below.
 

1. When the PhD candidate’s Advisor has deemed that the candidate’s thesis draft is satisfactory, the Advisor will provide an email to the student indicating that the thesis is satisfactory and ready for submission to the Advisory Committee members for evaluation. At this point:

  1. The advisor will notify the Graduate Program Assistant that the thesis is being evaluated by the advisory committee, allowing the Graduate Program Assistant to prepare necessary forms and provide additional instructions to all.
  2. The advisor will begin the process of forming the examination committee (see detailed instructions below in the section titled PhD Examination Committee Creation). Note that the student must NOT have any contact with the External Examiner.
  3. The student shall provide an electronic copy of the thesis to each member of the Advisory Committee and request email receipt to ensure that the Advisory committee members have received the thesis in a timely fashion. A minimum of two weeks will be allowed for Advisory Committee members to evaluate the thesis.
  4. The student will review and implement the Electronic Formatting Requirements for theses provided on the Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies website.

2. When an Advisory Committee member has read the draft of the thesis, he/she is required to complete an Evaluation of Draft of Thesis form (a departmental form prepared by and obtained from the Graduate Program Assistant) to provide feedback on the thesis and indicate whether or not the thesis is ready for defense. This form should also indicate whether edits are requested pre-defense or post. The Evaluation of Draft of Thesis form will be submitted to the student with a copy to the candidateís Advisor. Normally, this feedback includes a number of changes designed to improve the thesis prior to the defense. The student then considers the recommendations in the evaluation forms, and, in consultation with the Advisor, makes changes specified by the committee members. Note that these changes may be done quickly or take a substantial amount of time (e.g., days or weeks). Consequently, students should remember to budget sufficient time for these revisions.

3. If necessary, the student will submit an electronic copy of the corrected thesis to each Advisory Committee member. The Advisory Committee members will typically review the revised draft within two weeks.

4. Following this, the Advisory Committee members will indicate whether the thesis is ready for defense by signing the Summary of Advice to Student form (a Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies form) and submitting it to the Graduate Program Assistant (who makes a copy for the student). All members should sign the same Summary of Advice form.

5. Once required edits have been addressed as per the committee membersí Evaluation of Draft of Thesis forms, the student should immediately send an electronic copy (PDF) of the thesis to the Graduate Program Assistant for distribution to the Final Oral Examination Committee members. If any member requires a hard copy, the student should also provide hard copies to the Graduate Program Assistant. The External Examiner must have a copy of the final thesis at least 1 month prior to the date of the Final Oral Examination.

6. Regardless of the recommendation of the PhD Advisory Committee, a student may submit a request for an examination. Requesting an examination without the approval of all of the members of the PhD Advisory committee is not recommended.

Also see the detailed guidelines on Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website.

Look for "Area-specific approval of thesis and submission to committee" below CONTENTS for area-specific guidance if it exists. 

Thesis Preparation

See Chapter IV, heading Doctor of Philosophy, subheading Thesis

See Chapter IV, heading Doctor of Philosophy, subheading Department Regulations

Look for "Area-specific thesis preparation" below CONTENTS for area-specific guidance if it exists. 

Thesis Preparation PHD AS

Additional regulations specific to the Applied Social Psychology PhD program:

Normally a PhD thesis will contain the following sections:

  1. Introduction
  2. For each study
    1. Overview of the study
    2. Method
    3. Results
    4. Discussion
  3. General discussion
  4. References
  5. Appendices

Appendices normally contain:

  • A copy of the REB certificate (if applicable)
  • Materials for the study(ies) (e.g., questionnaires that were used)
  • Other relevant information at the discretion of the student

During the preparation of the written thesis the student should be receiving feedback from the advisor as well as the advisory committee (what form that takes (e.g., drafts, meetings) will be up to each committee to determine). Students are encouraged to have a carefully planned out timeline for this process, as it will likely take longer than they expect.

Thesis length can be highly variable depending on the nature of the PhD thesis project; typically varying between 100 to 200 pages in length, excluding references and appendices. Students are strongly encouraged to discuss a plan of the structure of their thesis (including approximate length of the different sections) with their advisor prior to writing their thesis.

The style of the thesis (e.g., based on chapters; similar to a manuscript) should be confirmed with the advisory committee. The committee is encouraged to consider thesis styles and format amenable to scholarly publications when appropriate.

Theses should adhere to the most recent APA formatting guidelines.

The thesis should strive to evince critical and creative thinking skillsliteracy skills and communication skills and a global understanding. The thesis and the work it includes must be professional and adhere to the highest ethical standards.

As stated in the graduate calendar “The thesis is expected to be a significant contribution to knowledge in its field and the candidate must indicate in what ways it is a contribution. The thesis must demonstrate mature scholarship and critical judgement on the part of the candidate and it must indicate an ability to express oneself in a satisfactory literary style. Approval of the thesis is taken to imply that it is judged to be sufficiently meritorious to warrant publication in reputable scholarly media in the field.”

Typically, students will submit multiple drafts of their thesis (often times by sections or chapters) to their advisor prior to submitting it to their committee.

A minimum of two weeks will be allowed for any Advisory Committee member, including the advisor, to evaluate any work submitted to them.

Thesis Public Lecture and Examination

See Chapter IV, heading Doctor of Philosophy, subheading Thesis

See Chapter IV, heading Doctor of Philosophy, subheading Department Regulations

Maximum Duration of Oral Examination
PhD Examination: 3.5 hours

PhD Examination Procedure

Introduction by the Chair - 5 minutes
Presentation of research findings/scholarly work by candidate - 30 minutes (maximum)
Public Question Period - Audience - 10 minutes
Break - 5 minutes (members of the public are free to leave)
Examination Period (questions only from examiners) - 1 hour and 40 minutes

The Chair

The chair of the examination committee is the official representative of the Assistant Vice- President (Graduate Studies). The chair serves to administer the examination according to the approved format of the program. The chair does not serve as an additional examiner.

It is the responsibility of the Chair to ensure that the oral examination is conducted in a professional manner. The Chair must ensure that proper forms from the Office of Graduate Studies are available and duly completed and signed by the Examination Committee. The Chair should ensure that adequate time is allotted to the candidate for presentation of research findings, and to the examiners for questions. The details on the time allocation to the candidate and examiners are given in the following paragraphs. It is also the responsibility of the Chair to ensure that examiners should adhere to the allocated time.

In unforeseen circumstances where a Committee member is unable to attend the examination (e.g., due to sickness) either in person or by video/teleconference, the Chair will attempt to receive questions to ask on behalf of the absent member, to be answered by the student to the satisfaction of the examiners present. If this absent member is the External Examiner of a PhD thesis examination, and the written thesis Appraisal and/or questions to ask have not been received, the examination should be postponed.

If during the examination the behaviour of either the candidate or the examiner(s) is unprofessional, the Chair should provide a warning. If the unprofessional behaviour continues, the Chair should stop the examination and report to the Graduate Coordinator.

The Chair should ensure recommendations for revision of the thesis are completed, and should withhold their endorsement of the examination (through signing the Recommendation Form) until such time.

Role of the Examiners

The examiners have the responsibility to review the thesis as outlined in the University Guidelines for thesis evaluation. If an examiner feels that there is a major problem with the thesis, the examiner should inform the candidate in writing with a confidential copy only to the advisor and Graduate Coordinator. If the candidate and the examiner cannot resolve the problem before the oral examination, the Graduate Coordinator will act as facilitator. If there is no agreement, the examination can go forward at the student's request, or postponed on the advice of the Graduate Coordinator.

Ordering of Questions by the Examination Committee:

There will be two rounds of questions by the Committee. The questioning by the Committee will be in the following order:
1) Member of the Graduate Faculty (not on the Advisory Committee)
2) Member of the Advisory Committee
3) Advisor or second member of the Advisory Committee

Suggested time allotted to examination committee members:
External Examiner (Round 1: 25 minutes, Round 2: 10 minutes)
Graduate Faculty (Round 1: 20 minutes, Round 2: 10 minutes)
Advisory Committee Member (Round 1: 20 minutes, Round 2: 10 minutes)
Advisor/Advisory Committee Member (Round 1: 20 minutes, Round 2: 10 minutes)

Deliberation (in camera) - 35 minutes

Evaluation of Thesis

As stated in the graduate calendar “The thesis is expected to be a significant contribution to knowledge in its field and the candidate must indicate in what ways it is a contribution. The thesis must demonstrate mature scholarship and critical judgement on the part of the candidate and it must indicate an ability to express oneself in a satisfactory literary style. Approval of the thesis is taken to imply that it is judged to be sufficiently meritorious to warrant publication in reputable scholarly media in the field.” The thesis should strive to evincee critical and creative thinking skills, literacy skills and communication skills and a global understanding. Theses and student must be professional and adhere to the highest ethical standards. Evaluation of the thesis and oral examination will be done holistically. Numeric grades are not required; instead the work is reported as either satisfactory or unsatisfactory.

The candidate is deemed to have passed if a simple majority of Examination Committee members vote to pass the student. An abstention is regarded as a negative vote. If the Examination Committee decides thesis and oral exam are unsatisfactory, the candidate may be given the opportunity for a second attempt. A second unsatisfactory report constitutes a recommendation to the Board of Graduate Studies that the student be asked to withdraw. 

In addition to determining whether the candidate passes the exam, the Examination Committee members will also discuss the recommended and required changes to the thesis. After each committee member recommends changes, the committee will come to a consensus about which changes the student is required to do. In the rare event of a disagreement, the Chair will decide if a requested change by a committee member can be overruled. 

Following deliberations of the committee, the Examination Chair calls the student back to the examination room and verbally informs the candidate of the outcome of the Examination. If the defense is successful, changes will frequently be required. These changes may be minor or substantial.

Students should be prepared to make changes based on feedback received during the defense and must allocate sufficient time before final submission for this process. As noted above, those changes should be submitted to the Examination Chair for approval.

Following completion of the thesis revisions, the Examination Chair then submits the signed forms (i.e., Certificate of Approval, Report of the Examination Committee) to the Graduate Secretary, his/her Examination Chair report, and the Report of the External Examiner. The Graduate Secretary then contacts the student to complete graduation paperwork with the Department Chair. Once completed the student is responsible for the delivery of this paperwork along with the approved copies (2) of the thesis in its final form (following revisions) to Graduate Program Services.

Look for "Area-specific thesis public lecture and examination" below CONTENTS for area-specific guidance if it exists. 

Area-specific thesis public lecture and examination PHD AS

Additional regulations specific to the Applied Social Psychology PhD program

In addition to the calendar, the AS program adheres to the following steps:

The PhD Thesis Public Lecture and Examination will consist of two parts, and will proceed as follows. It is the examination Chair’s responsibility to ensure that the procedures below are followed. Note that the chair is in charge of the process and, consequently, does not ask questions to the candidate.

Part I
Chair introduces the candidate and title of the thesis
Chair introduces the examining committee
Chair describes the overall procedure for the defense for the public
Chair signals to student to begin the Public Lecture, which consists of a student presentation that is 20 minutes in length summarizing key elements of thesis. To maintain a professional atmosphere, students are encouraged to not thank committee members and the examination committee during their public lecture.

Part II
Chair initiates Round 1 of questioning, with about 10 to 20 minutes allotted for each committee member, which proceeds in the following order going from the person the furthest away of the thesis to the person the closest (e.g., advisor). Often times
Chair inquires if the student or committee members would like a break.
Round 2 of questioning proceeds in the same order as Round 1
Round 3 of questioning (only if necessary) proceeds in the same order as Round 1
The chair invites questions from the public audience; not more than 15 minutes is allotted.
Following the questions, the chair asks the student and audience members to leave the room and the committee debates the quality of the thesis.