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Program and Objectives

Core Courses

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

To count an approved course towards the DAPS Core Course requirement, a Ph.D. student must complete a written assignment that that shows theoretical understanding of major psychological, social, and developmental issue(s) in education research or practice, as well as knowledge of methodological skills needed to address or critique the relevant research question(s). Acceptable formats include an empirical paper, a grant proposal, a research review, or a series of reports. The course instructor will decide the format and focus of the assignment, which will be identified in the syllabus as an extra requirement for DAPS Ph.D. students who want the class to count as a core course.

Students should include these written products in their first and second year review portfolios. Note: Students do not need to complete all four core courses by the end of their second year. 

To help you select classes, we have grouped the DAPS Core Courses into four content clusters. You can read course summaries and see a detailed overview of course components. You can select your core courses from any cluster. (You do NOT need to take all courses within a cluster, or take one from each cluster.)

Students will keep track of the DAPS Core Courses they have completed using the DAPS Core Courses Student Form and include it in their portfolios. After a student completes four DAPS Core Courses, they are expected to print this form, ask their primary advisor to review and sign it, and turn in the signed form to the Director of Degree Programs. This form does NOT replace the GSP form, which is still a required component of students’ first and second review portfolios.

This policy replaces the prior practice of petitioning for a non-approved course to count toward core requirements. All previously approved petitions stand, and for those successful petitions you do not need to complete an additional written assignment. However, no new petitions will be accepted.

If you took a class from the expanded list of 22 DAPS Core Courses *before* it was approved as such, you may speak with your advisor to see whether it should be counted toward your foundational training. If the course has a new written assignment to align with the vision for DAPS Core Courses, you must also have approval from the instructor to complete that assignment after the class. With those two faculty approvals, please email the DAPS Area Chair to finalize this exception.

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. After notification to the existing advisor, approval from the proposed new advisor, the DAPS Area Chair, and the Associate Dean of Educational Affairs is required for advisor updates or changes.

Contact us

PhD students, please contact

Photo of Jeremy Edwards
Jeremy Edwards
Associate Director of Degree Programs

MA POLS and MA/PP students, please contact

Wesley Horng
Wesley Horng
Associate Director of Admissions & Academic Affairs

EDS, ICE/IEPA, Individually Designed, LDT, MA/JD, MA/MBA students, please contact

Photo of Caroline Stasulat
Caroline Stasulat
Associate Director of Degree Programs
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