Experimental Psychology Ph.D. Program

Grad student presenting research at Cognitive Development Society biennial meeting 2015

Experimental psychologists conduct research to better understand human and animal behavior. Their scientific findings provide insights that improve teaching and learning methods, promote healthy child development and improve visual and hearing aids, to list a few examples.

The Experimental Psychology Ph.D. program at the University of Louisville is designed to prepare students for careers in academic, clinical, and applied research settings as well as industry positions involving psychological science, data analysis, and management. Our students are trained in core areas of psychology, research design and methods, data analysis, teaching, and oral and written communication, all of which makes our students highly employable. If you would like to learn about the various career paths that our alumni have taken, please visit our Alumni Positions page.  

Research Training

Students in our program get extensive training in research. From their first day of the program to the last, students are actively involved in research. A student's specific graduate training experience will depend in part on whom the student chooses as a graduate mentor and the student's specialized area of interest. Faculty mentors for the Experimental Psychology program are listed on the right. Areas of specialized training are:

  • Cognition
  • Development
  • Visual and Auditory Sciences
  • Neuroscience


Our curriculum is designed to be flexible and meet the needs of individual students in our program. Students in our program take classes in two of four core areas of psychology (selected by student and mentor), two statistics courses (required of all students in our program), and five electives or specialized seminars on special topics (selected by student and mentor). Additionally, first-year students attend a proseminar on Research Methods in the fall semester, in which Experimental Psychology faculty teaches students about the research methods used in their labs. Students also develop their own presentation skills in a weekly Brown Bag seminar held in both the fall and spring semesters. Finally, students in our program complete a Master's Research Portfolio (typically right after the 2nd year), a Preliminary Exam (typically in their 3rd year), and a Dissertation.


Professional Development

Professional development is an important piece of our program. Graduate students in our program are highly encouraged to publish, present their research, attend research conferences, and gain teaching experience either as a GTA or instructor of record. They are also encouraged to take advantage of the Graduate Schools' PLAN workshops, academies, and resources, which are designed to help graduate students develop their professional skills (view past PLAN workshops here). Their programs are geared toward students who want to develop their teaching, grant writing, publishing, community engagement, and entrepreneurial skills, just to name a few. 

The department offers an intellectually enriching environment with a departmental Colloquium Series, the Experimental Psychology Brown Bag, and the Clinical Psychology Colloquium and Professional Development Series. The department also hosts the Grawemeyer Award in Psychology, a large monetary award given annually to a psychologist with a creative, influential idea in psychology.