2021-2022 Graduate Course Catalog 
    Mar 23, 2023  
2021-2022 Graduate Course Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Cognitive Psychology, PhD

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Michael Kalish, Ph.D.
430 Huntington Hall


Catherine A. Cornwell, Daniel Corral, Amy H. Criss, Michael L. Kalish, David Kellen, Lynn J. Lohnas, Lael J. Schooler, Bradley A. Seymour, Jeffrey Zemla

The graduate training program leads to a Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology. Research in the program is centered on using computational methods and theory to understand fundamental mechanisms underlying cognitive and neural processing. Cognitive and perceptual processes under study include visual perception, memory, learning, attention, knowledge development, concepts and categories, problem solving, reasoning, and decision making. Research in this area contributes to the understanding of human behavior in individual and social environments and provides the structure on which to build applications to improve health and behavior.

Students receive research training at the forefront of cognitive psychology. Students are assigned a core faculty member as primary advisor upon entry to the program and are required to actively participate in research through the duration of their program of study. Participation is designed to facilitate the development of research and professional skills necessary for a career in psychological science.  Required milestones include completion of a first year research project, Master’s proposal and defense, qualifying exam, and Dissertation proposal and defense.

Student Learning Outcomes

1. Explain fundamental mechanisms, underlying cognitive and neural processing

2. Develop a toolbox of computational skills.

3. Synthesize the literature and develop novel ideas, approaches, methods, or theory to advance their sub-field

4. Conduct original research in the field

5. Organize and interpret scientific data for written and oral presentation

6. Follow ethical guidelines of the American Psychological Association

7. Demonstrate expertise as a psychology instructor

Program Requirements

The curriculum is designed to provide students with the essential coursework and laboratory research experience necessary for an academic or research career. The program of study requires a minimum of 90 graduate credit hours, distributed as follows:

Electives (9 credits):

Three courses chosen from areas outside of cognitive psychology. Students are encouraged to select elective courses that are application areas for cognitive psychology or that broaden knowledge, or courses that deepen or strengthen methodological and statistical skills. 

Independent Research & Other Courses

Students are encouraged to work closely with one or more faculty members in a research program, and to develop a program of research. This research is reflected in courses including PSY 997, 999, 690, or 890. In addition students should take courses that strengthen their training. In total students must successfully complete 90 credits for the PhD.

Master’s Thesis (6 credits)

PSY 997

Dissertation (18 credits)

PSY 999

Satisfactory Progress in the Program

The first year project is due by May 30th of the first year. Students are required to propose their master’s thesis by September 30th of their second year and complete the master’s thesis (or equivalent research project for students admitted with credit for an earned master’s degree) by May 30th of their second year. Students pass the Ph.D. qualifying exam by May 30th of their third year. The Ph.D. dissertation proposal must be completed by September 30th of the 4th year. The dissertation advisor must be a core faculty member of the program. Students are expected to defend the dissertation by the end of their fifth year.

Admissions and Financial Support

Admission to the graduate program depends on the quality of the applicant’s prior academic record, research interests, skills, and experience, and the applicant’s GRE scores. Financial support is available for all well-qualified graduate students by means of research assistantships, teaching assistantships, or fellowships.

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