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General Requirements- Students must complete required coursework, a first- and second-year research project, pass the qualifying exam, and complete a dissertation. The Social Psychology program of study requires a minimum of 80 credits from coursework, attendance of colloquia, and research hours.

Choose 5 core courses taught by social faculty from examples below-


NSCI 642Social Neuroscience3
PSYC 806Social Cognition3
PSYC 813Groups and Intergroup Relations3
PSYC 867Advanced Social Psychology3
PSYC 867Close Relationships3
PSYC 867Self & ID3
PSYC 867Stress and Periphery3
PSYC 867Social Perception3
Or comparable course  
TOTAL 15 credits


PLUS all Social students take-

PSYC 860Psychological Statistics3
PSCY 861Psychological Statistics3
PSYC 867Professional Development Seminar3
600/800 levelStat/Methods Elective3
600/800 level*Elective3


PSYC 800PBS Colloquia8 (minimum)
PSYC 868First-year Research6
PSYC 868Second-year Research6
PSYC 868/869/964/969Research/Dissertation Research#30 (minimum)
TOTAL 80 credits


*One needs to be outside the Social Psychology Curriculum and can be from another department

#minimum 9 of PSYC 969: Dissertation Research

Research Requirements- Students meet the research requirement, in part, by completing a grant application (to a reputable funding source, e.g. NSF, NIH, Ford Foundation or UD based awards) or a pre-registered project proposal in year one of the program. This constitutes the first year project. Students must also complete a second-year project; both the first and second year projects should be summarized with final written reports distributed to the student's Advisory Committee. If the Advisory Committee believes that the write-up of either the first or second year projects need revision before they can approve the research, they will provide specific feedback to the student who will have at least one opportunity to revise the final document. In the event of unsatisfactory performance on the first or second year project paper, the social area faculty will convene to critically evaluate the student's record to date.

First-year research- Students submit to their advisor a written proposal in memorandum form (e.g., the grant submission or preregistered project proposal) that summarizes the student's idea and research plan; the student also presents these ideas at a social psychology brown-bag meeting during the first or second semester of graduate study. Toward the end of the second semester or possibly early in the fall (not later than Sept. 15th) of the third semester, the student gives an oral presentation of the project at a social psychology Brown Bag meeting. The goal of this requirement is to give students immediate experience conducting research during their first year.

Second-year research- The second-year project requires the participation and approval of the student's Advisory Committee. To begin, the student prepares a written abstract of the proposed research that must be signed by the student's Advisory Committee and presented at a Social Psychology Brown Bag session by the end of the fall semester in the second year, not later than December 1st. This brown bag presentation should be used to help develop and refine the student's ideas. The results of the second year project must be presented at a social brown bag meeting by the end of the second year. In addition, the student must submit a written paper describing the research to their Advisory Committee not later than September 1st of the third year. This paper must be approved by the student's second year project Advisory Committee. The members of the student's Advisory Committee have two weeks to provide feedback in writing to the student and other committee members. If this paper is submitted during the summer or winter-session periods, members of the student's Advisory Committee may provide this feedback two weeks into the next fall or spring semester. Feedback will be similar to that obtained by authors who submit papers to journals and if a revision is required, committee members will detail any changes that need to be made. If necessary, the student will have one month following this feedback to revise and resubmit the second year project paper. Grading is pass/fail.

Master's- Once the student passes the second year project requirement, the student may elect to obtain a Master's Degree (M.S. in Psychological and Brain Sciences) based on the second year project by reformatting the written document according to Graduate College requirements. If any changes are introduced to the previously approved second year project paper, the student's advisor must approve all changes. If the student wishes to obtain a Master's Degree based on research other than the approved second year project final paper, at least two social faculty members will need to approve the final document prior to the student submitting the document to the Graduate College. The goal of this requirement is to develop a research idea that could result in a publishable empirical paper.

Qualifying Exam- The qualifying exam should be completed by the end of the fall semester of the 3rd year or at the very latest by the end of the spring semester of the 3rd year. Before embarking on the qualifying exam, the student will complete the first and second year project and clear all previous incomplete grades. In consultation with the student's Exam Committee (heretofore defined as 3 social faculty PLUS up to 2 external members from other programs), a student will choose one of the following options for the Qualifying Exam: 1)  Four question-based essays, covering core areas within a program of study; or, 2) Review paper suitable for submission to a peer-reviewed journal.

Four question-based essays- The four question-based essays will be based on 60 readings that cover classic and important readings within social psychology. These readings are selected by the social faculty. 10 additional readings can be lab specific and are chosen by the student's advisor. The exam itself consists of 20 key terms and 6 essay questions. All questions are generated by the social faculty prior to the exam. Students select 4 of the 6 essay questions at the time of the exam. Importantly, the key terms are to be completed within a 2 hour time period on campus (closed notes in front of adviser) while students will have 48 hours to answer essay questions at a place of their choosing (open notes, no advisor present). Questions are typically submitted and returned via email, which provides documentation of start and end times for each question. Failure to submit the exam by the deadline decreases the likelihood of a passing grade. Once completed, the student's Exam Committee will review all answers and determine the appropriate grade. The student is given written feedback on the answers to the questions within two weeks to allow for preparation for the oral exam. If one (or more) of the written answers gets a "fail" grade a student will be given one opportunity to rewrite it. This extends the time of progression to the oral examination.

In the oral exam, the same questions are revisited and the student provides arguments and responses in an interactive setting. During the first part, the student will orally deliver an overview of the answer to each question. In the second part, the student is expected to defend answers and visit questions provided in the written feedback. The Oral Qualifying Exam should be completed by the end of February or July.

Review  Paper- The  student  will  prepare  a  Psychological  Bulletin  (or  Psychological  Review  or

Personality and Social Psychology Review) type review paper summarizing a focal area of the student's interest, which may very well lead to the formulation of a dissertation proposal. This paper should be of suitable quality to be submitted to a major journal and thus, this paper is expected to offer a valuable, unique perspective or theoretical analysis of the issues reviewed, rather than just a summary of research conducted in the field.

In consultation with the student's Advisory Committee (with permission of the committee, it is permissible for a student to include an additional faculty advisor from some other program within or beyond the University of Delaware) the student and advisor will work together to generate a reading list of articles and books important to the focal topics and a general outline of the central questions, goals and value of the proposed project. The Committee must approve the topic and final paper.

Students should begin discussing their qualifying paper topic with their advisor by the beginning of the second year in the program. The student's topic should be one that will likely lead into their doctoral dissertation proposal. The student will provide a draft of their qualifying exam paper to their advisor for feedback before submitting it for final approval to other members of the Committee. Once approved by the committee, the student will distribute the qualifying exam to their Exam Committee (three social faculty PLUS 2 other external members of the committee-if they so choose) who will have an opportunity to comment and offer suggestions within two weeks of receiving the document.

If the majority of the student's Exam Committee believes the student's written qualifying exam is not of sufficient quality to warrant a "pass," the committee together with the student will discuss changes that would be needed to be included in a revision to gain approval of the majority of the Committee. Within one week, the student will send a written summary of the issues that he or she will address in the revised qualifying exam paper to their Exam Committee. At the discretion of a majority of the student's Exam Committee, the student also can be asked to re-schedule an oral defense of the revised document.

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