2022-23 Graduate Catalog

Psychology, Ph.D.


The program leading to the Ph.D. in experimental psychology has a research emphasis, along with training students to be effective science communicators and teachers. Students should have met all of the pre-requisites for the program, including successfully defending a master's thesis under the direction of a psychology faculty member at TCU.

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.

Students must pass (with a grade of "B-" or higher) 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 50563Theories of Development


PSYC 60583Cognition


4) Quantitative

PSYC 50523Analysis of Variance


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 less than a B- is considered failing within the department and can result in two consequences. First, the course will not count toward the Ph.D. degree and may be required to be repeated. Second, the failing grade may result in dismissal from the graduate program. If a student makes two grades of less than B-, in either the same or two different courses, the student may automatically be dismissed from the program. The department will also recommend that financial support be withdrawn, if applicable.

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; passing the preliminary evaluation vote by the end of the third year; passing the qualifying examination to advance to doctoral candidacy by the start of the fourth year, and successfully defending the Ph.D. dissertation within six years after advancing to doctoral candidacy.