Other Ph.D. Requirements
In addition to this sequence of core courses within the BG training
program, the following requirements also must be met prior to admission
to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree unless a specific exception has
been obtained in writing from both the Director of the BG program
and the departmental Director of Graduate Studies.
in General Genetics This requirement can be met by passing a special
examination or by completing a CU course in general genetics with
a grade of A or B.
First-Year Review Near the end of the first year of graduate study,
the progress of each BG student is reviewed by an advisory committee.
This review and evaluation may include an examination which samples
course and research work.
General Statistics Requirement This requirement can be met in a
number of ways-e.g., Psychology 5741/5751.
Minor Requirement The minor ordinarily requires four graduate level
courses outside of the BG program. At least one of these should
be taught in the Department of Psychology. The specific courses
are determined through consultation between the student and the
Master of Arts Degree Receipt of M.A. degree based on research relevant
to behavioral genetics. The M.A. must be completed in four years.
and Research Experience
The student is required to obtain at least one semester of teaching
experience. This requirement usually can be met by successful performance
as a teaching assistant. For the IBG certificate of competency in
behavioral genetics, successful performance as a teaching assistant
in Psychology 3102 with a regular tenure-track faculty member is
Students will be required to engage in research under the supervision
of a faculty member of their choosing each semester of their graduate
career. It is expected that the first year of this research will
be in the form of a research apprenticeship.
A file of each student's achievements will be kept in the BG Area
Office in the Department of Psychology (and at the Institute for
Behavioral Genetics). It is the student's responsibility to keep
this file up to date by submitting every spring a brief description
of the research and teaching experience gained during the previous
year. This file also should include copies of all papers, published
and unpublished, for which the student desires credit during evaluation
On being admitted, the student will be assigned a BG Area major
advisor to supervise the training program leading to advanced degrees.
If a change of interests or circumstances necessitates a change
of advisor, students should obtain written consent from the faculty
member with whom they wish to work and the approval of the Director
of the Behavioral Genetics training program. During the first semester
of residence, the student and advisor will select a three-person
committee to advise and guide the student. This committee will usually
be the same as that which administers the examination designated
below and will constitute the thesis committee for the student's
III. Graduate School Rules
The rules of the Graduate School can be found on the web at URL:
Students are responsible for compliance with these rules.
IV. Program Leading to the Master's Degree
The Master's degree is a prerequisite for the Ph.D. The Graduate
School offers two plans: Plan I is satisfied by presenting 30 semester
hours of graduate work including 4-6 thesis hours and a Master's
thesis. At least 12 hours of the graduate work must be at the level
of 5000 or above. Plan II is satisfied by presenting 30 hours of
graduate work and two research papers as described below. At least
24 semester hours must be 5000 level courses or above. A student
who wishes to satisfy the Master's requirement under Plan II must
(1) obtain advisory committee approval, (2) obtain the approval
of the Director of Graduate Studies, and (3) submit two senior-authored
research papers on some aspect of behavioral genetics of a quality
suitable for publication, as judged by the student's advisory committee.
and Evaluations. At the end of the first year of residency,
students must meet with the advisory committee for evaluations of
their academic record and research program. This evaluation may
include a written examination. The advisory committee will then
recommend to the BG area and the Department one of the following
courses of action: continuation, continuation with conditions, or
termination. Prior to the end of the third semester in residence,
students who wish to satisfy the Master's requirement under Plan
I must submit a written proposal for the Master's thesis research.
This should include (a) a review of the relevant literature, (b)
a statement of the research question, (c) a description of the methodology
to be used, (d) suggestions as to possible outcomes and interpretations.
If the proposal is prepared in time, its merits may be judged at
the second semester evaluation meeting. At the end of the fourth
semester, the student will be scheduled for a comprehensive final
examination. The examination, which may be either oral or written
or both, must cover the thesis as well as other work done in the
university in formal courses and seminars in the major field. It
is the student's responsibility to ensure that all Graduate School
requirements for the Master's degree have been met prior to this
time. The comprehensive examination for the Master's degree may
be combined with the Ph.D. comprehensive examination at the request
of the student and the approval of the student's advisory committee.
If so, the examination shall be written and oral and shall be administered
by a five-person committee (see next section). Students must be
registered for credits the semester (including summer sessions)
in which the masters defense or comprehensives are taken to be recognized
by the graduate school.
V. Program Leading to the Doctor of Philosophy Degree
Advisory Committee. Before taking the comprehensive
examination, students should request the faculty member with whom
they wish to undertake Ph.D. research to act as chairperson of the
advisory committee. The chairperson will select four additional
faculty members to serve on the committee so that the several fields
in which the student is interested are represented. Members of this
committee must be graduate faculty members, as specified by the
CU Graduate School. This committee must be approved by the Director
of the Behavioral Genetics training program and the Director of
Graduate Studies of the Department of Psychology. The student should
obtain the signatures of the members of the committee indicating
their willingness to serve. Copies of this form are to be given
to the chairperson of the advisory committee and to the Director
of Graduate Studies, and one copy is to be placed on file in the
BG Area office. Any change in the advisory committee is to be similarly
reported. It is the students' responsibility to keep the advisory
committee informed of progress in their research and training and
of any significant change in the direction or status of this training
Comprehensive Examination. Before admission to candidacy
for the Ph.D. degree, the student must pass a comprehensive examination
in the field of concentration and related fields. This written examination
will test the student's mastery of a broad field of knowledge, not
merely the formal course work completed. In the BG training program,
this examination is ordinarily part of the Master's final examination.
Students entering the program with a Master's degree in some aspect
of behavioral genetics should arrange to take the comprehensive
examination during their first year. Before attempting the examination,
the student must (1) have earned at least four semesters of residence;
and (2) have made formal application for admission to candidacy
on forms supplied by the Graduate School at least 2 weeks before
the comprehensive examination is attempted.
Dissertation Proposal. Following completion of
the comprehensive examination, the student must submit a written
doctoral research proposal, including a review of the pertinent
literature, to all members of the doctoral committee. Approximately
2 weeks later, the committee will meet with the student and evaluate
Residence Requirements. At least 30 semester hours
of courses at the 5000 level or above are required; at least 20
of the required hours must be in graduate courses taken at this
University. To receive credit for the doctoral thesis, the student
must complete 30 semester hours of Psychology 8991--Doctoral Thesis
Research; 5 of these hours must be completed in the semester(s)
after admission to candidacy.
Final Examination. This examination is the dissertation
defense. The dissertation must be available to the members of the
examining board at least 2 weeks prior to the date set for the examination.
The final examination cannot be attempted until the student has
been in residence for at least two semesters as a doctoral candidate
(i.e., after passing the comprehensive examination).
Student's Responsibility. None of the stipulations of the
BG training program is to be seen as in conflict with normal Graduate
School requirements. It is the student's responsibility to see that
these requirements, including total credit hours, advanced registration
for examinations, etc., are met. Students should arrange for the
scheduling of examinations with their major advisor and the Director
of Graduate Studies. The student should pay careful attention to
the rules governing the various examinations, thesis preparation,
residence requirements, etc., as they are set forth in the Graduate
School Bulletin. The Graduate School mandates completion of the
Ph.D. in six years. Students failing to meet this deadline must
receive an approved extension from the Graduate School in order
to continue in the program. A written request for extension should
specify the extenuating circumstances necessitating the extension.
A typical schedule of examinations
for students undertaking study for the doctorate in psychology with
a specialization in behavioral genetics is as follows:
VI. Summary of Examination Schedule
semester: Examination in general genetics administered
by a three-person committee from the BG area. If this examination
is not passed satisfactorily, the committee may require specific
remedial work (e.g., completion of a one-semester course in genetics
with a grade of A or B).
Second semester: First-year evaluation of all course
work and ongoing research projects. This evaluation usually is conducted
by the student's three-person M.A. committee.
final examination for the M.A. degree. This examination may be combined
with the comprehensive examination for the Ph.D. degree. When the
M.A. comprehensive and Ph.D. comprehensive examinations are combined,
the examination will be conducted by the doctoral committee (five
people or more) which will include at least two graduate faculty
members from the BG Area.
proposal should be submitted within 2 semesters of receiving Ph.D.
candidacy. This requirement can be fulfilled by either writing an
NIH-type grant proposal on the dissertation topic or a more traditional
dissertation proposal which includes: an introduction and literature
review, statement of the research hypothesis, outline of the proposed
methods and experiments, and a time table for execution of the research.
The type of proposal should be agreed upon in consultation with
the student's advisor and committee.
by the doctoral committee. This is the traditional dissertation
defense, and it is open to members of the academic community. The
committee must consist of 5 members: at least two from the BG area,
one from Psychology outside the BG area, one from outside the Psychology
Department and the final member coming from any area.
BG Psychology Faculty
Gregory Carey, Associate Professor,
Ph.D. 1978, University of Minnesota. Professor Carey's research
interests lie in the genetic epidemiology of psychopathology; genetic
and environmental influences on antisocial behavior, personality
and temperament; and the development of quantitative models in behavioral
Allan C. Collins, Professor,
Ph.D. 1969, University of Wisconsin. Professor Collins is a psychopharmacologist
whose primary research specialization is neurochemistry. His current
research interests include (1) neurochemical correlates of nicotine
use, tolerance development, and withdrawal; (2) neurochemical bases
of alcohol preference and tolerance; (3) biochemical bases of behavior;
and (4) utilization of genetics as a tool to determine the mechanisms
of action of drugs.
John C. DeFries, Professor,
Ph.D. 1961, University of Illinois. Professor DeFries' primary field
of specialization is quantitative behavioral genetics. His current
research interests include twin and adoption studies of human cognitive
abilities; the genetics of learning disabilities; and the use of
DNA markers to detect quantitative trait loci (QTLs) that influence
John K. Hewitt, Professor,
Ph.D. 1978, University of London, England. Professor Hewitt's current
research interests include: genetic influences on human behavioral
development, with a special emphasis on developmental psychopathology;
smoking and alcohol use and abuse in relation to personality; genetics
and behavioral medicine.
Matthew McQueen - Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology. Dr. McQueen's research is focused on a multi-faceted approach to the investigation of genetic determinants underlying complex disease, with a particular interest in psychiatric, behavioral and neurologic disorders. Recent areas of research include the development and application of statistical and epidemiological methods geared towards genome-wide association in both family-based and population-based samples.
Richard K, Olson, Professor,
Ph.D. 1970, University of Oregon. Professor Olson's research focuses
on reading disability and the use of computer-speech feedback to
improve the reading and language skills of disabled readers.
Soo Rhee - Assistant Professor,
PhD, Emory University, 1999. Dr. Rhee's primary research interests
are the etiology and development of childhood disruptive disorders,
the etiology and development of substance use disorders, the causes
of comorbidity between psychiatric disorders and substance use disorders,
and the development of methods discriminating correct models for
causes of comorbidity.
C. Stallings, Associate Professor, Ph.D. 1993, University of
Southern California. Professor Stallings' research focuses on understanding
the genetic and environmental influences on the development of substance
use disorders and related psychopathology in humans. Biometrical
modeling and quantitative trait loci (QTL) methods are applied to
Jeanne M. Wehner, Professor,
Ph.D. 1976, University of Minnesota. Professor Wehner's research
focuses on the genetic and biochemical regulation of learning and
memory as well as the initial sensitivity and tolerance development
to alcohol. She uses a variety of mouse models in her research including
inbred mouse strains, transgenic mice, and "knock-out"
mice. Behavioral, biochemical, and molecular analyses as well as
quantitative trait loci methods are applied to these problems.
Professor, PhD, University of Denver, 1998. Professor Willcutt's
current research focuses on the causes and consequences of attention
deficit hyperactivity disorder, learning disabilities, and their
comorbidity. He uses genetic linkage and association techniques
in studies of families and twins to identify genes that increase
susceptibility to these difficulties.