PhD Degree Requirements

Through courses, mentorship, and academic community, the psychology department equips doctoral students to engage in interdisciplinary research across different areas of psychology: clinical, cognitive/neuroscience, developmental, social/personality, and systems neuroscience. By collaborating with researchers from other areas of psychology, doctoral students conduct innovative research that informs progress both in the field and in society at large. Open science practices enable our doctoral students to ensure that their research is replicable and high-quality.

Doctoral Student Handbook (Fall 2023)

Degree Requirements

The department expects that most students will complete their doctoral degree in 5-7 years.

  • Data Analysis Sequence, Psy 611, 612, 613
  • First Year Research Sequence (three terms, includes Ethics)
  • Core Course Sequence (three out of five Core Courses)
  • First Year Research Requirement
  • Supporting Area Requirement
  • Major Preliminary Examination
  • Doctoral Dissertation

Program of Study

With the exception of students who study clinical psychology, no particular courses other than those listed above are required. However, students and their advisors should develop a program of courses, seminars, and practica appropriate to their academic and career goals. Because students in the graduate program come from a wide variety of backgrounds, and because their interests may require very different graduate programs, students may petition the Graduate Education Committee (GEC) to allow deviations from any requirement. For example, students with extensive background in statistics may petition to waive any or all of the data analysis sequence. A student entering with a Master’s degree may petition to have previous coursework and/or research apply towards satisfying one or more of the other requirements.

Scholarly Research

The PhD is a research and scholarly degree, and it is expected that students will be engaged in research throughout their graduate program. The ultimate goal of the graduate curriculum is to enable students to formulate interesting research questions and to put those questions to adequate empirical test. Therefore, student research is a basic and integral component of graduate work throughout the entire degree.

Teaching Experience

Although teaching experience is not formally required for the PhD, most students obtain experience in teaching, as a teaching assistant and/or as the sole instructor in an undergraduate course. Since experience at teaching is important for academic appointments, most students should do some teaching during their stay in the program.

Clinical Psychology Program

Students intending to receive their degree in clinical psychology have additional requirements. These requirements are discussed in our guide to the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program.

Clinical Program Guide (Fall 2023)

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