Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology
The Department of Psychology Graduate Program at the University of Kansas
We offer a single doctoral degree in Psychology which may be earned in one of the following programs: brain, behavior, and quantitative science, clinical psychology, and social psychology. Admission decisions are made separately within each program. Students admitted to one of these programs enter with the expectation of continuing graduate study through the Ph.D. as the department does not admit terminal master's students.
All of our programs boast distinguished and award-winning faculty, notable research publications, and a deep foundation in the historical progress of psychological advances.
Please visit our department website for more information on these programs.
A separate clinical child psychology training program has been developed for doctoral students in an interdepartmental program with the Department of Applied Behavioral Science. For more information regarding the clinical child graduate program, please visit their website.
Admission to Graduate Studies
An applicant seeking to pursue graduate study in the College may be admitted as either a degree-seeking or non-degree seeking student. Policies and procedures of Graduate Studies govern the process of Graduate admission. These may be found in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog.
Please consult the Departments & Programs section of the online catalog for information regarding program-specific admissions criteria and requirements. Special admissions requirements pertain to Interdisciplinary Studies degrees, which may be found in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog.
The department does not admit students seeking the terminal master’s degree, as students enter the department with the expectation of earning the Ph.D.
In addition to the general admissions requirements from the Office of Graduate Studies, applicants are required to have completed 15 credit hours in psychology or a closely related field, including a first course in statistics and a course in experimental psychology or psychological research methods.
Submit your graduate application online. For further information regarding the application process, including department-specific deadlines and required supplemental documentation, please visit the Admission page of the department website, or contact the department's graduate academic advisor, Kirsten Hermreck, email@example.com.
Dual-title Ph.D. Program in Psychology and Gerontology
The dual-title degree enables students at KU to meet the challenge of undertaking graduate education in the emerging, interdisciplinary field of gerontology that is combined with training in established, traditional disciplines. Interested students apply and are admitted to the psychology Ph.D. program. After completing an M.A. in psychology, they may apply to undertake the dual-title option. The student’s diploma will carry the name of both fields.
This option is designed to appeal to students who are strong in a traditional discipline but also motivated to study across disciplinary lines. In the course of study, students can avail themselves of disciplinary depth and interdisciplinary breadth. More information can be found on the Gerontology Department page or by contacting our graduate academic advisor, Kirsten Hermreck, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ph.D. Degree Requirements
Although graduate education is offered through separate programs, each student prepares an individualized plan of study in consultation with faculty members. These plans indicate how the student proposes to fulfill the requirements for the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees, including all general requirements and conditions.
Note: Contact your department or program for more information about research skills and responsible scholarship, and the current requirements for doctoral students. Current policies on Doctoral Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship are listed in the KU Policy Library.
The social psychology program is an intensive research training experience seeking students who are committed to empirical, scholarly work. The major research interests of faculty members are stereotyping, prejudice, intergroup relations, person perception, close relationships, emotion and motivation, self and identity, culture.
In addition to course work, the central requirement of the program is continuous involvement in research. Research opportunities range from laboratory experimentation to field research. Depending on backgrounds and goals, students may move from one research setting to another or concentrate on a particular type of research throughout their training.
Students are guided by individually tailored plans called contracts. These describe sequences of learning experiences developed by the student and a 3-member faculty committee. Beginning students are urged to enroll in basic courses in theory and research in social psychology and statistics. The contract specifies students’ long-range goals, specialties, other fields of psychology or related disciplines in which they will become proficient, proposed sequence of course work, research and teaching experiences they hope to obtain, plans for the M.A. proposal, comprehensive requirements and dissertation landmarks, and an approximate timetable. Contract details can be changed by agreement of the student and faculty committee.
The contract is a general framework that permits students’ graduate work to be adapted to their interests and abilities and provides a standard against which progress can be assessed. Students’ contracts must specify how the research skills and responsible scholarship requirement is to be met. The research skills requirement typically is met by completion of 6 graduate courses in statistics and research design. The responsible scholarship requirement is met via coursework as specified in the contract, completion of online tutorials, and attendance at ethics proseminars. All contracts must comply with other departmental and general rules including residence and time limits.
Brain, Behavior, and Quantitative Science
The Brain, Behavior, and Quantitative Science program provides instruction and research training for students pursuing careers in the academic, public, and private sectors that draw on the research and scholarly interests of the core faculty. These interests include behavioral economics, cognitive neuroscience, cognitive science, developmental science, learning, and quantitative and computational methods. Across all areas, a strong emphasis is placed on students developing a fundamental understanding of psychological theory, acquiring advanced statistical and computational skills and expertise, and learning how to apply this science to improve the development and/or well-being of individuals in society. Toward this end, the program requires both coursework and sustained involvement in the research endeavor, whether in the laboratory or in the field, and (where appropriate) active engagement in opportunities to translate basic science into practice or application.
Students are guided by individually tailored plans, or contracts. These contracts are a mutual agreement between the student and a faculty committee that describe a set of learning experiences designed to allow the student to establish a career in the behavioral sciences whether that is within or outside of academia. In general, each contract specifies a set of courses tailored to each student that provides the student training in core substantive areas of psychology, quantitative and computational psychology, and training in translational science that are relevant to the goals of the degree on which the faculty and student agree. In addition, the contract specifies a student’s long-term goals, planned research activities, other professional development necessary for the student to achieve his/her goals, a plan for the evaluation of progress in the program, and a timeline with proposed completion dates. As a part of this contract system students are evaluated annually on their progress within the program.
The contract is a general framework that permits students to adapt their graduate work to their interests, strengths, and weaknesses. It also provides a standard against which progress can be assessed. Students contracts must specify how the research skills and responsible scholarship requirement will be met; the research skills requirement typically is met by completion of a set of graduate courses in statistics and research design and work in a research laboratory, while the responsible scholarship requirement is met via (a) coursework as specified in the contract, (b) completion of online tutorials associated with obtaining IRB certification, and (c) attendance at ethics proseminars. All contracts must comply with other departmental and general rules including residence and time limits.
Students will complete 36-60 total credit hours including at least 18 credit hours of research. For more information on course requirements please visit the Brain, Behavior, and Quantitative Science website and view our curriculum page.
The clinical psychology program educates students to master knowledge in the field of scientific psychology so that they can generate new scientific knowledge and theory related to the field of clinical psychology, and can make independent contributions to the evolving base of skills and scientific knowledge required for clinical practice. All students take basic course work and practica in academic/research and clinical application. Students may take electives or practica to augment either aspect of training. About half the graduates pursue academic/research-oriented careers, and the rest undertake careers emphasizing applied activities (e.g., psychotherapy in community mental health centers or hospitals). Information is available from the graduate admission secretary or online.
Major Area of Study in Health and Rehabilitation Psychology
Work centers on the psychosocial and biomedical aspects of physical health, illness, and disability. Students apply the knowledge and techniques to problems of prevention, assessment, treatment, and rehabilitation. A detailed overview is available from the graduate admission secretary or online.
Individual plans of study are designed to meet the standards established by state licensing boards and professional organizations. Individualization is achieved by selecting among alternate ways of meeting specific requirements and by selected electives or choosing the health and rehabilitation emphasis. The plan of study constitutes an agreement between the student and the entire clinical faculty. Program requirements:
General Core Requirements for Psychological Science
|Quantitative Analysis of Behavior|
|Completion of two of the following courses:||3-4|
|PSYC 790||Statistical Methods in Psychology I||4|
|PSYC 791||Statistical Methods in Psychology II||4|
|EPSY 810||Regression and ANOVA: General Linear Models||3|
|EPSY 905||Fundamentals of Multivariate Modeling||3|
|PSYC 896||Structural Equation Modeling I||4|
|PSYC 991||Longitudinal Data Analysis||3|
|Cognitive, Social, and Affective Bases of Behavior|
|PSYC 925||Seminar in Cognitive, Affective, and Social Bases of Psychology||3|
|Developmental Bases of Behavior|
|1 course from the following:||3|
|EPSY 705||Human Development through the Lifespan||3|
|PSYC 870||Cognitive Development||3|
|Biological Bases of Behavior|
|PSYC 961||Biological Foundations of Psychopathology||3|
|Diversity and Inclusion|
|1 course from the following:|
|PSYC 888||Diversity Issues in Clinical Psychology||3|
|EPSY 875||Understanding Cultural & Individual Differences in Professional Psychology||3|
|History, Ethics, and Professional Issues|
|PSYC 810||History and Ethics in Psychology||3|
|PSYC 898||Proseminar: Professional Issues in Clinical and Health Psychology||1|
|Clinical Science Requirements|
|PSYC 960||Advanced Psychopathology||3|
|PSYC 850||Assessment I: Foundations of Psychological Assessment||3|
|PSYC 855||Assessment II: Integrative Psychological Assessment||3|
|PSYC 946||Theories and Methods of Psychotherapy||3|
|PSYC 950||Clinical Supervision and Consultation: Theory & Research||1|
|PSYC 968||Research Methods in Clinical Psychology||3|
|Supervision and Consultation (PWC category VIII& IX)|
|PSYC 950||Clinical Supervision and Consultation: Theory & Research||1|
|Clinical Practicum Requirements for Clinical Psychology|
|Completion of five courses:|
|PSYC 964||Clinical Practicum I||3|
|PSYC 965||Clinical Practicum II||3|
|PSYC 966||Clinical Practicum III||1-3|
|PSYC 969||Clinical Practicum IV||3|
|PSYC 835||Clinical Practicum IV: Health||3|
|PSYC 970||Clinical Practicum V||3|
|PSYC 836||Clinical Practicum V: Health||3|
|Note: Because this is an American Psychological Association-approved clinical program, the faculty expect all students to operate within the APA Code of Ethics in professional and personal behavior. Adherence to the ethical principles is part of the normal evaluation of students during the degree program.|
Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship
The research skills requirement is met by completion of 2 graduate courses in statistics and 1 research design course. The responsible scholarship requirement is met by 1 course in research design, 1 course in ethics, and completion of online tutorials.
Thesis and Dissertation (18 hours)
The student must complete a master’s thesis based on an empirical study (minimum of 6 hours) and an empirical doctoral dissertation (minimum of 12 hours) and defend each in separate oral examinations. The thesis should be completed by the end of the second year and written in a form suitable for journal submission.
Electives/Independent Study (6 credit hours, minimum)
Because a minimum of 86 hours of graduate credit is required for the degree, the hours not included in the requirements above may be elective courses selected by the student and his or her advisor.
Each student must propose and demonstrate competence in one task or project. This task typically is done in the third year. It may be in applied/clinical, research/methodology, or program evaluation. A complete description is available from the clinic office or online.
Upon completion of all degree requirements except the dissertation and internship, the student must pass the oral comprehensive examination. This examination addresses a proposal for the dissertation as well as related, general questions in the field. It should be taken before completion of 4 calendar years for students entering with the B.A. and 3 years for students entering with the M.A. The faculty believes that the student is best served by completing the entire dissertation before the internship.
Internship (3 hours)
Students must complete a 12-month predoctoral internship at a setting approved by the clinical psychology faculty. Clinical students may complete their internships at any setting approved by the American Psychology Association.