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of completion of the M.S. degree. Upon completion of all requirements, students are granted a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in Psychology.

The “oval” on the Colorado State University campus.

once all M.S. requirements have been met, it is included only as part of the Doctoral Program. The Program is designed to be completed in four to five years of full-time enrollment. Students admitted with a master’s degree in psychology can expect to take about three years to complete doctoral requirements.


To attain a firm grounding in experimental methodology, statistical analysis, and cognitive psychology, all students in the Doctoral Program are required to complete a research methods course, a two-semester sequence in statistics, and two foundational (“core”) courses in cognitive psychology. To attain in-depth education and specialization in cognitive psychology and related disciplines, students must also complete at least three specialty seminars in cognitive psychology. Seminars are typically discussion-oriented and cover specific topics of mutual interest to faculty and students or topics of current interest in the field (e.g., Metacognition, Implicit Learning, Cognition and Education, Working Memory, Embodied Cognition, etc.). Students also fulfill a distribution requirement through completion of two core psychology courses from two different areas outside of cognitive psychology. It is expected that most course requirements will be completed during the student's first three years of graduate study.

The Program is designed so that students complete and defend a master's thesis by the end of their second (and no later than their third) year of graduate study. Students who successfully complete the thesis plus at least 32 credits of graduate coursework are granted a Master of Science (M.S.) degree in Psychology. During the third (and no later than the fourth) year of graduate study, students complete a Comprehensive Examination to demonstrate their readiness for continuing with the dissertation. The fourth year of graduate study (and fifth, if necessary) is primarily devoted to completion of the doctoral dissertation. The dissertation and any remaining Program, Department, and University requirements should be completed within two to three years

Research involvement and the development of research skills are an integral part of doctoral training in cognitive psychology. Students must be actively involved in research each semester that they are in the Program and are expected to present (at a colloquium or professional conference) and/or submit (to a professional journal) research in addition to that conducted as part of their thesis and dissertation. Students typically author or co-author several publications and presentations by the time they graduate. New students usually begin research under the supervision of their advisor and then become more independent as their development progresses. Independent Study, Thesis, and Dissertation courses are the mechanism by which academic credit is given for research.

Students develop teaching skills and get direct teaching experience by virtue of the Program's teaching requirement. All students are required to teach one semester of two different laboratory courses from our undergraduate offerings in cognitive psychology, cognitive neuroscience, physiological psychology, and sensation and perception. The student is given primary responsibility for the day-to-day teaching of the course, but is supervised and mentored by a faculty member.

To promote the development of communication and presentation skills and to encourage scholarly interaction with faculty and peers, students are expected to participate in our weekly brownbag meeting each semester throughout their graduate training. Credit for this activity is attained through enrollment in a course entitled Current Issues in Cognitive and Neural Sciences.


All students admitted to the Doctoral Program in Cognitive Psychology are expected to complete the following course requirements:

  • 1.

    A two-semester sequence in statistics.

  • 2.

    An advanced research methods course entitled

Research Issues and Models.

  • 3.

    Two foundational (“core”) courses selected from Cognitive Processes, Human Learning and Memory, Human Performance, and Sensation & Perception.

  • 4.

    Two core courses taken from two different areas outside of cognitive psychology (e.g., Cognitive Neuroscience, History & Systems, Neuropsychology, Social Psychology).

5. A minimum of three specialty seminars in cognitive psychology.

Cognitive Psychology at CSU Page 3

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