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Graduate work within the Department of Psychology emphasizes preparation for research and teaching in psychology, with specialization in the following broad areas: cognitive neuroscience, developmental psychology, language, learning and memory, perception and cognition, the psychology of inequality, social neuroscience, social psychology, and systems neuroscience. The program is designed to prepare students for attaining the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and a career of productive scholarship in psychology.
First-year students work closely with a faculty adviser to plan and conduct research, as well as begin their coursework. Second-year students take advanced seminars and conduct research to prepare a written report of a research project and prepare for the general exam. Students may also take relevant courses in other departments. The third year is devoted to conducting research and to continuing study in the student’s area of specialization by means of courses, independent reading and advanced seminars. During the fourth and fifth years, the student is expected to dedicate his or her time to mastering methods and techniques in the relevant area of study, complete thesis-related research, and write the thesis. Students are expected to write up and submit for publication their research on an on-going basis throughout their graduate career.
The final public oral examination for the doctoral degree is based on the problem, methods and results of the dissertation and the relation of its findings to major trends and current problems in psychological research.
Students are required to take the proseminar, PSY 500/501, which covers several basic areas of psychology, in the first year. By the end of the second year, students should have demonstrated basic competence in quantitative methods by having successfully completed PSY 503: Quantitative Analysis in Psychological Research. Each student must complete a six-week course in the responsible conduct of scientific research, entitled PSY 591a: Ethical Issues in Scientific Research. This course is normally taken during the second year. First year students should consult their advisors about enrolling in seminars in addition to Psychology 500, 501, and 503. In subsequent semesters, it is expected that students will enroll in seminars in the psychology department and/or other departments at Princeton.
Note for first-year students: All social area students are required to take PSY 551, Design & Interpretation of Social Psychological Research, each semester. All cognitive area students are required to take PSY 543, Research Seminar in Cognitive Psychology, each semester. If a first-year student plans to receive a joint degree with Neuroscience, the Neuroscience seminar (NEU 511/PSY 511, Current Issues in Neuroscience and Behavior) should be taken each year.
Colloquia and Seminars
Psychology colloquia are held at regular intervals throughout the year and are attended by faculty, research staff and graduate students. A series of research seminars is held throughout the year in which students in various research areas interchange ideas with one another and with the faculty.
Pre-generals Research Project
Students are required to work with a faculty member on a research project related to their area of interest. Students prepare a written report on their pre-generals research project prior to the general examination.
Students can take the general examination beginning in the fourth term of enrollment. All students are expected to have successfully completed the general examination by the end of the sixth term of enrollment. No student will be admitted to a fourth year without completing the general examination. All components of the examination must be passed before a graduate student can advance to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree.
A decision as to whether the student has passed the general examination is made by the full faculty acting on the recommendation of the examining committee. The basic criterion for passing the examination is the faculty's conviction that the student is prepared to begin work on the doctoral dissertation.
Qualifying for the M.A.:
The Master of Arts (M.A.) degree is normally an incidental degree on the way to full Ph.D. candidacy and is earned after successfully passing all parts of the general examination. It may also be awarded to students who, for various reasons, leave the Ph.D. program, provided that the following requirements are met: passing the proseminar, passing coursework in graduate statistics and ethics, satisfactory completion of pre-generals research project, and passing the general examination.
Every Ph.D. candidate in psychology is required to teach at least three class hours during their graduate career. Three semester hours of teaching, then, is the minimum required for the degree, although most students teach more than three hours over their graduate careers. In any case, students will be appointed as assistants in instruction and paid for any hours that they teach.
Dissertation and FPO:
The Ph.D. is awarded after the candidate’s doctoral dissertation has been accepted and the final public oral examination sustained.
- Application Fee: $90
- Statement of Academic Purpose
- Resume/Curriculum Vitae
- Recommendation Letters
- Fall Semester Grades
- Prerequisite Tests
- English Language Tests
- GRE : General test
- Applicants are required to select a subplan when applying.
For Ph.D. candidates, tuition and fees during a student’s regular period of enrollment are provided in full from a student’s graduate student financial support, in the form of tuition support from fellowships, assistantships, or external sources.
The annual stipend amount provided to Ph.D. candidates during their regular enrollment is intended to support a single graduate student based on estimated costs. Master’s students or students with spouses and/or dependents may require additional resources to support their living expenses