Psychology (PhD)

The goal of the Psychology Department's doctoral program is to familiarize students with the theories and methods of psychology in their own and other specialties, so they will be able to make original contributions in research, teaching, and applied work.

The Ph.D. is a research and scholarly degree, and it is expected that students will be engaged in research throughout their graduate program. The ultimate goal of the graduate curriculum is to enable students to formulate interesting research questions and to put those questions to adequate empirical test. Therefore, student research is a basic and integral component of graduate work.

The research areas of study include:

  • Clinical
  • Cognitive/Neuroscience
  • Developmental
  • Social/Personality
  • Systems Neuroscience
Graduate students in the Psychology program have a variety of professional goals. Our general learning outcomes and assessments are listed below, but these may vary in their detail according to the primary career aims of the student. Details on the Psychology Graduate Programs, including the departmental requirements meant to achieve the learning outcomes listed below, are provided in the Psychology Graduate Handbook and in the Guide to the UO Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program, both posted on the Psychology Department website (

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this program, students will be able to:

  • Professional Ethics: Demonstrate knowledge of ethical and professional behavior related to academic and research integrity.
  • Core Knowledge: Demonstrate a broad working knowledge of major theories, research findings and methodological approaches in multiple content areas within Psychology (Developmental Psychology, Social/Personality, Clinical Psychology, Cognitive Neuroscience, Systems Neuroscience).
  • Data Analysis: Demonstrate a broad working knowledge of analytical and statistical techniques.
  • Scientific Inquiry: Achieve a deep fluency in the scientific literature and compelling questions within a primary field of research, and achieve proficiency in relevant experimental design, methodology, and data analysis/statistical methods.
  • Scientific Communication: Demonstrate effective oral and written scientific communication skills.
  • Teaching and Mentoring: Gain experience and skills in teaching and mentoring.

In addition to the learning outcomes specified above for all Ph.D. students, the Clinical Psychology Graduate Program has additional (somewhat overlapping) learning outcomes that are specified by the American Psychological Association's Commission on Accreditation. These additional learning outcomes are split into two categories, Discipline Specific Knowledge and Profession-wide Competencies: 

Discipline Specific Knowledge 

  • History and Systems of Psychology: Demonstrate a broad working knowledge of the intellectual and social history of Psychology, including the origins and development of major ideas within the discipline. 
  • Basic Content Areas in Scientific Psychology: Demonstrate a broad working knowledge of major theories, research findings and methodological approaches in basic content areas within Psychology (Affective, Biological, Cognitive, Developmental and Social aspects of behavior). 
  •  Advance Integrative Knowledge: Demonstrate a broad working knowledge of the manner in which the basic content areas within Psychology interrelate. 
  • Research Methods, Statistical Analysis, and Psychometrics: Demonstrate a broad working knowledge of research methods, analytical and statistical techniques, and the theories and techniques of psychological measurement. 

Profession-Wide Competencies 

1. Research 

  • Demonstrate the substantially independent ability to formulate research or other scholarly activities (e.g., critical literature reviews, dissertation, efficacy studies, clinical case studies, theoretical papers, program evaluation projects, program development projects) that are of sufficient quality and rigor to have the potential to contribute to the scientific, psychological, or professional knowledge base.  
  • Conduct research or other scholarly activities. 
  • Critically evaluate and disseminate research or other scholarly activity via professional publication and presentation at the local (including the host institution), regional, or national level. 

2. Ethical/Legal 

  • Be knowledgeable of and act in accordance with each of the following:  
    • The current version of the APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct;  
    • Relevant laws, regulations, rules, and policies governing health service psychology at the organizational, local, state, regional, and federal levels; and  
    • Relevant professional standards and guidelines. 
  • Recognize ethical dilemmas as they arise, and apply ethical decision-making processes in order to resolve the dilemmas. 
  • Conduct self in an ethical manner in all professional activities. 

3. Individual/Cultural Diversity 

  • An understanding of how their own personal/cultural history, attitudes, and biases may affect how they understand and interact with people different from themselves. 
  • Knowledge of the current theoretical and empirical knowledge base as it relates to addressing diversity in all professional activities including research, training, supervision/consultation, and service.  
  • The ability to integrate awareness and knowledge of individual and cultural differences in the conduct of professional roles (e.g., research, services, and other professional activities). This includes the ability apply a framework for working effectively with areas of individual and cultural diversity not previously encountered over the course of their careers. Also included is the ability to work effectively with individuals whose group membership, demographic characteristics, or worldviews create conflict with their own. 
  • Demonstrate the requisite knowledge base, ability to articulate an approach to working effectively with diverse individuals and groups, and apply this approach effectively in their professional work. 

4. Professional Values/Attitudes 

  • Behave in ways that reflect the values and attitudes of psychology, including integrity, deportment, professional identity, accountability, lifelong learning, and concern for the welfare of others.
  • Engage in self-reflection regarding one’s personal and professional functioning; engage in activities to maintain and improve performance, well-being, and professional effectiveness. 
  • Actively seek and demonstrate openness and responsiveness to feedback and supervision. 
  • Respond professionally in increasingly complex situations with a greater degree of independence as they progress across levels of training. 

5. Communication/Interpersonal Skills 

  • Develop and maintain effective relationships with a wide range of individuals, including colleagues, communities, organizations, supervisors, supervisees, and those receiving professional services. 
  • Produce and comprehend oral, nonverbal, and written communications that are informative and well-integrated; demonstrate a thorough grasp of professional language and concepts. 
  • Demonstrate effective interpersonal skills and the ability to manage difficult communication well. 

6. Assessment 

  • Select and apply assessment methods that draw from the best available empirical literature and that reflect the science of measurement and psychometrics; collect relevant data using multiple sources and methods appropriate to the identified goals and questions of the assessment as well as relevant diversity characteristics of the service recipient. 
  • Interpret assessment results, following current research and professional standards and guidelines, to inform case conceptualization, classification, and recommendations, while guarding against decision-making biases, distinguishing the aspects of assessment that are subjective from those that are objective. 
  • Communicate orally and in written documents the findings and implications of the assessment in an accurate and effective manner sensitive to a range of audiences. 

7. Intervention 

  • Establish and maintain effective relationships with the recipients of psychological services. 
  • Develop evidence-based intervention plans specific to the service delivery goals. 
  • Implement interventions informed by the current scientific literature, assessment findings, diversity characteristics, and contextual variables. 
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply the relevant research literature to clinical decision making. 
  • Modify and adapt evidence-based approaches effectively when a clear evidence-base is lacking. 
  • Evaluate intervention effectiveness, and adapt intervention goals and methods consistent with ongoing evaluation. 

8. Supervision 

  • Demonstrate knowledge of supervision models and practices. 

9. Consultation and Interprofessional/Interdisciplinary Skills 

  • Demonstrate knowledge and respect for the roles and perspectives of other professions. 
  • Demonstrate knowledge of consultation models and practices.  

Doctoral Degree Programs

The five chief PhD program options are clinical, cognitive-neuroscience, systems neuroscience, developmental, and social-personality.

The department maintains a psychology clinic; specialized facilities for child and social research; experimental laboratories for human research, and well-equipped animal laboratories.

Applicants to the PhD program in psychology must take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and provide official results to institute code 4846 and department code 2016. Applicants must also provide three letters of recommendation, curriculum vitae, writing sample, statement of purpose, and official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended. Instructions, deadlines, and a complete list of required materials may be obtained from the department website.

During the first year of graduate work, students acquire a broad background in psychology and are introduced to methods, research, and ethics. Each student’s program is planned in relation to background, current interests, and future goals. Research experience and a dissertation are required of PhD candidates; teaching experience is recommended, and opportunities to teach are available. 

Requirements for Doctoral Students

PSY 611–613Data Analysis I-III12
Three of five core courses
PSY 607Seminar: [Topic] (three terms: Research, Ethics, Research)1-5
First-year research requirement
Supporting area requirement
Major preliminary examination
Additional course work required for students in the clinical program 1
Doctoral dissertation