Skip to content

Ph.D. Program - Experimental Psychology


The requirements for the Ph.D. degree are summarized below. Modifications of the course requirements are possible with the approval of the Student Advisory Committee and the Director. Course requirements may be considered for waivers, if the student has received a satisfactory grade in a similar course elsewhere. Any exceptions to program requirements must be approved in writing by the Director and a copy placed on file with the Graduate Programs Coordinator.

A cumulative minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 must be maintained to be in good standing. Incomplete grades must be cleared before the end of the semester after the course in which the incomplete was given. Failure to clear incomplete grades, or the frequent accumulation of incomplete grades, will be considered in the annual evaluation of student progress. The range of credit hours per semester that can be taken is stated in the Graduate Catalog and other University publications. The newsletter for graduate students, published by The Graduate School, should be read carefully as issued for the latest policy and clarifications, as well as general suggestions for doing well in graduate school.

  1. Two semester hours of Colloquium in Experimental Psychology 515. During the first year all students should enroll in Psychology 515 both Fall and Spring semesters. The goal of this Colloquium is to facilitate informal discussions between faculty and new students. The sessions will focus on research projects, teaching, and other aspects of an academic and professional career in psychology.
  2. Twelve semester hours of statistics including 3 semester hours of research methodology.During the first year, all students are required to take a six semester hour statistics sequence. We strongly recommend Statistics 521-522; this course provides the necessary foundation for upper-level statistics courses and will be accepted should you wish to pursue a minor in statistics. Students may also satisfy the statistics sequence with Statistics 537-538, 531-532, or equivalent. You must make at least a grade of "C" in this course. For the remaining three semester hours, there are several options available in the psychology, statistics, computer science, or mathematics departments. Some examples are Psychology 555-557, 605-661, Educational Psychology 662, and Statistics 671. Furthermore, students must complete three hours of Research Methods, Psych 505 or equivalent. For the methods and remaining stats courses you choose, you may complete them at any time before you graduate. It is recommended that methods be completed sooner than later.
  3. Core Coursework: Fifteen semester hours in general psychology.
    1. Nine hours comprised of one course from each of the 3 core area offerings:
      Biological Area
      • 527 Behavioral Neuroscience
      • 545 Advanced Animal Behavior
      • 546 Evolutionary Psychology
      • 547 Conceptual Foundations of Evolution and Behavior
      Developmental Area
      • 512 Lifespan Development
      • 524 Brain and Behavioral Development
      Social Area
      • 550 Social Psychology
      • 530 Psychology of Attitudes
    2. Six additional hours from any of the core course offerings, but that may also include:
      • 565 History and Systems (or 420 for graduate credit)
      • 543 Cognitive Science
  4. At least two graduate seminars in psychology at the 600 level.
  5. Six semester hours of graduate-level courses in one or more departments outside the Psychology Department.
  6. Six semester hours of a research practicum course (Psychology 509), to be taken during the first year on a Satisfactory/No Credit (S/NC) basis. This will consist of two successive semesters spent gaining experience in the research laboratories of two separate faculty members. The goal is to experience different kinds of research, and your assignments will be in diverse areas.

The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System and partner in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway.