The Ph.D. program in Psychology offers an in-depth analysis of the intersection between consciousness and society. This analysis is informed by three foundational theoretical approaches: Humanistic, Transpersonal, and Critical Psychologies. -This foundation provides the reflexive and reflective anchor for our students’ scholarly trajectory in the development of their own research interests. The humanistic existential tradition provides a phenomenological grounding of consciousness while interrogating relevant research in psychology and other disciplines, from philosophy to the neurosciences. The transpersonal approach extends this analysis to include the spiritual dimensions of psychological life informing mind/body studies, integrative health, and the farther reaches of human existence. The critical traditions examine the historical position of the discipline as well as cultural representations and practices, situating the constitution of consciousness and subjectivity within discursive, social, and institutional contexts. In addition, the program emphasizes rigorous training in qualitative research methodologies, creatively addressing the relationship between theory and praxis through ethically informed and engaged modalities of research.
Mission Statement of the Program
Grounded in humanistic, transpersonal, existential, phenomenological, dialogical, and critical perspectives, our mission is to provide a doctoral educational experience that allows our students to develop:
(a) an awareness of consciousness as embodied-being-in-the-world-with-others-through-
(b) mastery of human science approaches to consciousness studies;
(c) a transdisciplinary conceptualization of human beings as cohabitating personal,
intersubjective, socio-cultural and political contexts;
(d) an attunement for further developments in our understanding of consciousness,
including how inter-relatedness lives in perception and language, in mind/body
studies, in social and in ecological contexts, and in its historical conceptions;
(e) facility in engaging cutting edge theory and research; and
(f) knowledge of how to make original contributions to scholarship and practice.
Students will demonstrate achievement of these objectives as they:
(a) cultivate the ability to conduct human science research;
(b) work toward becoming thoughtful and masterful educators;
(c) make progress in their oral and written communications;
(d) develop a broad mastery of literature relevant to sociality and consciousness;
(e) pursue expertise in relation to specialized research interests;
(f) enhance their ability to think critically and engage in flexible problem solving;
(g) listen attentively, communicate effectively, and work collaboratively; and
(h) creatively facilitate transformations in a global society.
Students will be admitted for the fall semester only. Applicants with a Bachelor’s degree will be considered; however, a graduate degree is strongly preferred. Those with degrees outside of psychology are encouraged to apply. Additional courses in the Department of Psychology at the University of West Georgia may be required due to disciplinary background or level of educational attainment (see below).
Guidelines for Admittance:
• All graduate applicants must complete the online Graduate Application. A one-time application fee of $40 is required. Please visit https://westga.elluciancrmrecruit.com/Apply/Account/Login?ReturnUrl=%2fApply
• Applicants should also review the Graduate Studies Website for individual program specific requirements and tasks that must be completed prior to admission. See Graduate Studies Application Process at https://www.westga.edu/academics/gradstudies/apply-now.php
• International applicants are subject to additional requirements and application deadlines. See the International Students Admissions & Programs at https://www.westga.edu/academics/isap/index.php
• Official transcripts from a regionally or nationally accredited institution are required and should be sent directly to the UWG Admissions Office.
Program Specific Admittance Guidelines:
• Three letters of recommendation. Academic letters are preferred although other professional letters will be accepted.
• Official GRE Scores. There is no minimum but GRE scores will be considered in the applicant’s profile and must be submitted. The program will not accept scores more than 5 years old. For more information about the GRE, please visit the web site at www.gre.org/gentest/. GRE scores should be sent directly to the Graduate Admissions Office using school code: 5900.
• A current curriculum vitae listing contact information (including email address), educational background, employment history, awards and recognitions, presentations, etc.
• A reflective essay describing why you are drawn to this particular program and how you understand the relation of consciousness and society. The essay should include a statement of how you imagine the program will contribute to your future plans.
• A description of a potential research project following a template, please visit https://www.westga.edu/academics/coss/psychology/phd-prospective-students.php
• A writing sample: an academic paper is highly preferred but other formats are acceptable. The word limit is 8,000 words, all inclusive (including references, etc.).
For additional information please visit also the program website at: https://www.westga.edu/psydoc/ or visit the Graduate Studies page at https://www.westga.edu/academics/program_page.php?program_id=102.
Preparation for the doctoral program:
Those with degrees in non-related fields or without a Master’s degree may be required to complete twenty hours of coursework, which may include PSYC 6000 - Foundations of Humanistic Psychology and PSYC 6021 - Psychology as Human Science . Other courses can be determined in consultation with faculty. Courses taken at the 7000 level can be taken for Masters level credit or doctoral credit but not both. Those admitted under the condition of having to take additional courses typically finish the preparatory sequence before entering 8000 level courses.
Students admitted directly to the doctoral program should expect at least one year of full time attendance. After one year, students may be allowed to change to part time status. The program must be finished within eight years.
Financial Aid and Stipends:
The Department can offer a limited number of stipends for graduate research/teaching assistantships. The department also offers some out of state tuition waivers. See application form for requirements for consideration for such waivers and stipends. Further financial aid may be available through the financial aid office.
During their first year, students who receive a stipend and tuition waiver will serve as graduate research assistants and enroll in PSYC 9087 (Teaching Practicum). During the second year, students who have passed Teaching Practicum will be eligible for a teaching assistantship and enroll in PSYC 8887 (Advanced Teaching Practicum). Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTA’s) starting with teaching in their second year are strongly encouraged to attend the Faculty Orientation Day in August, which is delivered by the Center for Teaching and Learning at UWG.
GTA students are expected to teach one face to face course each semester during the second and third years. Financial assistance is contingent on fulfillment of this expectation. Exceptions are limited to those with a documented physical or mental health or family emergency or government obligation (e.g., jury duty, military service), or grant obligation that would impede teaching for a complete semester.
Students are expected to fulfill their obligation to teach a course assigned to them. A course may not be cancelled by the PhD instructor 8 weeks prior to the start of enrollment for that semester.
1. Earn 60 credits in approved doctoral level courses.
These requirements are in accordance with prevailing standards for psychology doctoral programs.
2. At least 48 credits must be attained from the Psychology Department.
3. The remaining 12 credits to be applied towards the degree requirements may, upon approval from the director of the PhD program, be comprised of coursework from other universities or from other departments at the University of West Georgia. These classes have to be related to the PhD Program Consciousness and Society and to the dissertation work as determined by the director. The director’s approval must to be sought for before the class is taken.
4. Of these 12 credits taken outside of the Department of Psychology, only 9 may be from another university under the provision that they have not been used toward another degree
5. At least 32 credits must consist of courses numbered 8000 or above. The remainder may include courses numbered 7000 or above.
6. Transfer credits are addressed in the specified section of the catalog under General Academic Policies.
7. All required course credits are 4 hours with the exception of PSYC 9002 (which is 2 hours) and the two courses for Teaching Assistants (which are 3 hours respectively).
8. Students may accumulate up to 9 hours of credit for Independent Study (PSYC 8581), available in areas for which there is no existing coursework and following the Graduate School guidelines for Independent Study. Up to 9 of the Independent Study credits count towards the 32 credits needed at the 8000 level. Anything in excess of 9 does not count towards the 60 hours required.
9. Earn credit for the following required courses named below. Other 8000 level courses require permission of instructor if required doctoral courses have not been completed.
10. Required 60 hours do not include dissertation hours.
Take all three core courses:
Take one of the following foundations courses:
Take the following course to research methods:
Besides the required research methods class PSYC 8005, students will take or must have taken a graduate class in quantitative methods and approaches; if at a level below 7000, such a class cannot count towards the required 60 credit hours. Courses used to fulfill this requirement must be approved by Director and Chair.
Required for Teaching Assistants
All teaching assistants are required to take the following two courses:
Before beginning the dissertation proposal, the student should choose a dissertation Chair and committee. The committee should be comprised of 1) a dissertation Chair, who is primarily responsible for the direction of the dissertation and who will be a full-time member of the Department and a member of the Graduate faculty and 2) two faculty members with full-time graduate faculty credentials, one of which may be from outside the Department. The student may also request a fourth member, or external reader, from an outside Department or University. Upon forming the dissertation committee, the student must arrange an initial meeting with the Chair to establish the timetable for the proposal and dissertation. The dissertation committee will work with the student while the dissertation proposal is started, and the names of committee members and proposal title will be given to the designated department administrator. All members of the committee should be kept informed as to the progress of the proposal and of the dissertation at regular intervals. Any changes in committee membership should be followed by notification of all members and the department administrator.
The nature of the dissertation proposal will reflect the type of dissertation undertaken by the student as approved by the dissertation Chair.
Dissertation Proposal Defense:
Once the proposal is finished, the dissertation committee will meet with the candidate to determine feasibility and scholarship of the proposed project. During the meeting, the committee will suggest revisions and evaluate the viability of the candidate’s dissertation project. Approved dissertation proposals will be filed with the proper administrative office. Upon approval and filing of the dissertation proposal, the student is officially admitted to candidacy. The proposal defense will be open to any interested faculty.
Following approval of the doctoral dissertation by the dissertation committee, the student will give an oral presentation followed by a question-and-answer period led by the student’s advisor. The dissertation defense is open to the public.