PhD students: Students in my lab are part of the USD Human Factors & Applied Cognition program. I am expecting to recruit 1 new PhD student this year. Masters Degrees are acquired in route to the PhD by those students who do not have one at the time of joining the program. Interested individuals should read below then contact me at Timothy.Ricker@usd.edu to discuss applying for a position as a PhD student.
MA students: I do not actively recruit terminal MA students but do occasionally accept students for the terminal MA on a case-by-case basis. If interested, contact me at Timothy.Ricker@usd.edu to discuss joining as an MA student.
What makes an applicant a good fit for our lab?
I am are looking for students interested in a rigorous scientific approach to understanding human working memory and its role in everyday cognition. Students with a good fit for the lab are those who's professional goals are to work in research in some capacity, whether that be academic, industry, or non-profit. My students should be interested in work that relates to my own. I am focused on basic research but I also accept students who are interested in applied research as long as their interests overlap with my expertise in some regard. See the lab research and publication pages to get an idea about what me and my students study. To be successful in graduate school you need to be self-motivated, spending a large amount of time reading past work and current research in your area of expertise. If you are not excited about what we study, you are unlikely to be a good fit for our lab. The most successful students have research interests that closely align with their faculty mentor's expertise because this allows them to focus on the most relevant research and most fruitful experimental approaches.
I treat working with me as an apprenticeship. My graduate students spend a lot of time working one-on-one with me and in small groups with the other students doing experimental design, analysis, coding, writing, and talking about new findings in the field. Classwork is a secondary priority to learning good experimental design and research practices. Ph.D. students in our lab are affiliated with the Human Factors & Applied Cognition program at the University of South Dakota. This program has a focus on applying scholarship to industry and user needs. As such, there is relatively more coursework than many basic cognition programs, however you will also learn skills that are in high demand in the private sector. If your goals are to become an academic researcher, you will find this applied knowledge useful when applying for external grants and other funding for your research.
Our Program Page Read about our graduate program. If you have questions, be sure to ask me.
Our Classwork Requirements Our program has a significant industry skills element and we provide a network for acquiring industry internships. I'm looking for students interested in research, but the other skills provide a good foundation for making sure you have solid job prospects if you decide not to be an academic researcher after graduation. The industry skills learned in our coursework also provides a good base for thinking about applied elements of our research and grant funding.
Graduate Assistantships If you are selected to join the program we generally offer you a GA teaching position. The webpage mentions that you could apply for one. This is a possibility, but we also have positions every year that come with guarantied GA funding.
Our first-year students are typically funded on these later GAs. They always offer the partial tuition remission described in the link and generally offer around a $12,000 stipend, although the exact stipend amount varies year to year. After the first year many of our students are funded through other mechanisms (such asTRAC, Tremel, or grant funding). These other mechanisms offer much larger stipends and sometimes offer full tuition remission, however they are competitive and limited in number. Students who do not receive an alternative funding mechanism continue to be funded on a standard GA tuition remission/stiped for a minimum of 4 years.
Tuition Costs This tells you how much tuition costs. Our students are funded at Graduate Assistant level unless otherwise noted. Figure on a 9 or 10 credit load each semester. This link gives anabbreviated summary for international students, but doesn't include the tuition discount that comes with a GA position (most of our PhD students get this).
International Students Information The international office guides all international applicants and students through the process and is a great resource to those interested in our program who are not US citizens.
I-20 Information for International Students This link is to the financial ability form necessary for visa purposes. Note that admitted students will get a yearly stipend and partial tuition remission as part of their GA position.
Applying to Join the Lab as a Graduate Student
If you are considering applying for a position as a PhD or MA student, the first step is to finish reading this page, including checking out the links, and thoroughly explore the rest of the lab website. The second step is to email me (Timothy.Ricker@usd.edu) to discuss whether you would be a good fit for the lab and whether getting a graduate degree under my supervision would be a good fit for your professional goals. When emailing me please include answers to the following questions:
Why would you like to have a PhD/MA (specify which) in Cognition or Human Factors? What job/field are you hoping to pursue once you have completed your degree? Why are you interested in working with me specifically and not with another professor at the University of South Dakota or another University?
If you seem like you would be a good fit, we will setup a zoom call to talk more about getting a degree under my supervision and to give you a chance to ask me questions.