Ph.D. in Psychology

Four students sitting on a couch and chair having a discussion.

About this Program

The Department of Psychology in the College of Liberal Arts offers the Ph.D. in Psychology, with emphases in Clinical Psychology and Experimental Psychology.

The emphasis in Clinical Psychology is based on the scientist-practitioner model and thus designed to prepare an individual to become a professional psychologist capable of working in clinical and/or research settings.

The emphasis in Experimental Psychology provides rigorous and supportive scientific training that prepares graduates for careers in a broad spectrum of fields such as academic careers in teaching and research or corporate careers in health, behavioral, or social sciences. Experimental psychology students specialize in cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, or social psychology.

On this Page…

    Program Information

    Program Type

    Doctorate Program

    Area of Study

    Social Sciences, Law, and Policy


    Ph.D. in Psychology

    Program Location



    Clinical Psychology;
    Experimental Psychology

    Required Credit Hours


    Program Details


    The Department of Psychology welcomes student applications with the following materials. Additional details are found on the department website.

    1. Complete the Graduate School’s Online Application.
    2. Pay the application fee ($50).
    3. Submit official transcripts.
    4. International applicants whose first language is not English may be required to submit scores from an acceptable English language proficiency test.
    5. Upload Supplemental Application materials for the Department of Psychology to the link provided by the online application.
    • Statement of purpose. See guidelines on webpage for Clinical Psychology and on the webpage for Experimental Psychology
    • Resume
    • Three letters of recommendation: provide contact information for three recommenders  
    Students in the Ph.D. in Psychology complete 54 credit hours. 

    The emphasis in clinical psychology includes 15 graduate-level courses (covering foundational psychology areas and applied clinical work in therapy and assessment), practicum courses, a doctoral dissertation, and yearlong APA-accredited internship. See details on the clinical emphasis webpage
    • Psy 505: Conditioning and Learning
    • Psy 703: Quantitative Methods in Psychology I
    • Psy 704: Quantitative Methods in Psychology II
    • Psy 709: Advanced Conditioning and Learning
    • Psy 710: Cognitive Assessment
    • Psy 711: Personality Assessment
    • Psy 729: Advanced Psychopathology
    • Psy 730: Evidence-based Clinical Interventions
    • Psy 731: Theories of Psychotherapy
    • Psy 741: Ethics & Prof Standards of Clinical Psychology
    • Psy 748: Research Design
    • Psy 751: History and Systems of Psychology
    • one course in each of the following areas:
      • multicultural psychology
      • physiological psychology
      • developmental psychology
      • cognitive psychology
      • social cognition
    • 2 elective classes

    Students in the Ph.D. in Psychology complete 54 credit hours. 

    The emphasis in experimental psychology includes 12 graduate-level courses (covering foundational content in methods, statistics, and psychology) and a doctoral dissertation. Additional minors and/or concentrations in gender studies and applied statistics are also available. See details on the experimental emphasis webpage

    • Psy 703: Quantitative Methods in Psychology I
    • Psy 704: Quantitative Methods in Psychology II
    • Psy 717: Individual Experimental Research
    • Psy 735: Seminar on College Teaching
    • Psy 748: Research Design
    • Psy 755: Research Colloquium every semester
    • four courses from the six core courses of
      • Psy 707: Advanced Cognitive Psychology 
      • Psy 709: Advanced Conditioning and Learning
      • Psy 712: Advanced Social Psychology
      • Psy 713: Advanced Social Cognition
      • Psy 715: Physiological Psychology
      • Psy 718: Advanced Developmental Psychology  
      • Psy 751: History and Systems of Psychology
    • two elective courses, excluding Psy 747 (Problems), 697 (Thesis), and 797 (Dissertation)

    Historically we have been able to provide a full tuition scholarship, subsidized health insurance, and monetary stipend each year to every student while enrolled on campus, so long as they are making satisfactory progress and matriculate through the program in a timely manner.

    Additional financial support is available through the Graduate School Recruiting Fellowships, and each year we nominate multiple eligible individuals for these awards. The Department also provides funds to help with graduate student travel costs to conferences.

    The Graduate School’s financial aid webpage lists a variety of funding possibilities, including summer support and a recruiting fellowship program that promotes academic excellence and access to graduate education to groups who are historically underrepresented.  

    The Department of Psychology is housed in Peabody Hall, a historic, three-story building in the center of campus. The building includes several classrooms, a computer lab, faculty and graduate student workspace, and research labs.

    The Psychological Services Center serves as the training clinic for the clinical psychology graduate program and is located on the third floor of Kinard Hall. This space includes 4 therapy rooms (including one conference/group therapy room), a room for test administration and scoring, two offices, and a graduate student work area with multiple computers for entry of electronic records. All therapy rooms afford digitized audiovisual recording of sessions and live observation via one-way mirrors.

    Faculty are working on a wide variety of research topics encompassing areas such as:

    • Contextual influences on psychological outcomes, including how lay-theories influence individual and interpersonal outcomes, cultivating youth environmental leadership and civic engagement, and understanding the mental health effects of disasters.
    • Development across the lifespan from understanding social and cognitive development in early childhood, to dissemination of evidence-based services for children and adolescents, to adolescent anxiety disorders and substance use within a family context, to health behaviors and activity engagement in aging.
    • Interpersonal influences on well-being including stigma and discrimination, social ostracism, interpersonal relationships, and sexuality.
    • Health psychology, including psychological and social factors that contribute to poor health in adults with chronic health conditions.
    • Psychopathology including cognitive-behavioral therapies, understanding and treatment of anxiety disorders across the lifespan, dimensional models of personality disorders and antisocial behavior, misophonia, and the role of meaning and purpose in life.
    • Self Regulation including choice, self-knowledge, rule governance, behavior acquisition, behavior analysis; facial and verbal expressions of emotion and self-regulation of emotion; impulse control and psychopathology; and the development of executive function.
    • Visual perception focused on understanding low-level visual processes.


    DIRECT Program

    The Diversifying Interdisciplinary Research Expertise through Community Building and Training (DIRECT) Program is an National Institutes of Health program offering financial, technical, operational, and professional resources for Ph.D. students interested in careers in the biomedical workforce. DIRECT trainees receive annual stipends, along with fully paid tuition, health insurance, conference travel support, and childcare cost reimbursement. The program emphasizes cohort building, mentoring, networking, and skill development.

    Todd A Smitherman

    Interested in Our Clinical Program?

    We’re Here to Help! If you have any questions about the Ph.D. in Psychology with a Clinical emphasis, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

    Todd A Smitherman

    Professor of Psychology and Director of Clinical Training

    Interested in Our Experimental Program?

    If you have any questions about the Ph.D. in Psychology with a Experimental emphasis, don’t hesitate to get in touch!

    Stephanie Miller
    Graduate Program Coordinator