Graduate Calendar Archives: 2007 / 2008
Loeb Building B555
Chair of the Department: Mary Gick
The Department of Psychology offers programs of study and research on a full-time and part-time basis, leading to the degrees of M.A., M.Sc. and Ph.D. Financial support is available, but is limited to full-time students.
There is a very close link in the Department of Psychology between graduate studies and research. Research in the Department is distributed across the life sciences areas of behavioural neuroscience, animal learning, perception, and cognition, and across the social sciences areas of social and developmental psychology. Its research and graduate program in behavioural neuroscience is one of the strongest in Canada, with current research focusing on problems of the neurochemistry of stress and learning; developmental psychopharmacology; experimental models of epilepsy; neurodegeneration; dementia; neural mechanisms of audition; drug dependence; and the effects in animals and humans of prenatal alcohol and drug exposure on postnatal behaviour. The Department has related human neuropsychological research activities dealing with alterations to visual and auditory psychophysical functions associated with neuropathological conditions. In recent years, there has been a growth of activity in aspects of applied psychology, including evaluation research; corrections; education; impact of computer and telecommunications technology; behavioural medicine; and psychological assessment. This has fostered close collaborative contacts between the Department and public service and applied settings in Ottawa, such as the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, the Royal Ottawa Hospital, the National Research Council, Department of Communications (Canada), Ontario Ministry of Correctional Services, and the Ottawa-Carleton Board of Education. Practica and internships are available in many of these settings to students at the doctoral level.
Because of the breadth of interests in the Department, there is an emphasis in graduate courses on methodological and conceptual issues that are applicable across research specializations. Consequently, most substantive courses, regardless of title, are relevant to most students' programs. Students typically work closely with their advisers who, through informal tutorials and directed studies and independent research courses, provide much of the opportunity for specialized study. Applicants are strongly encouraged to write directly to faculty members for more specific details on research interests and programs underway.
As part of its general experimental program, the Department provides the opportunity to pursue a concentration at the master's and doctoral level in behavioural neuroscience (a collaborative specialization with the University of Ottawa), human neuropsychology, or human information systems. Applicants should consult with the supervisor of graduate studies for information on structuring a doctoral program of studies within a concentration.
Through a quantitative methods requirement, completion of a demanding empirical thesis presented and defended orally, participation in small seminars, and a close relationship with faculty advisers and students, the master's programs provide the opportunity for a refinement of critical, logical, and analytical skills; skills of written and oral expression; understanding of the strengths and limitations of the scientific method as a means of problem solving, demonstrated through psychology but applicable to issues in society at large; an understanding of quantification and scaling; the use of statistical methods and inference; and the use of evidence to support argument. For some students this is a satisfactory and satisfying end in itself. For others, it provides a solid preparation for the doctoral program in which original independent study and research is stressed. The Department does not distinguish between an applied and an experimental program; instead, the basic orientation is experimental and theoretical, but with opportunities, where appropriate, to provide complementary experience necessary to work successfully as a psychologist in applied research/service settings.
Augmenting the well-equipped laboratories expected in an active research environment, the Department of Psychology receives excellent technical support from the Carleton University Science Technology Centre, where design and manufacture of special-purpose apparatus is carried out. In addition, the workshops provide technical support for the numerous computer systems in use throughout the Department's laboratories.
In fulfilling degree credit requirements, all graduate students are required to demonstrate competence in statistical and quantitative methods through successful completion of PSYC 5410 and PSYC 5411 (with a grade of B- or better) .
In addition to fulfilling the remaining credit requirements as described in subsequent sections, all graduate students in psychology are expected to conduct research of interest to them during each year of graduate study. This requirement may be satisfied by independent research, serving as a research assistant, or by doing pilot or thesis research.
Each year, the candidate's adviser submits a written critique of research progress, which becomes part of the candidate's permanent record. Qualifying-year students are evaluated at the end of the first twelve months.
Depending on his/her field of concentration, a candidate may be required to demonstrate an ability to read with understanding relevant technical material in a foreign language and/or to give satisfactory evidence of competence in such areas as computer techniques, electronic instrumentation, psychometrics, sampling procedures, or surgical techniques.
The Department may recommend that a graduate student be asked to withdraw from the program at any time if his or her progress in course work or research proves unsatisfactory.
Within the Department exist subgroups of faculty members with common interests and subgroups of courses associated with particular areas of psychology. Below are listed seven formally identified fields of concentration, with the work that would be expected from any student who decided to pursue interests in one of these fields.
Concentration in Social and Organizational Psychology
The objective of the Social and Organizational Psychology concentration is to provide advanced education for students in the related areas of social psychology that reflect both basic and applied issues pertaining to Psychology. In both the Social (basic) and Organizational (applied) streams, special emphasis is given to developing skills in intellectual and empirical inquiry that will prepare students for research and educational careers in government, the private sector or academia. Students pursuing an M.A. degree in social/organizational psychology are encouraged to undertake studies of the historical and recent developments in the field, and of the multiplicity of research methods used to study social phenomena, in preparation for the production of a research thesis. While not all of the students in this field are interested in an applied orientation, those who are will be encouraged to complete a practicum in an organizational setting in order to develop greater knowledge of the conduct of organizational research in a practical context. Students interested in this area are encouraged to take courses such as PSYC 5010, PSYC 5011, and PSYC 5109, and to generate theses in this area.
Concentration in Cognitive Psychology
The Concentration in Cognitive Psychology is intended to provide the graduate student with an advanced knowledge of methodological and theoretical issues in the domain of cognitive psychology. Research interests of regular and adjunct faculty in cognition include perception and psychophysics, attention, pattern recognition, reading and language processing, cognitive development, learning and memory, problem solving, neuropsychology, and human-computer interactions. Students interested in this area are encouraged to take courses such as PSYC 5700, PSYC 5703, PSYC 5704 and PSYC 6700 and generate theses in the area of cognition.
Concentration in Developmental Psychology
The Concentration in Developmental Psychology is intended to provide graduate students with an in-depth knowledge of the theoretical and methodological issues associated with the study of child development from birth to adolescence. Faculty interests span the areas of language, cognitive, and social development. Current research in the Department includes topics related to literacy acquisition; bilingualism; peer relationships, aggression and shyness; learning disabilities; conduct disorders and antisocial behaviours; and consequences of offspring exposed prenatally to drugs. Students interested in this area are encouraged to take courses such as PSYC 5501, PSYC 5502, PSYC 6500, and PSYC 6501. Also it is expected that students in this field will generate a thesis in the area of developmental psychology.
Concentration in Forensic Psychology
The Concentration in Forensic Psychology is intended to provide graduate students with a broad knowledge of the key theoretical and methodological approaches to forensic issues. Faculty interests include forensic assessment, treatment of offenders, assessment and treatment of special offender populations (e.g., psychopaths, female offenders, sex offenders), police psychology, and eyewitness/jury decision making. Students interested in this area are encouraged to take courses such as PSYC 5021, PSYC 5022, PSYC 5023, and PSYC 5024. Also, doctoral students in this area are required to take PSYC 6400, Forensic Psychology Reading Course, and are expected to generate a thesis in the area of forensic psychology.
Concentration in Health Psychology
Health psychology is concerned with the reciprocal interactions among physical health and illness, and psychological factors, including emotional well-being. The graduate concentration in health psychology, which offers M.A., M.Sc., and Ph.D. degrees, provides courses and research opportunities designed to facilitate students' understanding of the theoretical and methodological issues relevant to health psychology. Guided by a biopsychosocial perspective, faculty members affiliated with the concentration adopt a range of approaches to the study of health, including neuroscientific, psychoimmunological, social, personality, cognitive-behavioral and life span developmental approaches. Specific areas of research include posttraumatic stress and its neurochemical underpinnings; stress and coping; stress in the workplace; personality, including positive psychological factors, health and illness; psychological factors in seeking treatment for medical problems; adjustment to trauma and loss; consequences of prenatal exposure to marijuana; HIV/AIDS; aging; Parkinson's disease; poverty and health; addictions, including gambling; women and minority health; and the psychological and physical aftereffects of violence toward women and children. Methodological approaches include both quantitative and qualitative analyses. Graduate students are encouraged to take graduate courses in health psychology and psychobiology, as well as generate theses in health psychology.
Concentration in Human-Computer Interaction
The Concentration in Human-Computer Interaction is designed to provide students with skills to conceive, conduct and report research that improves the usefulness and usability of computer and communication technologies. Examples include the creation and evaluation of human-computer interfaces, the use of psychological principles in the design of interactive technologies, and studies of the social effects of computer-mediated communication. To pursue the Concentration, students are encouraged to take at least three of PSYC 5105, PSYC 5106, PSYC 6105 and PSYC 6106, take additional courses in related areas (e.g., cognition, social psychology, design) and complete a thesis in the area.
Specialization in Behavioural Neuroscience
Behavioural Neuroscience is the study of the relation between behaviour and the nervous system. This specialty is cross-disciplinary, incorporating neuroanatomy, neurobiology, neuropharmacology, neurophysiology, psychiatry, psychology and cognitive studies. While individual researchers usually specialize in a particular area, behavioural neuroscientists must also be able to appreciate significant research in other fields of neuroscience.
Training in Behavioural Neuroscience extends beyond the boundaries of traditional departments. This area of concentration is offered as a collaborative Specialization in Behavioural Neuroscience by the Institute of Neuroscience at Carleton University and the School of Psychology at the University of Ottawa. Faculty members of the Institute of Neuroscience are from the Psychology and Biology departments and also include adjuncts from the large and diverse Ottawa Neuroscience community. To augment the scope of training provided, faculty members from the Department of Psychiatry (Institute of Mental Health Research, Royal Ottawa Hospital) also participate in the teaching, research training and student supervision. Further details on the Specialization, including faculty members of the Institute of Neuroscience and program requirements of the Specialization are listed in the Neuroscience section of this Calendar. Prospective students are encouraged to contact the Director of the Institute of Neuroscience for current research activities of the participating faculty.
Occasionally, candidates with exceptional promise who offer less than Honours B.A. status may be admitted to a qualifying-year program approved by the graduate studies committee and designed to prepare them for master's study. A grade of B- or better must be obtained in each qualifying-year course, and candidates may be required to complete satisfactorily the equivalent of a B.A.(Honours) thesis.
Master of Arts
The normal requirement for admission into the master's program is a B.A.(Honours, in Psychology) (or its equivalent) with high honours standing and with credit in the following areas: statistics and design of experiments; experimental psychology; learning or motivation; physiology and/or comparative psychology; and history and/or systems.
Candidates with particular course deficiencies may be required to register in additional courses at Carleton.
The deadline for submitting applications for graduate study in psychology are:
January 15 is the deadline for submitting application and supporting documents for graduate study in psychology for fall admission. Candidates will be considered for financial assistance if they meet the requirements. November 1 is the deadline for students seeking admission in January. Financial assistance is not available.
The master's program consists of 5.0 credits, of which at least two must be at the graduate level (numbered 5000 or higher), and a thesis (equivalent to 2.5 credits) which must be defended at an oral examination. Specific requirements include:
Master of Science
The Department of Psychology offers the M.Sc. degree for those students in the behavioural neuroscience specialization. For the neuroscience specialization, the candidate must fulfil the normal program requirements together with the requirements of the specialization. For further details, see the Neuroscience section of this Calendar.
A grade of B- or better is normally required in each of the credits counted towards the M.A. or M.Sc. degree. The Department is prepared on occasion to recommend to the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research that a candidate be allowed a grade of C+ in 1.0 credit or each of two 0.5 credits.
Doctor of Philosophy
The requirements for admission to the Ph.D. program are outlined in the General Regulations section of this Calendar. Scores on the Graduate Record Examination are optional.
The Ph.D. program in psychology normally will be undertaken on a full-time basis; however, in cases of exceptional merit, the Department will accept a few candidates for the degree on a part-time basis. The time limit for completion of Ph.D. degree requirements for those who enter the program on a part-time basis will be the same as for those who enter on a full-time basis and subsequently register for part-time study: that is, eight calendar years. (See General Regulations, Section 13, Time Limits.)
Applicants should note that of the B.A., M.A., M.Sc., and Ph.D. degrees in Psychology, ordinarily only two may be taken at Carleton University.
The minimum program requirements for the Ph.D. degree in Psychology include 10.0 credits with a grade of B- or better in each course. Specific requirements are:
All Ph.D. candidates are required to submit a thesis prospectus. The prospectus examination will normally be successfully completed within seven calendar terms of the student's initial registration for full-time students and ten terms for part-time students.
Not all of the following courses are offered in a given year. For an up-to-date statement of course offerings and to determine the term of offering, consult the class schedule at central.carleton.ca