Program Requirements

General Program Requirements:
Number of Credits Required to Earn the Degree: 32-71, depending on area of specialization:

Brain and Cognitive Sciences 132
Clinical Psychology71
Developmental Psychology 132
Social Psychology 132

39 credits required with Neuroscience specialization.

For greater detail on requirements by area of specialization, consult the Departmental Graduate Handbook, found at

Required Courses:

Core Courses
PSY 8011Graduate Statistics I 13
PSY 8015Teaching of Psychology 21
PSY 8021Graduate Statistics II 13
Differing for each area of specialization, select a minimum of four core courses from the following to complete in the first four terms of study: 312
PSY 8012
Core Course in History and Systems of Psychology
PSY 8312
Core Course in Cognitive Psychology
PSY 8412
Core Course in Psychopathology
PSY 8512
Core Course in Developmental Psychology
PSY 8612
Core Course in Social Psychology
PSY 8712
Core Course in Behavioral Neuroscience
Electives and Other Required Courses 4
Non-Didactic Courses 56
PSY 9994
Preliminary Examination Preparation
PSY 9998
Pre-Dissertation Research
PSY 9999
Ph.D. Dissertation Research

Two terms of graduate coursework in Statistics must be successfully completed in the first year of study.


Attendance is required of all first-year graduate students.


Students in the Clinical Psychology area of specialization have five terms to successfully complete a minimum of four core courses.


Specific elective and other courses are required by area of specialization. Students should consult with their advisor.


A minimum of 6 credits is required, with at least 2 of the 6 credits required to be in PSY 9999. The remaining 4 credits can be taken in any combination of PSY 9994, PSY 9998, and PSY 9999. At least one credit of PSY 9999 must be taken in the term of graduation.

Internship: An internship is required for the Clinical Psychology area of specialization.

Culminating Events:
Preliminary Examination:
The purpose of the preliminary examination is to demonstrate critical and interpretive knowledge in a specialized area of Psychology. The exam should be modeled after published literature reviews in the field and evaluated by the criteria applied to reviews that are submitted for publication to scholarly journals. The examination evaluates the student's ability to apply specific research foci to anticipated problems in Psychology. The student must demonstrate a high level of oral and written competency in reviewing, synthesizing, and evaluating an important topic in the field of Psychology.

The preliminary examination is generally completed by the end of the third year of study. The subject areas are determined, in advance, by the student and the Doctoral Advisory Committee. The Doctoral Advisory Committee must include at least three Graduate Faculty members from Temple's Psychology Department. The committee may be expanded to include other Temple Presidential faculty (from inside or outside the Department) and/or doctorally prepared experts from outside the University, provided that a majority of the members of the committee are members of Temple's Graduate Faculty. The Doctoral Advisory Committee evaluates the examination. Each member votes to pass or fail the student. In order to pass, a majority of the committee members must agree that the exam has been satisfactorily completed. The examination is defended orally following an evaluation of the written document.

Students who are preparing to write their preliminary examinations should confirm a time and date with the Chair of the Doctoral Advisory Committee and notify all members of their training program.

The dissertation proposal demonstrates the student's knowledge of and ability to conduct the proposed research. The proposal should consist of the following:

  1. the context and background surrounding a particular research problem;
  2. an exhaustive survey and review of literature related to the problem; and
  3. a detailed methodological plan for investigating the problem.

The Doctoral Advisory Committee evaluates and approves the proposal or requests modifications by the student.

The doctoral dissertation is an original empirical study that makes a significant contribution to the field of Psychology. It should expand the existing knowledge and demonstrate both the student's grasp of research methods and a mastery of her/his primary area of interest. Dissertations should be rigorously investigated; uphold the ethics and standards of the field; demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between the primary area of interest and the broader field of Psychology; and be prepared for publication in a professional journal.

The Dissertation Examining Committee evaluates the student's dissertation and oral defense, including the student's ability to express verbally her/his research question, methodological approach, primary findings, and implications. The Dissertation Examining Committee consists of the Doctoral Advisory Committee plus at least three additional doctorally prepared individuals. The majority of the individuals on the Committee must be members of the Temple University Graduate Faculty. The Dissertation Examining Committee votes to pass or fail the dissertation and the defense at the conclusion of the public presentation.

If a student needs to change a member of either the Doctoral Advisory Committee or the Dissertation Examining Committee, the new member must be approved by the Departmental Chair and registered with the department's Graduate Secretary and the Graduate School.

Students who are preparing to defend their dissertation should confirm a time and date with their Dissertation Examining Committee and register with the Graduate Secretary at least 15 days before the defense is to be scheduled. The Graduate Secretary arranges the time, date, and room within two working days, and forwards to the student the appropriate forms.

After the Graduate Secretary has arranged the time, date, and room for the defense, the student must send to the Graduate School a completed "Announcement of Dissertation Defense" form, found in TUportal under the Tools tab within “University Forms,” at least 10 working days before the defense. The Department posts announcements of the defense, and the Graduate School lists the defense on its website.