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In addition to the our required courses and electives, the general requirements of our program include:

  1. A period of residence; within some twelve-month period during the interval 
  2. Demonstrated competence with regard to all program objectives and expectations, and maintenance of a least a 3.00 grade point average
  3. Demonstrated competence in the English language (including reading, writing, speaking and listening)
  4. Demonstrated commitment to and competence in professional and scientific ethics including: (a) professional standards of professional conduct, (b) integrity in research, (c) protection of human subjects and animals in research, and (d) responsibilities of scientists to the larger society
  5. Completion of a minimum of two semesters of a teaching assistantship prior to graduation
  6. Successful completion of all program milestones (see below).
Milestones of the BBH PHD program
  1. Qualifying Examination (3rd semester): Students independently write an original empirical manuscript or review paper. The student’s committee reviews this paper, the student’s CV, statement of interests, and a document summarizing the student's progress to-date as well as future plans. 
  2. Comprehensive Examination (most commonly in students’ third year in the program): Students complete a written and an oral component. The written component is comprised of two parts: an independently written review paper or NSRA-style grant proposal, and written answers to a comprehensive examination designed by the doctoral committee. The oral part is a defense (in front of the doctoral committee) of the written component and overall progress in the graduate program.
  3. Dissertation Proposal Defense (most commonly in students’ third or fourth year): Students present a written proposal for an independent, high-quality research and scholarship activity (i.e., their dissertation) that stands to make a significant scientific contribution to their doctoral committee.
  4. Dissertation Defense (most commonly in students’ fourth or fifth year): When doctoral candidates have satisfied all requirements for the degree and have submitted an acceptable thesis to the doctoral committee, the BBH Professor-in-Charge will recommend to the Dean of the Graduate School that the final defense be scheduled. The examination is oral, open to the public, and related in a large part to the thesis but may cover the whole field of study of the candidate without regard to courses that may have been taken at Penn State or elsewhere.

Students are responsible for knowing and meeting all requirements of the Graduate School and of the BBH graduate program.