Combined Program in Education and Psychology

Allison Ryan

Dr. Ryan’s research interests concern the development of achievement beliefs and behavior, particularly from middle childhood through early adolescence, and the role of the social setting (schools, classrooms, peer groups) in explaining different patterns of change across time. In regards to student outcomes she has considered variations in students’ academic and social goals, help seeking behaviors, engagement and achievement. In regards to the social setting she is interested in the classroom motivational climate, teacher-student relationships, quality of friendships and characteristics of students’ peer groups and social networks.

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The Combined Program in Education and Psychology (CPEP) is a full time, interdisciplinary doctoral program that trains scholars in the development and use of psychological research to understand and address educational issues relevant to learning and development in the context of schools, families, and communities.

The program is an independent, interdisciplinary unit within the university's Horace B. Rackham Graduate School, supported and co-sponsored through a collaboration between the Department of Psychology in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, and the School of Education. The program provides a structure in which students are exposed to a diverse set of faculty with diverse scholarly interests, all working toward the common goal of positively affecting education and learning. Through this program, students have a unique opportunity to work and take courses with faculty members from both the Department of Psychology and the School of Education. Also, students have opportunities for course and research training experiences with faculty from other academic and research institutes on campus, such as the School of Public Health, Institute for Social Research, and the Center for Human Growth and Development.

Faculty in the program focus on research and training in four general areas—human development in the contexts of schools, families, and communities; cognitive and learning sciences; motivation and self-regulated learning; and resilience and development.  

Doctoral Program

The doctor of philosophy in education and psychology program follows an apprenticeship model of graduate training and mentoring. Within this model, students are matched with faculty advisors based on complementary research interests and work closely with their advisors to refine their scholarly interests and research capabilities. Thus, students are required to be active in their faculty mentors' research projects from the first semester of graduate school until degree completion. Because of our program's interdisciplinary focus, students often have the opportunity to work with different faculty members during their graduate careers, such that they are exposed to various theoretical and methodological approaches. In addition, students take a sequence of courses in both psychology and education during their first two to three years of their program. The courses are intended to provide theoretical foundations in psychology and education, as well as grounding in research methodology. Students work with their faculty advisors to select the sequence of courses that best fits their training needs and professional goals.

All students take a first year professional seminar course series to provide an introduction to the field and research process.

Psychology course options include core courses within developmental, cognitive, social or personality and social context psychology areas.

Education course options include foundations/history of education, as well as educational psychology courses in cognition and instruction; learning, thinking, and problem solving; motivation; human development and schooling; and social and personality psychology perspectives in education.

Methodology courses include include required specialized training in statistics, as well as other quantitative or qualitative methods course options.

As part of their professional training, all students are required to teach undergraduates during their doctoral program. This teaching includes serving as graduate student instructors for courses in both the Department of Psychology and School of Education. We view teaching as invaluable to our goal of providing students with broad exposures to primary theories and research within education and psychology. Also, we view teaching as enriching students’ theoretical understanding and enhancing their professional development.  

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Within This Section

Combined Program
in Education and

8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

610 E. University Avenue, Room 1413
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1259

Phone: 734.763.0680