University of Texas at El Paso Academic Catalog

Academic Catalog

Ph.D. in Psychology

The PhD Program is designed to train all students in the fundamental areas of Psychology. The department extends this training with five concentrations in:

Health Psychology

Students with a Health Psychology concentration have an opportunity to conduct research in areas such as health disparities; public health interventions; adaptation to chronic illness or disability; judgment and decision making; risk-taking; smoking prevention and cessation; alcohol use disorders; and underage drinking and driving. 

Legal Psychology

Students with a Legal Psychology concentration have an opportunity to conduct research in areas such as juvenile offending; risk-taking and problem behaviors in adolescents; offenders with mental disorders; stigma; and legal decision-making by attorneys and jurors.

Social-Cultural Psychology

Students with a Social-Cultural Psychology concentration have an opportunity to conduct research in areas such as stereotyping, discrimination, cross-cultural psychology, multi-culturalism, and social neuroscience. 

Behavioral Neuroscience

Students with a Behavioral Neuroscience concentration have an opportunity to conduct research in areas such as addiction, drugs of abuse, behavioral regulation, and neurobiology of mood-related illness.  

Bilingualism, Language and Cognition

Students with a Bilingualism, Language, and Cognition Concentration have an opportunity to conduct research in areas such as bilingual memory and multilingual language processing. Ph.D. candidates are required to complete 78 semester hours.

Yearly Evaluations and Satisfactory Progress

Students are expected to make satisfactory progress toward their degree. Faculty will provide all students with annual written evaluations and feedback. Failure to make satisfactory progress toward one’s degree can result in dismissal from the program.

Department of Psychology Evaluation of Advancement to Dissertation

Students must apply for Department of Psychology Evaluation of Advancement to Dissertation. This can be done once students complete

  1. statistics and research method courses,
  2. breadth courses,
  3. first-year research, and
  4. thesis research requirements.

Maximum Time for Completion of the Ph.D. Degree

Students in the Ph.D. program in Psychology must complete all requirements for a Ph.D. within one eight-year period. The eight-year period begins with the term of the first course listed on the student's degree plan. Use of advanced standing will proportionately decrease this time.

Ph.D. Oral Examinations

A dissertation proposal must be defended orally before the student's committee prior to the student’s collecting data. In addition, students must make a public presentation of their dissertation and successfully defend their dissertation during a final oral examination conducted by the dissertation committee. The final oral examination can include committee examination on any appropriate material.

A copy of the dissertation in PDF or Word electronic format must be submitted to the Graduate School for format check prior to the scheduled defense date. The dissertation, including an abstract not to exceed 350 words, must be prepared according to the Graduate School’s thesis and dissertation guidelines available at the Graduate School Web site. The student will receive an email confirmation from the Graduate School after the format has been approved. The final Graduate School approved dissertation must be submitted to the Graduate School in PDF electronic format by the deadline as published in the Class Schedule, along with a hard copy of the signature page with original signatures of the dissertation committee members. Information on submission procedures can be found on the Graduate School website. The signature page must be included in the PDF file but it should not be signed.

Department of Psychology Academic Policies

Departmental Academic Standards

In addition to the University requirement that all students admitted into graduate programs must maintain an overall cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better in all upper-division and graduate courses, the Department of Psychology requires in all graduate programs students who attempt a course or courses and receive two grades of C or lower in Psychology courses be dismissed from the program. Students who earn a grade of C or lower in a course must retake the course the next time it is offered and earn a grade of B or better.

Language

The University of Texas at El Paso’s location on the U.S.-Mexico border provides a nearly unique opportunity to investigate how language use, specifically proficiency in English and/or Spanish, affects cognitive processes. To investigate the importance of English/Spanish proficiency, it is essential that people comprehend and speak both languages. The psychology faculty, therefore, view language as an important and often necessary methodological tool for conducting research and strongly encourages and promotes proficiency in both languages.

Transfer Students with Graduate Credit

Students accepted into the Ph.D. program with graduate credit from The University of Texas at El Paso (including the Psychology Department) or from another university must satisfy the same requirements as those beginning their Ph.D. graduate training in Psychology at UTEP without previously earned graduate credits. The student can petition the Graduate Program Committee to accept a maximum of 24 hours of graduate credit (excluding thesis hours) completed at UTEP or at another institution. Approved credits will appear as Advanced Standing Credit on the Preliminary Plan of Study. Students who have taken PSYC 5301 (Research Applications) from UTEP prior to admission to the Ph.D. program can request that a maximum of three (3) credit hours for this course be included in the 24 hours that can be counted toward their Ph.D. degree, as long as those hours were not used to meet requirements for a previous or separate degree.  A doctoral student who wishes to apply more than six (6) transfer credits toward a master's degree at UTEP must obtain prior approval from the department's Graduate Program Director.
The student must make a written request to the Graduate Program Director for Advanced Standing Credit. It is the student’s responsibility to provide all evidence and material necessary for the Graduate Program Director to review the request. Advanced Standing Credits are subject to final approval from the Graduate School. Transfer students can be considered for Department of Psychology Evaluation of Advancement to Dissertation only after they complete two academic semesters and all relevant requirements.

General Requirements for Graduate Programs

Admissions Requirements

Because all of our graduate programs focus on research and require extensive one-on-one contact between faculty and student, we can accept only a limited number of students each year. Admission is competitive, and admission recommendations are made by a committee that carefully reviews each applicant’s academic history, performance, and interests. To be admitted, one must have a bachelor’s degree (or the equivalent for non-U.S. students) from an accredited university. Students who are still working on their bachelor’s degree and who will complete it before starting graduate work are given full consideration. Individuals who do not have a degree in Psychology are also given full consideration, but admission might be conditional on the student’s satisfactorily completing a few undergraduate Psychology courses.

We accept students once a year. New students are admitted to begin during the fall semester only. Applications for admission are due January 15. Interested applicants should send the materials indicated below to

UTEP Graduate School
Administration Building, Room 223
601 West Schuster
El Paso, Texas 79968

  • A UTEP graduate school application (an online application can be found at the graduate school’s Web page).
  • Transcripts according to the requirements of the Graduate School.
  • Official GRE General Test scores from ETS (GRE scores taken within the last five years are required of all applicants, regardless of whether they have a graduate degree in another discipline.)
  • A two- to three-page personal statement outlining experiences, skill, and training. In addition, the applicant should state his or her career goals and how this specific program will benefit professional development.
  • Three letters of recommendation.
  • Official TOEFL scores for international students who do not have a degree at an accredited U.S. institution.

Before being admitted into any graduate program, either MA or Ph.D., the applicant’s undergraduate preparation must include a course in Psychological Statistics and 12 hours of upper-division courses in Psychology, including a course in Experimental Psychology.

Degree Plan

Ph.D. in Psychology with Concentration in Health Psychology

Required Core Courses:
PSYC 6307Appl Correlation & Regres Meth3
PSYC 6308Experimentl Design/Anal of Var3
PSYC 6334Foundations of Research3
PSYC 6380First Year Research3
PSYC 6381First Year Research3
PSYC 6385Research Applications3
PSYC 6395Thesis3
PSYC 6396Thesis3
PSYC 6398Dissertation3
PSYC 6399Dissertation3
Breadth Course Requirement
Select two from the following:
Behavioral Neuroscience
Social Behavior
Seminar in General Psychology
Seminar: Psychology (Can be repeated as topics vary with permission from mentor)
Seminar:Cognitive Psych (Can be repeated as topics vary with permission from mentor)
Seminar: Behavrl Neurosci (Can be repeated as topics vary with permission from mentor)
Developmental Psychology
Survey of Legal Psychology
Seminar in Psychopathology
Seminar:Soc/Cultrl Psych (Can be repeated as topics vary with permission from mentor)
Animal Learning & Behavior
Concentration Course Requirement
Select two from the following:
Psychometrics
Behavioral Medicine
Concentration Elective
Select eleven courses from the following:
Public Hlth/Comm Intervention
Cross-Cultural Rsrch Methods
Special Topics in Psyc & Law (Can be repeated as topics vary with permission from mentor)
Spcl Topics: Psychology (Can be repeated as topics vary with permission from mentor)
Spcl Topics: Cognitive Psych (Can be repeated as topics vary with permission from mentor)
Seminar:Cognitive Psych
Spcl Topics: Behavrl Neurosci (Can be repeated as topics vary with permission from mentor)
Seminar: Behavrl Neurosci
Seminar in General Psychology (Can be repeated as topics vary with permission from mentor)
Spcl Topics: Soc/Cultrl Psych (Can be repeated as topics vary with permission from mentor)
Seminar:Soc/Cultrl Psych (Can be repeated as topics vary with permission from mentor)
Seminar in Meta-Analysis
Categorical Data Analysis
Psychometrics
Structural Equation Modeling
Seminar in Psychopathology
Program Evaluation
Multilevel Modeling
Survey of Legal Psychology
Clinicl Issues in Legal Psych
Psychopharmacology
Behav/Mental Hlth Intervention
Seminar in Psych Assessment
Seminar: Psychology (Can be repeated as topics vary with permission from mentor)
Social Behavior
Research Design/Data Analysis
Scientific Writing (Can be repeated up to two times since topics vary, with permission from mentor)
Animal Learning & Behavior
Behavioral Neuroscience
Theories/Methods Psychotherapy
Behavioral Medicine
Clinical Internship
Field Placement
Quantitative Cert Suppl Req
Research Applications (Can be repeated beyond what is included in required core courses.)
Thesis (Can be repeated beyond what is included in required core courses.)
Dissertation (Can be repeated beyond what is included in required core courses.)
Other courses with the health focus from PSYC or other departments can be substituted with approval from the area on a case by case basis. Approval should be sought well in advance of the semester beginning to avoid delays to financial aid and registration.

Ph.D. in Psychology with Concentration in Legal Psychology

Required Core Courses
PSYC 6307Appl Correlation & Regres Meth3
PSYC 6308Experimentl Design/Anal of Var3
PSYC 6334Foundations of Research3
PSYC 6380First Year Research3
PSYC 6381First Year Research3
PSYC 6385Research Applications (Must be taken twice)6
PSYC 6395Thesis3
PSYC 6396Thesis3
PSYC 6398Dissertation3
PSYC 6399Dissertation3
Breadth Course Requirement
Select two from the following:
Seminar in Psychopathology
Seminar:Soc/Cultrl Psych
Social Behavior
Seminar: Psychology
Seminar:Cognitive Psych
Animal Learning & Behavior
Behavioral Neuroscience
Developmental Psychology
Seminar: Behavrl Neurosci
Concentration Course Requirement
Required Courses:
PSYC 6344Survey of Legal Psychology3
PSYC 6342Special Topics in Psyc & Law3
PSYC 6343Clinicl Issues in Legal Psych3
Select one additional course from below:
Structural Equation Modeling
Seminar in Meta-Analysis
Categorical Data Analysis
Multilevel Modeling
Psychometrics
Research Design/Data Analysis
Concentration Elective
Select two from the following:
Structural Equation Modeling
Seminar in Meta-Analysis
Categorical Data Analysis
Multilevel Modeling
Program Evaluation
Behav/Mental Hlth Intervention
Psychometrics
Research Design/Data Analysis
Scientific Writing (Can be repeated)
Field Placement (Can be repeated)
Psychology Electives
Select six courses:
Theories/Methods Psychotherapy
Behavioral Medicine
Seminar in General Psychology
Clinical Internship (Can be repeated up to two times)
Research Applications
Thesis
Quantitative Cert Suppl Req
Structural Equation Modeling
Seminar in Meta-Analysis
Categorical Data Analysis
Seminar in Psychopathology
Program Evaluation
Multilevel Modeling
Psychopharmacology
Behav/Mental Hlth Intervention
Seminar in Psych Assessment
Psychometrics
Seminar:Soc/Cultrl Psych
Spcl Topics: Soc/Cultrl Psych
Social Behavior
Research Design/Data Analysis
Special Topics in Psyc & Law
Clinicl Issues in Legal Psych
Behavioral Medicine
Seminar in General Psychology
Scientific Writing
Seminar: Psychology
Spcl Topics: Psychology
Seminar:Cognitive Psych
Animal Learning & Behavior
Behavioral Neuroscience
Seminar: Behavrl Neurosci
Spcl Topics: Behavrl Neurosci
Research Applications (Can be repeated )
Field Placement
Thesis (Can be repeated )
Dissertation (Can be repeated )

Ph.D. in Psychology with Concentration in Social-Cultural Psychology

Required Core Courses
Required:
PSYC 6307Appl Correlation & Regres Meth3
PSYC 6308Experimentl Design/Anal of Var3
PSYC 6334Foundations of Research3
PSYC 6380First Year Research3
PSYC 6381First Year Research3
PSYC 6385Research Applications (Must be taken twice)6
PSYC 6395Thesis3
PSYC 6396Thesis3
PSYC 6398Dissertation3
PSYC 6399Dissertation3
Select one of the following:
Seminar in Meta-Analysis
Categorical Data Analysis
Psychometrics
Structural Equation Modeling
Research Design/Data Analysis
Program Evaluation
Multilevel Modeling
or other course approved by area faculty.
Three options to fulfill Breadth course requirement
Select one option:
Option one: Psychology
Select Two Courses:
Behavioral Neuroscience
Developmental Psychology
Seminar:Cognitive Psych (May be repeated as topics vary)
Seminar: Behavrl Neurosci (May be repeated as topics vary)
Survey of Legal Psychology
Option Two: Quantitative Methods
Select two courses:
Seminar in Meta-Analysis
Categorical Data Analysis
Psychometrics
Structural Equation Modeling
Program Evaluation
Multilevel Modeling
Research Design/Data Analysis (May be repeated as topics vary)
Option Three: Customized Plan
Select two courses:
Students who pursue a customized plan must obtain formal approval of the plan by a vote of the area faculty
Required Concentration Courses
Select three courses:
Seminar:Soc/Cultrl Psych (Maybe taken up to three times as topics vary)
Spcl Topics: Soc/Cultrl Psych (Maybe taken up to three times as topics vary)
Concentration Electives
Select nine courses: (Special topics and seminar courses can be repeated as topics vary)
Cross-Cultural Rsrch Methods
Special Topics in Psyc & Law
Spcl Topics: Psychology
Spcl Topics: Cognitive Psych
Spcl Topics: Behavrl Neurosci
Seminar in General Psychology
Seminar in Meta-Analysis
Categorical Data Analysis
Psychometrics
Structural Equation Modeling
Program Evaluation
Multilevel Modeling
Seminar:Soc/Cultrl Psych
Spcl Topics: Soc/Cultrl Psych
Social Behavior
Research Design/Data Analysis
Survey of Legal Psychology
Seminar: Psychology
Seminar:Cognitive Psych
Behavioral Neuroscience
Seminar: Behavrl Neurosci
Ethical, Soc/Pol Dimensions
Research Applications (Can be repeated beyond what is included in the required core courses)
Thesis (Can be repeated beyond what is included in the required core courses)
Dissertation (Can be repeated beyond what is included in the required core courses)
Additional courses may be approved by advisor

Ph.D. in Psychology with Concentration in Behavioral Neuroscience 

Required Core Courses
PSYC 6307Appl Correlation & Regres Meth3
PSYC 6308Experimentl Design/Anal of Var3
PSYC 6380First Year Research3
PSYC 6381First Year Research3
PSYC 6385Research Applications (Must be taken twice)6
PSYC 6395Thesis3
PSYC 6396Thesis3
PSYC 6398Dissertation3
PSYC 6399Dissertation3
Breadth Course Requirement
Select three courses:
Behavioral Medicine
Behavioral Medicine
Seminar in General Psychology (*)
Seminar:Soc/Cultrl Psych
Seminar in General Psychology (*)
Scientific Writing
Seminar: Psychology (Can be repeated as topics vary)
Seminar:Cognitive Psych (Can be repeated as topics vary)
Developmental Psychology
Other courses can be approved by area vote
*Topics Ethics and Professional Development, and Grant Writing are recommended, others must be approved by advisor
Required Concentration Courses
Select three courses:
Psychopharmacology
Animal Learning & Behavior
Behavioral Neuroscience
Seminar: Behavrl Neurosci (Can be repeated)
Spcl Topics: Behavrl Neurosci (Can be repeated)
Concentration Electives
Select ten courses:
Select Adv Topics Biol Science (Can be repeated)
Rsrch Funding & Prof Developmt
G Protein-Coupled Recept Biol
Gene Regulation
Adv Research Techniques
Neurobiology of Brain Diseases
Structural Equation Modeling
Seminar in Meta-Analysis
Categorical Data Analysis
Program Evaluation
Multilevel Modeling
Psychopharmacology
Psychometrics
Seminar:Soc/Cultrl Psych
Foundations of Research
Research Design/Data Analysis
Behavioral Medicine
Public Hlth/Comm Intervention
Seminar in General Psychology (If the specific topic is related to neuroscience and approved by area)
Scientific Writing
Seminar:Cognitive Psych
Animal Learning & Behavior
Behavioral Neuroscience
Developmental Psychology
Seminar: Behavrl Neurosci (Can be repeated )
Spcl Topics: Behavrl Neurosci (Can be repeated )
Research Applications (Can be repeated beyond what is included in Required Core Courses)
Thesis (Can be repeated beyond what is included in Required Core Courses)
Dissertation (Can be repeated beyond what is included in Required Core Courses)

Ph.D. in Psychology with Concentration in Bilingualism, Language and Cognition

Required Core Courses
PSYC 6307Appl Correlation & Regres Meth3
PSYC 6308Experimentl Design/Anal of Var3
PSYC 6380First Year Research c3
PSYC 6381First Year Research c3
PSYC 6385Research Applications c, 13
PSYC 6395Thesis3
PSYC 6396Thesis3
or LING 5398 Thesis
or SPLP 5399 Thesis
PSYC 6398Dissertation3
PSYC 6399Dissertation3
Select one additional course from the following:
Structural Equation Modeling
Seminar in Meta-Analysis
Categorical Data Analysis
Program Evaluation
Multilevel Modeling
Psychometrics
Research Design/Data Analysis
Res Design in Comm Disorders
Breadth Course Requirement
Select any two courses from the sections below for a total of six credits:
Psychology Breadth Courses
Theories/Methods Psychotherapy
Seminar in General Psychology (May be repeated as topics vary)
Seminar in General Psychology
Seminar in Psychopathology
Program Evaluation
Psychopharmacology
Social Behavior
Foundations of Research
Special Topics in Psyc & Law
Survey of Legal Psychology
Behavioral Medicine
Scientific Writing
Animal Learning & Behavior
Behavioral Neuroscience
Developmental Psychology
Seminar: Behavrl Neurosci (May be repeated as topics vary)
Linguistics Breadth Courses
Principles of Ling Analysis
Generative Syntax
Phonology
Second Language Acquisition
Study in Language
Bilingualism
Speech-Language Pathology Breadth Courses
Res Design in Comm Disorders
Aphasia and Related Disorders
Lang Disorder/Sch. Aged Child
Comm Disorders and Literacy
Probs-Proj in Spch Lang Path
Multicult/Multiling Issues
Quantitative Psychology Breadth Courses
Structural Equation Modeling
Seminar in Meta-Analysis
Categorical Data Analysis
Program Evaluation
Multilevel Modeling
Psychometrics
Seminar in General Psychology (May be repeated as topics vary )
Res Design in Comm Disorders
Required Concentration Courses
PSYC 6355Seminar in General Psychology (Can be repeated as topics vary)3
PSYC 6367Seminar:Cognitive Psych (Can be repeated as topics vary)3
PSYC 6368Spcl Topics: Cognitive Psych (Can be repeated as topics vary)3
Electives
Select ten courses:
Ethical, Soc/Pol Dimensions
Seminar-Spec Topics Linguistic
Principles of Ling Analysis
Generative Syntax
Phonology
Second Language Acquisition
Study in Language
Linguistic Variation
Language Testing
Bilingualism
Structural Equation Modeling
Seminar in Meta-Analysis
Categorical Data Analysis
Program Evaluation
Psychometrics
Seminar:Soc/Cultrl Psych
Spcl Topics: Soc/Cultrl Psych
Social Behavior
Foundations of Research
Research Design/Data Analysis
Special Topics in Psyc & Law
Survey of Legal Psychology
Seminar in General Psychology
Seminar: Psychology
Spcl Topics: Psychology
Spcl Topics: Cognitive Psych
Behavioral Neuroscience
Seminar: Behavrl Neurosci
Spcl Topics: Behavrl Neurosci
Research Applications (Can be repeated beyond what is included in required core courses.)
Thesis (Can be repeated beyond what is included in required core courses.)
Thesis
Thesis
Dissertation (Can be repeated beyond what is included in required core courses.)
Res Design in Comm Disorders
Diff Diag of Comm Disorders
Fluency Disorders
Aphasia and Related Disorders
Lang Disorder/Sch. Aged Child
Comm Disorders and Literacy
Probs-Proj in Spch Lang Path
Multicult/Multiling Issues
c

Alternative substitutions include LING 5370 Independent Research or SPLP 5372 Problems/Projects in SLP.

1

Can mix and match as needed but must complete six credit hours total and at least three credits with a faculty member who isn't the primary mentor.