Psychology, PhD

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, twelve-months-per-year program.

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.

Bachelor's Degree Entrance 

Complete all courses and requirements listed below unless otherwise indicated.


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

Core Course Work

All graduate courses within the Department of Psychology are graded S/U. A grade of S is required in each psychology department course.

Year 1
FallHoursSpringHoursSummer Full SemesterHours
Complete 6 semester hours of the following: 6Complete 6 semester hours of the following:6PSYC 84013
 12 12 3
Year 2
FallHoursSpringHoursSummer Full SemesterHours
PSYC 79903Complete one of the following: 3PSYC 79960
 Complete the following:3 
 3 6 0
Year 3
FallHoursSpringHoursSummer Full SemesterHours
PSYC 99900Complete one of the following: 3PSYC 99960
 Complete the following:0 
 0 3 0
Year 4
FallHoursSpringHoursSummer Full SemesterHours
PSYC 99960PSYC 99960PSYC 99960
 0 0 0
Year 5
FallHoursSpringHoursSummer Full SemesterHours
PSYC 99960PSYC 99960PSYC 99960
 0 0 0
Total Hours: 39


Complete 11 semester hours of electives, which can include psychology electives and proseminars (see below) not taken already to fulfill core requirements, as well as outside electives if approved by faculty advisor and graduate coordinator.

Proseminar in Psycholinguistics
Proseminar in Cognition
Proseminar in Sensation
Proseminar in Perception
Proseminar in Biology of Behavior
Proseminar in Clinical Neuroscience
Proseminar in Personality
Proseminar in Social Psychology

Program Credit/GPA Requirements

50 total semester hours required
Minimum 3.000 GPA required