Psychology
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Concentrations

PhD in Psychology

The goal of the doctoral program is to train students in the principles and applications of psychology. The program provides knowledge of the basic content areas in psychology and practical experience in applying this knowledge to solving human problems in life, work, and school. Core course requirements cover subject matter identified by the profession as essential to doctoral training. This includes biological, social, cognitive, and individual bases of behavior, as well as the history of psychology. The program offers the following concentrations: applied developmental psychology, clinical psychology, cognitive and behavioral neuroscience, human factors/applied cognition, and industrial/organizational psychology.

For policies governing all graduate degrees, see Academic Policies.

Reduction of Credit

For students entering the doctoral program with a master’s degree, the number of credits required may be reduced by a maximum of 30 credits subject to the approval of the program faculty and the dean. Requests for reduction of credit are reviewed by a committee only after acceptance to the PhD program.

The University Catalog is the authoritative source for information on program requirements and courses. The Schedule of Classes is the authoritative source for information on classes scheduled for this semester. See the Schedule for the most up-to-date information and see Patriot web to register for classes. Requirements may be different for earlier catalog years. See the University Catalog archives.

Degree Requirements (Catalog Year 2016-2017)

In addition to satisfying the requirements for all doctoral degrees, students must successfully complete 72–76 credits of required course work chosen in one of five concentrations:

Each concentration consists of four educational components: core courses, upper-level specialty courses, supervised practica, and dissertation.

Students in the doctoral program are evaluated on the basis of grades, comprehensive exams, research, and communication skills. In doctoral courses, A and B are the only acceptable grades. Students in the doctoral program must successfully complete comprehensive exams administered each year.

◊ Concentration in Applied Developmental Psychology (APD)

The applied developmental psychology concentration is concerned with enhancing developmental processes and preventing developmental disorders in individuals and families across the life span. It uses the knowledge base and methodologies of developmental science to assist the development of individuals who vary in cultural and ethnic backgrounds; economic and social opportunities; physical, social, emotional, and cognitive abilities; and conditions of living (e.g., families, neighborhoods, communities, and physical settings). The program's emphasis is on child development (infancy, early childhood, middle childhood, and adolescence), and students may focus their studies on the cognitive, social, emotional, language, personality, or physiological aspects of development.

The applied developmental concentration has two goals: to train students to teach and do research on basic and applied issues in child development for employment in such settings as universities, research institutes, and organizations, and to train students to do applied work in developmental psychology (consultation, program evaluation, assessment and evaluation, developmental interventions, and parent training) in such settings as schools, hospitals, courts, child care facilities, and other organizations. Applied developmental psychology doctoral students have the option of also completing course requirements for the MA concentration in school psychology.

Students pursuing this concentration must complete 72 credits comprised of doctoral course work and at least 12 credits of dissertation research. The number of credits required may be reduced for a prior master's degree as described above.

Doctoral Course Work (60 credits)

One course of developmental core (3 credits)

PSYC 704 - Life-Span Development Credits: 3

Two courses of cognitive, biological, or social core (6 credits) chosen from:

Cognitive

PSYC 701 - Cognitive Bases of Behavior Credits: 3

PSYC 768 - Advanced Topics in Cognitive Science Credits: 3(except when this course is exclusively methodological)

Biological

PSYC 702 - Biological Bases of Human Behavior Credits: 3

PSYC 558 - Neuronal Bases of Learning and Memory Credits: 3

PSYC 559 - Behavioral Chemistry Credits: 3

Social

PSYC 703 - Social Bases of Behavior Credits: 3

PSYC 667 - Behavior in Small Groups and Teams Credits: 3

PSYC 668 - Personality: Theoretical and Empirical Approaches Credits: 3

Quantitative Methods (11-13 credits)

Students must complete an approved Quantitative Methods Emphasis from below:

Quantitative Emphasis

Students choosing the quantitative emphasis take 13 credits of course work as follows:

Two required courses

PSYC 611 - Advanced Statistics Credits: 4

PSYC 754 - Quantitative Methods III: Psychological Applications of Regression Techniques Credits: 3

Two courses chosen from:

PSYC 557 - Psychometric Methods Credits: 3

PSYC 646 - Issues and Methods in Longitudinal Developmental Research Credits: 3

PSYC 652 - Quantitative Methods II: Analysis of Variance Credits: 3

PSYC 756 - Quantitative Methods IV: Multivariate Techniques in Psychology Credits: 3

PSYC 757 - Advanced Topics in Statistical Analysis Credits: 3(with approval)

PSYC 892 - Special Topics in Psychology Credits: 1-6(with approval)

Traditional Emphasis (11 credits)

Students choosing the traditional emphasis take the following 11 credits of course work as follows:

Two required courses

PSYC 611 - Advanced Statistics Credits: 4

PSYC 612 - Advanced Statistics Credits: 4

One course chosen from:

PSYC 652 - Quantitative Methods II: Analysis of Variance Credits: 3

PSYC 754 - Quantitative Methods III: Psychological Applications of Regression Techniques Credits: 3

PSYC 756 - Quantitative Methods IV: Multivariate Techniques in Psychology Credits: 3

PSYC 892 - Special Topics in Psychology Credits: 1-6(with approval)

Two courses of Advanced Specialized Methods (6 credits)

One or two Research Methods courses (3-6 credits)

PSYC 646 - Issues and Methods in Longitudinal Developmental Research Credits: 3

PSYC 654 - Naturalistic Methods in Psychology Credits: 3

Up to one Specialized Methods course (0-3 credits)

PSYC 619 - Applied Behavior Analysis: Principles, Procedures, and Philosophy Credits: 3

PSYC 673 - Prevention, Intervention, and Consultation in Schools Credits: 4

PSYC 709 - The Measurement of Intelligence Credits: 4

PSYC 710 - Psychological Assessment Credits: 4

PSYC 722 - Advanced Child Assessment Credits: 4

PSYC 794 - Developmental Assessment Credits: 1-6

Specialized content (15 credits)

Students take one required course

PSYC 669 - Social and Emotional Development Credits: 3 and four elective courses (12 credits) chosen from:

PSYC 592 - Special Topics Credits: 1-6(when topic is Early Childhood Education, Childcare, and the Transition to School or developmental in content)

PSYC 566 - Cognitive and Perceptual Development Credits: 3

PSYC 614 - The Psychology of Aging Credits: 3

PSYC 615 - Language Development Credits: 3

PSYC 617 - Child Psychopathology Credits: 3

PSYC 630 - Developmental Disabilities Credits: 3

PSYC 648 - Developmental Psychopathology Credits: 3

PSYC 780 - Applied Developmental Psychology Credits: 3

EDRS 631 - Program Evaluation Credits: 3

Professional seminar/professional ethics (3 credits)

Students take 1 credit in fall and 1 credit in spring of their first year and 1 additional credit at any other time (preferably in their second year).

PSYC 890 - Seminar in Professional Psychology Credits: 1-3

Directed reading and research or practicum (8 credits)

Students may fulfill this requirement with 8 credits of PSYC 897 or a combination of 897 and PSYC 792.

PSYC 897 - Directed Reading and Research Credits: 1-3(can be repeated for credit)

PSYC 792 - Psychology Practicum Credits: 1-6(A maximum of 6 credits may be applied to this requirement.)

Elective courses

Students complete the 72 credits required for the degree with elective courses, which may include credits of PSYC 897 over and above those used to fulfill the requirements above. Credits for MA thesis and proposal (PSYC 798, 799) may not be used as electives in the PhD program.

Advancement to Candidacy

To advance to candidacy, students must complete all courses required by the program. Students must also successfully complete and pass written and oral comprehensive exams.

Dissertation Research (12 credits)

The dissertation requirement is designed to demonstrate the student's ability to apply psychological principles to research problems. Once enrolled inPSYC 999, students must follow the university's continuous registration policy as specified in AP.6 Graduate Policies. Students who defend in the summer must be registered for at least 1 credit of 999.

Students complete a minimum of 3 credits of PSYC 998 and 3 credits of 999. They must apply a minimum of 12 dissertation credits (998 and 999 combined) to the degree. Because of the continuous registration policy, students may be required to register for additional credits of these courses.

PSYC 998 - Doctoral Dissertation Proposal Credits: 1-6

PSYC 999 - Doctoral Dissertation Credits: 1-9

Total: 72 credits

◊ Concentration in Clinical Psychology (CLN)

The clinical psychology concentration is committed to the clinical science model. Our goal is to train clinical psychologists who are capable of integrating research and applied clinical activities. The program is unique in approaching clinical psychology from social psychological and contextual perspectives. A social psychological approach uses theory and research from social psychology to understand emotional, cognitive, behavioral, and interpersonal functioning. A contextual perspective stresses the impact of social and cultural factors on the individual and vice versa. Most of the faculty members employ cognitive-behavioral and interpersonal approaches to research and clinical practice, but students also receive exposure to humanistic, existential, and psychodynamic perspectives.

Students pursuing this concentration must complete 76 graduate credits comprised of doctoral course work and at least 12 credits of dissertation research. The number of credits required may be reduced for a prior master's degree as described above.

Doctoral Course Work (64 credits)

One course (3 credits) in biological bases of behavior

PSYC 702 - Biological Bases of Human Behavior Credits: 3

One course (3 credits) in developmental bases of behavior

PSYC 704 - Life-Span Development Credits: 3

One design and data analysis emphasis (11-16 credits) chosen from the following three options:

Basic Emphasis A (11 credits)

PSYC 611 - Advanced Statistics Credits: 4

PSYC 612 - Advanced Statistics Credits: 4

PSYC 644 - Methods for Social Research Credits: 3

Enhanced Quantitative Emphasis B (13 credits)

PSYC 611 - Advanced Statistics Credits: 4

PSYC 644 - Methods for Social Research Credits: 3

PSYC 754 - Quantitative Methods III: Psychological Applications of Regression Techniques Credits: 3

One additional approved quantitative course, such as those in the list shown under Quantitative Emphasis C (Credits: 3)

Quantitative Emphasis C (16 credits)

PSYC 611 - Advanced Statistics Credits: 4

PSYC 644 - Methods for Social Research Credits: 3

PSYC 754 - Quantitative Methods III: Psychological Applications of Regression Techniques Credits: 3

Two additional approved quantitative courses, such as: PSYC 557 - Psychometric Methods Credits:3, PSYC 646 - Issues and Methods in Longitudinal Developmental Research Credits: 3, PSYC 652 - Quantitative Methods II: Analysis of Variance Credits: 3, PSYC 756 - Quantitative Methods IV: Multivariate Techniques in Psychology Credits: 3, PSYC 757 - Advanced topics in Statistical Analysis Credits: 3 (varies by semester but includes Bayesian methods), PSYC 892 - Special Topics in Psychology (Credits: 3 that includes Meta-analysis/SEM)

Ten required courses (41 credits)

PSYC 810 - Psychological Assessment I Credits: 4

PSYC 811 - Psychological Assessment II Credits: 4

PSYC 822 - Scientific Foundations of Clinical Psychology I Credits: 3

PSYC 830 - History, Systems, and Theories of Personality and Psychotherapy Credits: 3

PSYC 833 - Social And Cognitive Foundations Of Clinical Psychology Credits: 3

PSYC 860 - Introductory Helping Skills and Motivational Interviewing Credits: 3

PSYC 861 - Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Youth Credits: 3(6 credits total) Students take 3 credits in fall and 3 credits in spring of the second year.

PSYC 862 - Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Adults Credits: 3(6 credits total) Students take 3 credits in fall and 3 credits in spring of the second year.

PSYC 881 - Practicum in Clinical Psychology Credits: 1-3(6 credits total) Students take 3 credits in fall and 3 credits in spring of the third year.

PSYC 883 - Ethical and Professional Issues in Clinical Practice Credits: 3

Electives (1-6 credits)

Students choose electives in consultation with and with the approval of an advisor. The choice of quantitative emphasis affects the number of credits available for electives. Those who choose Emphasis A take 6 credit hours of electives; students choosing Emphasis B take 4 hours of electives; students choosing Emphasis C take 1 hour of elective.

Advancement to Candidacy

To advance to candidacy, students must complete all core courses required by the program. Students must also successfully complete and pass written and oral comprehensive exams.

Dissertation Research (12 credits)

The dissertation requirement is designed to demonstrate the student's ability to apply psychological principles to research problems. Once enrolled in PSYC 999, students must follow the university's continuous registration policy as specified in AP.6 Graduate Policies. Students who defend in the summer must be registered for at least 1 credit of 999.

Students complete a minimum of 3 credits of PSYC 998 and 3 credits of 999. They must apply a minimum of 12 dissertation credits (998 and 999 combined) to the degree. Because of the continuous registration policy, students may be required to register for additional credits of these courses.

PSYC 998 - Doctoral Dissertation Proposal Credits: 1-6

PSYC 999 - Doctoral Dissertation Credits: 1-9

Internship

Students complete a full-time, 12-month clinical psychology internship at a site accredited by the American Psychological Association.

Externship (optional, but recommended)

Students complete a part-time clinical psychology externship in the fourth and/or fifth year of the program.

Total: 76 credits

◊ Concentration in Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience (CBNR)

This concentration focuses on studying biological substrates of behavior. Core and affiliated faculty study areas as diverse as neural control of behavioral development; brain systems in substance abuse; animal models of learning and memory and their disorders (such as Alzheimer's); human brain systems involved in cognition, perception, human error, decision making, and movement; the relation of neural activity to human performance; and cognitive aging. A focus of the program is on translational neuroscience-complementary study of neural systems in humans and animals, including application of animal research to human behavior.

The program’s core facilities have well-equipped behavioral testing and histological/histochemical facilities. The program’s strong links to the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study and the Center for Biomedical Genomics and Informatics allows opportunities for collaborative work as diverse as tissue slice preparations and molecular genetics. The doctoral program prepares students for research-based careers in academics, government, or industry.

Students pursuing this concentration must complete 72 graduate credits comprised of course work and at least 12 credits of dissertation research. The number of credits required may be reduced for a prior master's degree as described above.

Doctoral Course Work (48-60 credits)

Four courses of cognitive and behavioral neuroscience core (11 credits)

PSYC 527 - Introduction to Neurobiology Credits: 2

PSYC 531 - Mammalian Neurobiology Credits: 3

PSYC 558 - Neuronal Bases of Learning and Memory Credits: 3

or

PSYC 685 - Cognitive Neuroscience Credits: 3

PSYC 555 - Neuroimaging Credits: 3

or

PSYC 559 - Behavioral Chemistry Credits: 3

Four courses of quantitative and research methods (13-14 credits)

Two required courses (7-8 credits)

PSYC 611 - Advanced Statistics Credits: 4

PSYC 612 - Advanced Statistics Credits: 4 OR PSYC 652 - Quantitative Methods II: Analysis of Variance Credits: 3

One course in advanced statistics (3 credits) chosen from:

PSYC 652 - Quantitative Methods II: Analysis of Variance Credits: 3

PSYC 754 - Quantitative Methods III: Psychological Applications of Regression Techniques Credits: 3

PSYC 756 - Quantitative Methods IV: Multivariate Techniques in Psychology Credits: 3

One elective methods course (3 credits)

Students choose a fourth course in quantitative or research methods in consultation with an advisor and with the approval of the program faculty. This can include the course not chosen to fulfill the requirement above.

Professional seminar (2 credits)

PSYC 890 - Seminar in Professional Psychology Credits: 1-3

Research Credits (6 credits)

The research credit requirement can be met through completion of a master's thesis (recommended) or other research course as approved by the program.

Elective credits

Students can complete the 72 credit requirement through credits of additional coursework as approved by the program/advisor. 6 of these courses must be outside of the cognitive and behavioral neuroscience program.

Advancement to Candidacy

To advance to candidacy, students must complete all core courses required by the program. Students must also successfully complete and pass written and oral comprehensive exams.

Dissertation Research (12-24 credits)

The dissertation requirement is designed to demonstrate the student's ability to apply psychological principles to research problems. Once enrolled in PSYC 999, students must follow the university's continuous registration policy as specified in AP.6 Graduate Policies. Students who defend in the summer must be registered for at least 1 credit of 999.

Students apply to this degree a minimum of 3 credits of PSYC 998 and 3 credits of 999; they may apply a minimum 12 and a maximum of 24 dissertation credits (998 and 999 combined) to the degree. Because of the continuous registration policy, students may be required to register for additional credits of these courses.

PSYC 998 - Doctoral Dissertation Proposal Credits: 1-6

PSYC 999 - Doctoral Dissertation Credits: 1-9

Total: 72 credits

◊ Concentration in Human Factors/Applied Cognition (HF)

The human factors and applied cognition concentration covers basic theoretical and empirical issues and emphasizes research that applies cognitive science to real-world problems. The program builds bridges between human factors engineering and cognitive psychology. Many applications of cognitive science are in the domain of human factors, and many doctoral students who complete our program go on to be human factors professionals.

Students pursuing this concentration must complete 72 graduate credits comprised of course work and at least 12 credits of dissertation research. The number of credits required may be reduced for a prior master's degree as described above.

Doctoral Course Work (60 credits)

One course (3 credits) of cognitive core chosen from:

PSYC 701 - Cognitive Bases of Behavior Credits: 3

PSYC 768 - Advanced Topics in Cognitive Science Credits: 3

Two courses of biological, social, or developmental core (6 credits) chosen from:

Biological

PSYC 558 - Neuronal Bases of Learning and Memory Credits: 3

PSYC 559 - Behavioral Chemistry Credits: 3

PSYC 685 - Cognitive Neuroscience Credits: 3

PSYC 702 - Biological Bases of Human Behavior Credits: 3

Social

PSYC 667 - Behavior in Small Groups and Teams Credits: 3

PSYC 668 - Personality: Theoretical and Empirical Approaches Credits: 3

PSYC 703 - Social Bases of Behavior Credits: 3

Developmental

PSYC 566 - Cognitive and Perceptual Development Credits: 3

PSYC 669 - Social and Emotional Development Credits: 3

PSYC 704 - Life-Span Development Credits: 3

Two courses (7 credits) of quantitative and research methods:

PSYC 611 - Advanced Statistics Credits: 4

PSYC 652 - Quantitative Methods II: Analysis of Variance Credits: 3

Three courses (9 credits) of advanced statistics or qualitative methods

PSYC 754 - Quantitative Methods III: Psychological Applications of Regression Techniques Credits: 3

PSYC 756 - Quantitative Methods IV: Multivariate Techniques in Psychology Credits: 3

PSYC 757 - Advanced Topics in Statistical Analysis Credits: 3

Two courses of specialized content (6 credits)

PSYC 530 - Cognitive Engineering: Cognitive Science Applied to Human Factors Credits: 3

PSYC 645 - Research Methods in Human Factors and Applied Cognition Credits: 3

Three courses (9 credits) of additional specialized content

These are seminars with variable topics that may be repeated for credit when the topic is different.

PSYC 734 - Seminar in Human Factors and Applied Cognition Credits: 3

PSYC 768 - Advanced Topics in Cognitive Science Credits: 3

One course (3 credits) of special topics in professional issues

PSYC 890 - Seminar in Professional Psychology Credits: 1-3

Directed reading and research

Students are encouraged to take a minimum of 1 credit of this course each semester until they advance to candidacy.

PSYC 897 - Directed Reading and Research Credits: 1-3

Elective courses

Students have several options for completing the remaining 72 credits required for the degree. They may take additional content courses, including the variable topics seminars PSYC 734 or 768, or they may take 3 to 6 credits of PSYC 730 - Practicum in Applied Psychology with permission of their advisor. Students who do not have work experience in applied cognition or human factors are encouraged to take up to 6 credits of practicum.

Students are strongly encouraged to develop competence in programming and computer science through course work or independent study. Students are also encouraged to identify and take relevant courses within or outside the department with permission of their advisor.

Some options for fulfilling this requirement:

PSYC 734 - Seminar in Human Factors and Applied Cognition Credits: 3

PSYC 768 - Advanced Topics in Cognitive Science Credits: 3

PSYC 730 - Practicum in Applied Psychology Credits: 1-6

Advancement to Candidacy

To advance to candidacy, students must complete all core courses required by the program. Students must also successfully complete and pass written and oral comprehensive exams.

Dissertation Research (12 credits)

The dissertation requirement is designed to demonstrate the student's ability to apply psychological principles to research problems. Once enrolled in PSYC 999, students must follow the university's continuous registration policy as specified in AP.6 Graduate Policies. Students who defend in the summer must be registered for at least 1 credit of 999.

Students complete a minimum of 3 credits of PSYC 998 and 3 credits of 999. They must apply a minimum of 12 dissertation credits (998 and 999 combined) to the degree. Because of the continuous registration policy, students may be required to register for additional credits of these courses.

PSYC 998 - Doctoral Dissertation Proposal Credits: 1-6

PSYC 999 - Doctoral Dissertation Credits: 1-9

Total: 72 credits

◊ Concentration in Industrial/Organizational Psychology (IO)

The industrial/organizational psychology concentration focuses on multiple aspects of behavior in organizational settings, including personnel selection, quantitative analysis, teams, leadership, work and family issues, and organizational health issues. Mason’s graduate work in this area emphasizes research as the key to knowledge in both academic and applied settings. The program fosters a peer-oriented environment whereby students collaborate on numerous projects in addition to working with faculty members, in many different areas of industrial/organizational psychology.

Students pursuing this concentration must complete 72 graduate credits comprised of course work and at least 12 credits of dissertation research. The number of credits required may be reduced for a prior master's degree as described above.

Doctoral Course Work (60 credits)

One core course (3 credits) chosen from:

PSYC 703 - Social Bases of Behavior Credits: 3

Six required courses (19 credits) in statistics

PSYC 557 - Psychometric Methods Credits: 3

PSYC 611 - Advanced Statistics Credits: 4

PSYC 633 - Evaluative Research in Psychology Credits: 3

PSYC 754 - Quantitative Methods III: Psychological Applications of Regression Techniques Credits: 3

PSYC 892 - Special Topics in Psychology Credits: 1-6

One additional specialized statistics course [such as PSYC 646, PSYC 756, PSYC 892 (not SEM/META)] Credits: 3

Four courses (12 credits) in survey of content

PSYC 631 - Industrial and Personnel Testing and Evaluation Credits: 3

PSYC 636 - Survey of Industrial Psychology Credits: 3

PSYC 639 - Survey of Organizational Processes Credits: 3

PSYC 739 - Seminar in Industrial/Organizational Psychology Credits: 3

Four to five courses (12-15 credits) of specialized content chosen from the following:

Students taking 12 credits of specialized content may take an additional 3 credits of PSYC 897.

PSYC 638 - Training: Psychological Contributions to Theory, Design, and Evaluation Credits: 3

PSYC 667 - Behavior in Small Groups and Teams Credits: 3

PSYC 733 - Issues in Personnel Psychology Credits: 3

PSYC 741 - Psychology of Work Motivation Credits: 3

PSYC 892 - Special Topics in Psychology Credits: 1-6

At least 9 credits of professional development

Required

PSYC 890 - Seminar in Professional Psychology Credits: 1-3(3 credits required)

PSYC 892 - Special Topics in Psychology Credits: 1-9(6 credits required)

Recommended

PSYC 730 - Practicum in Applied Psychology Credits: 1-6

And/or

PSYC 897 - Directed Reading and Research Credits: 1-3

Electives

Students complete the remaining credits required for this degree through additional course work in professional development or dissertation.

Advancement to Candidacy

To advance to candidacy, students must complete all core courses required by the program. Students must also successfully complete and pass written and oral comprehensive exams.

Dissertation Research (12 credits)

The dissertation requirement is designed to demonstrate the student's ability to apply psychological principles to research problems. Once enrolled in PSYC 999, students must follow the university's continuous registration policy as specified in AP.6 Graduate Policies. Students who defend in the summer must be registered for at least 1 credit of 999.

Students complete a minimum of 3 credits of PSYC 998 and 3 credits of 999. They must apply a minimum of 12 dissertation credits (998 and 999 combined) to the degree. Because of the continuous registration policy, students may be required to register for additional credits of these courses.

PSYC 998 - Doctoral Dissertation Proposal Credits: 1-6

PSYC 999 - Doctoral Dissertation Credits: 1-9

Total: 72 credits

Print Friendly and PDF