PhD in Psychology

The PhD program in Psychology trains students at the highest level in one of three specialty areas of psychology: Brain, Behavior, and Cognition (BBC), Developmental Science (DS), and Clinical (C). Upon completion of the PhD, the students will be thoroughly prepared for post-graduate training and to eventually assume teaching and/or research positions in academia or industry or to obtain clinical positions. Applicants may apply post-BA or post-MA. An undergraduate degree in psychology or a related discipline is recommended.

Course Requirements

Post-Bachelor’s Requirements

Post-bachelor’s doctoral students must complete a minimum of 16 semester courses (64 credits) of graduate work for the Brain, Behavior, and Cognition and the Developmental Science PhD programs. A minimum of 20 courses of graduate work (80 credits) is required for the Clinical PhD program. Required courses are as follows:

  • GRS PS 711: Statistics in Psychology I
  • GRS PS 712: Statistics in Psychology II

For specific course requirements for each program, please visit our website. Courses are selected in consultation with the major advisor, who may determine that additional work is required.

Post-Master’s Requirements

Post-master’s doctoral students must complete a minimum of 8 semester courses (32 credits) of graduate work for the Brain, Behavior, and Cognition and the Developmental Science PhD programs. A minimum of 20 courses of graduate work (80 credits) is required for the Clinical PhD program. Required courses are the same as the post-bachelor’s program.

Language Requirement

There is no foreign language requirement for this degree.

Qualifying Examinations

PhD candidates must also satisfy a qualifying requirement or pass a qualifying examination in the area of specialization. This requirement is ordinarily begun upon completion of two years of graduate work.

Dissertation and Final Oral Examination

Candidates shall demonstrate their abilities for independent study in a dissertation representing original research or creative scholarship. A prospectus for the dissertation must be completed and approved by the readers, the director of graduate studies, and the department chair/program director. Candidates must undergo a final oral examination in which they defend their dissertation as valuable contributions to knowledge in their fields and demonstrate a mastery of their fields of specialization in relation to their dissertation. All portions of the dissertation and final oral examination must be completed as outlined in the GRS General Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree.

Research Requirement

Each student must satisfy a research requirement. During the first year, this is initiated through the director of the program and the student’s advisor.