Psychology, PhD

Graduate study in Psychology at Penn emphasizes scholarship and research accomplishment.  The first-year program is divided between courses that introduce various areas of psychology and a focused research experience.  A deep involvement in research continues throughout the graduate program, and is supplemented by participation in seminars, teaching, and general intellectual give-and-take.  Students are admitted into the graduate program as a whole, not into specific subfields. Students and faculty are free to define their fields of interest.  A high level of interaction between students and faculty helps generate both a shared set of interests in the theoretical, historical, and philosophical foundations of psychology and active collaboration in research projects.

The Graduate Group in Psychology is highly distinguished and represents a broad range of work in psychology and includes an APA-approved clinical program. Two regular faculty and two emeritus professors are members of the National Academy of Sciences, and three regular faculty are Fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The Department also includes past presidents of the American Psychological Association, the Society for Judgment and Decision Making, and of the Linguistics Society of America.

Many other faculty, graduate students, and former students have received national awards for excellence in research and teaching. We have strong connections with other disciplines at the University. Our members play pivotal roles in two of the most important interdisciplinary areas on campus, the cognitive sciences and the neurosciences, both of which have been fostered by the Department as a matter of policy.

View the University’s Academic Requirements for PhD Degrees.

Required Courses

A total of 20 course units are required for graduation.

Year 1
Supervised Research
PSYC 699Individual Research for First-Year Graduate Students3
or PSYC 698 Laboratory Rotation
Proseminar Requirement
Select three course units 13
Statistics Requirement
PSYC 611Applied Regression and Analysis of Variance (or Equivalent)1
Select one course unit1
Year 2 and Beyond
Proseminar Requirement
Statistics Requirement
Advanced Statistics Course1
PSYC 999Individual Study and Research (or select 11 course units)11
Total Course Units20

The degree and major requirements displayed are intended as a guide for students entering in the Fall of 2020 and later. Students should consult with their academic program regarding final certifications and requirements for graduation.

Clinical Program Requirements

The clinical training program, nested in the Department, is intended to prepare students for research/academic careers in Clinical Psychology, Psychopathology, or Personality. Clinical training (in assessment, diagnosis and psychotherapy) is seen as an integral part of the education of highly qualified, creative clinical scientists.  Nevertheless, the principal goal of Penn clinical students is to become expert psychologists, not simply expert clinicians, and the program is designed to support that goal. Our program is a member of the Academy of Psychological Clinical Science, a coalition of doctoral training programs that emphasize the scientific basis of clinical psychology and is accredited by the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System. Our membership in the Academy indicates our commitment to empirical research as the basis of theory, assessment, and intervention, and our PCSAS accreditation attests to our success in training clinical students. The program is also accredited by the American Psychological Association. 

For more clinical information:

Proseminars (PSYC 600)
Social Psychology0.5
Developmental (Social & Emotional or Cognitive)0.5
Select one course unit in Brain area1
Select one course unit in Mind area1
PSYC 611Applied Regression and Analysis of Variance1
Advanced Statistics Course 11
PSYC 699Individual Research for First-Year Graduate Students3
Clinical Seminars (PSYC 709)
Ethics and Professional Standards0.5
Empirically Supported Treatments1
Select two other Clinical Seminars2
Additional Courses
PSYC 704Research Methods and Statistical Procedures for Social and Clinical Sciences1
PSYC 810Psychodiagnostic Testing1
PSYC 811Psychodiagnostic Interviewing1
PSYC 815Introductory Practicum1
PSYC 820Advanced Practicum1
Select one integrative course1
Supervision Workshop