Jun 18, 2024  
Graduate Catalog 2012 - 2013 
Graduate Catalog 2012 - 2013 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Adult Development and Aging, PhD

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A joint program with the University of Akron

Department of Psychology

Chester Building, Room 158
(216) 687-2544
Benjamin Wallace, Graduate Program Director


The Ph.D. program in Adult Development and Aging is offered jointly by Cleveland State University and the University of Akron. The purpose of the program is to train researchers who (a) will become expert in the subject of cognitive and behavioral functioning in adulthood and aging, (b) will convey existing knowledge through teaching and generate new knowledge through empirical investigation and analysis, and (c) will become involved with their communities in addressing issues of pressing social importance. Upon completion of the program, students will be able to teach, carry out research, and serve as community consultants on the cognitive, motor, perceptual, and social functioning of adults throughout their life span. Graduates from the program will be competitive for faculty positions in teaching and research at 4-year and 2-year institutions of higher education and for research positions in applied health, rehabilitative, and aging facilities as well as in research institutes.

The program has outstanding faculty with whom students conduct their dissertation research. Students have the opportunity to do research with faculty at Cleveland State and the University of Akron.

Financial Assistance

Graduate assistantships are available on a competitive basis. They include tuition support and a stipend during the academic year. Students who are awarded teaching assistantships are required to teach classes.

Admission Information

Admission to the program will be determined by a joint committee consisting of program faculty from both Cleveland State University and the University of Akron. All applications to the Adult Development and Aging program will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  1. Completion of a B.A. or B.S. degree in Psychology or a related discipline for admission to the M.A.-Ph.D. option. Completion of an M.A. (or similar Master’s level) degree in Psychology or related discipline is required for admission to the Ph.D. option. Admitted students must provide the Department of Psychology at either institution with an official transcript, showing proof of degree conferral from the student’s institution or an official letter of completion from their university Registrar’s office. If an official transcript is not yet available, this will clear the student for one semester until an official transcript can be obtained. M.A.-Ph.D. students who do not provide proof of degree conferral before Fall semester begins are not eligible to hold an assistantship/scholarship and will be unable to register for classes. Ph.D. students who do not provide proof of degree conferral before Fall semester begins are not eligible to hold an assistantship/scholarship at the Ph.D. level of funding.

    The Psychology major as an undergraduate is strongly recommended. However, applicants may still be considered if they have sufficient background in psychology or a closely related field. (We prefer students to be admitted to this program to have completed 30 semester credits in undergraduate psychology classes including coursework in General/Introductory Psychology, Statistics/Quantitative Methods in Psychology, and Experimental Psychology).
  2. For applicants to the M.A.-Ph.D. option, an overall undergraduate GPA of 3.25 or greater is strongly preferred. The same criterion applies to applicants who already possess an M.A. degree and apply to the program as a potential Ph.D. candidate. Such students must show evidence of strong academic performance in their previous graduate coursework and any related research requirements (e.g., thesis).
  3. For the M.A.-Ph.D. and Ph.D. options, minimum scores of 550 for the Verbal and Quantitative subtests of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) General Test, as well as the GRE Psychology Subject Test are preferred. Students whose first language is not English may substitute a TOEFL score for the verbal score. Applicants with GRE scores well above the minimum for one or more of the three tests, but one or more score below the minimum still may be considered, if there is strong compensating evidence. For example, applicants with a GRE Verbal score below the minimum may demonstrate verbal ability by presenting a high GRE Analytic Writing score (5.0 to 6.0) and at least one more indicator of strong verbal ability such as writing samples, letters of reference, and performance in courses with heavy writing components.
  4. Three letters of recommendation from persons familiar with the applicant’s academic work.
  5. Overall fit with the Adult Development and Aging program. Decisions about fit are based on information gleaned from an applicant’s personal statement (indicating educational and research interests, career goals, and reasons for interest in Cleveland State University or the University of Akron), from letters of reference describing specific applicant skills and experiences, and, if applicable, from any additional contacts (e.g., telephone, email, site visits) with the applicant during the admission process.
  6. Research and Practical Experience. Evidence of academic research and applied practical experience are important for addressing issues of long-term motivation to develop as a professional. Thus, applicants are encouraged to provide information describing any one or more of the following: (a) participation as an investigator on research projects, (b) conference presentations or published chapters or journal articles, (c) past experience in writing grant and fellowship applications, (d) experience in an applied setting involving adult development and agingrelated tasks such as long-term care, occupational therapy, etc., and (e) other similar documentation of research and/or practical experience.

Ph.D. Degree Completion Requirements

Students will be required to take courses at both Cleveland State University and the University of Akron. Enrollment and successful completion of the following courses will be required:

Social Psychology
Health Psychology
Mental Health and Aging
Sensation and Motor Functions
Perception and Attention
Learning, Motivation, and Emotion
Motor and Cognitive Disorders of Aging
Psychological Tests and Measurements
Psychological Research Using Quantitative and Computer Methods I and II
Psychology of Adulthood and Aging
Industrial Gerontology
Research Methods in Psychology
Ethical and Legal Issues
Psychopharmacology in Later Adulthood
Behavioral Intervention
Sexuality and Aging
Graduate Seminars in Adult Development and Aging

Graduate students also are required to register for the Ph.D. Candidacy Examination during the appropriate semester(s), for Ph.D. Dissertation when conducting research and to successfully write and defend their dissertations. For the project to be successfully completed, the student must write a dissertation describing and interpreting the results from the research project (prepared in APA style and consistent with the format prescribed by the College of Graduate Students and acceptable to the student’s dissertation committee) and publicly defend the research and the written dissertation. The time required for the completion of the research and the defense of the resulting dissertation cannot be predicted in any individual case. Ph.D. students must complete at least 94 credit hours of graduate study before becoming eligible for graduation.

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