Nov 28, 2022  
2016-2017 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog 
2016-2017 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

General Experimental Psychology, Ph.D.

About the General Experimental Psychology Doctoral Program

This Ph.D. program also offers a terminal master’s degree (M.A.) option in experimental psychology and a combined B.A.–M.A. option with a concentration in one of the concentration areas of experimental psychology, human factors. The doctoral program typically takes four to five years of full-time study, and the terminal master’s program typically takes two years of full-time study. Graduate students in the human factors concentration frequently complete an approved internship, often for one to two semesters, at an appropriate agency (e.g., federal or state agency, consulting company, engineering group, high-tech business, transportation agency, healthcare facility, military base). The concentration areas available in the experimental psychology graduate program at the master’s and doctoral levels are cognitive psychology, human factors, and social psychology. Extensive details regarding a typical curriculum in each of the concentration areas of experimental psychology are available online at

The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society accredits the experimental psychology graduate program with a concentration in human factors (Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, P.O. Box 1369, Santa Monica, CA 90406-1369 USA).

A doctoral degree in psychology has some variance in the required total hours because of such factors as the differences between doctoral psychology programs, diversity of student interests, range of academic backgrounds, and other practical issues. Doctoral students in psychology at Texas Tech typically earn approximately 90-120 credit hours of required coursework in their graduate program before successfully completing their doctoral degree. In addition, other doctoral program requirements must be completed successfully before the doctoral degree is awarded.

The doctoral program in experimental psychology does admit a few students for terminal master’s degrees in experimental psychology, although the majority of students in this program are admitted for the doctoral program in experimental psychology. Doctoral students also complete requirements for a master’s in experimental psychology as they pursue their doctorate in three concentration areas: cognitive psychology, human factors psychology, and social psychology. The human factors concentration is also available in a combined B.A.–M.A. version in which the bachelor’s degree is awarded in psychology and the master’s degree is awarded in experimental psychology with a concentration in human factors.

All the doctoral programs in psychology require courses specific to their own specialty, along with more general psychology courses that are department-wide requirements for graduate students, such as research methods, statistics, and some of the psychological bases of behavior (e.g., biological, cognitive, developmental, social, and historical bases of behavior).

All doctoral students are required to complete a second-year research project or its equivalent (e.g., an empirical master’s thesis), doctoral qualifying exams specific to each doctoral program in the department, and a dissertation. Students in the human factors concentration within experimental psychology also complete numerous practicum courses and an approved internship. Interdisciplinary study with other relevant and cooperating departments/colleges on campus is also available. For example, some psychology doctoral students take elective human sciences courses such as child and adolescent development. Doctoral students with a human factors concentration in experimental psychology may choose engineering topics such as industrial, organizational, and computer engineering.

Application instructions and forms for psychology are available at Deadline for receipt of the complete application for the experimental psychology doctoral program is December 15.

Many graduate courses in psychology—and all graduate courses in psychology with a practicum component—are limited to full-time graduate students who are officially admitted and enrolled in one of the psychology degree graduate programs. Full-time graduate students from other degree programs must get written permission from the instructor before enrolling in a psychology graduate course.