Title: Rational approaches to learning and development Abstract: Good decision-making requires the decision-maker to generate accurate expectations about what is likely to happen in the future. Adults' decisions, especially those pertaining to attention and learning, are guided by their substantial experience in the world. Very young children, however, possess far less data. In this talk, I will discuss work that explores the mechanisms that guide young children's early visual attention decisions and subsequent learning.
On this page you can find information about the following topics.
* Academic Requirements
* Graduate Student Evaluation Procedure
* Diversity and Support
* Financial Support
* Research and Professional Development Facilities on Campus
* Research, Educational and Development Facilities of the Community
* Application for Admission
* Activities on Campus
* Housing; Opportunities for Spouses; Child Care
We are pleased that you are interested in the Department of Psychology at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP). We hope that this introduction to the Department will answer some of the questions you may have about our graduate programs and about the University itself. The Department has a strong core of dedicated, nationally and internationally known faculty who have wide-ranging interests. There are 31 full-time faculty members in the Department.
The Department of Psychology is one of ten programs and departments in the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences (BSOS). Students are accepted into the following specialty areas:
- Cognitive and Neural Systems (CNS)
- Social, Decision, and Organizational Science (SDOS)
Each area offers a range of subspecialties and educational opportunities that combine expertise across several areas. The Department's doctoral programs in both Clinical and Counseling are accredited by the American Psychological Association.
The Department and all the specialty areas within it share the goals of educating graduate students to conduct research and scholarship, and the clinical, counseling and industrial/organizational areas train students within a scientist-practitioner model for professional careers in human services delivery. The Department focuses on training students who will create, evaluate, and apply scientific knowledge.
The Department believes that students and faculty learn best in an atmosphere characterized by a diversity of interests and perspectives, mutual respect, and hard work. There are many opportunities for collaboration among students and faculty. At regularly held meetings students and faculty are encouraged to present their ideas and hear the views of others.
Each specialty area offers a doctoral level program leading to the Ph.D. We do not admit students who are seeking a terminal Masters degree. Although students can earn an M.S. degree en route to the Ph.D., the Department accepts as graduate students only those who are interested in pursuing the doctoral degree and who have demonstrated the capacity for completing it.
The Department of Psychology offers only a full-time, day program. Students are required to attend classes and conduct research. Generally, students are not permitted to hold off campus employment unless such employment is critical to the student's education. Such employment must be approved by the student’s specialty area.
The Department expects each doctoral candidate to be conversant in the field of psychology as well as expert in his or her specialty area. All students entering with a Baccalaureate degree are required to take three quantitative courses and core courses in areas outside their specialty program, which may be chosen from a group of courses designed to provide graduate level introductions in a variety of specialty areas. The remaining time is devoted to research, and coursework required by the student’s specialty area as well as coursework chosen by the student in consultation with his or her advisor on the basis of the student’s interests.
To be admitted to the doctoral program students must demonstrate “research competence.” Admission to the doctoral program also requires satisfactory completion of certain coursework, and favorable recommendations, from both the research committee and the specialty area, with the final approval made by the Graduate Committee. Research competence may be evidenced by the completion of an acceptable Master’s thesis. See specialty area descriptions later in this brochure for alternative ways to demonstrate research competence.
Sometime in the third or fourth year of the program, students take Comprehensive Examinations. The nature of this exam varies by specialty area. Admission to doctoral candidacy requires successful completion of the comprehensive examination, completion of certain course requirements, and the recommendation of the specialty area. After being admitted to candidacy, students begin formally to work on dissertations. The Ph.D. degree requires 12 hours of dissertation credits. Students in the Clinical and Counseling areas also complete an APA required pre-doctoral internship prior to receiving the Ph.D.
For those students who enter with advanced degrees (e.g., M.A., M.S.) the basic requirements are the same. In the event that the student has already had a course comparable to one of our core courses, the student may petition to have that course credited as a core course, or the student may elect to take an advanced course in that area for purposes of satisfying the core requirement. In either case, the student must consult with his/her advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies.
Each student's performance is monitored by his or her advisor within the specialty area on an ongoing basis. The faculty of each specialty area regularly evaluates the grades, research involvement and competency, and, where appropriate, the applied skill developed by each student within the area. Once each year, the student’s specialtyarea provides the student with a written summary evaluation of his/her progress.
The Psychology Department actively recruits diverse students for its doctoral programs. The Department is committed to the idea that increased cultural diversity benefits everyone’s education, and helps us to be responsive to societal needs. The Committee on Ethnic and Women's Issues, consisting of faculty and student members, focuses on the Department’s concerns and needs of diverse students. A graduate student usually serves as an Ethnic and Women's Issues Coordinator, who oversees activities and represents the interests of graduate students. Courses that deal with ethnic and cultural issues are offered. The Department's colloquium series has included culturally diverse speakers and experts on minority issues. In addition, the Washington, D.C. area has a diverse population, and many activities which can provide experiences relevant to ethnic and cultural diversity. For further information, prospective students may contact the Chair of the Committee on Ethnic and Women's Issues.
The Department generally has been able to provide support for incoming students. As noted earlier, because of the demanding nature of the doctoral program, the Department does not permit students to hold jobs off campus unless they are directly related to the student's education and have been approved by the student's specialty area. Therefore, the need to arrange funding through the Department is essential. Fellowships, teaching and research assistantships are the most common kinds of financial support.
Teaching and Research Assistantships. Teaching and research assistantships for the 2008-2009 academic year provide for remission of tuition (10 credits). Teaching assistants have a 20 hour per week commitment. They generally assist a faculty member with undergraduate courses. Summer stipends are available for some students as well. Research assistantships carry the same stipend as teaching assistantships and require the same number of hours of work per week. The recipient of a research assistantship works under the supervision of a faculty member. Most research assistantships come from grant or contract funds awarded to faculty members in support of their research. Teaching and research assistants are also eligible for the same health insurance options as all other University employees. Insurance premiums are subsidized.
Assistantships from Other Academic Units. There are assistantships offered by other Academic Units (e.g., Departments, Colleges, Centers, etc.) in the university to which psychology graduate students may submit applications for consideration, e.g.,. the University Counseling Center, Office of Student and Employee Services, Resident Life, Judicial Affairs, Career Development Center, BSOS Advising Office, Women's Studies Program, and Human Relations Office. A description of the responsibilities and minimum qualifications and applications may be obtained from the various units.
Fellowships. Fellowships are available for students with outstanding credentials. Graduate Fellowships provide a stipend for the academic year and 12 credits of tuition remission. Health insurance, the cost of which is subsidized by the University, is available. Applicants are nominated on the basis of their credentials by the Department.
The University's location in the metropolitan Washington area affords many opportunities for relevant summer employment for students, whose specialty areas permit them to work off-campus during the summer.
The building in which the Department is housed was designed by the faculty to incorporate research and educational facilities for all specialty areas. The building contains special centers for research, with acoustical centers, observational units, video equipment, computer facilities, surgical facilities, and radio frequency shielding. Departmental laboratories are well equipped for research in animal behavior, audition, biopsychology, cognition, coordinated motor control, counseling, industrial/organizational psychology, learning, life-span development, psycholinguistics, psychophysiology, psychotherapy, social psychology, and vision. Listed below are descriptions of some of the on-campus facilities available to both faculty and students in the Department:
Animal Research Laboratories - The animal facilities include housing for colonies of several species, together with testing rooms, histology rooms, surgery, shielded recording facilities, library, and electronic and woodworking shops.
Auditory Research Laboratory - The laboratory contains soundproof rooms, sound generation equipment, and control and programming equipment.
Computer Facilities - The University and the Department have extensive computer facilities. The University computer center, i.e., Academic Information and Technology Services, has mainframe computers, workstations, extensive desktop and color graphics facilities and supports the campus networking systems. The Department and BSOS have their own servers for faculty and graduate students and the BSOS Office of Academic Computing Services (OACS) supports a Novell-based Local Area Network that includes the Department of Psychology. There are ample workstations and PC's for use by all faculty and graduate students. The Department maintains a website at: http://www.bsos.umd.edu/psyc/
Cognitive Research Laboratories – There are laboratories devoted to cognitive research and a laboratory is equipped for classroom instruction. The Cognitive Research laboratories are equipped with Apple and IBM based personal computers with network capability and one of the laboratories is also equipped with soundsynthesis, recording and playback capability.
Developmental Research Laboratories - Three laboratories are devoted to developmental research across the lifespan. Each laboratory contains personal computers with network capabilities, and the infant and childhood laboratories also contain modern video and sound equipment for supplementing observational research.
Libraries - The libraries on the College Park campus contain nearly 2,000,000 volumes and subscribe to more than 15,000 periodicals and newspapers. Additional collections of research materials are available on microfilm, microfiche, phono records, tapes and films. The Theodore R. McKeldin Library, the largest on campus, is especially strong in the behavioral and biological sciences. In addition, there are a number of other specialty libraries on campus.
Maryland Revolving Field Monitor (MRFM) is a unique instrument that makes accurate measurements of eye/hand/arm coordination under natural conditions. The MRFM consists of 3 subsystems: The Revolving Field Monitor/sensor-coil subsystem(RFM) measures head and eye rotations., the Sparker Tracking subsystem (STS) measures 3-D head translations, and the "Worktable" subsystem combines the RFM and STS systems for measuring eye-hand coordination (see the description of the SNAPP specialty area for more details).
Neurochemistry Laboratory - The laboratory houses equipment for a wide variety of research in behavioral neurochemistry, such as subcellular tissue fractionation, polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and autoradiography.
Psychology Clinic - serves as the training site for doctoral students in clinical psychology through their first three years in the program. The Clinic provides services to both University students and the suburban Maryland and greater Washington, D.C. community. Students have the opportunity to train in individual, group and family therapies as well as specialized training in assessment. The latter includes diagnostic interviewing, behavioral assessment and neurophysiological assessment. Supervision primarily is provided by clinical program faculty. The clinic is equipped with audio visual equipment including a “bug in the ear” device, which is used for both research and clinical supervision. In addition, computers are available for diagnostic testing, neuropsychological assessment purposes, and report writing.
Psychophysiological Laboratory - The laboratory contains programming and psychophysiological equipment for research in biofeedback and psychophysiology, including studies of EEG alpha, eye movements, and various other physiological indices. Soundproof chambers are available for use in sleep research, and tachistoscopes are available for use in research in perception and information processing.
University Counseling Center - The University Counseling Center is a multipurpose mental health facility located on campus for the University community. It provides individual and group counseling, educational skills programs, testing, research consultation, and training. The Center is the primary campus facility for practicum instruction of students in counseling, clinical, and consultation skills. Students gain experience with a college student population who have personal, social, and vocational concerns.
The Department of Psychology has all of the advantages of a large state university, and also has advantages offered by the many resources available in the metropolitan Washington-Baltimore area. The University is approximately 15 miles from the center of Washington, D.C. and is in close proximity to a number of libraries, and state and federal agencies. Students are able to benefit from the excellent additional library resources of the community, such as the Library of Congress, National Library of Medicine, and the National Archives (which is located on the UMCP campus).
The metropolitan area also has many psychologists who can provide students with excellent opportunities for collaboration and/or consultation. The specialty areas have established collaborative relationships with several federal and community agencies and hospitals as well as with businesses and consulting firms, where it is possible for students to arrange for research, practicum and internship placement. These opportunities are available for Clinical and Counseling students at the National Institutes of Health, Veteran's Administration clinics and hospitals in Washington, D.C., Baltimore Perry Point (MD), Coatesville (PA), Martinsburg (WV), Kecoughton (VA), and a number of others within a hundred mile radius of the University. Experiences include a wide range of research activities, as well as psychodiagnostic work, psychotherapy, and work within drug and alcohol abuse clinics. Various other hospitals, clinics and research facilities in the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore metropolitan area are also available. Industrial/Organizational students also have opportunities for practitioner experiences in organizations such as The U.S. Office of Personnel Management, GEICO, Bell Atlantic, and various consulting firms.
In addition, because of the University’s location students have excellent access to national resources. The National Institute of Mental Health, the American Psychological Association, American Psychological Society, State Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and many specialized agencies with national headquarters in the area increase the educational resource and job placement opportunities for students.
To maintain our low student-faculty ratio that permits high quality supervision of both research and professional education, only a small number of students with outstanding credentials is selected for admission each year. The Department accepts as graduate students only those who have demonstrated the capacity for completing the doctoral degree and whose goals are consistent with the educational opportunities offered by our specialty areas.
The specific criteria for admission to the Department of Psychology vary somewhat across specialty areas, but generally include a high undergraduate grade point average, high scores on the Graduate Record Examination, strong letters of recommendation, and research experience and/or previous relevant work experience. In most specialty areas, students are expected to have a thorough background in psychology, however some specialty areas prefer a thorough background in mathematics, biological and/or physical sciences, (see specialty area descriptions). Students are expected to have appropriate background experiences that prepare them to begin graduate work when they enter our graduate program.
The average student admitted to our program in the last few years had an overall undergraduate grade point average over 3.65, appropriate background experiences, outstanding letters of recommendation, Verbal GRE scores over 635 and a Quantitative score over 700. The Department does accept a number of students who have earned Master's and Doctoral degrees at other institutions. Selection criteria for these students are similar to the criteria listed above.
To be considered for admission, a complete application should be received by December 1st.
The University of Maryland’s Graduate School accepts applications through its ApplyYourself/Hobsons application system. Before completing the application, applicants are asked to check the Admissions Requirements site for specific instructions.
Completing the Online Application is the first part of the application process; both the Graduate School and the graduate programs require additional supplemental information from all applicants.
As required by the Graduate School, the following materials must be submitted:
1. A completed online application.
2. A non-refundable application fee of $75.00.
3. One complete set of transcripts reflecting all undergraduate and graduate work completed or in progress. Each transcript must bear the signature of the registrar and the seal of the granting institution and should include the years of attendance, courses taken, grades received, class standing and the degree, certificate or diploma received.
4. A minimum of three letters of recommendation.
5. Statement of Goals, Experiences, and Research Interests.
6. GRE Scores (official copies must be sent directly from ETS). The University of Maryland, College Park institutional code for the GRE is 5814. The Psychology Department does not use a separate code.
7. Program-Specific Requirements. These forms must be completed and submitted in addition to the Graduate School online application.
- Supplementary Application (Counseling Psychology only)
- Supplementary Application (Social, Decision, and Organizational Sciences only)
- Writing Sample (optional) (uploaded to the Upload Requirements section of the application)
1. The Department of Psychology's program code is PSYC.
2. Be sure that all the materials you are submitting are labeled with your first & last name and the specialty area to which you are applying.
3. Although they are not required, consider including GRE scores with application materials. They will be useful if there are delays in transmitting official documents.
4. Area of specialization must be filled in and you may apply to only one area.
5. We recommend that you gather all application materials and send them in one envelope.
6. We admit students ONLY in the Fall term.
7. Any other official documentations in support of your online application should be sent to:
Enrollment Services Office-Graduate Admissions
Rm 0130, Mitchell Building
University of Maryland, College Park
College Park, MD 20742
The University of Maryland, College Park is one of the 10 largest campuses in the nation. Though located in a popular urban area, the campus itself is spacious. The predominantly Georgian-Colonial buildings are scattered across 1,300 rolling acres with flowering bushes, large trees, and expanses of green lawns and malls. Approximately 35,000 students are enrolled at Maryland; of these approximately 8,000 are graduate students. The campus and the surrounding metropolitan area provide a wide variety of cultural, athletic, and recreational opportunities for its students and faculty.
Cultural Opportunities. The University of Maryland is proud of its active commitment to the preservation and creation of the arts. One of the newest buildings on campus was designed to house the Art Department and includes an art gallery which presents several well-respected and internationally recognized shows during the academic year. The campus also boasts a University Theater, proclaimed by a Washington Post critic as the leader in area university productions. The theater presents at least four major productions each season. Also, the world famous University Chorus performs regularly with the Washington National Symphony Orchestra. There are a variety of other programs on campus throughout the year, with special appearances by outstanding artists in music, drama and literature. The newly completed Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center is a popular attraction on campus.
Athletics.Special graduate student passes and ticket books are available for football, basketball and other varsity sports at UMCP. For sporting enthusiasts who would rather play than watch, there are many campus facilities available. There is an 18-hole golf course and driving range, two olympic size swimming pools with hours reserved for faculty, staff, and graduate assistants. An athletic building on campus has 12 courts for handball, racquetball and squash, basketball and indoor volleyball courts, saunas, and faculty-staff weight rooms and numerous aerobics classes. Other available facilities on campus include numerous tennis courts and archery targets, and fields for softball, football, soccer, rugby, and field hockey.
The Office of Intramural Sports.This office sponsors tournaments for both men and women graduate students in badminton, basketball, bowling, cross country, foul shooting, golf, handball, horseshoes, one-on-one basketball, racquetball, soccer, softball, swimming, table tennis, tennis, touch football, track and field, volleyball, weightlifting and wrestling. The Psychology Department graduate students and faculty have been enthusiastic participants in many intramural events, notably football, basketball, soccer, volleyball, and softball.
Other On-Campus Recreational Facilities. The nearby Adele H. Stamp Student Union houses a wide variety of recreational activities. There are bowling lanes, billiard tables, a pinball machine room, electronic games, and a room devoted to cards, checkers, chess, etc. A commercial movie theater shows first-run films and old classics at affordable prices.
Graduate Housing. While currently there is no on-campus graduate housing at the University of Maryland, there are two all-graduate student housing options in close proximity to campus. These are Graduate Hills and Graduate Gardens (http://www.graduatehills.com/). They are located on University property, but are managed by a private company, Southern Management Corporation.
There are also many apartment complexes within a few miles of the campus. Scattered throughout the area are houses that have been converted to small apartments and single rooms. The housing office on campus has brochures listing local apartment complexes, individual listings, and advice to home-seekers or you can access their website at http://www.och.umd.edu/. A free University shuttle-bus accommodates students living within a fairly wide radius of the campus. In addition, the College Park Metro Station provides access to the Washington, D.C., Metro transit system which services the entire metropolitan area, including Northern Virginia. A free University shuttle-bus provides service between the College Park Metro Station (and several others) and campus.
Opportunities for Spouses. Students whose spouses are interested in employment will find job opportunities in the Washington area. Government positions ranging from clerical jobs to professional positions are available. There are also jobs in private industry, university positions, and other types of openings typically available in a large, urban area. Graduate students and their spouses are eligible to use the Career Library with its file of job leads, participate in workshops on interviewing, resume preparation, job-seeking techniques, and to attend various Center-sponsored programs.
Health Services and Health Insurance. Graduate students are eligible to use the services of the University Health Center. The services include emergency and routine medical care, mental health evaluation and treatment, health education, laboratory, x-ray, gynecological services, dermatological, and orthopedic services. The University also maintains a comprehensive insurance plan for University employees, including students with assistantships. Fees are subsidized by the state.
Pre-School Child Care. The College of Education offers an accredited (by the National Academy of Early Childhood Programs) Center for Young Children on campus for children ages three to five for faculty, staff, and students affiliated with the University community. The Center provides a full-day pre-school, kindergarten, and summer program. The cost is based on a sliding scale determined by total income. For more information, contact the Center for Young Children at (301) 405-3168.
Washington, D.C. and Surrounds
Situated in Prince Georges County, the College Park Campus is part of the large metropolitan area of Washington, D.C. With the variety and wealth of activities that take place in every season it is easy to catch Potomac fever. Below is a small sample of area highlights.
Art. Washington houses one of the finest collections of art in this country. Art galleries and museums include the National Gallery of Art, the Hirschorn Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the Freer Gallery, the Corcoran Gallery, the Phillips Gallery, and the East Wing of the National Gallery.
Drama. Washington is a center for theater. In any season, you may choose among classical and experimental, theater-in-the-round, and conventional. The Kennedy Center offers tickets to students at discount prices. Other excellent theaters include the Arena Stage, National Theater, Ford's Theater, Folger Theater, and Clarice Smith.
Music. The National Symphony is considered one of the better American orchestras and offers exciting performances every season. There also various free summer outdoor concerts in the area amphitheaters and parks. The Washington Performing Arts Society presents an annual series of programs which feature internationally famous orchestras, pianists and vocalists. The Washington Opera also presents an annual series of programs and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts presents ballet, orchestra, and other classical music programs. Rock, folk and soul concerts are presented at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland, Wolf Trap Farm in nearby Virginia, and the Nissan Pavilion in Virginia. There are also many nightclubs that feature a broad array of music, spanning blues, jazz, and bluegrass, in Washington, D.C and Baltimore.
Film. Washington is blessed with outstanding film. The American Film Institute in the Kennedy Center, and also in Silver Spring, MD, presents many films of significance. Discount student memberships are available. There are also many first-run and neighborhood theaters in the area.
Museums. The Smithsonian Institution and its related museums house some of the richest collections of artifacts anywhere in the world. The National Archives includes many of our government's finest handwritten documents. Other Smithsonian museums include the Museum of History and Technology and the Air and Space Museum. The National Archives is now located in College Park, close to the university.
Historic Annapolis, the Maryland state capital, is less than one hour drive. Baltimore, with its rich variety of ethnic heritages, its cultural and educational institutions, baseball stadium, and its impressive urban transformation, is only 30 minutes away. Chesapeake Bay is 30 miles away and College Park is just 133 miles from the ocean beaches. Other great escapes include old-town Alexandria, Williamsburg, and the Shenandoah National Park.
Last modified 7 December, 2007