Academic Catalog

Psychology (Ph.D.)

Admission Requirements

Applicants must complete a Psychology Department application form and provide general GRE test scores, at least three letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose in addition to the transcripts and application form required by the Graduate School. Application policies and procedures are available on the Department of Psychology website. Students will not be considered for admission until all documents have been received and evaluated. All forms are due by December 1, and applicants will be notified of the admission committee's decision around March 1.

Because the doctoral degree offered by this department is viewed as a continuation of the Master of Arts degree program in psychology, students are expected to earn the M.A. degree or complete a master’s-equivalent project as a preliminary stage in doctoral study. The work of students who hold advanced degrees when they enter this program will be evaluated to determine the extent to which it satisfies the requirements of the M.A. degree in psychology.


Program Requirements

The Doctor of Philosophy requires ninety credits beyond the baccalaureate degree, thirty of which must be earned as dissertation credits . Additionally, in order that students may acquire a broad background in the factual and theoretical content of psychology, three substantive courses are required of all doctoral candidates:

PSY 7150Quantitative Methods in Psychology I4
PSY 8150Multivariate Analysis in Psychology4
One of the following outside the student's major area:
History and Systems of Psychology
Human Cognition
Biological Basis of Behavior
Theory of Personality
Introduction to Life-Span Developmental Psychology
Industrial and Organizational Psychology
Social Psychology: Research and Theory

Each student is expected to select a major and minor area of specialization from among the following list. (Alternate minor areas may be developed in consultation with relevant faculty, subject to the approval of the Department Graduate Committee.)

BEHAVIORAL AND COGNITIVE NEUROSCIENCE: This interdisciplinary research and training program prepares students for positions in research and teaching in many areas of neuroscience, including functional cognitive neural imaging, neural physiology, behavioral pharmacology, neurobehavioral teratology, and affective neuroscience. Academic training is provided through foundation courses, specialized seminars, and intensive participation in mentored research based  on one-to-one working relationships with faculty members.

CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY: This training program is accredited by the American Psychological Association and educates students as scientist-practitioners. Students are prepared for a wide range of careers, including research, teaching, clinical practice, and administration. In addition to the basic departmental course requirements for a doctoral degree, students also take courses in professional ethics, psychopathology, psychological assessment, psychological interventions, diversity, and other coursework consistent with APA accreditation. Requirements also include an empirical master's thesis and doctoral dissertation, as well as supervised clinical training in assessment and treatment of clients in our training clinic, external placements, and an internship. Special opportunities for training and research in neuropsychology, child psychology, health psychology, and community psychology are available in the clinical program, with faculty in other areas of the department, and in the community.

The DEVELOPMENTAL SCIENCE area takes a life-span perspective to human development (prenatal to late adulthood), providing students with a strong foundation in dynamic modern developmental theories and models. Current studies focus on many aspects of human development. These include risk and resilience, longitudinal modeling, developmental contexts (e.g., poverty, child care, schooling, culture/ethnicity), parent-child relationships, child maltreatment, stress reactivity/temperament, emotion regulation, joint attention, school readiness, language development, peer relations, adolescent health, Black youth development, gender development, academic achievement and motivation. Graduates of our program can work in quite varied positions related to human development, including research, education, human services, and public policy.    

The SOCIAL-PERSONALITY area focuses on theory-based basic and applied research. Students can be trained in a variety of experimental, survey research, and intervention methods and techniques, including experimental designs, implicit/automatic processing, in-person and online survey administration, daily assessment techniques, hormone assays, and alcohol administration. These research methods are used to address basic research questions in the areas of social cognition, close relationship processes, interpersonal violence, and personality processes.

INDUSTRIAL/ORGANIZATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY offers coursework in Personnel Psychology (including such topics as criterion development, performance evaluation, and personnel selection) and Organizational Psychology (including such topics as employee motivation, engagement leadership and executive development, occupational health, and organizational climate and culture). Opportunities exist for field experience in a variety of local and national corporations. The program is designed to prepare students for careers in either applied (e.g., within organizations, consulting firms) or academic careers.

Academic Scholarship: All course work must be completed in accordance with the regulations of the Graduate School and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Residence: All new doctoral students must enroll for their first academic year on a full-time basis. Students must complete at least six three-credit courses, exclusive of research and thesis credits, during the first year. Any incompletes in these six courses must be removed prior to the fall semester of the second year.

Examinations: The qualifying examination, a written examination covering the student’s major area, is required. It is normally taken after completion of the master’s thesis.

Training, Teaching, and Research: Doctoral students are required to participate in a training assignment each academic year they are in residence. This is required of all full-time students, irrespective of whether the training assignment includes a stipend. The student’s area committee is responsible for seeing that this requirement is met each year. The training assignment involves appropriate teaching, research (other than thesis or dissertation research) or professional activities.

Dissertation Research: The thirty credit dissertation registration requirement is fulfilled by registering for the courses PSY 9991, PSY 9992, PSY 9993, and PSY 9994 (Doctoral Dissertation Research and Direction I, II, III, and IV, respectively), in consecutive academic year semesters.

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