The Department of Psychology offers a four- or five-year program of study leading to the doctor of philosophy degree. The basic goal of the program is the development of behavioral scientists who have a broad knowledge of psychology, can teach and communicate effectively, and can carry out sound research in an area of specialization. Although some students seek employment outside academia, the program is oriented toward developing the skills required by the research psychologist who intends to become a college or university teacher.
The three areas in which a student may specialize are below. Please click on an area for more information and to see a listing of current faculty research projects in that area.
The department does not offer training in clinical or counseling psychology.
Required courses include first year seminar (PSYC 904), three semesters of research methods and statistics (PSYC 905, 906, & 907 or 908), six advanced graduate seminars, and two semesters of the practicum and seminar in the teaching of psychology (PSYC 991-992). First year students also participate in a non-credit graduate proseminar (PSYC 901-902) which introduces students to the research programs of the faculty. Depth in a particular area is obtained through participation in advanced seminars and by independent reading and research conducted under the supervision of a faculty member.
Prior to the doctoral dissertation, the student carries out original research that culminates in either a master’s thesis or a paper of publishable quality. A master’s degree is awarded upon the successful completion of a program approved by the department and dean of the Graduate School. This typically takes place by the end of the second year.
The third year of the program is dedicated to the practicum and seminar in the teaching of psychology in conjunction with the teaching of introductory psychology.
Advancement to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree depends on receiving the master’s degree, passing a specialist examination in one of the department’s areas of specialization, and identifying a topic for doctoral research. Advancement to candidacy is usually accomplished by the end of a student’s fourth year in the program. During the fourth year, students typically begin dissertation research and teach an introductory course in their specialty area. Most students complete the Ph.D. degree in the fifth year.