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James W. Pennebaker, Chair The University of Texas at Austin, SEA 4.212, Austin, TX 78712 • (512) 475-7596

Ph.D Program


REQUIREMENTS

Students’ graduate work will largely consist of courses, seminars, reading, and research in their graduate area, and all graduate students should discuss their proposed coursework with their area head prior to registration. There are, however, some departmental requirements that everyone must satisfy. These requirements are primarily designed to insure that students acquire a reasonable breadth of experience within psychology.

DEPARTMENTAL DISTRIBUTION REQUIREMENTS

Core Courses All students are expected to take at least three departmental core courses from at least two of the three content groups listed below.

Core Course Content Groups

(A)

PSY 383T Principles of Sensory & Behavioral Neuroscience*

PSY 391N Learning and Memory

PSY 396D Clinical Psychopharmacology

PSY 383C Functional Neuroanatomy

PSY 394  Behavioral Neuroendocrinology              

(B)      

PSY 380E Vision Systems

PSY 387N Perceptual Systems

PSY 387R Fundamentals of Cognition*

Psy 394U.15 Cognitive Neuroscience

PSY 394U Introduction to Psychophysiology

PSY 387C Human Language Processing

(C)      

PSY 385P Fundamentals of Social Psychology*

PSY 385N Fundamentals of Personality Psy

PSY 396  Advanced Behavior Pathology

PSY 394T  Evolutionary Psychology

PSY 394V Social Neuroscience

PSY 394S  Fundamentals of Developmental Psy (B or C)

PSY 388D Individual Differences 

First year students must take at least one core course, and must take all core and quantitative courses, on a letter grade basis. Students should complete the core course requirement by the end of the third year. Core courses may be taken on a credit/no credit basis during the second and third years. * APA approved for Clinical students.

Quantitative Courses:  All students are expected to take two quantitative (statistics) courses.  At least one quantitative course must be taken during the first year. Most first-year students will take PSY 384M-Advanced Statistics: Inferential. The graduate areas may specify which courses should be taken and impose additional quantitative requirements.

COURSE LOAD REQUIREMENTS

First Year:  First year students must take at least nine hours of course work per semester.  During the first year, at least one course must be a departmental core course, at least one must be a statistics course, and at least two must be other substantive courses (which can include other core or statistics courses) that have formal evaluation requirements such as a final exam. In addition, all students are expected to become involved in research activities during the first year. Areas may require their students to register for the research course (390), area seminar courses, and to take additional courses or seminars as deemed necessary for the education of the student.

Teaching Assistants and Research Assistants:  All students employed by the  University as a TA or RA must take at least nine hours of coursework each semester that will count towards the graduate degree. (3 hours in summer session).

Ethics Course Requirement:  An ethics course must be completed prior to being accepted into candidacy. It is expected that the ethics course will be taken in the first or second year. The ethics course may be taken in Psychology or in another department with Graduate Office approval and may vary in number of hours. 

AREA REQUIREMENTS

Courses:  Areas may require their students to take certain courses. Some of these required area courses may overlap with the departmental core courses.

Other Area Requirements:  Many areas have research or paper requirements.

See Areas of Study for more information.

EVALUATIONS

First Year Evaluation: First year students are formally evaluated by their areas and then by the entire faculty at the end of the first year. You will receive a handout “Procedure and Policies in the Evaluation of Graduate Students that describes this first year evaluation process.

Competency Evaluation: Each area is required to evaluate its students at the end of their second year or third year to determine their competence in their area of specialization.  The specific form of this evaluation is determined by the areas and varies widely.

MASTER OF ARTS (MA)

The ten courses (30 hours) required for the MA degree must include: a core course from two of the core course content areas; a statistics course; and the thesis courses (698A and 698B). The thesis courses may not be taken simultaneously. Core courses in the core content areas that do not include the student’s own graduate study area may be counted as supporting work courses. An empirical thesis is required.

ADMISSION to CANDIDACY for the DOCTORAL DEGREE

The Graduate Adviser’s office has a policy statement, Admission to Candidacy, which you should consult; it describes the departmental and Graduate School requirements and procedures for admission to candidacy. The required course work for admission to candidacy includes three core courses from at least two of the core content areas, two quantitative courses, appropriate training in the student’s area of specialization, and three courses outside the major area (supporting work). The supporting work requirement is satisfied by the core course requirement.  Core courses in the core content areas that do not include the student’s own graduate study area count as supporting work courses. Students must also submit a form signed by the area head that states that they have satisfied all area requirements. Discuss these requirements with your area head.

TIME LIMITS

You may not receive TA and/or GRA support for more than 14 long semesters.  Students in areas other than clinical must complete their doctoral degree in seven years.  If they do not, subsequent courses will be billed at the non-resident tuition rate, regardless of the student’s residency status.


Neuroimaging Track in Psychology

Multiple complex methodologies in brain imaging, have supported the cognitive neuroscience approach to the study of mental phenomenon. One of these methods involves the use of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), which has become prevalent in psychology research today. To respond to this development, the Psychology Department at the University of Texas has created a graduate training track in neuroimaging. Supported by world-recognized faculty in the field, the courses offered through this track are intended to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to conduct human neuroimaging research in their own areas of interest. The tract aims to provide -

1.  Strong training in neuroimaging, including - the physical aspects of MRI and other psychophysiological methods, design and implementation of methodologically solid experiments, and how to analyze and present the data.

2.  Strong systems neuroscience training, including - comprehensive training in functional neuroanatomy and neurophysiology, as well as how cognitive neuroscience methods are applied effectively to psychological research.

To foster development of expertise in these two areas, the Neuroimaging Track includes the following groups of courses offered through the Psychology Department.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS:

Psychology Department requirements: same as for all other graduate students. 

Functional neuroscience requirements: take the following 2 core courses:

  • PSY 383T. Principles of Neuroscience II. Systems/Behavioral Neuroscience, Yvon Delville
  • PSY 383C. Functional Neuroanatomy, Francisco Gonzalez-Lima

These courses can be taken as part of fulfilling the core requirement in Area A (Behavioral and Sensory Neuroscience).

Neuroimaging methodological requirements: take any 2 of the following methodology courses.

  • PSY 394P. Foundations of Neuroimaging
  • PSY 394U/ SSC 385. Methods for fMRI: From design to data analysis, Jeanette Mumford
  • PSY 394U. Introduction to Psychophysiology, David Schnyer (Approved as a core requirement for Area B)
  • PSY 394U. Advanced Topics in Neuroimaging, Russ Poldrack

COORDINATION:

Coordination of the Neuroimaging Training Track is provided by David Schnyer (Associate Professor), Jeanette Mumford (Research Assistant Professor), and Russell Poldrack (Professor and Director of The Imaging Research Center).

Visit the IMAGING RESEARCH CENTER at http://www.irc.utexas.edu/.

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