Psychological and Brain Sciences

DEPARTMENT OF PSYCHOLOGICAL AND BRAIN SCIENCES (PBS)
APPOINTMENT AND REAPPOINTMENT GUIDELINES FOR
GRADUATE STUDENTS


Divisional Polices for Funding of Graduate Students in PBS
PBS graduate students receive financial support from a variety of sources, including
teaching assistantships (TAs), research assistantships (RAs), traineeships (training grants),
internships, and fellowships. The amount of money associated with each of these forms of
support varies, as do arrangements concerning waivers of tuition and fees. In general,
admissions of new students to the Department are determined by student/faculty ratios and
availability of support within each of the Department’s five Divisions. Graduate student
enrollment in each Division generally reflects the available funding policy of each of the five
divisions.

Graduate Student Funding Policy, Division I (Behavioral Neuroscience)
All admissions to work with Division I faculty members are processed through the
graduate programs in Neuroscience and Behavior, Molecular and Cellular Biology, or
Organismic and Evolutionary Biology. The particular program determines funding in each of
these programs.

Graduate Student Funding Policy, Division II (Cognitive Psychology)
Division II presently admits all new students with funding for the first year. Whenever
possible, this Division shall continue the support for a total of 4 years (3 years when the student
enters with a master’s degree). In those infrequent instances where incoming students do not
want University support (as when students have extramural predoctoral fellowships or
independent resources), students may be admitted without funding. If circumstances preclude
full funding for students in years 2-4, then the current policy, as described below, will be
reviewed.

1. The policy of Division II is to fully fund students within the program before
admitting new students with funds. Such funding is for a four-year period for
students who enter without a master’s degree in psychology, and for a three-year
period for students entering with a master’s degree.

2. If, at any time, available funds fall short of those needed to cover the students in the
program, they will be divided equally among the students.

3. Students will be admitted only if we estimate that we have sufficient funds for them
during the next four years, unless the student does not want funds, as occasionally
happens.

4. Division II reserves the right to allocate funding slots available to the Division to
students beyond the fourth year. Decisions about funding students beyond the fourth
year will be made on the basis of such criteria as good standing and performance in
the program.

Graduate Student Funding Policy, Division III (Social Psychology)
Division III attempts to admit all new students with funding for the first year, and to 
continue support for four years (three years when entering with a master’s degree in
psychology). In those unusual instances when incoming students do not want support, students
may be admitted without funding. The Division is committed to the policy of fully funding
students already in the program before admitting new students with funds. Students will be
admitted only if the Division estimates that sufficient funds exist for them during the next four
years. If, at any time, available funds fall short of those needed to cover the students in the
program, students and faculty in the program will meet to discuss distribution of funds. It is
likely that funds will be divided equally among present graduate students.

Graduate Student Funding Policy, Division IV (Clinical Psychology)
Clinical program students are funded with TAs and RAs, as well as competitive internal
or external fellowships. RAs are provided by faculty with grant funding. Ten hours of
assistantship per semester qualifies the student for full tuition remission for that semester.
Twenty hours of assistantship per semester is considered full funding. The majority of clinical
students are funded with TAs. Below is priority list for awarding TAs. Please note that the
program has always been able to provide at least a 10-hour assistantship for all current students
who wanted financial support:

1. All first, second, and third year students are guaranteed 20-hour TAs.

2. Fourth year students who do not have RA or fellowship funding are next priority for
20-hour TAs.

3. Fifth year students who do not have RA or fellowship funding are next priority for
20-hours TAs.

Special Considerations: Some RAs or fellowships are partial (e.g., 10-hour RA position); in this
case, the student has priority for a 10-hour TA based on their year in the program (with higher
priority given to students earlier in the program). If there are limited TA funds in a given year,
it is our priority to fund more students with 10-hour positions over funding fewer students with
20-hour positions. In years in which TA funding appears to be limited, the faculty discusses
allocation of TAs to maximize student tuition remission. As noted above, the program has
always been able to provide at least a 10-hour assistantship for students that needed the support
for tuition remission.

Graduate Student Funding Policy, Division V (Developmental Science Program)
The Developmental Program strongly aims to fully fund students within the program
before admitting new students. In the event of an unexpected shortage of funding, priority will
be in reverse order of seniority, such that the newest students have the highest priority.
However, toward our goal of ensuring that all students have tuition waivers for at least 5 years,
all students in their first 5 years will be receive at least 10 hours of funding, and 20 hours will
be awarded as possible based on the reverse seniority priority. For example, if 15 students
wanted 20 hours of funding, and only 13 TAs were available, the 11 most junior graduate
students would receive 20 hours, and the 4 most senior students would receive 10 hours. While
we will support students beyond their 5th year when possible (historically we have been able
to), they have lower priority for any funding. In general we do not reduce funding priority based
on other funding sources (e.g., fellowships), but we reserve the right to do so in rare cases.

Requests for and Deciding Who Receives Teaching Assistantships
Virtually all funding available to the Department is used to meet the Divisional policies
for support of students. Students who do not have funding through alternative means are 
eligible for TAs. Students who are interested in TAs are requested to make that information
known to Division Heads. Division Heads, based on the above policies, then prioritize those
who are eligible for TAs, and inform the Graduate Program Director (GPD) of those students
in need of support. The number of TAs available to each Division is typically determined by
the proportion of tenure-stream faculty associated with each Division, though this allocation
decision ultimately rests with the Department Chair.

In approximately May for the fall semester and in November for the spring semester,
the GPD informs PBS graduate students about which courses are expected to have TAs. At
that time they are also asked to indicate their preferences for TAs in specific courses. The
faculty teaching a course in which a TA is available may also submit requests for specific
graduate students to assist with their course. The GPD uses these preferences and requests,
information about a student’s background or past teaching performances that may make them
especially suitable for certain kinds of courses, and student schedules, in assigning TAs. A
tentative list of TA assignments is distributed to graduate students and faculty for the
upcoming semester, typically in June for the fall semester and December for the spring
semester. Adjustments and changes to this preliminary list are then made as needed and as
resources dictate up until the start of the semester.

Because funding is a major determinant of the number of students accepted into the
Department’s graduate program, it is extremely rare to have non-PBS students funded by a
Departmental TA. The one exception involves graduate students enrolled in the
Neuroscience and Behavior Program (NSB). Because many of the Department’s faculty
members, particularly those in Division I, accept students through the NSB program, those
students are also provided with information about the availability of TAs via that program’s
Director and the PBS GPD.

Completion of TA Commitment
TAs benefit both the recipient and the Department. Acceptance of one of these forms of
graduate student support is regarded as a contractual agreement. The nature of this agreement is
as follows:

1. Once a TA has accepted an assistantship, he/she is expected to complete his/her
assigned duties. Faculty supervisors are responsible for informing TAs about these
duties. TAs should be available from the beginning to the end of each semester, and
not just during the period that classes are in session. Late arrivals or early departures
must have faculty supervisor approval.

2. Acceptance of a TA obligates the student for the entire period of appointment; for the
fall semester, contracts typically run from the beginning of September though the
middle of January, and for the spring semester from mid-January through end of
May. Early termination of an assistantship by the recipient requires approval of the
GPD.

3. Normally few, if any, problems arise in the performance of TA duties. However, if
either a TA is thought to be performing unsatisfactorily or an instructor is believed to
be treating a TA unfairly, the first level of resolution resides with the GPD. If the
GPD cannot resolve the problem, the second level of resolution is with the Division
that accepted the student. An Evaluation Committee (composed of Division Heads,
GPD, and the Department Chair) is the final level of resolution. Failures to perform
appropriate duties may justify withdrawal of future Department funding, withdrawal
of eligibility for Continuing Education assignments, and other actions. 

Policy Regarding Teaching of Continuing Education Courses

Qualifications and Criteria for Selecting Instructors
Those who wish to teach CE Psychology courses must have a master’s degree in
Psychology, or equivalent, and teaching experience. The Associate Chair for Teaching,
Learning and Advising, makes hiring decisions. Such decisions are based on the strength of
applicants’ letters of recommendation, recent course evaluations, quality of syllabus or
syllabus proposal, and suitability for teaching the specified course. Those who are offered
CE teaching positions are asked to sign a contract with the Psychology Department within
10 days. Students are expected to fulfill the terms of any contract that they sign. Anyone
who signs such a contract and then withdraws from the commitment receives the lowest
priority for any subsequent CE Psychology courses. If more than one qualified individual
wishes to teach a particular course, assignments will be based on the priority system
established by the Department.

Priorities for assigning fall and spring Continuing Education positions:
1. First through fourth year students with M.S. degree and teaching experience who
accept a position as primary source of funding.
2. Fifth year students who have completed comps and have an approved dissertation
proposal and teaching experience who accept a position as primary funding.
3. First assignment for faculty in a given calendar year.
4. First assignment for first through fourth year students with M.S. degree and
teaching experience who already have regular stipend.
5. Second assignment for faculty in a given calendar year.
6. Second assignment for first through fourth year students with M.S. degree and
teaching experience who already have regular stipend.
7. Graduate students with teaching experience who do not meet above criteria.
8. PBS adjunct faculty.
9. Qualified non-Departmental psychologists.

Priorities for assigning January term and Summer terms Continuing Education
positions:

1. First through fourth year students with M.S. degree and teaching experience who
accept a position as primary source of funding.
2. Fifth year students who have completed comps and have an approved dissertation
proposal and teaching experience who accept a position as primary funding.
3. First assignment for faculty in a given calendar year.
4. First assignment for first through fourth year students with M.S. degree and
teaching experience who already have regular stipend.
5. Second assignment for faculty in a given calendar.
6. Second assignment for first through fourth year students with M.S. degree and
teaching experience who already have regular stipend.
7. Graduate students with teaching experience who do not meet above criteria.
8. PBS adjunct faculty.
9. Qualified non-Departmental psychologists. 

Graduate students in Neuroscience and Behavior who have Psychology advisors will
be treated in the same manner as Psychology graduate students. Neuroscience and Behavior
students must satisfactorily complete the major research project to qualify.
The Department retains the right offer some courses in any given term that fill a
need and to hire instructors from in or outside of the Department that have the requisite
expertise. For these courses, the above hiring priorities do not apply. Note, these courses
will only be offered in addition to our more typical courses each semester for which the
stated priorities do apply.

Responsibilities of instructors who teach CE Psychology courses
Those who teach CE Psychology courses must:
1. Adhere to the Course Management Guidelines delineated in the current edition of
“Undergraduate Rights & Responsibilities” (available here);
2. Submit an updated syllabus to the Associate Chair for Teaching, Learning and Advising
at the beginning of each semester or session;
3. Submit and updated address, phone number, and policy on availability to students at the
beginning of each semester or session;
4. Adhere to the University and Department policies on granting incompletes;
5. Distribute appropriate course evaluations at the end of the semester or session, and
arrange to have such evaluations delivered to the Psychology Undergraduate Office.
6. First time CPE instructors must complete one of the CPE training sessions (either in
person or online) prior to teaching their first course, and (if applicable) contact the
Department’s designated online course mentor for guidance on developing and
administering an online course.

Application Procedure
Applicants must complete the PBS online application for teaching a CPE course
(found on the Department website). The online application requires the following documents
to be uploaded or emailed to the Associate Chair or Teaching, Learning and Advising:
1. Current Curriculum Vitae;
2. Two letters of recommendation (preferably, from Psychology faculty members);
3. All course evaluation material from previously taught courses, unless such material is
already on file in the Department;
4. Course syllabus expected to be used, or, for courses never taught before, a detailed
summary of the course description, topics, assessments, etc.