Experimental Psychology Program

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Experimental Psychology Program 

Graduate Advisor Dr. Jared Kenworthy

As a graduate student in our department, you will receive broad training in experimental psychology and will be able to do specialized research in your area of interest. Students are matched with a faculty mentor prior to admission. The program has a strong scientific/experimental emphasis in traditional areas of psychology including animal behavior and learning, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, evolutionary psychology, human learning and memory, neural network modeling, neuroscience, personality psychology, quantitative psychology, industrial/organizational and social psychology. 

Career Opportunities

Many career opportunities exist for experimental psychologists. Our students have been successful in obtaining jobs in academia, industry and government.

Graduate students seeking the  Ph.D. degree can specialize in the following research areas of our faculty:

Cognitive Areas:
Neural-Net Modeling and Decision Making

Cognitive Neuroscience of Human Memory

Neuroscience Areas:
Behavioral Neuroscience and Neurophysiology Laboratory
Animal Behavior / Animal Learning
Evolutionary Psychology

Social / Personality Areas: 
Group Processes 
Personality and Social Interaction 
Personality and Social Behavior Research Center
Intergroup Relations

Industrial/Organizational Areas:
Group Creativity and Team Innovation

Developmental Areas:
Personality and Social Behavior Research Center 

Prerequisites

The Department of Psychology requires undergraduate courses in statistics and experimental methods for unconditional admission. These may be taken as deficiency courses. Incoming students who have not already taken these courses will be required to enroll in Psychology 2443 and Psychology 2444. The Graduate Record Examination is also required for unconditional admission. Only the Verbal and Quantitative scores are considered. The Subject test is not required. 

Doctor of Philosophy Program

Since its inception, the focus of the doctoral program has been to train general psychologists. To quote the UT Arlington graduate catalog: "The objective of graduate work in psychology is to educate the student in the methods and basic content of the discipline and to provide an apprenticeship in the execution of creative research." In the earlier years, the primary emphasis was on laboratory research. More recently, some members of the Department have developed a substantial capacity to do research in applied settings and conduct field work. The interests of the Department’s faculty as a whole span a broad range of areas. Although we cannot guarantee that a particular student's interests will be met, it is highly probable, particularly if the student maintains some flexibility.

There are two related points to take into account as one considers entering graduate study in Psychology. First, required courses are designed in part to provide students with the capability of training themselves; successful completion of the doctorate demands the ability to direct oneself. Second, areas of psychology change rapidly. Although it is impossible to anticipate the exact nature of these changes, the faculty does try to provide basic skills and knowledge to meet the challenge provided by change. In short, completion of the doctoral program requires both an interest in scholarly inquiry and the ability to work independently. The three areas of specialization in Psychology have somewhat different rules and procedures but they share many common origins, theories and approaches. Across the specializations, the PhD program is intended to provide students with broad knowledge of psychology and with deep knowledge of a specialty area. In addition, through a series of formal and informal experiences, students are expected to develop research competence in their specialty areas. It is possible to specialize in any of a variety of areas, including animal behavior, animal learning, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, health/neuroscience psychology, human learning and memory, industrial organizational, behavioral neuroscience, operant, perception, personality psychology, physiological psychology, quantitative psychology, and social psychology.

Graduate students entering the Psychological Sciences specialization will be required to take the following courses during their first four semesters of enrollment (22 hours). Exceptions may be made only with written permission of the Graduate Studies Committee.

·    Professional Development I and II (PSYC 5110 and PSYC 5112)

·    Statistics I (PSYC 5405)

·    Statistics II (PSYC 5407)

·    Four of the following courses, at least one from each area A, B, and C: 
Area A: Behavioral Neuroscience (PSYC 5333), Comparative Psychology (PSYC 6336)
Area B: Personality (PSYC 5321), Social Psychology (PSYC 5322)
Area C: Higher Mental Processes (PSYC 5313), Human Learning and Memory (PSYC 5345)

Health Psychology (PSYC 5309) may be substituted for the final three hours of this requirement, after completing three hours from each area A, B, and C.

The following are also required: 

1.     Eight courses (24 hours) from among lectures and seminars (PSYC 6300).

2.     Two six-hour research courses. These may be taken from Thesis (PSYC 5698) or Advanced Research (PSYC 5600). Students who plan to obtain the MS should elect PSYC 5698 as one of the research courses and students who do not plan to obtain the MS should select two sections of PSYC 5600. If the student does not elect to obtain the MS, one of the research courses must result in a formal thesis-equivalent paper, which will be evaluated by a committee and defended in an oral examination. The two research courses are a minimum requirement. Students are strongly encouraged to take Research in Psychology (PSYC 5391 or PSYC 6391) before taking PSYC 5600 and PSYC 5698.

3.     Additional hours of coursework to be determined by the Graduate Advisor and dissertation committee. The student should plan to take approximately 86 hours including 6999. At least 46 of these hours must be in organized courses, lectures or seminars. No student may enroll in a dissertation course until the dissertation committee has approved a proposal for the dissertation project. 

Although there is no formal credit requirement, most students complete approximately 90 hours, of which 60 hours are in organized courses, lectures or seminars. See the Psychology Department Handbook and the UTA Graduate Handbook for other degree requirements.

 

Graduate Student Resources

All graduate student offices and faculty labs are equipped with internet access. You will also have keyed access to departmental undergraduate and graduate computer labs, so a computer in your office is not a necessity. The university has additional computer laboratory facilities open to all students at locations across campus. When not studying or conducting research, you will have access to university recreational facilities (which include state-of-the-art exercise equipment, weight rooms, gymnasiums, an indoor and outdoor track, indoor and outdoor pools, aerobics, etc.), the student health center, and other university services.

At UTA you will be able to study and conduct graduate research in a department that does not offer degrees in clinical or counseling psychology. This means that you will not have to compete with a large clinical component for space or resources. Every effort of the department is aimed at helping you develop your knowledge and skill in basic or applied areas to their fullest potential.

Your research will be conducted in the Life Science Building on the UTA campus. Graduate students work in faculty labs and use their research facilities. If you choose to work in animal learning or behavior you may also conduct research in field settings. The Life Science Building also houses the Department of Biology and the College of Science Dean’s office. The Department of Psychology has approximately 18,000 total square feet of research space; 7,000 square feet for human subject research and 11,000 square feet for animal research. Much of the human research space and all of the animal research space underwent extensive renovation in 2001.

Graduate students are expected to attend professional meetings and present research. Funds are typically available that can help defray the costs of such travel.

UTA currently enrolls 18,000 students. The Department of Psychology has 425 undergraduate majors and 42 graduate students. The department is able to use modern audiovisual technology in the classroom and is equipped with computer facilities for undergraduate and graduate research. There is an in-house multi-media lab available to graduate students and faculty for preparation of research presentations.

 

Assistantship Opportunities

Departmental Assistantships are available for many of our qualified first-year students. Larger stipends are awarded to advanced graduate students on assistantship. If you compare the extremely affordable tuition rates and the low cost of living in our area, you will see that UTA is one of the best bargains in higher education. Graduate students on assistantship pay in-state tuition, even if they are out-of-state residents. You will find that many schools that offer full tuition remission are still more expensive to attend than UTA. For more details, see the Psychology Department Graduate Handbook.

Other opportunities for financial assistance include: 

McNair Graduate Assistance Package
UTA Office of Financial Aid