Oct 01, 2023  
2022-2023 University Catalog 
2022-2023 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Department of Psychological Sciences (Graduate)

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Department/School Head:

Dr. Jeffrey D. Karpicke

Academic Programs:

Master’s and Ph.D. Programs

The Department of Psychological Sciences offers six graduate majors, each culminating in the Ph.D. as listed below (note that the Department does not offer terminal master’s degree programs).

Clinical Psychological Sciences

The Clinical Psychological Sciences major within the Department of Psychological Sciences dates to the very beginning of the sub-discipline of clinical psychology. In 1935, the American Psychological Association (APA) recommended that clinical psychologists receive specialty training.  In 1948, the Clinical Psychology Program at Purdue University was accredited by the APA and has been continuously accredited since that time.

The purpose of the Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychological Sciences is to train students who are involved in the generation of new knowledge in psychology, and competent in the professional application of clinical science to the prevention and remediation of clinical problems. A general background in general and clinical psychology is provided by didactic courses and seminars. Research expertise is honed through apprenticeship to an active clinical science researcher and the completion of a first-year project, M.S. thesis, Preliminary Exam, and Ph.D. dissertation. Clinical experience is provided by participation in both in-house and external practice. The breadth and integration of academic work, research, and clinical training are consistent with standards set forth by the American Psychological Association (APA).

Cognitive Psychology

The graduate major in cognitive psychology is primarily oriented toward doctoral training. All students are required to complete a master’s thesis leading to an M.S. degree before continuing the doctoral program. The normal time course for a master’s degree is two years, with two additional years for the doctorate. The term “cognitive psychology” encompasses most topics in human experimental psychology. The interests of the faculty in this area include sensory processes, perception, information processing, memory, attention, judgment, thinking, problem-solving, and human factors. Faculty specializing in mathematical psychology, behavioral neuroscience, and animal learning also participate in the cognitive graduate program.  Human factors is an interdisciplinary area of interest that focuses on the systematic application of knowledge about human sensory, perceptual, mental, psychomotor, and other characteristics to the design of the many human-made facilities of our current civilization.

Industrial-Organizational Psychology

Purdue’s Industrial and Organizational (I-O) psychology major is among the oldest in the world, conferring its first degree in 1939. The program has graduated more PhDs, and produced more SIOP Fellows, than any other I-O program, and is among the top-ranked programs in the nation. We are primarily a Ph.D. program, and as such, training is heavily research-oriented. Students are strongly encouraged to participate in faculty research and eventually to formulate and direct their own individual research projects. Teaching experience is also provided for most students during their graduate program. Most students enter the Ph.D. program with a bachelor’s degree, although some enter with a master’s degree. Graduate students are admitted to work with one of the primary I-O faculty members who serve as their major professor.  Graduate training is based on a science-practice model, where students are trained both as researchers as well as applied scientists equipped to work with organizations on human resource issues. The current faculty has a wide range of research interests, many of which center around the psychological experiences of people at work.

Mathematical and Computational Psychology

Mathematical psychologists and cognitive modelers develop and test quantitative theories of cognition, behavior, neuroscience, and other psychological phenomena. If you like mathematics and are looking for a challenging field in which to apply your skills, you may be interested in a career in mathematical psychology and cognitive modeling. There are quantitative theories of perception, motor performance, social interactions, memory, decision-making, learning, problem-solving, and neuroscience. These theories can take the form of mathematical equations, but also of computational models and neural network simulations. Students in the mathematical psychology program at Purdue University acquire a solid background in mathematics, psychology, and statistics to use as a basis for creating mathematical, statistical, and computational models in a wide range of psychological areas ranging from low-level perception to higher-level cognitive function such as problem-solving and reasoning. Researchers in the mathematical and computational cognitive science area use different research methodologies such as mathematical modeling, behavioral experiments, simulation experiments, and neuroimaging experiments. Psychology, of course, intersects every human activity, and students are encouraged to take advantage of the excellent opportunities at Purdue to delve into neighboring disciplines such as artificial intelligence, neuroimaging, neurophysiology, robotics, image and video processing, computer science, systems theory, and linguistics.

Neuroscience and Behavior

This program focuses on the study of brain-behavior relationships, broadly defined. It offers students exceptional flexibility to customize their graduate training and research.  The program also provides equally exceptional access to state-of-the-art techniques and technologies, such as single-cell recording, optogenetics, electrophysiology (EEG/ERP), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and computer simulation.  Problems studied by the neuroscience area include, but are not limited to: molecular and genetic determinants of behavior, physiological bases of motivated behaviors (e.g., appetitive, sexual, maternal and drug seeking behaviors), neural and hormonal bases of learning and memory, neural bases of anxiety, physiological bases of psychiatric disorders, and the underlying mechanisms of cognitive processing and social interaction.  Cognitive processes currently under investigation include associative learning, reward processing, decision-making, selective attention, and problem-solving. Clinical phenomena currently under investigation include alcoholism, anorexia, diabetes, epilepsy, obesity, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and autism.  

Social Psychology

Welcome to the Social Psychology program at Purdue University! With a long history of distinguished accomplishments, we are proud to be one of the world’s leading training programs in social psychology. Our faculty is world-renowned experts in the core areas of social psychology, including social cognition, social influence, prejudice and discrimination, group dynamics, and interpersonal relationships. Graduates from our program are leaders in the field.


Graduate Majors:

  • Clinical Psychological Sciences
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Industrial-Organizational Psychology
  • Mathematical and Computational Psychology
  • Neuroscience and Behavior 
  • Social Psychology

Regular Graduate Faculty by Rank:


Christopher Agnew
Ximena Arriaga
Thomas Berndt
Julia Chester
Ehtibar Dzhafarov
Christopher Eckhardt
Gregory Francis
William Graziano
Sebastien Hélie
Jeffrey Karpicke
Janice Kelly
Kimberly Kinzig
Donald Lynam
Margo Monteith
Terry Powley
Robert Proctor
David Rollock
Richard Schweickert
Anne Sereno
Susan South
Susan Swithers
Kip Williams
Sang Eun Woo

Associate Professor

Daniel Foti
Edward Fox
George Hollich
Carolyn Jagacinski
Sarah Karalunas
Bridgette Kelleher
Thomas Redick
Douglas Samuel
Susan Sangha
Darryl Schneider
Louis Tay
James Tyler

Assistant Professor

Nadia Brashier
Yu Chin Chiu
Erin Hennes
Teri Kirby
Franki Kung
Sean Lane
Thekla Morgenroth
Melissa Robinson
Chelsea Song
Sydney Trask


    DoctoralMaster’sGraduate Certificate


      Psychological Sciences

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