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.
Many career opportunities exist for experimental psychologists. Our students have been successful in obtaining jobs in academia, industry and government.
Graduate students seeking the experimental M.S. or Ph.D. degree can specialize in the following research areas of our faculty:
Neural-Net Modeling and Decision Making
Behavioral Neuroscience and Neurophysiology Laboratory
Animal Behavior / Animal Learning
Group Creativity and Team Innovation
Personality and Social Behavior Research Center
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.
The MS program in general psychology requires a master's thesis, and may be considered either as a terminal degree program or as preparation for doctoral work. Thirty hours, including 6 hours of thesis are required for this option. Course requirements include:
- PSYC 5510 (1)
- PSYC 5405 and 5406 (8)
- 12 hours from 5312, 5313, 5321, 5322, 5331, 5335, 5341, 5333, and 5345 with at least three hours from each area A, B, and C
- Additional elective courses (must be a core or content course)
- Six hours of thesis (Psychology 5X98)
The MS thesis proposal must be approved by a thesis committee consisting of at least three members of the psychology graduate faculty (additional members are optional) before enrolling in Psychology 5398 or 5698. The completed thesis must receive final approval by the committee in an oral defense which is open to any interested member of the department, including students.
Students who have earned a Master’s degree from another institution who seek a doctorate in our program are subject to these rules. Their master’s theses must involve experimental research equivalent to that required by students who earn their master’s degree in our program or they must complete the master’s equivalency paper. Transfer students may be able to reduce the course requirements normally applied to master’s students at UTA. They may petition the Graduate Faculty to have courses waived that are equivalent to those taken at the institution granting their Master’s degree. If the Faculty agrees that the courses are essentially the same, the student will not be required to re-take them. However, a waived course will not reduce the minimum number of credit hours required for a degree at UTA. Up to 9 credit hours from other institutions may be transferred and applied toward a UTA degree. See the Psychology Department Handbook and UTA Graduate Handbook for other degree requirements.
Doctor of Philosophy Program
Since its inception, the focus of the doctoral program has been to train general experimental psychologists. In the earlier years, the primary emphasis was upon laboratory research. More recently, some members of the department have developed a substantial capacity to do research in applied settings and conduct field work.
There are three related points to consider as one considers entering the Experimental Psychology program. First, the program is designed to ensure that students gain a broad knowledge of experimental psychology since there is no assurance that a person's postgraduate job opportunities will be within a narrowly defined area of specialization. Second, 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. Third, 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 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.
Thus, the PhD program in general experimental psychology is intended to provide students with broad knowledge of experimental psychology and with deep knowledge of a specialty area. In addition, through a series of formal and informal laboratory experiences, students are expected to develop research competence in their specialty areas.
Entering graduate students will be required to take the following courses during the first four semesters of enrollment.
- Current Topics in Experimental Psychology (5110)
- Teaching of Psychology (5112)
- Statistics I (5405)
- Statistics II (5406)
- Experimental Design (5407)
- Comparative Psychology (6336)
- Physiological Psychology (5333)
- Social Psychology (5322)
- Personality (5321)
- Perception and Attention (5331)
- Human Learning and Memory (5345)
The following are also required:
- Successfully passing diagnostic examinations in major and minor area
- An additional 15 hours from an approved set of lecture courses
- Two six-hour research courses (Psychology 5600 or 5698)
- Nine hours of seminar courses (Psychology 6300)
- At least nine hours of dissertation (Psychology 6999)
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.
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: