Frequently Asked Questions

How many students are in the program?

Each year, the ecological-community psychology program accepts approximately five new students. At any time we have approximately 20-30 graduate students actively working toward their degrees.

How many classes do students typically take?

Students take the bulk of their courses early in their graduate careers. During the first year students take 9 credits of courses each semester. After that, the course load is typically much smaller, with students taking only 1-2 courses a semester. Specific required course work for all students is as follows: Quantitative Research Design and Analysis in Psychology (PSY 815), Psychometric Theory and Test Construction (PSY 818) or equivalent; Research Methods in Ecological-Community Psychology (PSY 870); History and Theory in Ecological-Community Psychology (PSY 871); Field Research in Psychology (PSY 872); Community Interventions (PSY 873 and PSY 992); and Models of Community Change (PSY 992). Students are also required to enroll in 2 Advanced Topics in Ecological and Community Psychology (PSY 970).

How long does the graduate program take?

The graduate program is usually completed in five to six years, although some students take less or more time. Students begin working toward their master.s degree by completing a thesis sometime between their second and third years in the program. After the thesis, the student is admitted to the doctoral level of the program. Then students spend a semester, usually in the third or fourth year, preparing for and completing a set of comprehensive exams. When the student has passed these exams, work begins on the dissertation. After completion of a dissertation, the student receives the Ph.D. degree.

Will I be assigned to work with a particular professor, or will I get to choose whom to work with?

We do not have an .apprenticeship model,. whereby students are assigned to work with a particular professor throughout their time here. Rather, we work with students to create a learning environment best suited to their needs. For some students this has meant working with one professor throughout their graduate school careers. For others it has meant working with multiple faculty across multiple settings.

Are professors actively involved in research? How involved are the students in research?

Our faculty members are all actively involved in research, and students are an important part of this process.

Where are graduates employed?

Our graduates can be found in many settings both nationally and internationally. Many of our graduates continue on in academia, while others choose government jobs, research institutes, or nonprofit institutions within which to work.

Do students attend or present research at professional conferences?

Most students attend the bi-annual Society for Community Research and Action conference (, as well as other conferences more focused on their particular research area. During their graduate careers, students are expected to present academic research papers at conferences or contribute to a symposium presentation of their research.

Do students publish research in professional and scientific journals?

Students regularly publish research articles in top-tier scientific journals. While many publications are generated by a group working together on a research project, students are also expected to author articles based on their own thesis and dissertation work.

Do I need to have my own computer?

 Our program provides access to a computer lab for graduate students. Some of the available software includes Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), SPSS, and SAS. All computers provide access to both e-mail and the Internet. However, many students do choose to purchase their own computer for use at home.