The Doctoral Program
Program Director: Dr. Curt Carlson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Department of Psychology and Special Education offers a Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Educational Psychology. This program has an interdisciplinary perspective, with a strong foundation in methodology. The focus of the program is human cognition and instruction. Students will acquire an in-depth knowledge of human learning and cognition, instructional strategies, research, and evaluation. This emphasis will prepare students to integrate knowledge of human cognition and instructional practice across a variety of occupational, educational, and content matter domains, with emphasis on applications of learning technologies. For Frequently Asked Questions, click here.
Goals of the Ph.D. program in Educational Psychology
1 Provide students with an understanding of the past, present, and future development of the science of Psychology and the discipline of Educational Psychology.
2 Provide students with the understanding required for ethical decision-making and professional practices in the roles of researcher, student, and Educational Psychologist.
3 Provide students with an understanding of the processes and principles that underlie the discipline and science of Educational Psychology, including cognitive development, learning, cognition, and instructional design.
4 Provide students with the skills and understandings needed to design, execute, and evaluate research.
5 Provide students with an understanding of pedagogy and support the development of the skills needed to select, apply, and evaluate the use of educational technology to assist learning, teaching, and training.
Departmental and Federal financial support is available to graduate students during their training. Financial Aid opportunities exist in the form of scholarships, fellowships, grants, and loans. Funding is available, but highly competitive. (Link to Financial Aid)
The application deadlines are January 31st for fall admission, July 15th for summer admission, and November 15th for spring admission. Applicants are notified in writing of their status after the application review process.
Students should apply for admission to the Graduate School by completing the application form and providing the requested documentation (i.e., transcripts, GRE scores, recommendations, goal statement, resume). It is possible to transfer prior graduate coursework in Psychology, provided that the classes were taken within the time frame outlined by the Graduate School. Only courses that closely match a corresponding course in the curriculum of the Educational Psychology program will be considered for transfer credit.
Admission to the doctoral program in Psychology is competitive because available facilities and faculty do not permit admission of all qualified applicants. Thus, the Department of Psychology and Special Education maintains the right to deny admission to applicants that fail to meet personal or academic admission standards.
The following information is required or recommended by the Department for consideration of admission:
1) Graduate Record Examination:
There is no cut-off or minimum score. However, the following scores are desirable.
GRE quantitative: 550 and higher
GRE verbal for native English speakers: 500 and higher
GRE writing: 4.5 and higher
Applicants are not required to have completed an undergraduate or graduate major in Psychology, nor is any prerequisite graduate coursework required for admission.
a. Applicants holding the master's degree must have an overall grade point average of at least 3.50 on graduate work, exclusive of practicum and thesis grades.
b. For students applying with a completed non-thesis master's degree, completion of the thesis will be required prior to admission to doctoral candidacy (empirical thesis can be completed in our program en route to the dissertation and doctoral candidacy).
Master's to Ph.D. in Psychology
The Department of Psychology and Special Education offers the Master of Science and Master of Arts degrees in Psychology. Students can obtain a 30 hour Master's degree with a thesis or 36 hour degree without a thesis. Most of the coursework completed for the M.A. and M.S. programs may be transferred to the Ph.D. program in Educational Psychology.
Ph.D. Curriculum Description
The University requires 90 hours for all incoming students, regardless of whether or not a Master's degree has been completed (unless an empirical thesis was completed in some area of psychology, which would be reviewed by the doctoral committee prior to admission). However, the cognate (minor) part of the degree plan can be filled with Master's level courses transferred in from another university. The student advisor in the department addresses this during the student's first year in the program.
To meet Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board requirements, no more than 49% of a student's coursework can be taken online and used for credit toward the degree. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT - AT LEAST 51% OF COURSES NEED TO BE TAKEN FACE-TO-FACE IN COMMERCE.
The program has five components: Program Core, Doctoral Tools, Electives, Cognate area, and Research Credits (i.e., thesis and dissertation). More specifically (Italics = online offering):
Program Core: (21 hours – pick 7 courses) (* = recommended as first courses to take)
Psy 505 Introduction to Educational Psychology (or Psy 511 Cognitive Science)*
Psy 509 History and Systems of Psychology
Psy 594 Ethical Issues in Organizations
Psy 618 Group Dynamics*
Psy 620 Human Learning and Cognition*
Psy 621 Advanced Cognition (req 620)
Psy 622 Research and Design (may not be required for students with a thesis in‐hand)*
Psy 625 Cognition and Instruction I
Psy 627 Social Cognition
Psy 675 Advanced Topics in Educational Psychology: (18‐21 hours)
Psy 695 Research Methodology (Doctoral Tools 1)
Psy 612 Introduction to Statistics (Doctoral Tools 2)
Psy 681 Intermediate Statistics (Doctoral Tools 3)
Psy 610 Nonparametric Statistics (Doctoral Tools 4)
OR Psy 670 Multivariate Statistics (Doctoral Tools 4)
Psy 671 Advanced Tests and Measurements (Doctoral Tools 5)
Psy 514 Theories of Human Learning
Psy 515 Neuromechanisms/Biological Bases of Behavior
Psy 517 Introduction to Human‐Computer Interaction Design
Psy 527 Social/Cultural Bases of Behavior
Psy 535 Applied Behavior Analysis
Psy 539 Forensic Psychology
Psy 545 Developmental Psychology
Psy 572 Psychological Assessment and Measurement (if taken prior to 671)
Psy 601 Perception
Psy 605 Single Subject Designs
Psy 626 Cognition and Instruction II (req 625)
Psy 661 Organizational Change and Improvement
Psy 679 Program Evaluation
Psy 680 Professional Development
Psy 689 Directed Independent Study (up to 6 hours)
Cognate Area: (18 hours). The cognate area is similar to a minor. This should be a grouping of courses that ties into an area of specialization relevant to your academic and career goals. This area should be constructed in consultation with the coordinator of the doctoral program. Final approval of the cognate area is in the hands of the coordinator and the Graduate School.
Example Approved Cognate: Computer Science
CS 504 Introduction to Computer Applications
CS 514 Internet Development
CS 515 Fundamentals of Programming (req 504)
CS 520 Information Structures and Algorithm Analysis (req 515)
CS 531 Java Programming (coreq 520)
CS 538 Artificial Intelligence (req 520)
Research Credits: (12‐18 hours)
Psy 518 Thesis (up to 6 hours; required of students without a Master's)
Psy 718 Dissertation (up to 12 hours)
Summer Residency Program
This exists to take some of the burden of taking so many courses face-to-face in Commerce off of students who do not live nearby. The student should keep in mind, however, that, depending upon how much graduate coursework is transferred in, FACE-TO-FACE COURSES MAY NEED TO BE TAKEN IN COMMERCE DURING SPRING OR FALL IN ORDER TO MEET REQUIREMENTS, OR MORE THAN FOUR SUMMER RESIDENCIES MAY NEED TO BE TAKEN. Below is a logical course sequence for the summer residence, but these specific courses will not always be offered in a given summer.
First June at Commerce
Psy 505 Introduction to Educational Psychology OR Psy 511 Cognitive Science
Psy 622 Research and Design
Second June at Commerce
Psy 620 Human Learning and Cognition
Psy 627 Social Cognition
Third June at Commerce
Psy 625 Cognition and Instruction I
Psy 671 Advanced Tests and Measurements OR approved elective substitute
Fourth June at Commerce
Psy 675 Advanced Topics in Educational Psychology
Psy 618 OR approved elective substitute
Opportunities After Graduation
Career opportunities for educational psychologists exist with federal and state educational agencies, national and state legislative groups, regional educational laboratories and research centers, higher education, public and private schools, professional organizations, high technology companies, military, publishers, private funding agencies, medical organizations, and private consulting. Increasing opportunities for educational psychologists are expected in all settings where job training or retraining is required and where technology-assisted learning (including distance education) is employed.