Students earn a MA/MS degree as part of their milestone towards earning their doctoral degree in the Experimental Psychology PhD program. The MA/MS degree in Experimental Psychology is not intended to be a stand-alone or terminal degree program. Students seeking only a MA or MS degree are not admitted to the program.
The Ph.D. program in experimental psychology is subdivided into cognitive neuroscience, and developmental, social, and health psychology. The Cognitive Neuroscience program is intended for students who wish to study the underlying neural systems of cognitive processes. It provides a strong background in both systems-level neuroscience and cognitive psychology and allows students to develop integrative research interests that cross domains. Research includes a range of topics and methodologies aimed at understanding mechanisms of behavior in laboratory animals and human subjects. Drug use and addictive behaviors are a key focus. Levels of analysis include cellular function, animal behavior, and human substance users. Methodologies include electrochemical measurements, chemogenetics, neuronal cell culture, psychopharmacology, analytical chemistry, quantitative modeling of cognitive functions and decision-making, and fMRI.
In the Developmental, Social, Health program, students typically receive primary conceptual and methodological training in Developmental Psychology, Social Psychology, OR Health Psychology (each are “tracks” within our program). This training will reflect the expertise of your advisor (and lab) in their respective subfield (e.g., Social Psychology) and will prepare you for the academic job market in this subfield. As some faculty in the Developmental, Social, and Health program are truly “hybrid” psychologists (equivalent expertise in Social and Developmental Psychology, for example), students may also gear training across subfields by pursuing relevant coursework, research collaborations, teaching experiences, etc.
Traditions of both experimental laboratory research and naturalistic study are utilized; emphases include theoretical and applied significance of research. Each student’s course of study is individually designed to fit that student’s particular needs and interests. Research experience in related behavioral sciences (for example, communication, marketing, behavioral sciences) is encouraged. During the first year of the doctoral program, students in all areas gain experience in the major content areas of psychology and in psychological statistics. Thereafter, the student and the advisor construct a program of study consistent with the academic interests and professional goals of the student. M.A. and M.S. degrees are awarded under Plan A only, as one component of doctoral training.
Options and specialties
Cognitive Neuroscience Area
Developmental, Social, & Health Area
The minimum departmental standards for admission to graduate work in psychology include an undergraduate overall average of B or better, a satisfactory score on the verbal and quantitative portions of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and three letters of recommendation. All admissions are on a competitive basis. For additional information concerning the program in psychology and such matters as financial support, contact the Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Psychology or see https://psychology.as.uky.edu/
Total credit hours: 30
General information on electives