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Graduate Course Catalog 2016-2017

Graduate School


Psychology (PSYC)


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This program is offered in Durham.


Degree Offered: Ph.D.

Department of Psychology offers a four- or five-year program of study leading to the doctor of philosophy degree. The basic goal of the program is the development of behavioral scientists who have a broad knowledge of psychology, can teach and communicate effectively, and can carry out sound research in an area of specialization. Although some students seek employment outside academia, the program is oriented toward developing the skills required by the research psychologist who intends to become a college or university teacher.

Areas in which the student may specialize are brain, behavior, and cognition; developmental psychology; or social psychology/personality. The department does not offer training in clinical or counseling psychology.

Distinctive Features of the Program

All psychology graduate students in the Ph.D. program receive a stipend and a full tuition waiver for up to five years. A low graduate student/faculty ratio provides opportunities to work closely with one or more faculty mentors. Graduates typically acquire tenure-track academic or postdoctoral positions at colleges and universities across the U.S.

The Department of Psychology is a national model for preparing future faculty. All graduate students teach Introduction to Psychology while taking a year-long seminar in the teaching of psychology, as well as one or two undergraduate survey courses in statistics and/or the student's area of specialization. 

There are active research laboratories in all areas represented in the graduate program. The department has strong partnerships with such nationally recognized programs as UNH's Child Study and Development Center and the Family Research Laboratory. UNH also has a Center for Teaching Excellence to help graduate students and faculty improve the quality of their teaching.

Admission Requirements

In addition to meeting the requirements for admission to the Graduate School, applicants must intend to be full-time students working toward the doctoral degree (not just the master's degree), and they must submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test scores, along with other standard application forms. The subject test in psychology is recommended. Scores must be current, within five years.

Ph.D. Degree Requirements

Required courses include first-year seminar (PSYC 904), three semesters of research methods and statistics (PSYC 905, 906, and 907 or 908), six advanced graduate seminars, and two semesters of the practicum and seminar in the teaching of psychology (PSYC 991-992). First-year students also participate in a noncredit graduate proseminar (PSYC 901-902), which introduces students to the research programs of the faculty. Depth in a particular area is obtained through participation in advanced seminars and by independent reading and research conducted under the supervision of a faculty member.

Prior to the doctoral dissertation, the student carries out original research that culminates in either a master's thesis or a paper of publishable quality. A master's degree is awarded upon the successful completion of a program approved by the department and dean of the Graduate School. This typically takes place by the end of the second year.

The third year of the program is dedicated to the practicum and seminar in the teaching of psychology in conjunction with the teaching of introductory psychology.

Advancement to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree depends on receiving the master's degree, passing a specialist examination in one of the department's areas of specialization, and identifying a topic for doctoral research. Advancement to candidacy is usually accomplished by the end of a student's fourth year in the program. During the fourth year, students typically begin dissertation research and teach an introductory course in their specialty area. Most students complete the Ph.D. degree in the fifth year.