PhD in Psychology
The PhD in Psychology is a 4-year program aimed to train candidates to make significant contributions to the field of Psychology by providing them with the knowledge, skills, and experiences to become successful consumers and producers of original scholarly research. The PhD program emphasizes three distinct areas of research: (a) Behavioural and Cognitive Neuroscience; (b) Developmental Psychology; and (c) Social, Health, and Personality Psychology. From these areas, candidates engage in research directed towards understanding how cognitive, neurobiological, developmental and social processes drive and shape human behaviour, personality, health, and well-being. With this degree, PhD graduates will have the knowledge, skills, and training to prepare them for traditional positions within academia (University) or to pursue non-academic career paths in industry-, government- or community-related fields.
The Doctoral degree capitalizes on the Faculty of Psychology’s strengths in multidisciplinary research in the Social and Natural Sciences. The Doctoral research fosters innovation thus creating new knowledge that benefits teaching, learning and student development in Psychology. The program also provides unique and applied research opportunities for prospective candidates through strong partnerships and collaborations with external communities, professions, and other institutions.
The PhD program focuses on exposure to advanced research methods and will provide area-specific course content that will enable candidates to receive comprehensive training within their chosen area of study. The PhD in Psychology accepts prospective candidates who have completed an MA or MSc degree in Psychology or a related discipline. Exceptional students in good standing that are currently enrolled in our MSc program can request transfer into the PhD program. Course offerings and research opportunities within this program draw upon the wealth of expertise of Trent’s Psychology Faculty.
Year 1: the emphasis of training is placed on the development of the candidate’s knowledge base (through content and area-specific courses) and their professional and communication skills (through specialized Research Colloquia and Professional Development courses). Candidates will develop a dissertation proposal in consultation with their supervisor and will include the completion of all required Ethics Applications and the successful completion of the dissertation proposal to the candidate’s supervisory committee.
Year 2: the emphasis is placed on increasing the candidate’s fluency and breadth of knowledge through the completion of a Comprehensive Examination within the candidate’s area of research. This will help reveal the candidate’s competency within their respected research area and correct for any deficiencies, ensuring that the candidate’s training and knowledge base is at an advanced level appropriate for PhD research.
Year 3: candidates complete an experiential skills-based project that is designed to broaden the student’s exposure to research, knowledge application, and knowledge translation.
Year 4: the candidate is immersed in the completion of their dissertation research. The candidate will also present their research to their Dissertation Advisory Committee in a public forum. The dissertation defence is expected by the end of Year 4.
Candidates in this program will receive financial support through the offering of Graduate Teaching Assistantship, and all candidates are encouraged to apply to external funding sources. Development of teaching and pedagogical skills are encouraged throughout the program of study, and once a candidate has completed their comprehensive examination, they will be permitted to instruct undergraduate courses within our program.
We anticipate that graduates from our PhD program will pursue careers that capitalize on their research training and professional expertise. Some of graduates of this program may pursue careers as researchers and/ or teachers in academia by obtaining post-doctoral fellowships and then research- or teaching-track positions. However, a PhD in Psychology is extremely flexible; 75% of PhD graduates are employed in non-academic settings, including administration, research and policy development in clinical science, social services, health care, government, industry, or community agencies in both the public and private sector. Our graduates will be welcome additions to any organization seeking individuals with problem-solving, communication, and time-management skills, and high-level expertise in research design and statistical analysis.