Psychology - Experimental (PhD)

Admission Requirements

We take a holistic approach to reviewing prospective student applications. Applicants who are admitted to our program typically possess the following qualifications, but they are not required: 

  • Complete graduate admissions application
  • Undergraduate GPAs of 3.0 or higher
  • GRE Verbal and Quantitative scores in the 50th percentile or higher
  • Strong letters of recommendation that speak to the applicant’s scholarly ability and potential to succeed in a doctoral program
  • A match between the applicant's and faculty mentor's research interests
  • A psychology or neuroscience major

All applicants will be considered without discrimination on the basis of differences in age, ethnic or racial background, gender, physical abilities, sexual orientation or preference, or social background. Our program values diversity and has accepted applicants that vary on the above characteristics. 

For more information, please visit our program's Application Instructions page.

Program Requirements

Statistics Core6
Students are required to take the following two courses:
Advanced Statistics I
Advanced Statistics II
Program Core6
Students are required to take two of the following courses:
Cognitive Processes
Sensation and Perception
Behavioral Neuroscience
Principles of Neuroscience
Advanced Developmental Psychology
Electives 115
Students are required to take five additional 600-level or above graduate seminars/courses
Other Course Requirements33
Research in Experimental Psychology (PSYC 602-02, required first fall semester) 2
Research in Experimental Psychology (PSYC 602-01, repeated until in doctoral candidacy) 3
Independent Study (Research) (Repeated until in doctoral candidacy) 4
Dissertation Research 5
Doctoral Candidacy
Minimum Total Hours60

Students who take more than two of the Program Core courses listed above may count the additional core courses as electives.


In this weekly 50-minute proseminar, faculty will rotate giving presentations on the research methods used in their labs and research areas.


The weekly 50-minute Brown Bag provides a forum for students and faculty to present completed or ongoing research. 


Students are required to register for PSYC 605 Independent Study (Research) with the student's graduate research mentor every semester until the Preliminary Examination is successfully completed.


Upon passing the preliminary examination, students must maintain continuous enrollment at the University of Louisville until receiving their degree in one of two ways:

  1. Enrolling in classes and/or PSYC 701 (Dissertation Research), OR
  2. Enrolling in DOCT 600 Doctoral Candidacy.

Master of Science in Experimental Psychology

Students are required to earn a Master of Science in Experimental Psychology. To earn the MS degree, with an approval of the student’s mentor, the student will prepare a portfolio of written work featuring research efforts and training primarily undertaken as a graduate student in the program at the University of Louisville.  The portfolio should demonstrate scope and quality of research commensurate with the degree.  The portfolio is typically completed in or after the summer of the second year and must be approved by the student’s Master’s Portfolio Committee. 

After approval of the MS portfolio and completion of 45 credit hours of graduate study, including the Statistics and Program Core, the student is awarded the Master of Science degree.

Preliminary Examination

The Preliminary Examination consists of an original written review and critique of a research area. The Preliminary Examination will be evaluated based on the breadth of knowledge, integration of literature, critical thinking, and quality of scientific writing. Students will plan the preliminary examination in collaboration with their mentors and Preliminary Examination Committees. The Preliminary Examination is typically completed by the end of the third year of training.


An original research project conducted and described in a report (the doctoral dissertation) by the student.  The dissertation is conducted in consultation with a faculty committee and must be approved by the committee.