The University of Texas at Dallas School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences


Student Discussion in Classroom

The Psychology PhD degree program offers advanced study and research training for students seeking to become leading scientists and scholars in the field. The program encompasses a wide array of specialty areas within Psychology including developmental, cognitive, social and personality psychology and spans the study of both healthy and clinical populations from infancy through older adulthood.

From the start of their training, doctoral students in psychology work closely in research laboratories with faculty mentors. Although the department is highly interdisciplinary, there are three primary areas of research focus. One research area is developmental psychology, which spans topics in children’s social-emotional, cognitive, and language development. A second research area is cognitive psychology, including topics in traditional cognitive psychology such as attention, motivation, perception, learning and memory, and face perception ranging from basic science perspectives to applied approaches including interventions to improve cognitive function. A third research area is social and personality psychology, including work focused on cultural differences in socio-emotional processing, moral decision making, the formation and evolution of interpersonal relationships between romantic partners and friends, and research on health disparities. In addition, a number of research labs conduct research with implications for clinical science, including the effects of stress on health, adolescent mood disorders, and social cognition in autism and schizophrenia populations. We also offer strong training in advanced statistical techniques critical for psychology research including courses on dyadic group analyses, longitudinal growth curve modeling, multilevel modeling, and advanced multivariate analyses.

Doctoral students in psychology benefit from a rich intellectual climate at the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences (BBS), including weekly lectures and research presentations by students, faculty, and visiting scholars. The school hosts an annual colloquium series presented by internationally known scientists, and its four research centers periodically offer symposia and workshops that are freely available to doctoral students. Doctoral students receive funding support for presenting their research at professional meetings and conducting their dissertation research. Finally, doctoral students are provided with a variety of other professional development experiences, including opportunities to develop their teaching skills.

Department of Psychology Faculty


The BBS offices and research facilities are located on the Richardson campus and in centers located in Dallas near the campus of the UT Southwestern Medical Center. Facilities at all locations include classrooms and research laboratories for studies of neuroscience, psychology, and communication across the lifespan in both typical and clinical populations.

The PhD program in psychology offers exceptional research facilities on the Richardson campus, including state-of-the-art laboratories equipped for studies of event-related potentials, eye tracking, infant visual and auditory preferences, child learning and development, parent-child interactions, and adult interpersonal relationships. In addition, the school’s Center for Children and Families, housed at the Callier Center-Richardson location, offers an array of clinical and community outreach activities organized around three main initiatives: promoting healthy families, strengthening interpersonal relationships, and enhancing children’s thinking and learning. Partnerships with area hospitals, clinics, agencies and schools further expand student research opportunities.

Degree Requirements

The PhD program in psychology requires a minimum of 75 semester credit hours beyond the baccalaureate degree. Students declare a concentration in developmental psychology, cognitive psychology, or social/personality psychology. Students are expected to complete the program coursework and research requirements in four to five years. The research requirements include a qualifying thesis research project and a dissertation research project. Students work collaboratively with their faculty mentor and committee to successfully complete both projects.

The UT Dallas graduate catalog provides information on degree requirements for the PhD in psychology. For updates please contact [email protected]. The university’s course look-up site, CourseBook, describes some of the program’s specific courses. The Office of Graduate Studies provides information on academic and other policies.


The psychology admissions committee evaluates applications according to a variety of criteria, including prior GPA, letters of recommendation, quantitative and verbal scores for the Graduate Record Exam (GRE)*, and a close examination of the statement of purpose. Admission is contingent on a match between the research interests of the applicant and faculty. Applicants are strongly encouraged to identify faculty with similar research interests and to contact them about current opportunities for admission.

Typically, applicants have an average undergraduate cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above, and completion of an undergraduate degree in a related major is advisable. Completion of a master’s degree is not required.

Applications to the PhD program must include official transcripts, GRE* scores, three letters of reference from people qualified to evaluate your potential for successful doctoral study, and a statement of purpose detailing your previous research and professional experiences, your current research interests, and your career goals. The statement of purpose is an extremely important part of your application.

International applicants must provide proof of English proficiency via TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE meeting University minimum requirements.

* GRE scores waived for Fall 2022-24 applicants. Submission of GRE scores (general or subject tests) are optional.

To Submit an Application

Please see the enrollment page of the UT Dallas Office of Graduate Admissions for details on how to submit an application to the PhD program in psychology.

Completed applications must be received on or before December 1 for admission the following fall. There are no spring or summer admissions.

You can check the status of your application using the university’s Orion program.

Questions about the application process can be directed to:

Psychology Doctoral Program
School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences
The University of Texas at Dallas
800 W. Campbell Rd., GR41
Richardson, TX 75080
[email protected]

Graduate Application Fee Waiver Program

The Office of Graduate Education and the Office of Admission and Enrollment at The University of Texas at Dallas are pleased to offer a Graduate Application Fee Waiver Program to qualified participants (past or present). To qualify, students must be applying for a PhD or Master’s degree at UT Dallas. Non-degree applicants are not eligible for fee waivers. Only U.S. citizens, or permanent residents, are eligible to request a fee waiver.

Financial Aid

Financial support of full-time doctoral students in psychology is awarded through teaching or research assistantship stipends and tuition scholarships. Admitted students are automatically considered for teaching and research assistant positions.

Other information on financial aid for graduate students is available on the UT Dallas graduate admissions page.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Program Contacts

Program Coordinator

Alice Presti
Office: JO 4.310
Phone: 972-883-2697
[email protected]

For Additional Program Information

Psychology Doctoral Program
School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences
The University of Texas at Dallas
800 W. Campbell Rd., GR41
Richardson, TX 75080
[email protected]

PhD Student Guide

The PhD student guide provides information on policies and procedures in the PhD programs in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences.

Program Resources

Psychology PhD Fast Facts
This document provides a quick, printable overview of the program.

Please visit the Office of Graduate studies for additional information on academic policies, PhD deadlines, PhD forms, guidelines for preparing dissertations, and a profile of characteristics of doctoral programs at UT Dallas.

Student Achievement Data

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