Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology



The Department emphasizes individual research. Students are encouraged to pursue their research interests, working closely with a research advisor, selecting projects, determining appropriate methods of study, and carrying out the research, starting with the first quarter of enrollment. A major feature of the first-year curriculum is the first-year research project, and the year culminates with presentations of these projects by first year students to the entire faculty and graduate student body.


In order to acquire teaching experience, all students are required to participate in the teaching activities of the Department for at least four years (one quarter for the first year and typically two quarters the second through the fourth year).

Program of Study

All students must fulfill all course requirements while registered as graduate students in psychology at UCSD.

The student's first year will include the following:

  • A quantitative methods requirement, satisfied by taking two courses or, for those who have demonstrated complete mastery of graduate statistics by virtue of having already completed such a class, an examination by UCSD Psychology instructors by exception.
  • Completion of four basic proseminar courses (one of which may be postponed until Year 2).
  • A first-year research project, including a paper and an oral presentation to the Department, and completion of teaching requirement (see above).

In addition to the above, four seminars will be completed by the end of the third year of study.

Qualifying Examination

The examination, intended to certify the readiness of the student to conduct thesis research, consists of two parts, including the writing and oral defense of a qualifying paper, and a dissertation thesis proposal, and occurs over the course of a student's third through fourth year.

Yearly Meeting Requirement

To ensure that each student has adequate guidance and support throughout the graduate program, a yearly meeting between the student and faculty is held. Find out more information about this yearly meeting.

Look at a more in depth view of our program requirements.