Aug 18, 2022  
OHIO University Graduate Catalog 2019-20 
OHIO University Graduate Catalog 2019-20 [Archived Catalog]

Psychology - PHD (Experimental - I/O)

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Degree Title and Name:  Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology – Experimental

Program Name and Number:  Psychology – Experimental (PH4103); Industrial/Organizational specialization (PH4106)

Department/Unit:  Department of Psychology

Delivery Mode:  Athens Campus

Term(s) of Entry:  Fall

Program Overview:  The experimental psychology program focuses on a scientific investigation of normal psychological processes. The purpose of the five-year program of study is to prepare students for scholarly work as well as basic and applied research in these processes.

Program requirements include coursework in a broad array of content areas, although students work closely with their faculty advisors to plan programs of study that reflect their own professional interests and goals. As part of their training, students will be expected to complete extensive coursework in statistics and research methodology, reflecting our belief that students who develop skills in these areas will be better prepared to tackle both basic and applied research problems in psychology.

Throughout their graduate study, students are expected to be actively involved in research. This includes completing a master’s thesis and doctoral dissertation. Because of the commitment of the faculty in the experimental psychology program to collaborative, cross-disciplinary research, students often engage in research partnerships with faculty and students outside of their own areas of specialization. Students typically take five years to complete their on-campus requirements for graduation.


  • Cognitive Psychology - The strength of this specialization is in the formal modeling of cognitive process, including those involved in perception, conception, learning, and decision making. Because of the emphasis on interdisciplinary research in this department, faculty and students in the Cognitive Psychology specialization often engage in collaborative research partnerships with faculty from other specializations and disciplines. The primary goal of this specialization is to train psychologists who are capable of conducting rigorous research in cognitive psychology. Under the guidance of their advisors, all students become actively involved in research beginning with their first semester. Throughout their graduate training, students are expected to spend the majority of their time actively engaged in research. As part of their training, students will be expected to complete extensive coursework in statistics, mathematical modeling, and research methodology. We believe that students who develop skills in these areas will be better prepared to tackle both basic and applied research problems in cognitive psychology.
  • Health Psychology – Health psychologists are devoted to understanding the impact of psychological factors on health and illness. Health psychologists share an interest in the promotion and maintenance of health and the prevention of physical and mental illness; psychological aspects of the diagnosis and management of physical and mental illness; psychosocial, emotional, and behavioral consequences of physical and mental illness; and the improvement of the health-care system and formulation of health policy. Students who elect the health psychology specialization in experimental psychology must complete all of the general requirements for the experimental psychology doctoral program. Specialization-specific requirements include courses or seminars of particular relevance to health psychology, and supervised research experience in an area of health psychology.
  • Industrial/Organizational Psychology (PH4106) – This specialization provides broad training in both Industrial and Organizational topics, while fostering integration with the other specialties within the department (e.g., cognitive, health, and social psychology). The I/O specialization follows the scientist/practitioner model and our goal is to prepare the student for both academic and applied positions, but with an emphasis on training scholars to conduct research. Both independent and collaborative research projects with faculty members are required. To these ends, students are expected to complete courses in statistics, research methods, and basic and advanced seminars in I/O and other areas of psychology. These psychology and I/O courses provide substantial training in the psychology of human resource management (i.e., personnel) and organizational behavior. I/O students can participate in the applied quantitative concentration to hone statistical, measurement, or computational modeling skills. A supervised practicum is encouraged after students complete their comprehensive exams. Students may pursue personal interests through seminars, other courses in the Department of Psychology, and courses elsewhere in the university, including the College of Business.
  • Social Psychology - The strength of the social psychology specialty is in social cognition and social judgment. The primary goal of this specialization is to train psychologists who are capable of conducting high-quality research in social psychology. Under the guidance of their advisors, all students become actively involved in research beginning with their first semester. Throughout their graduate training, students are expected to spend the majority of their time engaged in research. All students complete similar courses their first year and then, in consultation with their advisors, develop specializations of study tailored to their unique interests. These specializations not only include courses in social psychology, but also may include coursework in other areas of psychology, including cognitive, physiological, health, developmental, and industrial/organizational.

Complementary concentrations:

  • Applied Quantitative – The applied quantitative psychology concentration is based on the belief that progress in psychology demands the development of precise measurement and formal models of behavior. For this reason, the applied quantitative psychology concentration offers advanced training in quantitative methods to graduate students who are concurrently studying in one of the other experimental or clinical psychology specializations. The aim of this concentration is to prepare students for conducting research in academic, business, health, or government settings that require proficiency in mathematical, statistical, or computer-based techniques.
  • Occupational Health Psychology – The Occupational Health Psychology concentration is designed for Experimental Psychology Ph.D. students in either an industrial-organizational (I-O) or health psychology specialization. The concentration is built atop and expands upon the requirements for either specialization within the Psychology Department, supplementing each with coursework from the departments of Industrial and Systems Engineering and Social and Public Health. Coursework and research training are designed to address many of the primary “Issues Relevant to Advancing Worker Well-being through Total Worker Health®” reported in the National Agenda to Advance Total Worker Health® Research, Practice, Policy, and Capacity (2016) by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Program Learning Outcomes:

  • Knowledge Base in Content Area: Students will demonstrate a thorough understanding of the major concepts, theoretical perspectives, empirical findings, and historical trends in one of the substantive areas of psychology.
  • Research Methods in Psychology: Students will demonstrate strong research skills that will enable them to contribute original and independent insights to the existing psychological literature.
  • Critical Thinking Skills in Psychology: Students will demonstrate the ability to critically analyze the body of scholarship comprising psychological science.
  • Values in Psychology: Students will behave in a manner that reflects appropriate professional values and ethical standards.
  • Communication Skills: Students will develop excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Teaching Skills: Students will demonstrate strong classroom teaching and mentoring skills.

Opportunities for Graduates: The great majority of our graduates take positions in academic settings, ranging from universities to two-year colleges, public and private research settings, and consulting service providers. Most of our graduates in recent years have found that their quantitative, research, and teaching experience in our department benefited them substantially.

Link to Program:

Link to Program Handbook:

Graduation Requirements: The Psychology Ph.D. requires a minimum of 90 hours above a bachelor’s degree or 56 hours above a master’s degree. The experimental program requires a Master’s thesis, dissertation, and the successful completion of comprehensive examinations. A maximum of 35 hours of dissertation credit can be applied to the degree. For details about graduation requirements see the handbook at the link provided above.

Culminating Experience:  Students will complete a dissertation.

Admission Requirements:  All graduate applications must be submitted electronically through the Graduate College. Admission requirements include:

  • Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited institution or equivalent. Coursework preferred: 18 hours (or equivalent quarter hours) of psychology at the undergraduate level, including one course in statistics and one in experimental research design.
  • GPA of 3.0 or better overall; and an average of at least 3.3 (B+) in psychology. Applicants who have completed some graduate work should have a grade-point average of at least 3.4 in that work.
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) required, both Verbal and Quantitative. Psychology Subject GRE recommended, especially if no B.A. or B.S. in psychology. The code for Ohio University is 1593.
  • Three letters of recommendation, preferably from psychology faculty.
  • Personal Statement describing your special interests and professional goals. Include in your personal statement a rank-ordered list of the three Ohio University faculty members with whom you most want to work.
  • Official transcript from each postsecondary school attended.
  • Curriculum Vitae (or résumé)
  • English Proficiency. International students whose native language is not English also must submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS academic). To be considered official, test scores must be reported directly from the testing agency to Ohio University. A TOEFL-iBT of 80 or higher is recommended. The minimum IELT is 6.5 across all bands. More information on English proficiency requirements can be found on the Graduate College website.

International Students:  This program permits full-time enrollment in residence at Ohio University, and an I-20 may be issued based on admission to this program.

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