Cognitive, Developmental and Brain Sciences Program Requirements
Psychology Department Graduate Training Module in Cognitive, Developmental, and Brain Sciences
The new area, called Cognitive, Developmental, and Brain Sciences, merges the Cognition and Behavioural & Cognitive Neuroscience Areas, and the Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience component of the Developmental Area.
Faculty: The combined area has approximately 30 faculty members, including those who are less than 100% in psychology (e.g., joint appointments).
Graduate students: Currently ~51 MSc and PhD students are members.
2. Graduate student selection
New graduate students are selected by a faculty supervisor, and admitted contingent upon approval by the department Graduate Selection committee.
The selection process is co-ordinated by the Area Chair (or delegate) in consultation with area members. Concerns about the number of students supervised by individual faculty members will be handled by the Associate Chair (Graduate Affairs) and the Graduate Affairs Committee.
3. Graduate Advisory Committees
An advisory committee should be formed for each new graduate student (MSc or PhD) by November 1 of their first year in the program. The committee will consist of the supervisor (or co-supervisors) and two other faculty members, with at least one of them having Psychology as the home Department. The committee will meet in the first term of the student’s first year. At this meeting, the student should present his or her plans for thesis work – a broad proposal –the research question that they wish to address, with an idea of their general methodological approach. The committee will meet again by the end of second term of the first year (late April). Students will summarize their research progress, present their goals for the upcoming year, and, through discussion with committee members, a set of specific goals for the summer and broader goals for the following year.
Thereafter, meetings should occur at least once a year. At each committee meeting, the goals set in the previous meeting will be revisited. The student will describe to the committee their progress in meeting those goals, explain why any goals were not met, and describe any additional achievements. The student will also come to the meeting with a proposed set of goals for the upcoming year, which will be discussed by the committee. Following each meeting, the CDBS Advisory Committee Meeting Report Form will be submitted to the Graduate office that summarizes the progress that was made on the previous year’s goals and indicates the goals for the upcoming year. Department progression guidelines will inform the goals that are set.
The committee meeting at the end of the PhD1 year will include a formal proposal component. The student will submit a 5-page written proposal (not including references) to each of their committee members at least 2 weeks prior to the meeting. At the meeting they will give a 15-20 minute presentation on their proposed research. The reason for requiring the PhD proposal early in the program is to facilitate timely progression on this critical component of the PhD.
The members of a student’s advisory committee may also serve on examination and comprehensive committees (described in more detail below). One committee member will serve on the MSc examination committee. One committee member will serve on the PhD Departmental examining committee, and the other on the Senate oral examining committee. The purpose of having an advisory committee member on the student’s comprehensive examining committee is to ensure that the advisory committee is well informed about the student’s performance on comprehensives. This connection between the two committees is expected to be especially beneficial in the event that the student does poorly on their comprehensive exams.
If a student wishes to change any members of their advisory committee, a written request must be submitted to the Area Chair and Associate Chair (Graduate Affairs).
Students should submit the names of their advisory committee members, as well as the completed yearly report form, to the Graduate Program Assistant.
Advisory Committee Yearly Report Form
4. Course Requirements
MSc (3.0 credits)
For CDBS students, part of fulfilling the department-wide requirements of 2.0 courses includes taking 0.5 credits of Area Pro Seminar. In addition to these department-wide requirements, CDBS students are required to take the CDBS Seminar/Brownbag with 0.5 credit per year (1.0 total).
Area Pro Seminar:
First year students only (MSc or PhD). This seminar course will be led by a course co-ordinator, who will invite different faculty members from the area to talk about an issue in their research field and engage students in a discussion of the topic based on assigned readings. Every faculty member in the area will be expected to participate approximately every other year.
Students are expected to present their research (or a proposal) once per year, to attend regularly, and to submit feedback on other students’ presentations. The seminar will be one hour per week over the academic year, and is worth 0.5 credits. Students will get specific feedback on their presentation and a pass/fail grade in the course. Faculty will also be expected to attend regularly. Students who complete their MSc research in 1 year can have .5 of this credit waived.
PhD (3.0 credits)
Students who have not completed the statistics/design requirement or the pro-seminar will need to take those.
In addition to the department-wide requirements, CDBS students must take 2.0 credits of Seminar/Brownbag.
Students are expected to present their research (or a proposal) once per year, to attend regularly, and to submit feedback on other students’ presentations. The seminar will be one hour per week over the academic year, and is worth 0.5 credits. Students will get specific feedback on their presentation and a pass/fail grade in the course. Faculty will also be expected to attend regularly. Students who complete their PhD research in 3 years can have .5 of these credits waived.
Additional courses may be required by the student's Advisory Committee to prepare the student for the comprehensive examination and/or to provide background for the student's particular area of research.
5. Comprehensive Examinations
Please see Department-wide requirements.