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Program and Objectives

Core Courses

All DAPS students are required to take a minimum of four (4) of the following courses during their graduate training program:

Please note that not all courses will necessarily be offered during a given year; refer to for course schedules. The core courses are designed to provide students with the necessary foundational (theoretical and methodological) skills required to understand the major psychological, social, and developmental issues in educational research and practice.  To support the development of methodological skills these courses include assignments in the form of reasonably constrained, small-scale research projects or shorter exercises.  It is expected that some projects may be of a quality that is reportable at a scientific or professional meeting. It is not expected that a research project conducted in a core course will lead into the dissertation research, though that possibility is not precluded.

A new feature of the DAPS core course requirement is EDUC 465 which is offered to first and second year DAPS/LSTD students.  This is a voluntary seminar led by a faculty member with strong student input and support that is offered for one unit of credit each quarter.  Students can take the seminar up to 6 times. Importantly, if a student enrolls for EDUC 465 and completes the seminar at least 3 times this will count toward one of the core course requirements. 

Students who would like to request permission to count a course not on this list as a DAPS core course should fill out this petition, have it signed by their advisor, and submit it to the Assistant Director of Degree Programs for review. Courses taken within the Stanford Graduate School of Education as well as courses taken at Stanford in departments outside of Education (for example, Psychology) may be petitioned to count as DAPS core courses. Courses taken outside of Stanford may NOT be petitioned to count as DAPS core courses.

Additional Courses Offered by DAPS Faculty

Program Advisors

Near the end of the first year of the program and as the student prepares for the 3rd quarter review, the DAPS doctoral student, in conjunction with her or his primary advisor, selects a second advisor who serves in this capacity until the student advances to doctoral candidacy.

The Primary Advisor

Upon acceptance into the program, DAPS faculty assign an initial program advisor to the incoming student based on identified special interests. The faculty advisor ordinarily serves as a student’s “primary” advisor for at least the first year of residence. The student consults with the advisor about course choices, research experiences, and other aspects of his or her program. The primary advisor is responsible for signing programs of study and other official documents and will arrange for advisement when off-duty for any extended period.

The Second Advisor

During the first Autumn Quarter, students will become acquainted with other faculty members, in part through the required DAPS core courses, the Proseminar core course, and other GSE courses. Students should also take other opportunities to discuss common interests with faculty members. During Winter Quarter, students will choose a second advisor, having discussed options with their primary advisor. Since the role of the second advisor is to provide breadth to advisement and training, students are encouraged to choose a second advisor whose interests do not overlap substantially with those of the primary advisor. Students have several options. The second advisor may be chosen from within DAPS, from another Area Committee in the GSE, or from another department in the University, as best fits the student’s special interests. However, students should note that faculty within Developmental and Psychological Sciences will be more familiar with the role of the second advisor than will faculty in other GSE programs or from departments outside of the GSE.

The second advisor’s responsibilities end following successful completion of the student’s Second Year Review (the 6th quarter). Students then have only one official academic advisor who represents their interests in departmental affairs and who must be a member of DAPS and meet other advisor requirements (e.g., member of the GSE faculty and Academic Council). This may be the primary or second advisor or another DAPS faculty member whom the student has chosen to serve as dissertation advisor. If a student chooses a dissertation advisor from an Area other than DAPS or a school other than the GSE, the student must also retain a DAPS academic co-advisor.

Approval from the proposed new (e.g., second) advisor, the existing primary advisor, the DAPS Area Chair, and Associate Dean for Student Affairs is required for advisor updates or changes. The relevant form and procedures are on the GSE website.

Changing Advisors

DAPS uses a two-advisor system to ensure that students have ready access to a range of advice in formulating and pursuing their program. The first year of graduate work will expose students to many new ideas; it is not unusual for students to shift away from areas proposed as specializations at application time. If a change of advisor seems appropriate given these or other important circumstances, students may request the change by using the appropriate GSE form, which can be found on the GSE Intranet. The DAPS Area Chair is a third advisor to all students as well as an ombudsman who endeavors to resolve points of concern or dispute among or between students and faculty members. Approval from the proposed new advisor, the existing primary advisor, the DAPS Area Chair, and the Associate Dean for Student Affairs is required for advisor updates or changes.

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