2019-2020 Graduate Catalog

Psychology, Ph.D.


The program leading to the Ph.D. in experimental psychology has a research emphasis reflecting the study of psychology as a science rather than the therapeutic aspects of psychology. The term "research" should be interpreted broadly. The program is not limited to traditional experimental psychology, nor is it committed solely to laboratory-based methods. The department believes that a measure of specialized knowledge is built upon a firm but broad base of psychological principles and methods that constitute the best plan for most of its students. Although the graduate program leads to a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology, the student is expected to pursue a specialized area of research. For information about areas of research interests of the faculty, contact the Department of Psychology or visit www.psychology.tcu.edu. Students who enter the Ph.D. program having completed a thesis-based master's degree at an accredited institution can request, on first entering the program, that the graduate faculty design a course sequence tailored to their individual needs, which might include different courses than those listed below.

All other entering students must pass (grade of "B-" or higher in each) six core courses from the following options

1) Neuroscience/Learning

PSYC 60553Conditioning and Learning


PSYC 50403Advanced Neuroscience


2) Social/Evolutionary

PSYC 60663Advanced Social Psychology


PSYC 60913Evolutionary Social Psychology


3) Cognitive/Development

PSYC 50563Developmental Psychology


PSYC 60583Cognition


4) Quantitative

PSYC 50523Experimental Design


PSYC 60623Regression Analysis



PSYC 90980Dissertation


PSYC 90990Dissertation


Minimum Requirements:

*Students must take at least one course from each of 1, 2, and 3.

*Students must take at least one additional course from 1, 2, or 3.

*Students must take both courses in 4.

*A grade of less than B- in one course from 1, 2, or 3 may be replaced by at least a B- from either the same course or the alternative course in the corresponding area.

*A grade of less than B- in a course from 4 must be replaced by at least a B-.

Beyond those required courses, each student takes all courses required by his/her area committee. Successful completion of the Ph.D. requires completing the course requirements, successfully defending a master's thesis if required by the faculty, passing the preliminary evaluation vote by the full faculty, passing a qualifying examination that has both written and oral components in order to advance to doctoral candidacy, and defending a Ph.D. dissertation.

The usual timeline involves completing the six core courses as described above by the end of the second year; completing the master's thesis, when required, by the end of the second year; continuing to take any additional courses required by the area committee; passing the preliminary evaluation vote by the end of the third year; passing the qualifying examination to advance to doctoral candidacy by the end of the third year, and successfully defending the Ph.D. dissertation within six years after advancing to doctoral candidacy.