Psychology, PhD—Advanced Entry

The PhD program in the Department of Psychology covers a wide spectrum of contemporary behavioral science within a close-knit community of faculty and students. The program offers four distinct areas of experimental emphasis: behavioral neuroscience, cognition, perception, and social/personality. The program does not offer training in clinical or counseling psychology. The objective of the PhD program is to prepare students to become experts in research and teaching in psychology. To accomplish this goal, the department takes a mentoring approach whereby the graduate students are apprentices in faculty laboratories, working closely with their faculty mentors throughout their time in the program. The basic apprenticeship relationship is supplemented by other activities, such as required courses (concentrated in the first and second years), advanced seminars and/or course work in this as well as other departments or universities, a colloquium series, assignments as teaching assistants, the master’s project, and the dissertation and its oral defense. After the first year, the structure of the doctoral program, including course work, is flexible and assumes that the process of learning and scientific discovery must be individualized. Graduate students also have an opportunity to develop their teaching and research skills through close mentoring of undergraduate research assistants. The PhD program is a five-year, 12-months-per-year program.

For students who enter the program with a suitable master’s degree, degree candidacy is established through completion of a set of requirements determined on an individual basis. An additional 20 semester hours beyond the master’s degree are required for the PhD degree. The dissertation committee must include at least three tenured or tenure-track faculty members from within the psychology department—two from the student’s interest area and one from another area. The oral defense committee consists of the dissertation committee plus additional tenured and tenure-track faculty members from the psychology department.

Complete all courses and requirements listed below unless otherwise indicated. Individual programs of study will be tailored to acknowledge students' previous course work.


Master’s presentation
Annual review
Dissertation committee
Dissertation proposal
Dissertation defense
At least two assigned courses as teaching assistant

Core Requirements

A grade of S is required in each psychology department course.

Consult your faculty advisor and director of graduate studies for acceptable course work.10


Consult your faculty advisor and graduate coordinator for acceptable electives.10


Complete the following (repeatable) course twice:

Program Credit/GPA Requirements

20 total semester hours required
Minimum 3.000 GPA required

Note: The number of semester hours to complete this program may be more than 20. The number of semester hours and the specific required courses will be determined by a review of previous course work by the graduate coordinator and faculty advisor.