The curriculum for doctoral study in the Perception Program is given below. In addition, students must satisfy all of the requirements of the Department of Psychology. Note that several parts of the Perception curriculum (marked with an *) are meant to satisfy department-wide Ph.D. requirements in Psychology.
1.* Three graduate-level core courses in broadly defined areas of psychology, currently chosen from biological psychology, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, sensation and perception, and social psychology.
2.* Three courses in statistics, one at the introductory graduate level (for example, Statistics 220) and, in addition, Experimental Design 1 and 2 (Psychology 37300 and 37900).
3. Four advanced courses in several different areas of perception, usually taken during the first two years. These will be chosen from courses offered by faculty in the Perception Program. Examples are
- Attention (Psychology 38300)
- Color Vision (Psychology 32000)
- Eye Movements and Attention (Psychology 45800)
- Perception and Action (Psychology 33700)
- Physiology of Vision (Psychology 35000)
- Population Coding in the Perceptual Brain (Psychology 45600)
- Speech Perception (Psychology 32600)
- Vision (Psychology 39000)
4.* Three neurobiology/neuroscience courses.
These could be chosen from Systems Neurobiology (Neurobiology 315, 316, 318) or Computational Neuroscience (OBA 344, 345, 346). (The intent is that these courses fulfill the Minor Area requirement of the Department of Psychology).
5.* Three quarters of research.
Beginning no later than the third quarter of the first year, the student must register for research with one of the faculty members in the Perception Program. The student will conduct an independent research project, which should be completed by the end of the 7th week of Spring Quarter of the second year. This project is intended to satisfy the trial research requirement of the Department of Psychology.
The project will be presented in a written research report, which includes the historical background of the problem, the research methods, the results, and a discussion. The written research report must be approved by a trial research committee normally composed of three faculty members in the Department of Psychology (with permission of the Chair, one member may be a faculty member from outside Psychology); at least two of the three members must be in the Perception Program. An oral defense of the research project will be given at a meeting of the trial research committee, normally before the end of Spring Quarter of the second year. In addition, the student will give an oral presentation in a public forum (the public presentation may be shorter than a typical talk; for example, two talks might be given at a single meeting of the Perception Program Brown Bag Lunch).
6. Participation in ongoing seminars and activities of other pre- and post-doctoral students in the Perception Program.
The Perception Program will hold a periodic (weekly or monthly) lunch to be attended by faculty and their pre- and post-doctoral students. Students will present their research, review journal articles, and hear talks by scientists from other departments and institutions. Student are also expected to attend department-wide colloquia in Psychology.
Students are encouraged to attend other colloquia in Psychology, Neurobiology, Ophthalmology & Visual Science, and Computational Neuroscience, as recommended by faculty in the Perception Program.
7. Annual student evaluation.
The Perception faculty will meet near the end of Spring Quarter each year to evaluate all current students. Each student’s progress will be reported to the student, and to the chair of the Department’s Student Affairs Committee (SAC). The chair of the SAC also will receive a recommendation regarding the student’s standing in the Department.
Students completing their second year will be evaluated to determine whether the student should be recommended to continue to study for the Doctor of Philosophy degree. The second-year evaluation will consider course work completed, grades in courses, laboratory research, and the trial research project. A recommendation to continue for the Ph.D. may be given, denied or postponed. If postponed, the student will be evaluated again in the third year of graduate study. A second-year evaluation may not be postponed beyond the third year except under extraordinary circumstances.
Advanced students are expected to make timely progress in the selection of their advisory committee (see below), development of the dissertation proposal, conduct of the dissertation research, and preparation of the dissertation. The advisory committee will evaluate the advanced student annually and report progress to the Perception Program faculty at the evaluation, and to the chair of the SAC.
8. Doctoral Dissertation.
The requirements for the doctoral dissertation, including the advisory committee, proposal and final examination, are according to the requirements established by the Department of Psychology. As general guidelines, the student should select a Doctor of Philosophy Degree Advisory Committee after successful completion of the second-year evaluation. The Advisory Committee is composed of no fewer than four members, in accordance with the requirements of the Department of Psychology. Normally at least two members of the Advisory Committee are faculty in the Perception Program.
One faculty member from the Perception Program will be the Chair of the Advisory Committee. The student and the Chair will select the other members of the Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee will be kept informed of the student’s research progress. The Advisory Committee will meet at least annually with the student to learn of the progress in the research and problems encountered by the student.
The dissertation proposal presented to the Advisory Committee is typically written in the form of an NRSA individual pre-doctoral fellowship to be submitted to the NIH, normally before the end of the third year. The student presents the proposed research at a hearing open to all students and faculty in the Perception Area. Note the University requires that at least eight months must elapse between the proposal hearing and presentation of the dissertation for the defense.
At the time of the oral defense of the dissertation, a Reader who is an expert in the area of the dissertation research shall be selected by the members of the Advisory Committee. The reader may come from another department of the University or may come from outside the University. The candidate presents the doctoral research to a public forum in a colloquium format. The Advisory Committee and the Reader conduct the defense following the presentation (part may be in private, if requested by a member of the Advisory Committee or the Reader). Following the defense, the Advisory Committee and Reader meet in private to vote.