Ph.D. in Psychology

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

  1. Health Psychology
  2. Legal Psychology
  3. Social-Cultural Psychology
  4. Behavioral Neuroscience
  5. Bilingualism, Language and Cognition

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. 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. 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. 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.  Students with a Bilingualism, Language and Cognition Concentration have an opportunity to conduct research in areas such as bilingual memory and multilingual language processing. PhD 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 PhD Degree

Students in the PhD program in Psychology must complete all requirements for a PhD 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.

PhD 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 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 PhD 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 PhD 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 PhD 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 PhD 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 PhD, 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.

Concentrations

  • Health Psychology
  • Legal Psychology
  • Social-Cultural Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Bilingualism, Language and Cognition

Degree Plan

Ph.D. in Psychology with Concentration in Health Psychology

Ph.D. in Psychology General Core
Research Applications
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 (Complete two semesters)3
PSYC 6395Thesis3
PSYC 6396Thesis3
PSYC 6398Dissertation3
PSYC 6399Dissertation3
Breadth Courses
Select three courses from the following:9
Seminar:Soc/Cultrl Psych
Social Behavior
Seminar: Psychology
Seminar:Cognitive Psych
Animal Learning & Behavior
Behavioral Neuroscience
Cognitive Psychology
Developmental Psychology
Seminar: Behavrl Neurosci
Research Methods Course
Required:
PSYC 6331Cross-Cultural Rsrch Methods3
Concentration Courses
Required:
PSYC 6323Psychometrics3
PSYC 6351Behavioral Medicine3
PSYC 6352Public Hlth/Comm Intervention3
Concentration Electives
Select twenty-four additional hours of PSYC from the following: 24
Quantitative Cert Suppl Req
Structural Equation Modeling
Seminar in Meta-Analysis
Categorical Data Analysis
Attitudes-Attitude Measurement
Appl Correlation & Regres Meth
Experimentl Design/Anal of Var
Seminar in Psychopathology
Program Evaluation
Psychopharmacology
Behav/Mental Hlth Intervention
Seminar in Psych Assessment
Seminar:Personality Assessment
Theories/Methods Psychotherapy
Spc Top in Health Psychology
Seminar:Soc/Cultrl Psych
Spcl Topics: Soc/Cultrl Psych
Social Behavior
Cross-Cultural Rsrch Methods
Seminar-Intell/Neuropsych Asmt
Foundations of Research
Research Design/Data Analysis
Special Topics in Psyc & Law
Survey of Legal Psychology
Seminar in General Psychology
Scientific Writing
Seminar: Psychology
Spcl Topics: Psychology
Clinical Internship
Seminar:Cognitive Psych
Spcl Topics: Cognitive Psych
Animal Learning & Behavior
Behavioral Neuroscience
Cognitive Psychology
Developmental Psychology
Seminar: Behavrl Neurosci
Spcl Topics: Behavrl Neurosci
First Year Research
First Year Research
Research Applications
Field Placement
Thesis
Thesis
Total Hours78

Ph.D. in Psychology with Concentration in Legal Psychology

Ph.D. in General Psychology Core
Research Applications
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 (Complete two semesters)3
PSYC 6395Thesis3
PSYC 6396Thesis3
PSYC 6398Dissertation3
PSYC 6399Dissertation3
Breadth Courses
Select three courses from the following:9
Seminar:Soc/Cultrl Psych
Social Behavior
Seminar: Psychology
Seminar:Cognitive Psych
Animal Learning & Behavior
Behavioral Neuroscience
Cognitive Psychology
Developmental Psychology
Seminar: Behavrl Neurosci
Research Methods Course
Required:
PSYC 6331Cross-Cultural Rsrch Methods3
Concentration Courses
Required:
PSYC 6342Special Topics in Psyc & Law3
PSYC 6342Special Topics in Psyc & Law3
PSYC 6344Survey of Legal Psychology3
PSYC 6390Field Placement3
PSYC 6390Field Placement3
Concentration Electives
Select nine hours of graduate PSYC from the following:9
Quantitative Cert Suppl Req
Structural Equation Modeling
Seminar in Meta-Analysis
Categorical Data Analysis
Attitudes-Attitude Measurement
Seminar in Psychopathology
Psychopharmacology
Seminar:Personality Assessment
Theories/Methods Psychotherapy
Psychometrics
Spc Top in Health Psychology
Social Behavior
Cross-Cultural Rsrch Methods
Seminar-Intell/Neuropsych Asmt
Foundations of Research
Research Design/Data Analysis
Special Topics in Psyc. & Law
Survey of Legal Psychology
Behavioral Medicine
Public Hlth/Comm Intervention
Seminar in General Psychology
Scientific Writing
Clinical Internship
Animal Learning & Behavior
Behavioral Neuroscience
Cognitive Psychology
Developmental Psychology
Research Applications
Thesis
Thesis
Quantitative Cert Suppl Req
Structural Equation Modeling
Seminar in Meta-Analysis
Categorical Data Analysis
Attitudes-Attitude Measurement
Appl Correlation & Regres Meth
Experimentl Design/Anal of Var
Seminar in Psychopathology
Program Evaluation
Psychopharmacology
Seminar:Personality Assessment
Theories/Methods Psychotherapy
Psychometrics
Spc Top in Health Psychology
Seminar:Soc/Cultrl Psych
Spcl Topics: Soc/Cultrl Psych
Social Behavior
Cross-Cultural Rsrch Methods
Seminar-Intell/Neuropsych Asmt
Foundations of Research
Research Design/Data Analysis
Behavioral Medicine
Public Hlth/Comm Intervention
Seminar in General Psychology
Scientific Writing
Seminar: Psychology
Spcl Topics: Psychology
Clinical Internship
Seminar:Cognitive Psych
Spcl Topics: Cognitive Psych
Animal Learning & Behavior
Behavioral Neuroscience
Cognitive Psychology
Developmental Psychology
Seminar: Behavrl Neurosci
Spcl Topics: Behavrl Neurosci
First Year Research
First Year Research
Research Applications
Thesis
Thesis
Psychology Electives
Select nine additional hours of graduate PSYC from the following:9
Quantitative Cert Suppl Req
Structural Equation Modeling
Seminar in Meta-Analysis
Categorical Data Analysis
Attitudes-Attitude Measurement
Seminar in Psychopathology
Psychopharmacology
Seminar:Personality Assessment
Theories/Methods Psychotherapy
Psychometrics
Spc Top in Health Psychology
Social Behavior
Cross-Cultural Rsrch Methods
Seminar-Intell/Neuropsych Asmt
Foundations of Research
Research Design/Data Analysis
Special Topics in Psyc. & Law
Survey of Legal Psychology
Behavioral Medicine
Public Hlth/Comm Intervention
Seminar in General Psychology
Clinical Internship
Animal Learning & Behavior
Behavioral Neuroscience
Cognitive Psychology
Developmental Psychology
Research Applications
Thesis
Thesis
Quantitative Cert Suppl Req
Structural Equation Modeling
Seminar in Meta-Analysis
Categorical Data Analysis
Attitudes-Attitude Measurement
Appl Correlation & Regres Meth
Experimentl Design/Anal of Var
Seminar in Psychopathology
Program Evaluation
Multilevel Modeling
Psychopharmacology
Seminar:Personality Assessment
Theories/Methods Psychotherapy
Psychometrics
Spc Top in Health Psychology
Seminar:Soc/Cultrl Psych
Spcl Topics: Soc/Cultrl Psych
Social Behavior
Cross-Cultural Rsrch Methods
Seminar-Intell/Neuropsych Asmt
Foundations of Research
Research Design/Data Analysis
Special Topics in Psyc & Law
Survey of Legal Psychology
Behavioral Medicine
Public Hlth/Comm Intervention
Seminar in General Psychology
Scientific Writing
Seminar: Psychology
Spcl Topics: Psychology
Clinical Internship
Seminar:Cognitive Psych
Spcl Topics: Cognitive Psych
Animal Learning & Behavior
Behavioral Neuroscience
Cognitive Psychology
Developmental Psychology
Seminar: Behavrl Neurosci
Spcl Topics: Behavrl Neurosci
First Year Research
First Year Research
Research Applications
Field Placement
Thesis
Thesis
Total Hours78

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

Ph.D in Psychology with Concentration in Behavioral Neuroscience
PhD in General Psychology Core
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 Applications3
PSYC 6395Thesis3
PSYC 6396Thesis3
PSYC 6398Dissertation3
PSYC 6399Dissertation3
Select one of the following:3
Structural Equation Modeling
Seminar in Meta-Analysis
Categorical Data Analysis
Program Evaluation
Psychometrics
Research Design/Data Analysis
Breadth Course Options
Select Option 1, 2 or 3
Breadth Course Option 1: Psychology
Select two courses from the following:6
Survey of Legal Psychology
Seminar:Cognitive Psych
Behavioral Neuroscience
Cognitive Psychology
Developmental Psychology
Seminar: Behavrl Neurosci
Breadth Course Option 2: Quantitative Methods
Select two courses from the following:6
PSYC 6335 may be repeated twice as topics vary
Structural Equation Modeling
Seminar in Meta-Analysis
Categorical Data Analysis
Program Evaluation
Psychometrics
Research Design/Data Analysis (may be repeated twice as topics vary)
Breadth Course option 3: Customized Plan
Select 6 hours. Students who pursue a customized plan must obtain formal approval of the plan by a vote of the area faculty.6
Concentration Courses
Select 9 hours from the following (either or both of these courses can be taken 3 times as topics vary):9
Seminar:Soc/Cultrl Psych
Spcl Topics: Soc/Cultrl Psych
Concentration Electives
Select 27 hours from the following:27
Ethical, Soc/Pol Dimensions
Structural Equation Modeling
Seminar in Meta-Analysis
Categorical Data Analysis
Program Evaluation
Psychometrics
Seminar:Soc/Cultrl Psych
Spcl Topics: Soc/Cultrl Psych
Social Behavior
Cross-Cultural Rsrch Methods
Research Design/Data Analysis
Special Topics in Psyc & Law
Survey of Legal Psychology
Seminar in General Psychology
Seminar: Psychology
Spcl Topics: Psychology
Seminar:Cognitive Psych
Spcl Topics: Cognitive Psych
Behavioral Neuroscience
Cognitive Psychology
Developmental Psychology
Seminar: Behavrl Neurosci
Spcl Topics: Behavrl Neurosci
Research Applications
Thesis
Thesis
Dissertation
Dissertation
Total Hours78

Ph.D. in Psychology with Concentration in Behavioral Neuroscience 

Ph.D in Psychology with Concentration in Behavioral Neuroscience
PhD in General Psychology Core
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 Applications3
PSYC 6395Thesis3
PSYC 6396Thesis3
PSYC 6398Dissertation3
PSYC 6399Dissertation3
Breadth Course Options
Select Option 1 or Option 2
Breadth Course Option 1: Psychology
Select three courses from the following:9
Behavioral Medicine
Cognitive Psychology
Seminar:Soc/Cultrl Psych (may be repeated twice as topics vary)
Seminar in General Psychology
Scientific Writing
Seminar in General Psychology
Seminar: Psychology (may be repeated twice as topics vary)
Developmental Psychology
Seminar:Cognitive Psych (may be repeated twice as topics vary)
Breadth Course Option 2: Customized Plan
Select three courses. Students who pursue a customized plan must obtain formal approval of the plan by a vote of the area faculty.9
Concentration Courses
Select three courses from the following: 9
Psychopharmacology
Animal Learning & Behavior
Behavioral Neuroscience
Seminar: Behavrl Neurosci (can be taken up to three times as topics vary)
Spcl Topics: Behavrl Neurosci (can be taken up to three times as topics vary)
PSYC 6455
Concentration Electives
Select 27 hours from the following:27
Select Adv Topics Biol Science
Rsrch Funding & Prof Developmt
G Protein-Coupled Recept Biol
Gene Regulation
Adv Research Techniques
Neurobiology of Brain Diseases
Structural Equation Modeling
Program Evaluation
Psychopharmacology
Psychometrics
Seminar:Soc/Cultrl Psych
Behavioral Medicine
Seminar in General Psychology
Scientific Writing
Seminar:Cognitive Psych
Animal Learning & Behavior
Behavioral Neuroscience
Cognitive Psychology
Developmental Psychology
Seminar: Behavrl Neurosci
Spcl Topics: Behavrl Neurosci
Research Applications
Thesis
Thesis
Dissertation
Dissertation
Total Hours78

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

Ph.D. in Psychology with Concentration in Bilingualism, Language and Cognition
Required
PSYC 6307Appl Correlation & Regres Meth3
PSYC 6308Experimentl Design/Anal of Var3
PSYC 6334Foundations of Research3
PSYC 6398Dissertation3
PSYC 6399Dissertation3
Select one of the following:3
Structural Equation Modeling
Seminar in Meta-Analysis
Categorical Data Analysis
Program Evaluation
Psychometrics
Research Design/Data Analysis
Res Design in Comm Disorders
Select one of the following:3
Study in Language
First Year Research
Probs-Proj in Spch Lang Path
Select one of the following:3
Study in Language
First Year Research
Probs-Proj in Spch Lang Path
Select one of the following:3
Thesis
Thesis
Thesis
Select one of the following:3
Thesis
Thesis
Thesis
Breadth Course Option 1: Psychology
Select two courses from the following:6
Seminar:Soc/Cultrl Psych (may be repeated twice as topics vary)
Social Behavior
Survey of Legal Psychology
Behavioral Neuroscience
Developmental Psychology
Seminar: Behavrl Neurosci (may be repeated twice as topics vary)
Breadth Course Option 2: Linguistics
Select two courses from the following: 6
Principles of Ling Analysis
Generative Syntax
Functionalist Syntax
Phonology
Second Language Acquisition
Study in Language
Bilingualism
Breadth Course Option 3: Speech-Language Pathology
Select two courses from the following:6
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
Breadth Course Option 4: Quantitative Methods
Select two courses from the following:6
Structural Equation Modeling
Seminar in Meta-Analysis
Categorical Data Analysis
Program Evaluation
Psychometrics
Research Design/Data Analysis (may be repeated twice as topics vary)
Res Design in Comm Disorders
Breadth Course option 5: Customized Plan
Select 6 hours. Students who pursue a customized plan must obtain formal approval of the plan by a vote of the area faculty.6
Concentration Courses
Select 9 hours from the following9
Seminar:Cognitive Psych (can be taken 3 times as topics vary)
Spcl Topics: Cognitive Psych (can be taken 3 times as topics vary)
Concentration Electives
Select 27 hours from the following:27
Ethical, Soc/Pol Dimensions
Seminar-Spec Topics Linguistic
Principles of Ling Analysis
Generative Syntax
Functionalist Syntax
Phonology
Second Language Acquisition
Study in Language
Linguistic Variation
Language Testing
Bilingualism
Thesis
Thesis
Structural Equation Modeling
Seminar in Meta-Analysis
Categorical Data Analysis
Program Evaluation
Psychometrics
Seminar:Soc/Cultrl Psych
Spcl Topics: Soc/Cultrl Psych
Social Behavior
Cross-Cultural Rsrch Methods
Research Design/Data Analysis
Special Topics in Psyc & Law
Survey of Legal Psychology
Seminar in General Psychology
Seminar: Psychology
Spcl Topics: Psychology
Seminar:Cognitive Psych
Spcl Topics: Cognitive Psych
Behavioral Neuroscience
Developmental Psychology
Seminar: Behavrl Neurosci
Spcl Topics: Behavrl Neurosci
Research Applications
Thesis
Thesis
Dissertation
Dissertation
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
Articulation/Phon. Disorders
Multicult/Multiling Issues
Thesis
Thesis
Total Hours78
 

Ph.D. in Psychology with Concentration in Legal Psychology