Learn more about the Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology.

About the Program

The Psychology program offers advanced study leading to the doctoral degree. Training is directed toward excellence in scholarship, research, teaching and practical applications. The focus of the Psychology PhD program varies depending on the area of specialization into which the student enters. 

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 7 years

Campus Location: Main

Full-Time/Part-Time Status: Full-time study is required.

Interdisciplinary Study: The program encourages interdisciplinary coursework.

Ranking: The program has been consistently ranked among the very best Psychology doctoral programs.

Accreditation: The American Psychological Association and Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System have accredited the Clinical Psychology area of specialization. Other areas of specialization do not undergo accreditation.

Areas of Specialization: The four areas of specialization include:

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Cognition and Neuroscience
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Social Psychology

Job Prospects: The program is dedicated to producing well-trained psychologists with the PhD who work in academic, applied and industry settings.

Licensure/Certification: The field of Clinical Psychology requires licensure for its practice.

Non-Matriculated Student Policy: The permission of the instructor is required for non-matriculated students to take PhD courses. The exception is 8000-level courses, which are not open to non-matriculated students.

Financing Opportunities: Both Teaching and Research Assistantships carry a stipend, full tuition remission (up to 12 credits per term depending on year and specialization), and health insurance benefits. The principal duties of a Teaching Assistant (TA) include assisting faculty members in classroom (field and observatory) instruction, conducting tutorials and discussion sections, and grading. A Research Assistant (RA) is expected to devote 20 hours per week on average to research obligations. An RA is assigned to a faculty member or principal investigator who is working on a specific research project. 

Admission Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadline:

Fall Admission Only:

  • November 15 – Clinical Psychology
  • December 1 – Cognition and Neuroscience, Developmental Psychology, and Social Psychology

Applications are not evaluated until after the deadline has passed.

All applicants to the Psychology PhD program must apply through the online application for the College of Liberal Arts at Temple University.

Fee waivers are available on a first-come, first-served basis for applicants who identify as members of groups underrepresented in academia or who meet NIH guidelines for socioeconomically disadvantaged students. Applicants should complete the application up to the point of payment and then fill out the waiver request form found at Please address any questions about the process by emailing

Letters of Reference:
Number Required: 3

From Whom: Letters of recommendation should be obtained from college/university faculty members and/or employers familiar with the applicant's academic competence.

Coursework Required for Admission Consideration: Applicants to the doctoral program must hold a BA or BS degree and have completed at least four 3-credit courses in Psychology, a statistics course, and one laboratory course in the sciences. A natural sciences laboratory course is also recommended.

Master's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline: A master's degree is not required.

Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline: A baccalaureate degree in Psychology is strongly recommended. Depending on the area of interest, a bachelor's degree in a biology-related discipline may be appropriate.

Statement of Goals: In approximately 500 to 1,000 words, state your interest in Temple's program and outline your research goals, future career goals, and academic and research achievements. This statement should also identify your first, second and third choice of faculty with whom you are applying to work. If your choice of potential faculty mentor is not included, your application may not receive full review.

Standardized Test Scores:
GRE General Test: Optional. Scores may be submitted if available. Note that if applying for the Clinical Psychology area, GRE scores will not be considered in admissions decisions. Applications for the Cognition and Neuroscience, Developmental Psychology, and Social Psychology areas will receive equal consideration with or without GRE scores.

GRE Subject Test in Psychology: Not required.

Applicants who earned their baccalaureate degree from an institution where the language of instruction was other than English, with the exception of those who subsequently earned a master’s degree at a U.S. institution, must report scores for a standardized test of English that meet these minimums:

  • TOEFL iBT: 105
  • IELTS Academic: 7.0
  • PTE Academic: 72

Advanced Standing: A student enrolled in the Psychology PhD program may, with the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies in Psychology, transfer as many as 9 credits of coursework taken elsewhere. To be so approved, the courses must be deemed appropriate to stand as part of the student's training in the PhD program, and the student must have received a grade of "B" or higher in the course(s). Final approval of advanced standing credits is given by the Office of the Dean, College of Liberal Arts, on recommendation from the Director of Graduate Studies in Psychology. The maximum number of advanced standing credits awarded is 9.

Program Requirements

General Program Requirements:
Number of Credits Required to Earn the Degree: 32-68, depending on area of specialization1:

Clinical Psychology68
Cognition and Neuroscience 232
Developmental Psychology 232
Social Psychology 232

For greater detail on requirements by area of specialization, consult the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience Graduate Handbook, found at


39 credits required with the Neuroscience specialization.

Required Courses:

Area of Specialization in Clinical Psychology

Core Courses
PSY 8011Graduate Statistics I 13
PSY 8015Teaching of Psychology0
PSY 8017Professional Issues for Psychology Careers0
PSY 8021Graduate Statistics II 13
PSY 8410Multicultural Issues in Clinical Psychology3
PSY 8411Cognitive-Behavioral Therapies3
PSY 8412Core Course in Psychopathology3
PSY 8413Psychological Assessment I3
PSY 8423Psychological Assessment II3
PSY 8433Clinical Psychology: Scientific and Professional Dimensions3
PSY 8481Social, Cognitive, and Developmental Aspects of Behavior3
PSY 9187Clinical Practicum 23
PSY 9287Clinical Practicum 23
PSY 9387Clinical Practicum 23
PSY 9411Clinical Research Methodology3
PSY 9485Ph.D. Internship Course2
PSY 9487Clinical Practicum 23
PSY 9987Assessment Practicum6
Bio-integrative Course 33
Clinical Elective3
General Electives6
Research Courses 46
Preliminary Examination Preparation
Pre-Dissertation Research
Ph.D. Dissertation Research
Total Credit Hours68

Two terms of graduate coursework in Statistics must be successfully completed in the first year of study.


Students must complete 12 credits of Clinical Practicum, including PSY 9187, PSY 9287, PSY 9387, and PSY 9487.


The bio-integrative course is selected from the departmental list of approved courses.


A minimum of 6 credits is required, with at least 2 of the 6 credits required to be in PSY 9999. The remaining 4 credits can be taken in any combination of PSY 9994, PSY 9998, and PSY 9999. At least one credit of PSY 9999 must be taken in the academic term or summer session of graduation.

Areas of Specialization in Cognition and Neuroscience, Developmental Psychology, and Social Psychology

Core Courses
PSY 8011Graduate Statistics I 13
PSY 8015Teaching of Psychology1
PSY 8017Professional Issues for Psychology Careers1
PSY 8021Graduate Statistics II 13
Electives and Topical Seminars18
Research Courses 26
Preliminary Examination Preparation
Pre-Dissertation Research
Ph.D. Dissertation Research
Total Credit Hours32

Two terms of graduate coursework in Statistics must be successfully completed in the first year of study.


A minimum of 6 credits is required, with at least 2 of the 6 credits required to be in PSY 9999. The remaining 4 credits can be taken in any combination of PSY 9994, PSY 9998, and PSY 9999. At least one credit of PSY 9999 must be taken in the academic term or summer session of graduation.

Optional Concentration in Quantitative Methods

Number of Credits Required to Complete the Optional Concentration: 3

Coursework taken as part of the Psychology PhD
Graduate Statistics I
Graduate Statistics II
Two Advanced Multivariate Methods courses 1
Coursework required outside of the Psychology PhD 2
PSY 8031Survey of Multivariate Techniques3
Total Credit Hours3

To complete this requirement, students opt to take PSY 8032 Structural Equation Modeling and PSY 8033 Hierarchical Linear Modeling in lieu of elective or seminar courses required for the Psychology PhD. With the permission of the Graduate Director, an advanced statistics course may be selected instead of PSY 8033.


In addition, students are required to demonstrate the ability to teach statistics. This is done by serving as the: (a) primary instructor for an undergraduate-level statistics course, such as Introductory Statistics; (b) instructor of a recitation section for undergraduate statistics; or (c) teaching assistant for a statistics course at the graduate level. Alternately, students may present a cumulative total of 9 to 12 hours of workshop material on statistics in multiple workshops on the same or different statistical topics for the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience. At least three hours should be didactic, with the remaining hours in consulting. Students prepare a plan to address these hours. Note that serving as a grader for a statistics course is insufficient for satisfying the teaching requirement for this concentration.

Internship: An internship is required for the Clinical Psychology area of specialization.

Culminating Events:
Preliminary Examination:
The purpose of the preliminary examination is to demonstrate critical and interpretive knowledge in a specialized area of Psychology. The exam should be modeled after published literature reviews in the field and evaluated by the criteria applied to reviews that are submitted for publication to scholarly journals. The examination evaluates the student's ability to apply specific research foci to anticipated problems in Psychology. The student must demonstrate a high level of oral and written competency in reviewing, synthesizing and evaluating an important topic in the field of Psychology.

The preliminary examination is generally completed by the end of the third year of study. The subject areas are determined, in advance, by the student and the Doctoral Advisory Committee. The Doctoral Advisory Committee must include at least three Graduate Faculty members from Temple's Department of Psychology and Neuroscience. The committee may be expanded to include other Temple Presidential faculty (from inside or outside the department) and/or doctorally prepared experts from outside the University, provided that a majority of the members of the committee are members of Temple's Graduate Faculty. The Doctoral Advisory Committee evaluates the examination. Each member votes to pass or fail the student. In order to pass, a majority of the committee members must agree that the exam has been satisfactorily completed. The examination is defended orally following an evaluation of the written document.

Students who are preparing to write their preliminary examinations should confirm a time and date with the Chair of the Doctoral Advisory Committee and notify all members of their training program.

The dissertation proposal demonstrates the student's knowledge of and ability to conduct the proposed research. The proposal should consist of the following:

  1. the context and background surrounding a particular research problem;
  2. an exhaustive survey and review of literature related to the problem; and
  3. a detailed methodological plan for investigating the problem.

The Doctoral Advisory Committee evaluates and approves the proposal or requests modifications by the student.

The doctoral dissertation is an original empirical study that makes a significant contribution to the field of Psychology. It should expand the existing knowledge and demonstrate both the student's grasp of research methods and a mastery of their primary area of interest. Dissertations should be rigorously investigated; uphold the ethics and standards of the field; demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between the primary area of interest and the broader field of Psychology; and be prepared for publication in a professional journal.

The Dissertation Examining Committee evaluates the student's dissertation and oral defense, including the student's ability to express verbally their research question, methodological approach, primary findings and implications. The Dissertation Examining Committee consists of the Doctoral Advisory Committee plus at least three additional doctorally prepared individuals. The majority of the individuals on the Committee must be members of the Temple University Graduate Faculty. The Dissertation Examining Committee votes to pass or fail the dissertation and the defense at the conclusion of the public presentation.

If a student needs to change a member of either the Doctoral Advisory Committee or the Dissertation Examining Committee, the new member must be approved by the Departmental Chair and registered with the department's Graduate Secretary and the Graduate School.

Students who are preparing to defend their dissertation should confirm a time and date with their Dissertation Examining Committee and register with the Graduate Secretary at least 15 days before the defense is to be scheduled. The Graduate Secretary arranges the time, date and room within two working days, and forwards to the student the appropriate forms.

After the Graduate Secretary has scheduled the defense, the student must send to the Graduate School a completed "Announcement of Dissertation Defense" form, found in TUportal under the Tools tab within "University Forms," at least 10 working days before the defense. The department posts announcements of the defense, and the Graduate School lists the defense on its website.


Program Web Address:

Department Information:

Dept. of Psychology and Neuroscience

Weiss Hall

1701 N. 13th Street

Philadelphia, PA 19122-6085


Submission Address for Application Materials:

Department Contacts:

Clinical Psychology Admissions Director:

Dr. Lauren Alloy

Cognition and Neuroscience Admissions Director:

Dr. Thomas F. Shipley

Developmental Psychology Director:

Dr. Elizabeth Gunderson

Social Psychology Director:

Dr. Ingrid Olson

Associate Chair:

Dr. Peter James


Director of Graduate Studies:

Dr. Lisa Briand



Dr. Peter Marshall