Course Requirements

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Important Notes

For the full list of PNB courses in the Graduate Calendar, go to the Psychology Courses page (in the 2018-2019 Graduate Calendar) Note that not all of the listed courses are offered every year.
For courses offered in 2018-2019, go directly to COURSES OFFERED IN 2018-2019 (this list will soon be moved to new PNB web pages).

Note 1: As you plan your courses, consult with your supervisory committee and complete your Plan of Study.

Note 2: Health and Safety training, SGS 101, and SGS 201 must be completed in the first term of the first year (details here).

Note 3: SGS 700 is a placeholder course; if you are not taking any courses in a particular term, you must register in SGS 700.

Note 4: Annual Progress Reports are due on May 15th of every year in the program (Masters and PhD).

Note 5: Trajectory through the program:

  • Typically, students complete one year at the Masters level and, if promoted, 4 years at the PhD level (RCT Stream student spend 5 years at the PhD level).
  • Promotion is based on first year course grades, research progress and performance, evaluation of Progress Reports, and evaluations from the supervisor and supervisory committee.
  • In some cases, students may be advised to complete an extra year at the Masters level before being promoted.
  • Students who are not promoted to the PhD level typically defend a Masters degree at end of the first (or second) Masters year.
  • In some cases, students who ARE promoted to PhD level choose to defend a Masters before continuing at the PhD level; it is very important to know that research that contributes to the defended Masters degree cannot be included as part of the PhD dissertation.

Forms (petitions, course adjustments, extensions)

The PNB Masters degree requires the following courses

These courses will be completed at the Masters level in the very first year (note that first year is the same whether or not students defend a Masters and/or are promoted to PhD level at the end of first year):

  • Statistics and Research Design (PSYCH 710, half course = 1 term = 3 units), completed in first year.
  • Contemporary Problems in PNB (PSYCH 720, full course = 2 terms = 6 units), completed in first year.
  • See also Note 2 and Note 3 above.

The PNB PhD degree requires the following courses

These courses will be completed at the Masters level in the very first year (note that first year is the same whether or not students defend a Masters and/or are promoted to PhD level at the end of first year):

  • Statistics and Research Design (PSYCH 710, half course = 1 term = 3 units), completed in first year.
  • Contemporary Problems in PNB (PSYCH 720, full course = 2 terms = 6 units), completed in first year.
  • See also Note 2 and Note 3 above.

The remaining courses listed here should be completed over years 1-4 at the PhD level (be sure to plan well - you don't want to be completing too many courses in your last year when you are busy with dissertation writing):

  • Two Advanced Statistics courses (PSYCH 711 and 712, quarter courses = 6-7 weeks = 1.5 units each)
  • PSYCH 711: Advanced Statistics and Computational Methods I
  • PSYCH 712: Advanced Statistics and Computational Methods II
These can be fulfilled in several ways: a statistical, computational, or programming course offered by the department, or with approval of your committee and the Graduate Chair, a course offered outside the department.
A request for substitution can be made by submitting a full course syllabus to the Graduate Chair. Discuss the substitution with your supervisory committee for their approval before submitting to the Graduate Chair.
  • Two Independent Study Modules (PSYCH 713 and 714, quarter courses = 6-7 weeks = 1.5 units each)
  • PSYCH 713: Special Topics in PNB I
  • PSYCH 714: Special Topics in PNB II
Independent study modules are typically fulfilled by working in a lab other than your supervisor's lab to broaden knowledge and/or learn new techniques. The time commitment for these modules is minimum 36 hours (6 hours per week) and maximum 60 hours (10 hours per week).
If you have a proposal for a module that is outside of the typical lab work, you can ask for approval of the Graduate Chair and Graduate Studies Committee by submitting a proposal as outlined here. Discuss the proposal with your supervisory committee for their approval before submitting to the Graduate Chair.
The faculty member with whom you work to complete the research module should submit this Special Topics Evaluation form to Nancy Riddell to provide a grade.
  • One additional half course (1 term = 3 units)
Check the McMaster Graduate Calendar (link to 2017-18 calendar) for the list of half courses. Notice that the names of the courses refer to general topics, to allow flexibility. You may take a course offered by the department or you may find a course in a different department or an approved online course, which can be used to fulfill one of the half courses listed.
Such substitutions can be made with approval of the Graduate Chair by submitting a full course syllabus. Discuss the substitution with your supervisory committee for their approval before submitting to the Graduate Chair.

The PNB PhD RCT stream requires the following courses

In the first year (Masters level), Research and Clinical Training (RCT) Stream students take the following courses. Note that there is no RCT Stream Masters degree; it is a PhD level stream only. RCT students are typically promoted to the PhD level in the RCT Stream at the end of their first Masters year without defending a Masters degree.

  • Statistics and Research Design (PSYCH 710, half course = 1 term = 3 units), completed in first year.
  • Contemporary Problems in PNB (PSYCH 720, full course = 2 terms = 6 units), completed in first year.
  • Scientific and Professional Ethics in Clinical Psychology (PSYCH 751, half course = 1 term = 3 units), completed in first year.
  • Visit the RCT Stream webpages (timeline page) for course requirements beyond the first year. Be sure to click on the link near the top right of the page to see the Annual Rotation of the courses. For example, not all courses are offered every year, so incoming students will be offset compared to students who started the program the previous (or next) year.