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Frequently Asked Questions MESA

How is the discipline of Educational Psychology defined at UIC?

The PhD in Educational Psychology includes the investigation of topics found on the overview page for HDL and for MESA area of emphasis.

We do not offer programs in school psychology, counseling psychology, or other programs that require certification. Many of our current students have enrolled after receiving some sort of formal certification in teaching, counseling, school psychology, or administration if they intend to move into a research specialty.

Do I need to have a degree in Education to be admitted to this PhD program?

Although our students study topics that are ultimately related to a broad definition of education, many of our students join us after having completed degrees in fields outside Colleges or Schools of Education. It will be a good idea to incorporate a rationale for how you hope to contribute to the field of Education in the statement of your goals that is submitted with your application.

How can I decide if my interests match the interests supported by the program?

We offer a mentoring-style program rather than one that is “credential-driven.” This means that we admit students whose interests match those of our faculty with the hope that a strong mentoring relationship can ultimately flourish. It may help to review the Department of Educational Psychology faculty profiles page. In the goals statement you put forth in your application materials, you may want to list topics of interests and/or the names of faculty whose interests most closely align with your own.

What if my interests change while I am in the program?

We realize students interests change as they go through the program. It is important to make sure that interests do not change so dramatically that no one on our faculty can assist with the dissertation process. We do work with “soft” administrative boundaries to help our students meet their needs. In the first year, students are assigned an initial adviser using information from their goals statement as well as knowledge of faculty workloads to make that assignment. As early as possible, students are asked to settle on a faculty adviser who will ensure that students understand the program expectations. Later in the program, students are asked to select faculty to serve as Chair and members of their Preliminary Examination and Dissertation Committees. It is often the case that faculty advisers ultimately become the Chairs of the respective committees associated with the dissertation, but this is not always the case. Like other relationships, these decisions involve an important negotiation between students’ interests, the skills of faculty, and the longer-term purposes students have for obtaining a degree.

How do I find out more about the program expectations?

You can review the degree requirements and the doctoral student handbook which includes information about other programs as well.

Do you compare your program with others available in the nation?

We regularly evaluate the content of our program by comparing it to others in the country. We currently meet or exceed all the expectations established for institutions rated as Research I, using guidelines established by the Carnegie Foundation. The Educational Psychology division (Division 15) of the American Psychological Association recently conducted a review of all the Educational Psychology PhD programs in the country and our program activities were consistent with those found in the top scoring universities in the country.