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Psychological Science - Ph.D.

The Ph.D. degree in Psychological Science offers doctoral education and training in psychological science, with specializations in behavioral neuroscience, cognitive and cognitive development, and social health psychology. The curriculum and other aspects of training offered by the Department of Psychological Sciences prepare students for careers in research and teaching. The program is strongly research-oriented.

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Prospective students who apply to the Psychological Sciences PhD program can choose between the three specializations below. Click a link to find more about each of the specializations.

Behavioral Neuroscience Cognitive/Cognitive Development Social Health Psychology

Program Information

Program Description

Full Description

The Ph.D. degree in Psychological Science offers doctoral education and training in psychological science, with specializations in behavioral neuroscience, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, social psychology and health psychology. The curriculum and other aspects of training offered by the Department of Psychological Sciences prepare students for careers in research and teaching. The program is strongly research-oriented.

The Psychological Science major includes the following optional concentration:

  • The Quantitative Methods of Psychology optional concentration trains individuals in some of the more recent developments of statistical science and, particularly, the application of these developments to real-world psychological data. One unique feature of the concentration is the focus on the application of quantitative methods in psychological research; although department faculty members have expertise in an area of statistics, they also conduct research in a substantive area of psychology. The concentration is intended for those students who intend to pursue academic careers, wherein the use of advanced quantitative methods in one’s own program of research is highly valued, and who also intend to teach undergraduate or graduate courses in statistical methods.

For more information about graduate admissions, visit the graduate admission website. For more information on international admissions, visit the international admission website.

Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor's degree or higher from an accredited college or university
  • Minimum junior-senior 3.000 undergraduate GPA on a 4.000-point scale
  • 18 credit hours in psychology, including a course in statistics
  • Broad background in psychology
  • Official transcript(s)
  • Goal statement
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • English language proficiency - all international students must provide proof of English language proficiency (unless they meet specific exceptions to waive) by earning one of the following:1
    • Minimum 94 TOEFL iBT score
    • Minimum 7.0 IELTS score
    • Minimum 65 PTE score
    • Minimum 120 DET score

Admission to the Ph.D. degree is limited to students whose records clearly indicate both scholarly and research potential to do doctoral-level work.


International applicants who do not meet the above test scores may be considered for conditional admission.

Admitted students to the Ph.D. who would like to declare the Quantitative Methods of Psychology concentration must meet the following admission requirements:

  • Good academic standing
  • Written approval of the student’s primary advisor
  • Completion of PSYC 61651 and PSYC 61654 with an A grade or an approved waiver of this criterion based on equivalent prior coursework
  • Identification and written acceptance of a quantitative mentor from the list of department quantitative faculty

Application Deadlines

  • Fall Semester
    • Application deadline: December 1

Applications submitted after this deadline will be considered on a space-available basis.

Learning Outcomes

Program Learning Outcomes

Graduates of this program will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate mastery of the current theories and significant empirical findings in a major area of psychological science. Mastery includes acquiring both an understanding of these materials as well as the ability to think critically about them.
  2. Teach courses in psychological science.
  3. Supervise and mentor undergraduate students in both research settings and in the classroom.
  4. Design, execute, analyze and report empirical studies that make a significant contribution in a major area of psychological science.

Program Requirements

Major Requirements

Major Requirements
Additional Program Electives 23-36
Culminating Requirement
Additional Requirements or Concentration
Choose from the following:12-15
Minimum Total Credit Hours for Post Baccalaureate Students90
Minimum Total Credit Hours for Post-Master's Students60

PSYC 71894 is required for students who teach starting their third year.


All doctoral students (regardless of area of specialization) select additional courses and seminars with the aid of a faculty advisor. A limited number of graduate courses outside the department may be credited toward graduation. No 50000-level psychology courses may be applied to the degree program. PSYC 81498 can be used to partially satisfy additional program electives.


Doctoral candidates, upon admission to candidacy, must register for PSYC 81199 for a total of 30 hours. It is expected that doctoral candidates will continuously register for PSYC 81199, and thereafter PSYC 81299, each semester, until all requirements for the degree have been met.

Additional Requirements for Students Not Declaring a Concentration

Major Requirements
Additional Program Electives (see note above)15
Minimum Total Credit Hours:15

Quantitative Methods of Psychology Concentration Requirements

Concentration Requirements
Teaching Experience 1
Research Experience 2
Minimum Total Credit Hours:12

Psychologists with strong quantitative skills often are expected to disseminate statistical knowledge to their colleagues; thus, students who pursue the concentration must have at least one practicum experience. This teaching experience can be as an instructor of an undergraduate course (PSYC 21621, PSYC 31684) or becoming the teaching assistant for the first-year graduate sequence.


Students must demonstrate mastery of quantitative methodology through the inclusion of an advanced technique as part of a milestone or independent project that has been approved by the student’s quantitative mentor. Students should either (a) complete a thesis/dissertation that has a strong quantitative component or (b) publish a first-authored quantitative-focused paper or a first-authored content paper with sophisticated analyses, as determined by the student’s quantitative mentor. Specifically, students should demonstrate that they are able to appropriately conduct and interpret sophisticated statistical analyses. Note, however, that this requirement does not necessarily suggest that students need to develop a new statistical technique or methodology.

Candidacy Requirements

  • Students who have been admitted into the doctoral program will be considered for Ph.D. candidacy after they have met all requirements for the M.A. degree and have passed a qualifying examination in a major area of specialization in psychology.
  • The Department of Psychological Sciences reserves the right to separate from the program a student who, in the opinion of a duly constituted departmental committee, is not likely to succeed professionally despite earning acceptable grades.
  • Proficiency in a foreign language is not a requirement for the Ph.D. degree.

Graduation Requirements

Minimum Major GPA Minimum Overall GPA
- 3.000
  • The program requires full-time continuous enrollment.
  • Post-baccalaureate students are required to complete a minimum of four years of full-time attendance.
  • Doctoral program aspirants who do not hold a master's degree upon starting the program must complete all the requirements for the master’s degree.
  • Students must complete a first-year project and present it to faculty and graduate students during the fall of their second year.
Program Delivery
  • Delivery:
    • In person
  • Location:
    • Kent Campus

More About The Application Process

Application Processing Information

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Examples of Possible Careers and Salaries

Psychologists, all other


slower than the average


number of jobs


potential earnings

Psychology teachers, postsecondary


much faster than the average


number of jobs


potential earnings

Notice: Career Information Source
* Source of occupation titles and labor data comes from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook. Data comprises projected percent change in employment over the next 10 years; nation-wide employment numbers; and the yearly median wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less.