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Experimental Psychology: Cognitive Psychology

Cognitive Program

Faculty: Tyler Davis, Philip Marshall, Michael Serra, Yi-Yuan Tang, Roman Taraban, and Alice Young

Students in the Cognitive program can focus their studies on either fundamental processes of cognitive psychology or on cognitive processes as they occur in applied settings (e.g., reading, instructional technology).


Applications for admission are normally considered in the spring of each year for graduate study beginning the following fall semester. Normally, an undergraduate degree in psychology, or at least 18 semester hours in psychology are required. The undergraduate preparation should include general psychology, statistics and methodology. Admission is competitive. Criteria include GPA, GRE scores (verbal, quantitative, and analytical), letters of reference, the candidate's statement of goals and interests, and the compatibility of the candidate's research interests with those of the faculty.

To apply, please complete application forms for both the Department of Psychological Sciences and the Graduate School. In addition to the application form for the department, three professors who are familiar with your academic work should send a completed recommendation form directly to the department. The application for the Graduate School has been mailed to you under separate cover. If you have not received this application form within a week or so after receiving this packet, contact the Graduate Admissions office at (806) 742-2787. Please send the graduate school application directly to the Graduate School rather than to the Department of Psychology.

Financial Support

Every effort is made to provide full support for entering students. Most students entering the Ph.D. program receive some form of financial support from the department in the form of scholarships, research assistantships, teaching assistantships, or fellowships. Stipends are competitive and scholarships and half-time assistantships carry a waiver of the out-of-state portion of tuition. In addition, half-time assistantships provide health insurance and allow the waiver of many fees.

Ph.D. Curriculum

All doctoral students in Psychology take a minimum of three courses in statistics: Data Analysis in Psychological Research; Experimental Design; and Advanced Correlational Methods and Factor Analysis. They must also complete one course from each of the following categories:

Cognitive Bases of Behavior: Seminar in Learning Theory; Seminar in Cognition; Seminar in Perception.

Developmental Bases of Behavior: Advanced Child Psychology; Developmental Psychopathology; Cognitive Development.

Biological Bases of Behavior: Seminar in Physiological Psychology; Neuropsychological Assessment; Psychopharmacology of Psychoactive Drugs; Life Span Development: Psychobiological and Cognitive Processes in Aging; Work Physiology (Industrial Engineering).

Social Bases of Behavior: Seminar in Social Psychology; Seminar in Social Cognition.

For all doctoral programs in the Experimental Psychology Division, a minimum of 81 semester hours (post bachelors), including at least 51 semester hours of substantive coursework, continuous enrollment and a minimum of 18 hours of research (Psy 7000), and a minimum 12 hours of dissertation credit are required for the Ph.D. A minimum of 12 hours in human factors, or social, or cognitive psychology constitutes a specialization. Electives restricted to courses in the Experimental Psychology Division, and free electives fill out the program and allow for additional specialized training or a more broad-based program depending on the student’s program and/or preferences.