Legal Psychology Curriculum    

Our Psychology Ph.D. Program is designed to train all students in the fundamental areas of psychology. The department extends this training to concentrations in (1) Legal, (2) Health, (3) Social, Cognitive & Neurosciences, and (4) Language Acquisition & Bilingualism. 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; child/adult suggestibility, and mental health and the law.  Ph.D. candidates are required to complete 78 semester hours.

Course Requirements    

1) Statistics and research methods courses (12 semester hours)

  • PSYC 6307 Applied Correlation and Regression Methods 
  • PSYC 6308 Experimental Design and Analysis of Variance 
  • PSYC 6331 Foundations of Research 
  • Plus one additional research method course approved by graduate program director

2) Breadth courses include three of the following (9 semester hours)

  • PSYC 5371 Animal Learning and Behavior 
  • PSYC 5372 Behavioral Neuroscience 
  • PSYC 5374 Cognitive Psychology 
  • PSYC 5376 Developmental Psychology 
  • PSYC 5330 Social Behavior

3) Research (24 semester hours)

  • PSYC 6380/6381 First Year Research (6 semester hours)  
  • PSYC 6385 Research Applications (6 semester hours) 
  • PSYC 6395/6396 Thesis Research (6 semester hours) 
  • PSYC 6398/6399 Dissertation Research (6 semester hours)  

4) Legal Concentration Courses (24 semester hours) 

  • PSYC 5344 Survey of Legal Psychology 
  • PSYC 5342 Special Topics in Psychology & Law (6 semester hours) -- 
  • Sample courses include:
    • Clinical Issues in Legal Psychology
    • Juveniles in the Justice System
    • Polygraph Procedures in Lie Detection
    • Psychology of Criminal Behavior
    • Psychology & Law across the Life Span
    • White Collar Crime
  • PSYC 6390 Field Placement (6 semester hours) --
  • Sample field placements have included:
    • 388th District Court (El Paso, TX)
    • Army Research Labs (Ft. Bliss, TX)
    • El Paso Adult Probation Office 
    • El Paso County Public Defenders Office
    • El Paso County Sheriff's Office & Region VIII Training Academy
    • El Paso Juvenile Justice Center
    • Federal Judicial Center (Washington, D.C.)
    • Homeland Security Institute (Washington, D.C.)
    • Support Services Division of the State of Connecticut Courts
  • Additional hours of approved Legal courses (9 semester hours)

5) Nine additional semester hours of general electives

Transfer Students with Graduate Credit    

Students accepted into the Ph.D. program with graduate credit from another university must satisfy the same requirements as those beginning their Ph.D. graduate training in Psychology at UTEP without previously earned graduate credits. The student may petition the Graduate Program Committee to accept a maximum of 24 hours of graduate credit completed at another institution.  Students who have completed an empirical thesis prior to entering the UTEP Ph.D. program may petition the Graduate Program Committee for waiver of the thesis requirement.