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Current Graduate Students

Information for Current Graduate Students

The following information supplements the general procedures and rules of the College of of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Graduate School. It is the responsibility of the student to become familiar with the rules and policies as specified in the Graduate Bulletin. The information here must also be considered in relation to the policies adopted by each specialty area within the Psychology Department. Some areas require more specific sequences of coursework, which only applies to the students majoring in that area. The area chairperson should be consulted for further information concerning specific graduate requirements. It is important to become familiar with the process this will make it much easier and less stressful on you if all coursework and paperwork is completed in a timely manner. Please see the Psychology Department Graduate Advisor (Room 7208) for any assistance needed.


Students are admitted directly to the doctoral program. However, students who enter without a Master's Degree must complete a master's-level research project or earn a master's degree as a requirement for the doctoral program. After the master's requirement is satisfied, the student is considered a doctoral applicant.

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The area chairperson makes the initial advisor assignment when a student is admitted to the program. This appointment is generally an administrative matter for the purpose of early advising.

Students will normally select a continuing academic advisor (who may or may not be the initially assigned advisor) early in their program. The main function of the academic advisor is to assist the student in the selection of coursework and to provide information about the area requirements. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that the Department Graduate Office has the name of his/her current advisor on file. Students wishing to change their advisor must complete the Change of Advisor form and submit it to the Psychology Department Graduate Advisor.

Cognitive, Developmental, and Social Psychology students also form a mentoring committee in their second semester.  See the CDS handbook for more information.  Click here to download the form.

The Graduate Writing Resources page is now available on the Graduate School’s website.   It offers students quick access to important online writing resources, including style guides and writing manuals, references works on disciplinary writing and citation, and provides additional resources and information. http://gradschool.wayne.edu/writing-resources.php

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Academic Performance

At the end of each academic year each student is evaluated by his/her area committee and by the departmental Graduate Committee and is notified by the Graduate Committee of any deficiencies in academic progress. A student who is not considered by the area committee or by the Graduate Committee to be making adequate progress, either in terms of coursework of in terms of professional development, may be dismissed from the doctoral program. Causes for Dismissal and the Procedures for Dismissal, as well as the process for reviews of student performance, are outlined below.

Causes for Dismissal

A student may be dismissed from the graduate program for a) failure to make adequate progress in the program or b) ethical violations.
Failure to make adequate progress in the program is indicated by one or more of the following:
  • Earning more than two grades of ‘B-minus’ and below in the program, or having a GPA below ‘B’ (3.0)
  • Failing the qualifying exams two times
  • Failing to complete degree milestones within the timeline specified as minimally acceptable progress. A student who does not meet the minimally acceptable progress timeline may be designated as being in “Unsatisfactory Progress” status by the Graduate Committee on the recommendation of the student’s area. Any such status change must include a plan deemed adequate by the student’s area and the Graduate Committee for a timely completion of the master’s or doctoral degree. Failure to meet the specifications of the improvement plan will most likely result in dismissal from the program. The opportunity to extend milestones past the minimally acceptable progress timeline (i.e., being placed in “Unsatisfactory Progress” status) is not guaranteed, and students should not assume that they will be allowed to continue in the program if they fail to achieve the minimally acceptable progress standards.
  • Failing to fulfill specific requirements of the doctoral program identified and communicated to the student by their area.
Ethical violations are defined by violations of the APA code of ethics. If convincing evidence of violations of these guidelines is brought to the graduate committee, the graduate committee may vote to dismiss the student from the program. The APA code of ethics can be viewed or downloaded from http://www.apa.org/ethics/.

Procedure for Dismissal and Review of Student Progress

  1. Annual Review
    1. Each student will be reviewed annually in accordance with department policy.
    2. Reviews can be more frequent if the Advisor or Area is concerned about any of the issues listed above.
    3. The advisor will share the review with the student and recommend a course of action.
    4. The graduate committee may examine the annual reviews and may bring concerns about a student’s progress to the appropriate area.
  2. At any time in the student’s graduate career, if the review process raises significant concerns about whether the student should continue in the program, the area should meet and discuss the issues. The student will be notified of the meeting and may make an oral or written presentation of their case to the area. 
  3. The area may recommend that the Graduate Committee place a student in “Unsatisfactory Progress” status with clearly defined standards that the student must meet in a defined period of time. The Graduate Committee must approve the improvement plan, and the written decision and the reasons for it will be presented to the student by the advisor. If students meet the standards they are restored to good standing in the program.
    1.  Students whose progress is deemed to be Unsatisfactory will not be eligible for Additional Service Assignments, unless the Graduate Committee approves a request from the student’s adviser for an exception to this policy. Students whose progress is deemed to be Unsatisfactory may have their priority for funding reduced or their eligibility for funding eliminated on the recommendation of their area and the approval of the Graduate Committee.
  4. If an area reaches the decision to recommend dismissing a student from the doctoral program, the area will bring this recommendation to the Graduate Committee. The student will be notified of the Graduate Committee meeting and may make an oral or written presentation of their case to the area.
  5. Copies of decisions to put students in “Unsatisfactory Progress” status, to remove them from “Unsatisfactory Progress” status, or to dismiss them will be placed in the student’s file, and copies will be forwarded to the University Graduate Office.
  6. If a student withdraws from the program, the graduate officer will acknowledge the withdrawal in writing and put a copy in the student’s file and forward a copy to the University Graduate Office.
  7. Appeal Processes: The student can utilize one of two appeals processes depending on the reason for the dismissal.
    1. If the reason for the dismissal is related to not meeting the Graduate School’s Ph.D. requirements, the line of appeal is to the chair of the Graduate Committee, the Dean of the Graduate School, and then to the Provost.
    2. For purely academic issues, the student should follow the appeals process outlined in the Student Due Process policy available from the office of the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Milestones for Progress in the Program

Minimal acceptable progress:
  • Master’s thesis or master’s equivalent project proposed by the end of December of the third year.
  • Master’s thesis or equivalent project defended by the end of May in the fourth year.
  • Pass written qualifying examinations by end of May in the fifth year.
  • Dissertation proposed by the end of May in the sixth year.
  • Dissertation completed by the end of the seventh year.
Expected progress:
  • Master’s thesis or master’s equivalent project proposed by the end of May in the second year.
  • Master’s thesis or equivalent project defended by the end of May in the third year.
  • Sit for qualifying exam by the start of classes of the fourth year.
  • Dissertation proposed by end of May in the fourth year.
  • Dissertation completed by end of the fifth year.
NOTE: Progress in doctoral study with some academic advisers or in some fields is slower than the expected progress standards described above. The areas and the Graduate Committee take this into account. However, the Graduate Committee retains the authority to dismiss students for lack of progress or to place students in Unsatisfactory Progress status. 

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Repeating Courses

Students may repeat only courses in which they received a grade of B- or below. The original grade for the course will remain on the student’s transcript, but only the second iteration of the grade will be used in calculating the student’s Grade Point Average.  Students will not receive University financial aid for repetition of courses.

Graduate students will be restricted to one registration per course through the Banner student information system. The registration system will prevent students from registering for the same course a second time.

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Program Load and Stopping Out

A full time graduate student is one who is enrolled for eight or more credits during a semester. A half time graduate student for the purpose of deferring loans is one who is enrolled in at least 4.5 credits. Graduate Assistants are required to register for at least six credits each semester.

Students are expected to be registered for at least one credit each semester they are a student in the program. The department recognizes that illness or other personal reasons may mean a student must take some time away from the program. A student will be allowed to take up to four semesters (total) off without being dropped from the program.

The following issues need to be understood by the student.

  • The clock defining progress in the program is not stopped by taking time off from the program. The reasons for taking time off will be given consideration, however, when the area and the graduate committee evaluate the student, and when requests for time extensions are considered.
  • Time off from the program is not granted automatically, and students must apply to the graduate committee for permission. Application forms will be available in the graduate office.
  • At the end of each semester that the student is not registered, the student must contact the department graduate officer to indicate whether or not they will be registering the following semester. Failure to do this will be considered lack of progress in the program and will put the student at risk for termination from the program.

Requests to "Stop Out" should be emailed to the graduate office, aallen@wayne.edu.  Please include details regarding the reason for the request and the plan to return.

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Course Equivalency & Transfer Credit

A student wishing to transfer graduate credit should file a Transfer of Credit form, MA form & PHD form, with their Plan of Work (either Master's or Ph.D., depending on which program the credit is to be applied to). Please note that you may transfer as many courses as you wish, but those obtaining a Master's degree must complete 24 graduate credits at Wayne State University and Ph.D. students must complete at least 30 credits of coursework and 30 dissertation credits at Wayne State University.

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Directed Study

Independent study may be authorized for areas of interest not covered by courses scheduled at the time the student is completing course requirements. Before a Ph.D. applicant may register for directed study, he/she should prepare an Petition and Authorization For Directed Study form. Once completed the form needs to be submitted to the Psychology Department Graduate Advisor.

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Graduate Students must spend their first academic year in full residence. By departmental regulation they are required to complete at least six three-credit courses during their first academic year. This is exclusive of research and thesis credits. Any incompletes in these six courses must be removed prior to the fall semester of the second year.

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The department requires that all doctoral candidates do some teaching during their graduate program. This will be arranged to be minimally burdensome to those students having outside obligations such as clinical placements. For those students who find teaching challenging you can visit the Office of Teaching and Learning (2210 David Adamany Undergraduate Library) or logon to their website at: http://www.otl.wayne.edu/.

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5057 Woodward Ave. 7th Floor
Detroit, MI 48202
Phone: (313) 577-2800
Fax: (313) 577-7636
Website: clasweb.clas.wayne.edu/psychology
Email: ac0576@wayne.edu