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Psychology Graduate Program

 The Psychology Doctor of Philosophy Degree (PhD) Program is a part of the Laney Graduate School. We do not offer a terminal master's degree. The online application window opens early September and closes on December 1st each year. The Psychology Graduate Program admits students for the fall semester only.

Our PhD Program has four concentrations to choose from: behavioral and systems neuroscience, clinical science, cognitive and computational sciences, and developmental science. Faculty and graduate students affiliate with at least one concentration and often two. The Clinical Science (CS) concentration in the department is accredited as a doctoral training program in clinical psychology. 

Our mission is to foster graduate students to become world-class researchers, scientists and scholars who contribute knowledge and skills to the central and enduring questions of psychology.

We are an open and inclusive community committed to diversity.

Psychology Concentrations

Behavioral and Systems Neuroscience

The study of the neural, genetic, hormonal and cognitive processes underlying behavior

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Clinical Science

The study of the assessment, etiology, diagnosis, and treatment of psychopathology

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Cognitive and Computational Sciences

The study of the conceptual and neural systems underlying human perception and cognition

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Developmental Science

The study of the origins of the human mind and brain over development

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Choosing a Mentor and Concentration

Faculty work with graduate students within a mentorship model. Read about our faculty members' research interests and activities,and their affiliated concentration(s). When you apply, list up to three faculty mentors (who are considering applications) from the concentration area that primarily fits your hopes and goals for graduate study. You may also choose a secondary concentration to support these goals. For further details, please see the Psychology Program Admission Requirements.

Program Information

Psychology’s Graduate Curriculum provides its students with the knowledge, training and skills needed to pursue careers in research, teaching, industry, or clinical science practice settings.

Immersive Program

Graduate Students typically spend 5 to 6 years immersed in study, research, and training towards a Doctor of Philosophy degree (PhD). Important milestones along the way include completing a master's thesis, passing the qualifying exam, and finally, completing a doctoral dissertation.

State-of-the-art Research

The expertise of our faculty in state-of-the-art methods highlights a commitment to cross-disciplinary research. Once enrolled, students take courses that enable them to develop a deep understanding of the theories and concepts of their field. They also receive direct experience and training in advanced research methodologies and teaching.

The research programs of many of the faculty members span multiple levels of analysis, from the genes to neural circuits, cognitive processes, and social interactions. For example, some faculty use techniques from biology and genetics to investigate neural and behavioral processes in humans and animals, while some use brain imaging methods from medicine to investigate perceptual and memory processes, as well as the neural correlates of mental illness. Others apply methods from anthropology to examine conceptual change within and across cultures, while some study cognitive and social processes using techniques from statistics and computer science. 

The Jones Program in Ethics (JPE)

The Jones Program in Ethics provides students with a foundational, cross-disciplinary introduction to the question of ethics for their research, training and careers. It is a required, integral part of the curriculum.

Research Seminars

Graduate Students must take part in departmental research seminars—this provides them with an opportunity to gain invaluable experience in presenting their research to an audience of peers and other scholars along with an opportunity to hear about others’ research, discuss, and exchange ideas.


Graduate students take two core courses specified by their primary concentration area, and at least one course from outside their primary concentration area.

Regardless of concentration, all students take courses in statistics and participate in research seminars. Students often choose to enroll in additional courses outside of the Psychology Department such as neuroscience, genetics, anthropology, or computer science, among others.

Graduate students in the Department of Psychology undergo systematic training as both scholars and teachers.

The Department uses a mentor-mentee model of graduate training to advance the student’s research goals, and to support them to progress towards a doctoral degree.

A Faculty Advisory Committee to Support Your Study

Each student brings together their own Faculty Advisory Committee (FAC). The FAC consists of the student’s primary mentor and two additional faculty members who offer supplemental guidance and advice over the course of the student’s graduate training.

Statistical Training

All graduate students take quantitative courses, including a required year-long department-wide sequence of statistics courses. In this introductory sequence, students acquire expertise in experimental analysis and predictive modeling from a programming perspective (Python, R).

In addition to courses in Multilevel Modeling and Psychometrics, students have access to a wide range of courses in quantitative methods, including Modern Regression Analysis, Large-Scale Data Analysis, Machine Learning, Statistical Genetics, and Natural Language Understanding.

Teaching Assistant Training and Teaching Opportunity (TATTO) Program

All Emory University graduate students complete skills training and gain experience in the methods, practice and art of academic teaching through the Teaching Assistant Training and Teaching Opportunity (TATTO) Program.

Additional Teaching Training Opportunities

The Laney Graduate School (LGS) offers the Dean’s Teaching Fellowship and the Scholarly-Inquiry and Research Experience (SIRE) Program Graduate Fellowship. LGS also partners with the Emory Center for Digital Scholarship in offering the Emory Foundations for Online Teaching (EFOT) Program.

Clinical Training (Clinical Science Concentration only)

Graduate Students who choose Clinical Science as their primary concentration complete clinical training that constitutes the department’s accredited program leading to licensure as a Clinical Psychologist.

Training Grants

Psychology Department faculty currently hold two National Institute of Health (NIH) funded training grants to which graduate students can apply:

Please see the current Psychology Graduate Student Manual for the full suite of information and details on milestones, training, supports and procedures.

The Psychology and Interdisciplinary Services (PAIS) is home to some wonderful facilities. Under our roof, we house the following centers:

PAIS was built in 2009, and is 118,000sq ft. It is a gold-certified sustainable building under the 'Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design' (LEED) initiative.

Our nonhuman animal laboratories are housed in the Rollins Research Building and at the Emory National Primate Research Center.

Graduate students admitted to the Psychology Program are awarded an annual stipend, tuition scholarship, and health insurance.

If you have general questions about departmental graduate program requirements, paperwork, and application procedures and status, please contact:

Graduate Program Coordinator, Senior
Paula Mitchell

Director of Graduate Studies
Stella Lourenco