Graduate Catalog 2016-2017 
    Jul 17, 2024  
Graduate Catalog 2016-2017 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Psychology, Ph.D.

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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 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.


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).

For additional information please visit the Program website at: or visit the Graduate Studies page at


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.

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 6010 - Human Growth and Potential . 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.

Program Requirements

  1. Earn 60 credits in approved doctoral level courses.
    These requirements are in accordance with prevailing standards for psychology doctoral programs. At least 48 credits must be attained from the Psychology Department. The remaining 12 may, upon approval, be comprised of coursework from other universities or from other departments at the University of West Georgia. Of these 12, only 9 may be from another university under the provision that they have not been used toward another degree. Transfer credits are addressed in the specified section of the handbook. At least 40 credits must consist of courses numbered 8000 or above. The remainder may include courses numbered 7000 or above. All required course credits are 4 hours with the exception of PSYC 9002  (which is 2 hours).
  2. 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.
  3. Required 60 hours do not include dissertation hours.


All teaching assistants are required to take PSYC 9087 - Teaching Practicum . Students will take or must have taken a graduate class in quantitative methods and approaches. Courses used to fulfill this requirement must be approved by Director and Chair.

Complete the following additional requirements:

Comprehensive Examinations:

Students must demonstrate readiness to advance to doctoral candidacy by successfully passing PSYC 9002 - Doctoral Qualifying Seminar  (2hours).

Dissertation Committee:

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.

Dissertation Proposal

The nature of the dissertation proposal will reflect the type of dissertation undertaken by the student as approved by the dissertation Chair.

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.

Dissertation Defense

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.

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