Psychological Sciences

Department Head

Professor James Green

Associate Department Head and Coordinator of Research and Resources

Professor Janet Barnes-Farrell 

Associate Department Head and Coordinator of Undergraduate Studies

Associate Professor James Chrobak

Associate Department Head and Coordinator of Graduate Studies

Professor Etan Markus 

Distinguished Professors

Fein, Fisher, Johnson, and Salamone

Professors

Altmann, Barton, Blanton, Burton, Cruess, Dixon, Fitch, Gibbons, Kalichman, Large, Leach, Magley, Magnuson, Marsh, Miller, Naigles, Park, Pratto, Pugh, Quinn, Sehulster, Swadlow, Volgushev

Associate Professors

Astur, Burke, Eigsti, Frank, Gorin, Henning, Levy, Mellor, Milan, Read, Rueckl, Tabor, Treadwell, Williams

Assistant Professors

Chen, Coppola, Cuevas, Dalal, Davis, Landi, Myers, Ramirez-Esparza, Sheya, Smith, Stevenson, Yee

Other Faculty

Agocha, Anastas, Fenster, Gerrard, Gustafson, Kleinman, Lundquist, McRoberts, Molfese

The Department of Psychological Sciences offers study leading to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Psychological Sciences with concentrations in the several areas described below. There is a pervading emphasis on the acquisition of a general background in research findings and theoretical interpretations. All students are expected to conduct independent research projects prior to their dissertation research. Opportunities are provided for pre-professional experience in undergraduate teaching, research on grant-supported projects, and research and applied opportunities with clinical agencies.  The Departmental website is http://psych.uconn.edu/.

Behavioral Neuroscience

This area of concentration offers study that focuses on the biological basis of behavior, through research participation, seminars, and formal course work. Research programs make use of a variety of approaches – of neurophysiology, neurochemistry, neuroanatomy, genetics, ethology, neuroendocrinology, and behavioral analysis – to study problems in sensation, perception, emotion, motivation, learning, motor activity, aggression, sex differences, reproductive behavior, communication, brain lateralization, and the organization of sensory cortex.

Clinical Psychology

The clinical program is designed to produce psychologists able to work on a scientific and professional level, with special competence in research, psychological assessment, and therapy. At least one year of internship at an approved facility is required. The program has APA accreditation. The program emphasizes both child/family and adult interventions and provides opportunity to pursue concentration in child psychology, health psychology, and neuropsychology.

Developmental Psychology

The program provides training in how experiential and maturational processes, broadly defined, continually influence each other to shape developmental trajectories and outcomes. Current faculty members are unified by a focus on the critical role that contexts play in the processes that govern the emergence and organization of behavior during development. Emphasis is on breadth of training in developmental content areas, including the development of auditory processing, the perceptual abilities of typically developing infants and consequences of deprivation, socioemotional development in the contexts of peer relationships and parent-child interaction, the acquisition and emergence of linguistic structure and meaning, and similarities and differences in the development of typical and atypical children.

Perception/Action/Cognition

Two areas of specialized study are offered: (1) the ecological approach to perception and action, and (2) language and cognition. Facilities exist for research and training on many topics, including: the perceptual control of action, coordinated movement, psycholinguistics, speech perception and production, neurobiological and psychophysical studies, and the philosophical and theoretical foundations of perception, action, and cognition. Emphasis in psycholinguistics is provided in cooperation with the Department of Linguistics.

Industrial/Organizational Psychology

This area of concentration is concerned with the application of psychological methods and principles to understanding human behavior in work settings. Students can choose to emphasize personnel psychology, organizational psychology, occupational health psychology, or human factors/ergonomics in their research and course work. All students take the same core courses in the first year of study, and all students are required to be actively engaged in research during their entire course of study. An approved one-year field research experience is required.

Neurosciences

This is an interdisciplinary area of concentration. Neuroscience is concerned with the structural and functional characteristics of the nervous system and its relation to the adaptive physiology and behavior of the organism. Students in this program may approach the full range of neuroscience studies through courses and research at the cellular, systemic, and organismic levels. A particular strength of the area is the analysis of behavior, its development, and its neurological bases. This area of concentration is offered in the fields of study of biobehavioral science, pharmaceutical science, physiology, and psychological sciences. Application is made to the preferred field of study, but the applicant must be acceptable to the Neurosciences Committee.

Social Psychology

The Social Psychology program emphasizes theory-based approaches to social issues (e.g., health, inequality, politics, discrimination) with multiple theoretical perspectives, methods, and levels of analysis (individual, dyad, group, intergroup, culture, society, world, ecology).  Thus, the curriculum integrates rigor with relevance. A recent comparison ranked the program 11th in citation impact in the U.S. (Nosek et al., 2010), reflecting the intense research activity of the faculty, students, and staff.  In addition to a wide range of extramural and intramural funding, graduate training is supported by a National Institute of Mental Health training grant in the social processes of HIV/AIDS.

Admission Requirements

Well qualified candidates are encouraged to apply for the Ph.D. program. Requirements for admission include basic courses in statistics, general psychology, and any of several sub-areas within psychology. Applicants must present scores on the three parts of the general Graduate Record Examination (GRE).

The online application for admission may be accessed through the Graduate School website at: http://grad.uconn.edu/prospective-students/applying-to-uconn/. There is not a separate application for Psychological Sciences; however, the Psychological Sciences Department requires application materials in addition to the materials required by the Graduate School. The Psychological Sciences Department PhD program admissions requirements and procedures may be found on the department website at: http://grad.psych.uconn.edu/prospective/phd/application-requirements/.

The application deadline for all programs is December 1st. Some programs allow applications to be submitted after December 1st, however these applications may not receive preferential status for financial support. Application deadlines for all programs can be found at http://grad.psych.uconn.edu/prospective/phd/application-deadlines/. For questions regarding graduate programs, please send an email to psychgrad@uconn.edu or call 860-486-3515.

Facilities

Research facilities include multiple research laboratories for conducting research in the various sub-areas of psychological sciences. Capabilities include video, body and eye tracking analysis, large scale surveys, infant and child labs, human EEG, ERP, transcranial magnetic stimulation, and MRI, theoretical and computer modeling, dedicated space for the recording and analysis of social interaction with digital video, a virtual reality lab in CHIP, and animal laboratories.  Developmental research is carried out both at laboratories in Psychological Sciences, via cooperative relationships with the Child Development Laboratories in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, and with a number of local school systems across the State of Connecticut, as well as the Kids in Developmental Science (KIDS) cross disciplinary resource for community engagement and recruitment: http://kids.uconn.edu/. In addition, there are research collaborations across departments, and at affiliated research institutions such as Haskins Laboratories (New Haven), the Institute of Living (Hartford), the Institute for Systems Genomics, the University of Connecticut Health Center (Farmington), and Jackson Labs (Farmington and Bar-Harbor).  Psychological Sciences recently (2013) completed a $24 million renovation and expansion plan.  The new space includes the Psychological Services Clinic, an on-site training clinic which provides therapy and assessment services to children, adults and families from the local community. The Clinic includes nine treatment rooms equipped with state of the art sound proofing and video-recording equipment, several staff offices and secure records storage. Additional resources include the new UConn Brain Imaging Research Center (BIRC), a 3200 sq. foot suite for imaging design acquisition and analysis that features a 3T scanner for functional MRI as well as diffusion tensor imaging, magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) and simultaneous EEG and MRI recording (http://birc.uconn.edu/).

A wide variety of off-site locations are available for clerkship, practicum and intern training in clinical and industrial-organizational psychology, and for work experience for advanced students in other sub-disciplines. These resources include several national corporations, VA hospitals, community clinics, and trauma centers. Opportunities for work with developmentally disabled individuals living in the community also exist.

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