The purpose of the competency requirements is to develop and assess the competency of professional behaviors in doctoral-level graduate students in the Human Factors & Cognitive Psychology program that are consistent with the program’s professional training goals. These goals include but are not limited to the development and demonstration of skills and abilities that enable graduating students in (1) research; and (2) competently serve as innovative teachers/instructors in colleges and universities, and as presenters at local, regional, national, and international professional conferences.
Competency requirements are detailed below and involve the completion of five professional activities to satisfy two competency domains.
Domain 1: Research
Published/ Publishable Article (1st author)
First Year Project
Manuscript: Two weeks after the start date of the first semester of the second year
Presentation: Approximately two weeks after submission of the manuscript
Second Year Project
Manuscript: Two weeks after the start date of the first semester of the second year
Presentation: By the end of the spring semester of the third year in the program.
Domain 2: Teaching/Professional Presentations
- Undergraduate Instructor Experience, or
- Professional Presentations
Deadline: End of sixth semester in Program (excluding summers)
Requirements, Rationale and Objectives
Successful completion of the competency requirements reflects the Program’s desire to ensure overall breadth of training in the field of Human Factors & Cognitive psychology that are complemented by individually tailored professional training experiences and competencies consistent with a student’s professional career goals. The two professional domains outlined above (and detailed in the subsequent sections) are consistent with this intent. Students are required to complete all domains as well as required coursework (including electives) to be eligible for doctoral candidacy. The student must meet all domain requirements during his or her enrollment in the UCF HFC Ph.D. program. Work completed the program will not be considered for domain completion.
1. Published/Publishable Article
Students are required to submit an article to a refereed journal and receive feedback on the manuscript. Students must be first or solo author on empirical research that is either published or publishable in a peer-reviewed journal. If the student does not receive word on journal submission by 6 months or if the article is rejected, the faculty committee will review the student’s work and determine if it fulfills the requirement.
Fulfillment of this component is intended to (a) complement the student’s graduate level coursework in research methods, design, statistics, and on-going research practica, (b) hone conceptual and professional writing skills related to publishing findings in scholarly journals, (c) encourage students to submit completed scholarly works to journals for peer review, and (d) provide students with the opportunity to receive and react to comments offered by professional journal reviewers. The student must complete research and article while enrolled in the HFC Program. The student must report receipt of the peer review and complete and submit all forms for inclusion in their portfolio within thirty (30) days of receiving feedback from the journal. The student must also inform his/her advisor, the Program Assistant, and the Program Director each time an activity is added to his/her Competency portfolio. Failure to meet the thirty-day deadline will result in disqualification of the manuscript for satisfying this competency. The manuscript and editorial response may be reviewed by the HFC committee to determine whether the student has satisfied this requirement.
2. First Year Project
In the first year, all students must do a laboratory research project (the First Year Project) that includes at least one empirical study. The project must be approved and will be supervised by the student’s advisor. Two weeks after the start date of the first semester of the second year (if this date falls on a weekend or academic holiday the due date will be the first day following on which University classes are in session), the student must provide a written paper describing their work structured in accordance with APA guidelines and including all sections necessary for a typical journal submission in their field. It should not exceed 20 pages of text (exclusive of References, Tables, and Figures). Approval of the paper is required by two members of the Human Factors and Cognitive Psychology program faculty (one of whom will be the student’s advisor). Additionally, the student must undergo a 20-minute oral examination based on the written report. This examination will be in the format of an academic talk delivered to area faculty and students that will occur approximately 2 weeks following submission of the First Year Paper. Satisfactory performance on both the paper and oral examination is required to maintain good standing in the program. Cases in which performance is deemed unsatisfactory will result in academic probation with a retention plan for the student, who must successfully complete this plan to maintain status in the program. However, if a student already on academic probation delivers a first-year project (either paper or talk) that is deemed unsatisfactory then they may be removed from the program at the discretion of the program director. Failure to complete the first-year project is grounds for dismissal from the program.
3. Second-Year Project
In the second year, all students must do a laboratory research project (the Second Year Project) that includes at least one empirical study. The project must be approved and will be supervised by the student’s advisor. Two weeks after the start date of the first semester of the second year (if this date falls on a weekend or academic holiday the due date will be the first day following on which University classes are in session), the student must provide a written paper describing their work structured in accordance with APA guidelines and including all sections necessary for a typical journal submission in their field. It should not exceed 20 pages of text (exclusive of References, Tables, and Figures). Approval of the paper is required by two members of the Human Factors and Cognitive Psychology program faculty (one of whom will be the student’s advisor). Additionally, the student must undergo a one-hour oral examination based on the written report. This examination will be in the format of an academic talk delivered to area faculty and students that will occur in an HFC Program Seminar (typically held on Friday afternoons) during the Fall or Spring Semester of the third year in the program. The specific date on which the student presents their work will depend on the seminar schedule for those two semesters. Satisfactory performance on both the paper and oral examination is required to maintain good standing in the program. Cases in which performance is deemed unsatisfactory will result in academic probation with a retention plan for the student, who must successfully complete this plan to maintain status in the program. However, if a student already on academic probation delivers a first-year project (either paper or talk) that is deemed unsatisfactory then they may be removed from the program at the discretion of the program director. Failure to complete the second-year project is grounds for dismissal from the program.
4. Literature Review Paper
Students will fulfill the Literature Review Paper requirement by completing a sole-authored review paper of literature in their area of research interest. The paper will synthesize research of that selected area and derive and include proposals of novel hypotheses, models, or frameworks that can be used to formalize the selected literature to advance future research.
Fulfilling this requirement is intended to a) develop students’ expertise in their research area, b) refine students’ abilities to capture current understanding of a research topic through scholarly writing, c) encourage students to develop well-supported and testable hypotheses that can advance research in their field, and d) provide students an opportunity to receive feedback from all program faculty.
Students can focus this review on their intended dissertation topic and use said review as a basis for their dissertation introduction. This is not a requirement. Prior to beginning the review, students must document approval of the topic from their advisor. They must also obtain commitment from a second reader (from within the HFC faculty) to assess the completed review. The second reader cannot be the same second reader selected for the student’s First Year Research Project. Prior to the start of the second semester of the third year, the student must submit the completed review to their advisor and second reader. Any changes required by readers must be integrated and the revision completed to the readers’ satisfaction in order for the student to fulfill this requirement.
The review paper must be formatted in accordance with APA guidelines. Students may refer to papers published in Annual Review of Psychology for guidelines on the length, composition, and level of support included in a well-composed review.
Teaching/Professional Presentations Domain
Fulfillment of this domain requires first that all students complete the UCF Graduate Studies 2-day GTA Training session. In addition, students must either serve as instructor of record for an undergraduate course at UCF or complete formal presentations. Students are free to select either option in consultation with their faculty advisors. If the student opts for instructor of record of an undergraduate course, the student must do the following: Submit a syllabus, lecture notes, examinations, two course evaluations (mid and end-of-semester administered online by UCF, distributed by Psychology), as well as written feedback from the student’s faculty advisor or members of the student’s competency committee who directly observed or viewed videotapes of at least three lectures. If the student opts to conduct professional presentations, that student must complete at least two presentations (see table below) in which he or she is an author and is also the primary presenter. Written feedback from the student’s faculty advisor or members of the student’s competency committee who directly observed or viewed videotapes of the five lectures must be available for review. Professional presentations do not include poster presentations or classroom presentations (e.g., guest lecturer).
Fulfillment of the traditional Teaching domain is intended to provide students with (a) additional training and opportunities to develop instructional skills consistent with university level instruction, (b) the opportunity to receive and react to constructive comments concerning their developing instructional skills, (c) additional opportunities to learn and develop expertise in using newly developed technology and methods relevant to university level instruction (e.g., active learning groups, computer assisted technology, software programs that facilitate and complement traditional instructional activities), and (d) additional expertise in select areas of psychology to prepare them for future professional instructional opportunities following graduation from the University. The alternative option under this domain is intended to encourage students to engage in research studies beyond those required by the program and to present their findings at professional meetings. Fulfillment of this requirement is expected to promote research involvement throughout graduate training and promote student competency in (a) developing written submissions of completed empirical works, (b) oral presentations skills with professional audiences, (c) learning and using innovative technology relevant to paper/poster presentations, and (d) receiving and reacting to constructive comments offered by professionals.
Students satisfy this domain by accumulating 4 points for teaching and/or professional presentation. For presentations, the student must be the presenter. Points are assigned as follows:
- One paper presentation (lecture) at National/International Conference (2 points)
- One poster presentation at National/International Conference (1 point)
- One paper presentation at Regional Conference (1 point)
- One poster presentation at Regional Conference (1/2 point)
- Teaching Assistant for a research methods laboratory section (limit of one section per semester) (1 point)
- HFC Program Colloquium/Brown-bag presentation (1 point)
- Teaching a course as instructor of record (4 points)
The student must report each activity and complete and submit all forms for inclusion in their portfolio within thirty (30) days of the presentation or of the end of the semester in which the teaching activity occurred. The student must also inform his/her adviser, the Program Assistant, and the Program Director each time an activity is added to his/her Competency portfolio. Failure to meet the thirty-day deadline will result in disqualification of the activity for satisfying this competency. The activity may be reviewed by the HFC committee to determine whether the student has satisfied this requirement.
Procedures and Time Guidelines for Completing the Competency Requirements
Students admitted to the Ph.D. Human Factors and Cognitive Psychology Program will complete competency domains (Research and Teaching/Professional Presentations) to fulfill the professional competency requirements. Students are strongly encouraged to discuss their preferences and planned course for fulfilling these requirements with their academic advisors. Students should consult with the Program Assistant within the first two weeks of each semester to verify that their dossier is up-to-date. Students admitted to the Ph.D. Human Factors and Cognitive Psychology Program will not be able to fulfill the requirements with previous work completed at any institution previous to their enrollment in the HFC Ph.D. program at the University of Central Florida (UCF).
Successful completion of the competency criteria must be completed before proposing the dissertation. The deadlines for completion of each competency are indicated in the Table 1. Each student’s competency evaluation committee (which may be different from or identical to the dissertation committee) will determine whether the student has successfully fulfilled the competency requirements. Students are strongly encouraged to consult with their advisor in selecting a competency evaluation committee. One consideration in identifying potential committee members is the topic you select to meet the research domain. Students are responsible for submission of paperwork required to establish their committee, and they should consult with the Program Assistant to coordinate this process.
A written summary of the results and the student’s Professional Activity Domain dossier will be forwarded to the Human Factors and Cognitive Psychology Program faculty for review and final approval. Students must submit their candidacy dossiers to the HFC Program faculty thirty (30) days prior to the beginning of the semester they anticipate becoming ABD. Failure to do so may result in delaying their advancement to candidacy. The Program faculty will then review each submitted dossier and the Director of the HFC Program will notify students in writing following the successful completion of the competency requirements. Students may formally propose their dissertation following written notification that they have completed the competency requirements.
Graduate Research: Doctoral Dissertation
Prior to enrollment into PSY 7980 Doctoral Dissertation, you must have passed candidacy and your dissertation committee must be reviewed and approved by the College of Sciences Associate Dean of Graduate Studies. This form can be found online at: http://www.students.graduate.ucf.edu/files/
Doctoral students engaging in dissertation research must be continuously enrolled in at least three hours of PSY 7980 every semester, including summers until they successfully defend and submit their dissertation to the University Thesis Editor.
Students will complete a minimum of 15 dissertation credit hours to meet the requirements for graduation.
All dissertations must involve the collection and analysis of original data. In exceptional circumstances, the use of an archival data set may be accepted through petition to the Graduate Committee. Oral presentation of the dissertation/dissertation prospectus must be made to the Dissertation/ Dissertation Committee for approval prior to initiating the research. The proposal generally includes the following: (a) title, (b) introduction to the problem, (c) comprehensive review of relevant literature, (d) establishing the uniqueness of the study, (e) theoretical background and hypotheses, (f) planned methodology, and (g) planned data analytic approach. Students are encouraged to write their dissertation proposal and dissertation using APA publication style(see APA Publication Manual, 6th edition) and to submit their completed research to relevant professional journals in their field of research. An appendix to the dissertation and/or dissertation may be used to include a more comprehensive literature review as determined by the student’s committee members. After submitting a written proposal to the Dissertation/Dissertation Committee, the committee will meet with the student to discuss and evaluate the proposal. The approval of the proposal by a majority of committee members indicates that the committee members find the research to be original and appropriate, the literature review to be accurate and appropriately comprehensive, and the research design/planned data analytic strategy to be appropriate for the study.
After receiving committee approval for the thesis/dissertation, all students must receive approval from the University’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) before data can be collected from human participants. Information about this process can be obtained from the Office of Research (www.research.ucf.edu). Failure to obtain this prior approval could jeopardize receipt of the student’s degree.
Students should refer to the Graduate Studies Thesis and Dissertation Webcourse, which describes UCF’s formatting requirements for dissertations and outlines the steps graduate students must follow to submit their dissertations to Graduate Studies for archiving.
Dissertation Committee Composition
Doctoral students must establish a Dissertation Committee prior to the Candidacy Examination. The Committee will consist of a minimum of four members. At least three members must be qualified regular faculty members from the student’s department at UCF, one of whom must serve as the chair of the committee. One member must be from either outside the student’s department at UCF or outside the university. It is likely that the student’s adviser will serve as the chair of the committee. Students are therefore strongly encouraged to consult with their adviser in identifying potential committee members.
All members vote on acceptance or rejection of the dissertation proposal and the final dissertation. The dissertation proposal and final dissertation must be approved by a majority of the committee.
Dissertation Committee/Candidacy Status Form:
These approval forms should be completed and submitted to the HFC program assistant. Refer to the above website for detailed information.
Time Limitation and Deadlines for Dissertation Completion
A student has seven years from the date of admission to the doctoral program to complete the Ph.D. requirements. If the seven-year limit is exceeded, the candidacy examinations as well as coursework may need to be repeated.
Deadline, Dissertation Proposal Defense: End of eighth semester in Program (excluding summers)
Deadline, Dissertation Defense: End of eleventh semester in Program (excluding summers)