Universität Mannheim / Psychologie / smip / Ph.D. program / Qualification program

Qualification program

The official language of the RTG – and therefore also the teaching and communication language – is English. The training program of the RTG covers 6 semesters and includes four types of teaching activities: core courses, training of key competencies, workshops, and colloquia. To ensure that all Ph.D. students can realistically participate in any of the activities, the typical format will be a one- or two-day meeting at one of the five participating universities.

Type of training
Semester 1
Semester 2
Semester 3
Semester 4
Semester 5
Semester 6
1) Core courses
Foundations 1
(7 days)
Foundations 2
(7 days)
---
---------
2) Training in key competencies
Skill trainings 1
(3 days)
Skill trainings 2
(3 days)
------------
3) Workshop events
3 Workshop
days
3 Workshop
days
6 Workshop
days
6 Workshop
days
6 Workshop
days
6 Workshop
days
4a) SMiP colloquium (local)
1.5h / week
1.5h / week1.5h / week1.5h / week1.5h / week1.5h / week
4b) SMiP colloquium (joint)
Retreat
(2 days)
Retreat
(2 days)
Retreat
(2 days)
Retreat
(2 days)
Retreat
(2 days)
Retreat
(2 days)


1) Core courses take place in the first year only and are mandatory for all Ph.D. students. They include the classes “Foundations of statistical modeling 1 and 2” in the first and the second semester, respectively, with 7 meeting days each. The classes will combine the advantages of lecture series and application exercises. Thematically, they cover (1) mathematical foundations of advanced statistical methods, (2) the various model frameworks of major importance for the SMiP research, and (3) the statistical techniques that form the basis of the SMiP research activities.

2) Training in key competencies is also mandatory for all students. These trainings will, e.g., focus on academic writing and publishing as well as conference presentations, good scientific practice and ethics of research, and methods of research documentation. In combination, the trainings in key competencies will help to acquire the skills necessary for a professional career at the interface between substantive science and statistical modeling more easily, quickly, and profoundly than on a mere learning-by-doing basis.

3) Workshops form the most extensive part of the qualification program. We will offer workshops on diverse topics both in substantive science (e.g., recognition memory, judgment and decision making, affective processes, emotion expression, person x situation interaction, social cognition, cognitive aging, occupational health) and in quantitative methods (e.g., training in software such as Mplus, advanced R packages, and Jags, next to techniques such as Bayesian parameter estimation and inference, sequential tests, statistical power analysis, optimal design, model selection, simulation methods, and advanced item response models). Prerequisites for successful attendance of the workshops are solid knowledge and skills in statistics, including use of statistical software for common univariate and multivariate analyses, as acquired during standard master’s programs in psychology. However, introductory software workshops will be offered to refresh or extend the knowledge and skills that are needed for the advanced RTG workshops (i.e., workshops on standard applications of R and Mplus). Note, however, that none of the workshops will be purely statistical in nature. The overarching goal of the SMiP workshops is to link substantive psychological research with statistical modeling techniques. Hence, any of the workshops will include the analysis of psychological data and illustrations of relevant research questions.

4) Two types of colloquia, local and joint, will take place. Each participating university will organize a local colloquium. Here, the students meet with their local supervisor, other local SMiP members, and the associated research groups on a weekly basis. One member of the local research group presents ongoing research, and the associated challenges are discussed. In addition, there will be a retreat-like joint colloquium of all SMiP members and Ph.D. students once per semester. The retreat will typically cover two days, depending on the number of ongoing Ph.D. projects. Here, expert lectures are combined with an overview on the status quo for each of the Ph.D. projects along with a perspective for research planned in the near future.