The Ph.D. Program is designed to train all students in the fundamental areas of psychology. The department extends this training with four concentrations in (1) Health, (2) Legal, (3) Social, Cognitive and Neurosciences, and (4) Language Acquisition and Bilingualism. Students with a health concentration have an opportunity to conduct research in areas such as adaptation to chronic illness; food and fluid intake; judgment and decision making; risk taking; smoking prevention and cessation; and underage drinking and driving. Students with a legal concentration have an opportunity to conduct research in areas such as detection of deception; facial recognition and eyewitness identification/memory; interviewing and interrogation; jury decision making; and suggestibility in legal cases. Students with a social, cognitive, and neuroscience concentration have an opportunity to conduct research in areas such as addiction and drugs of abuse; behavioral regulation; bilingual memory; multilingual language processing; social neuroscience; and social perception, prejudice and stereotyping. Students with a language acquisition and bilingualism concentration obtain training in cognitive and linguistic approaches to the study of human language processing. Ph.D. candidates are required to complete 78 semester hours.
Because the program emphasizes research, students are required to engage actively in research projects throughout their training period. To develop a range of expertise, students are encouraged to work with more than one faculty member.
All Ph.D. students are required to take a basic core curriculum that consists largely of quantitative, research methods and breadth courses. The curriculum allows considerable flexibility so students can tailor their coursework to suit their career goals.