Jul 29, 2021  
2018-2019 Graduate Catalog 
2018-2019 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Psychology (Ph.D.)

Graduate programs in Psychological Sciences  

All doctoral candidates, regardless of special areas of interest, are expected to obtain a thorough grounding in general psychology, including theory, content, and methods. Such grounding is accomplished in part by requiring all students to take a series of basic core courses in both quantitative and substantive areas of psychology. Students who enter the program with a Master’s degree may be required to do a Master’s level project if, in the opinion of the supervising committee, the previous thesis was not of sufficient quality or not based on empirical research.

Statistics Courses

Students are required to take the following sequence of courses.

Seminar in Professional Problems

All graduate students must take the Seminar in Professional Problems:

Core Courses

All graduate students must take at least 5 of the following 9 courses depending on their area of concentration. In general, students should take as many of these core courses as possible in their first two years in the graduate program. Requests to deviate from these guidelines due to special circumstances should be approved by the student’s major advisor in consultation with the supervisory committee.

  • Credits: 3
  • Credits: 3
  • Credits: 3
  • Credits: 3
  • Credits: 3
  • Credits: 3
  • Credits: 3
  • Credits: 3
  • Credits: 3
  • The first two years of graduate study are typically devoted to a broad survey of the major areas of psychology and the acquisition of certain basic research techniques. The first year of this period is spent primarily in basic courses. During the second year, students begin to satisfy related requirements, complete work on their Master’s thesis, and begin to develop a major area of professional interest. The third and fourth years of the doctoral program constitute a period of special training during which students are occupied to an increasing extent with pursuing their special research and professional interests. Most of their time is spent in small seminars and directed study. During this time, students must pass a final written examination that covers their major areas of interest, and complete a doctoral dissertation that constitutes an original contribution to the research literature in those areas.

    Our graduate training includes an opportunity to gain supervised experience in teaching at the college level. The Teaching Apprenticeship Program provides both coursework on pedagogical methods and supervised experience as an instructor for an introductory level psychology course and, later, one or more of the department’s core or service courses. Close interaction between the graduate student and two skilled faculty members is maintained to provide an optimum learning environment. Because most academic positions taken by our graduates involve teaching to a greater or lesser extent, this type of formal training makes our students highly competitive in the job market. 

    Students who complete the doctoral program are eligible for a variety of teaching, research, and professional positions in colleges and universities, governmental agencies, and business and industry.


    Each of the specialization programs (Behavioral Neuroscience/Animal Learning, Cognitive/Human Factors, Industrial-Organizational, and Social-Personality) has particular course requirements. Students in these programs should consult with their advisors regularly to make sure of enrolling in the appropriate classes.

Behavioral Neuroscience/Animal Learning Program

Our program is designed to train students broadly in experimental psychology in addition to their behavioral neuroscience specialization. While courses are an important part of training, students should expect to engage in laboratory research throughout their Master’s and doctoral program. Successful degree candidates typically have broad training in the biological sciences as undergraduates.

Program Requirements

In addition to the department requirements, students in the Behavioral Neuroscience/Animal Learning program are required to complete the following core courses:

Program Electives

Graduate students are encouraged to take advantage of other elective courses within the department as part of their program of study. In addition, extensive possibilities for courses outside of the department exist.  Students should consult with their major advisor and supervisory committee to determine which of these courses would be most appropriate.  

Cognitive/Human Factors Program

The Cognitive/Human Factors Psychology Graduate Program at Kansas State University is designed to prepare students for careers as psychologists in academia, government, and industry. The program provides students with a broad background in the research methodology used in experimental as well as many other areas of psychology. The students are expected to acquire a general knowledge of the research problems and practices of current experimental psychologists in their chosen area. Current active research areas include memory, judgment and decision making, visual perception, psycholinguistics, and applications of all of the above in various settings.

Industrial/Organizational Psychology Program

The doctoral program in Industrial and Organizational Psychology at Kansas State University prepares students for careers in consulting, private business, public agencies, and academic settings. The program was founded in the late 1950s, and has existed in its current form since 1976.

Program Requirements

The requirements for the degree are those established by the Department of Psychological Sciences. In addition to these requirements, we offer the following courses specifically related to industrial and organizational psychology. Descriptions of these courses can be found in the Kansas State University Graduate Catalog.

Social-Personality Program

The faculty members directly connected with the program are very diversified in their theoretical and research interests, but all are strongly committed to the training of scholar-researcher “generalists” rather than technical specialists. That is, our students are expected to acquire a broad, theoretically informed understanding of the Social-Personality field, and its articulation with other branches of psychology, as well as the various technical skills necessary for basic and applied research. As students progress through the program, their areas of particular expertise become defined by their research projects, thesis, and dissertation. Graduate students within the Social-Personality Program will consult with their major advisor to select appropriate courses to fulfill the department’s core course requirement.