Our program is research-focused and can be tailored to meet the needs of individual students. From the start of the program, students are immersed in their respective research laboratories. The Experimental Psychology program also runs a weekly Research & Professional Development series in which students and faculty in the program share their research. A broad plan of coursework provides each student with a solid foundation in statistics and modern research psychology. Specialty courses are chosen in conjunction with mentors to permit students to become experts in content and techniques of their selected areas of research. Program requirements also include a Master's research portfolio, preliminary exam, and dissertation.


Statistics Core (6 hours):
Advanced Statistics I (PSYC 610)
Advanced Statistics II (PSYC 611)

Program Core, two of the following courses (6 hours):
Cognitive Psychology (PSYC 621)
Developmental Psychology (PSYC 661)
Sensation and Perception (PSYC 631)
Behavioral Neuroscience (PSYC 642) -or- Principles of Neuroscience (PSYC 643)

Electives (15 hours):
Students are required to take five additional 600-level or above graduate seminars/courses. Students who take more than two of the core courses listed above may count the additional core courses as electives. Two of the five electives may be taken pass-fail.

Research Hours:
Students are required to take PSYC 602, a weekly 50-minute Research & Professional Development series, every Fall and Spring semester until the end of the semester in which the Preliminary Examination is successfully completed. The Research & Professional Development series provides a forum for students and faculty to present completed or ongoing research. Students are required to also take PSYC 605, Independent Study Research, with their faculty mentor every Fall, Spring, and Summer semester until the end of the semester in which the Preliminary Examination is successfully completed.

Research Portfolio

Since students are admitted into the Doctoral Program in Experimental Psychology (not into a Master’s program), they are required to earn a Master of Science in Experimental Psychology. Typically during the summer of a student’s second year, they submit an MS portfolio which primarily features research efforts and training undertaken as a graduate student. After approval of this portfolio and completing 45 credit hours of graduate study, the student has completed the requirements for the Master of Science degree.

Preliminary Examination

The Preliminary Examination will consist of an original critical review of a research area. The Preliminary Examination will be evaluated based on breadth of knowledge, integration of literature, critical thinking, and quality of scientific writing.  The Preliminary Examination is typically completed by the end of the third year of training.


Upon passing the Preliminary Examination, students must maintain continuous enrollment at UofL by registering for Doctoral Candidacy until they have completed their doctoral degree. If they wish, they may also enroll in courses.