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Program Overview

Area Coordinators. The 4 main Areas in the Psychology Graduate Program are listed first:
 
 
Behavioral and Systems Neuroscience -
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Clinical Psychology -
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Cognitive Psychology -
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Social Psychology -
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Intradisciplinary Health Psychology -
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4 blue puzzle pieces

The Doctoral Program in Psychology at Rutgers University offers outstanding students the opportunity to pursue original research with our faculty as part of an exciting educational program. Members of the faculty have superlative records of productivity and extramural research support. Research is conducted in laboratories featuring state-of-the-art equipment for experimental studies. The Rutgers Psychology Ph.D. Program prepares students for careers as researchers in both academic and nonacademic settings. Students work closely with faculty members on research projects of mutual interest. Students in the clinical program also receive excellent clinical training to prepare for careers as clinical scientists.

Students become involved in research during their first semester and continue their research while they complete required and elective courses. Candidacy for the doctorate is granted following successful completion of course requirements, a master's thesis, and the qualifying examination. The graduate program is designed as a 5-year program. Only those individuals willing to work full-time toward the doctorate are encouraged to apply.

The Psychology Department includes over 40 full-time faculty members. The four programs in the Department are Behavioral Neuroscience, Clinical, Cognitive, and Social Psychology. In addition, there is an Intradisciplinary Health Psychology concentration.

Award-Winning Faculty

The Rutgers Psychology Program boasts nationally and internationally recognized scholars, many of whom have received prestigious awards and honors.

Rutgers University

Rutgers University is the State University of New Jersey and serves more than 50,000 students. The Rutgers University Library system contains over 2,000,000 bound volumes and over 1,000,000 government documents, pamphlets and other material. The University also has a modern and extensive computer facility. The University is centrally located in New Jersey, within easy access to the educational, cultural, and recreational resources of New York and Philadelphia. In addition, this region offers a wide range of collaborative and career opportunities in the private sector.

How to Apply

Applications are submitted on-line to the Rutgers University Graduate School.

Applicants to the Psychology PhD program must apply to one of the four program areas within the department: Behavioral and Systems Neuroscience, Clinical, Cognitive, or Social psychology. Required components of the applications include:

  • Undergraduate transcripts
  • Graduate transcripts, for applicants with prior graduate work
  • GRE scores (verbal, quantitative, and writing. The psychology subject test is not required.)
  • TOEFL scores for applicants with a native language other than English
  • Personal statement describing research interests. It is essential to include the names of faculty members with whom the applicant would like to work.
  • Three letters of recommendation

Applications for admission in September are due December 15 of the previous year. In some cases, late applications can be considered.

Diversity of Applicants

The Rutgers University PhD Psychology program seeks a diverse applicant pool. We welcome applications from under-represented ethnic minorities, women, applicants with disabilities, first-generation college graduates, and non-traditional students. We regularly admit students who were not psychology majors as undergraduates, who are not applying to graduate school straight out of college, and/or are pursuing psychology as a second career. Fellowships are available to under-represented minorities and students with economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

Financial Aid

All students admitted to the PhD program in psychology are guaranteed 5 years of funding, provided that they maintain good status in the program. Students who enter the program with a Masters degree are guaranteed 3 years of funding. This financial aid covers tuition and includes a 10-month stipend or salary. Additional summer funding is available through teaching or grant funding. Financial support can come from a variety of sources, including the following:

  • Internal graduate fellowship: Fellow has student status, is eligible for student health care, and is responsible for student fees. (2015 stipend: $23,000)

  • Teaching assistantship: TA spends 15 hours/week assisting with courses (see teaching), has employee status and is eligible for employee health benefits. (2015 salary: $25,969)

  • Graduate assistantship: GA spends 15 hours/week assisting with faculty research, has employee status and is eligible for employee health benefits. (2015 salary: $25,969)

In addition to these sources, some students are funded by external fellowships (such as NSF graduate fellowships), training grants, TA or GA positions outside the psychology department, and other sources. Many students receive supplemental funding by teaching summer school courses.

Teaching Opportunities

Universities are placing increasing emphasis on teaching and teaching experience in making decisions to hire new faculty. To prepare our students for academic careers that include teaching, the program is committed to providing students with teaching opportunities.  As a Teaching Assistant, students may be assigned to teach laboratory courses, statistics recitations, or Introduction to Psychology recitations. Opportunities are available for graduate students to teach summer school classes, which provide not only experience in teaching an independent class, but also supplemental income. Summer school is also an excellent way for students who are supported on Graduate Fellowships or Graduate Assistantships to obtain teaching experience.  Advanced graduate students with outstanding teaching records are occasionally appointed to teach lecture classes during the regular academic year.

Research Opportunities

All psychology PhD students have a faculty mentor within the graduate program. Faculty members have a strong and consistent record of federal grant support. In a typical year, half the psychology faculty hold external grants, and the average annual departmental grant funding is nearly $6 million. Psychology faculty members participate in numerous collaborations with other units in Rutgers University and nearby universities. Consequently, research opportunities for graduate students are available in many venues, including the Center for Cognitive Science, the Program for Interdisciplinary Perceptual Science, the Institute for Health, Healthcare Policy, and Aging Research, the Center of Alcohol Studies, the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology, the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, the Food Policy Institute.

  • Clinical Psychology

    Area Coordinator and Director of Clinical Training (DCT):   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

     

    Applications for admission: See the How to Apply section of the Graduate Program Overview.  

    Student Admissions, Outcomes, and Other Data

    2015 Clinical Psychology Handbook (printable file)

    Summary of CUDCP Policy for Graduate School Offers and Acceptances (PDF File)                                                                                            

     

     

    Selbylab4students 

    Graduate students from Dr. Selby's lab at a conference: Amy Kranzler, Maribel Plasencia, Emily Panza, Kara Fehling (l to r).

    Clinical PhD Goals and Objectives

    Faculty for the PhD Clinical Psychology Program

    Ethics

    Student involvement

    Advisement and Evaluation

    Required Course Work

    Master of Science Degree: Thesis

    Qualifying Examination

    The Doctor of Philosophy: Dissertation

    Practicum Training

    Clinical Internship

    Graduation

    Selected Alumni

    The clinical science program at Rutgers is designed for students with a primary interest in research and scholarship in addition to clinical practice. The majority of the faculty have a cognitive or behavioral approach to assessment and treatment, and the program is geared primarily to students who wish to receive this type of training.  There are also more limited opportunities for students whose interests are eclectic and who may supplement training in cognitive behavior therapy with courses and supervised experiences in other approaches (e.g. family systems).  For students whose primary interests are in the practice of clinical psychology, the University also offers graduate training in clinical psychology leading to the Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degree through the separate Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology (GSAPP).

     

    The Clinical Ph.D. program at Rutgers University has been an American Psychological Association accredited training program since 1965.  Questions about APA accreditation status can be directed to the program or to the APA Office on Accreditation at (202) 336-5979, or by mail at 750 First St. NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242

    We are a member of the Academy of Psychological Clinical Science, a coalition of doctoral and internship training programs that share a common goal of producing and applying scientific knowledge to the assessment, understanding, and amelioration of human problems. Membership in the Academy is granted only after a thorough peer review process. The Rutgers Clinical Ph.D. program was recently accredited by the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System, as well. Our membership in the Academy and accreditation by the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System indicates that we are committed to excellence in scientific training, and to using clinical science as the foundation for design, implementing, and evaluating assessment and intervention procedures. We view clinical psychology as a specialty area within the discipline of psychology, and believe that research, scholarship, and clinical application should be firmly grounded in the core knowledge base of psychology as a science.

     

    The core clinical faculty are drawn from the Department of Psychology, the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology, the Center of Alcohol Studies, and the adjacent Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. The breadth of faculty interests and expertise in research permits students to create a program of study tailored to their particular scholarly interests. Clinical faculty conduct research on cognitive and behavior therapies, health psychology, psychophysiology, applied behavior analysis, prevention, substance abuse, emotional intelligence, cognitive functioning, eating disorders, anxiety disorders, and autism. Students have the opportunity to work with child, adolescent, adult, and older adult populations in multiple research labs at Rutgers and affiliated institutions.

     

    The training approach relies heavily upon a mentorship model of training. Students are matched with a research mentor when they begin their graduate training program, and involve themselves in one or more research projects upon entering the program, initially as apprentices in ongoing projects, and subsequently as independent investigators. Students may study not only with clinical psychology faculty, but also with non-clinical researchers in the Psychology Department, and it is not uncommon for students to participate in more than one research group. Equally important is the goal of helping students to develop clinical skills. As in the research component of the program, our philosophy is that an apprenticeship model is most effective in teaching clinical skills. Students have available as role models a large number of faculty members who embody the clinical scientist concept. These faculty not only conduct research, but also are experienced clinical psychologists who are directly involved in clinical practice of various kinds. Students also have access to doctoral faculty in the Psy.D. program who focus primarily on clinical practice.

     

    Our graduates consistently score well on the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) exam and the vast majority go on to attain licensure to practice psychology. Despite this, our program is primarily a research-focused program and is not a good match for students interested in careers focused primarily on clinical service delivery. For additional information about Clinical Ph.D. program selection and admissions procedures, please see http://clinicalpsychgradschool.org/, a website that provides information and resources that may be helpful in your graduate school selection process.

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  • Behavioral and Systems Neuroscience

     Area Coordinator: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Applications for admission in September are due December 15 of the previous year.  See the How to Apply section of the Graduate Program Overview.

     

    Course of Study

    BSN Core Faculty

    Application and Selection Procedures

    Graduate Application Statistics

    Formal Requirements

    Course Requirements

    Behavioral Neuroscience Alumni

    The Graduate Program in Behavioral and Systems Neuroscience at Rutgers University is an internationally recognized program that emphasizes a multi-disciplinary approach to the analysis of the biological determinants of behavior. The faculty has a record of research productivity and extramural support which provides an exceptionally strong research oriented environment. The goal of the program is to prepare students to be at the forefront of research in behavioral neuroscience by providing a broad background of training in contemporary neurobiology and the traditional disciplines of behavioral sciences.

    neurons

    The laboratories and offices of the core Behavioral Neuroscience faculty are housed in the Psychology Building on the Busch Science Campus. Our animal research facilities were explicitly designed to provide optimal support for behavioral neuroscience research involving rodent and avian species. Associate faculty are located on Busch Campus in the Medical School, the Center for Alcohol Studies, and the Nelson Biology Laboratories. Many of our core faculty actively collaborate with members of the Dept. of Cell Biology and Neuroscience, the Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine, the Dept. of Toxicology, Dept. of Pharmacology, and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

    Students become involved in research during their first semester and complete a basic core of required and elective courses in Behavioral and Systems Neuroscience during their first two years. The breadth of faculty interests and expertise permits students to create a program of study tailored to their particular interests.

    The research programs of individual faculty emphasize the analysis of behavior from psychological, pharmacological, neurophysiological, endocrinological, immunological, developmental and ecological perspectives. Specific research interests of Behavioral and Systems Neuroscience faculty include the neural substrates of learning and memory, the neurobiological determinants of drug addiction, psychoneuroimmunology, and the psychopharmacology of nervous system disorders including Parkinson's disease and autism.

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  • Cognitive Psychology

     Area Coordinator: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Applications for admission in September are due December 15 of the previous year.  See the How to Apply section of the Graduate Program Overview.

     

    Current Cognitive Students

    Cognitive Psychology Core Faculty

    Cognitive Requirements

    FAQ's For Applicants

    Selected Alumni

    How to Apply

    Interdisciplinary Training in Perceptual Science

    Center for Cognitive Science

    Cognitive psychology is the scientific study of mind and mental function, including learning, memory, attention, perception, reasoning, language, conceptual development, and decision making. The modern study of cognition rests on the premise that the brain can be understood as a complex computing system.

     

     The Doctoral Program in Cognition offers students the opportunity to pursue original research with our faculty as part of an exciting educational program that emphasizes the theoretical, experimental, and technical foundations of cognition and cognitive science.

     

    The Cognitive faculty have outstanding records of productivity and extramural research support. The Cognitive Area includes two members of the National Academy of Sciences. Areas of special emphasis include: psycholinguistics, language acquisition, memory, visual and auditory perception, sensorimotor processes, attention, mathematical models of perception and cognition, decision making, cognitive development, and cognitive neuroscience.

     

    Graduate education is enhanced by close ties with the Center for Cognitive Science and the Laboratory for Vision Research, and by collaborations with faculty in several related departments, such as Computer Science, Philosophy, Linguistics,as well as with scientists from local industries engaged in basic and applied cognitive research.

    eye closeup

    Research is conducted in modern laboratories featuring state-of-the-art equipment for experimental studies and computational modeling of cognition, perception, and language.

     

    Students become involved in research during their first semester and complete the basic required courses during the first two years. Students may supplement Psychology courses by choosing electives in departments such as Computer Science, Philosophy, Linguistics, Education, Statistics, Mathematics, and Biomedical Engineering. Candidacy for the doctorate is granted following successful completion of course requirements, a master's thesis, and the qualifying examination.

     

    Only those individuals wishing to work full-time toward the doctorate are encouraged to apply. Graduates of this program are found in research positions in universities and private industry.

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  • Intradisciplinary Health Psychology

    Intradisciplinary Health Psychology Faculty

    Alumni

     

     

     

     

    Health Psychology at Rutgers is an intradisciplinary program for training Psychology graduate students, who are enrolled in one of the four Psychology Doctoral Programs, in the conduct of research concerning physical health and disease. The emphasis is on theoretically-based empirical research aimed at increasing understanding of the mechanisms underlying the reciprocal relationships linking psychological/behavioral factors to physical health outcomes such as disease, disability, and mortality. The Program is affiliated with The Center for the Study of Health Beliefs and Behavior, which is directed by Howard Leventhal, PhD and funded by the National Institutes of Health. The Center integrates health, cognitive, and social psychology, with medicine, medical sociology, epidemiology and health policy.        

     
                       

     

    Graduate training in Health Psychology covers three broad topic areas:

    I. Psychophysiological processes in the initiation and progression of physical diseases: Biological mechanisms that account for disease-related effects of psychological stress, coping, social relationships, and personality. Specific areas of expertise include:

    • Autonomic activity and diseases of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems
    • Stress-related immune changes in the development of infectious disease
    • Biobehavioral factors in the genesis and progression of cancer

    II. Health-promoting and health-damaging behaviors: Actions and inactions that are linked to social, psychological, and biological mechanisms involved in producing and/or preventing disease. Specific areas of expertise include:

    • Prevention/health promotion
    • Perception and communication of risk
    • Cigarette smoking, alcohol use and abuse, eating and eating disorders, immunization, and behavioral factors in cancer and heart disease

    III. Adaptation to physical disease: Cognitive, behavioral, emotional, and social-psychological factors involved in the management of and adaptation to physical disease and its treatment. Specific areas of expertise include:

    • Illness cognition, symptom perception, and health-care seeking
    • Medical decision-making, patient preferences, physician-patient interactions, adherence
    • End-of-life medical treatment decisions
    • Adaptation to cancer, heart disease, and their treatment
    • Biofeedback, relaxation training, and other stress-management techniques for medical patients

    Students are exposed to a contextual, life-span perspective that examines age, cohort, gender, and ethnic/cultural factors to facilitate a deep understanding of psychological/ behavioral processes. The Program prepares students for research and teaching careers in academic and medical settings.

    Health Psychology students are enrolled in and complete the requirements of one of the following main areas of graduate study in the Psychology department:

    • Behavioral and Systems Neuroscience;
    • Clinical Psychology;
    • Cognitive Psychology; or
    • Social Psychology.

    In addition, the Health Program requires completion of additional health-related courses agreed upon by the student and her/his advisor.

    To apply please see the How To Apply section of the Graduate Program Overview or go directly to Graduate and Professional Admissions.

     

    Collaborative Relationships

    In addition to core and contributing faculty, Health Psychology students participate in collaborative research with faculty from several departments/units at Rutgers University and at UMDNJ-RWJMS:

    Rutgers

    1. Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research

    2. Center for the Study of Health Beliefs and Behavior

    3. Department of Human Ecology

    4. Department of Sociology

    UMDNJ-RWJMS

    1. Department of Medicine, Division of General Internal and Geriatric Medicine

    2. The Cancer Institute of New Jersey

    3. Department of Psychiatry

    4. Department of Environmental Medicine

    5. Environmental, Occupational Safety, and Health Institute, a Joint Institute of UMDNJ-RWJMS and Rutgers University.

     

    For additional information, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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  • Social Psychology

    Social Psychology Core Faculty

    Current Students

    Selected Alumni

     Area Coordinator: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Applications for admission in September are due December 15 of the previous year.  See the How to Apply section of the Graduate Program Overview.

     

    The Rutgers Social Psychology Ph.D. Program prepares students for research and teaching careers in both academic and nonacademic settings.

    Students work closely with faculty members on research projects of mutual interest.  Rutgers has a very favorable ratio of about two to three graduate students per professor, and we encourage our students to work with multiple faculty members.  Social Psychology faculty members employ state of the art research methods including the assessment of implicit beliefs and attitudes, psychophysiological measurements (e.g., heart rate variability), and eye tracking; have laboratories equipped for dyadic interactions, and medical suites; and employ multilevel modeling and structural equation modeling of naturalistic and laboratory data.

    The Rutgers Social Psychology Program includes nationally and internationally recognized scholars, many of whom have received prestigious awards and honors.

     

    For example, the Program boasts three Early Career Award recipients (Lee Jussim, 1996, APA Award for Scientific Contribution to Social Psychology; Diana T. Sanchez APA Division 9 Early Career Award for Contributions to the Psychological Study of Social Issues, Shana Cole APS Rising Star Award); a Senior Member of the National Academy of Sciences (Howard Leventhal); two recipients of the Gordon Allport Prize for Research on Intergroup Relations (Lee Jussim, and Laurie Rudman [twice]), and the recipient of the 2014 APA Division 35 Carolyn Wood Sherif for lifetime career achievements (Laurie Rudman).

    In addition, the Rutgers Social Psychology Program has a strong commitment to graduate and undergraduate teaching. In 2000, Richard Contrada received the Rutgers University Award for Outstanding Graduate Teaching and Mentoring. Laurie Rudman and Diana Sanchez received School of Arts and Sciences Teaching Awards.

     

    The Program has strengths in two main areas:

    1. Self, Interpersonal, and Intergroup Processes (Professors Aiello, Cole, Hoggard, Jussim, Rudman, Sanchez, & Wilder).  One focus of research at Rutgers involves relations among self, interpersonal relations, and intergroup processes. Faculty interests include lay conceptions of personality; cognitive organization of multiple identities and social problems; development and use of categories to define the self and stereotypes to define others; prejudice; gender roles and beliefs, the integration of ideographic and nomothetic methodologies; role of feedback in self evaluation; the role of identity in intergroup perception and conflict; self-fulfilling prophecies; the role of nonverbal communication in the regulation of interpersonal interactions; managing workplace diversity; computer monitoring, telecommuting, and organizational change. Several members of the social faculty are associated with the Rutgers Center for Race and Ethnicity.

       
    2. Health Psychology: (Professors Cole, Contrada, Hoggard, Leventhal, & Sanchez).  Faculty interests include effects of emotions and personality on cardiovascular and immune systems; coping with environmental threats; the perception of health risk; health promotion and preventive health behavior; management of chronic disease; effect of chronic illness on emotional reactions and the self concept; common sense reasoning and the representation of disease threats; racial/ethnic disparities, racial discrimination, stigma-related coping styles, physician reasoning, and patient utility assessment.  Social and Health students are part of a larger multidisciplinary group that draws upon members of the Clinical, Cognitive, and Behavioral Neuroscience Areas. Current research projects involve collaborative work with faculty in Medical Sociology, History of Medicine, Medical Economics, Medical Anthropology; the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research; the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School; and the New Jersey Cancer Institute.

     

    Students have the options to pursue their doctoral degree in social psychology, social/health psychology, or a joint degree in social psychology and business.  Admission to the joint program in Business and Psychology is a separate application process that occurs after admission to the social psychology program.  Information regarding the joint doctoral program, can be found here.

     

    Course of Study

    The program is designed to be completed in 5 years (or less if students come in with a transferrable Masters degree) by which time a student is an accomplished research social psychologist.  Students finish a Masters thesis by the end of their second year, pass a Qualifying Exam in year 3, and defend their dissertation research in year 5.  Course work includes statistics, research methodology (laboratory and field designs, implicit methods, and psychophysiology), core courses in social psychology and health, and seminars reflecting faculty expertise. It is expected that students will be actively involved in research throughout these years.

     

    Application and Selection Procedures

    [Note: The following professors and laboratories have openings for students in this year's (2017) round of applications: Professors Cole, Contrada, Hoggard & Wilder.]

    Applications are strongly encouraged to be submitted no later than December 15th.

    • Students are selected on the basis of the following criteria:

    1. Potential for becoming excellent researchers and scholars.

    2. Availability of faculty advisors. Available advisors for applications due on 12/15/17 are Cole, Contrada, Hoggard & Wilder.

    • The last cohort admitted to the Psychology social program had an average GPA of 3.88; an average GRE Verbal score of 165 (93rd percentile); and an average Quantitative score of 161 (81st percentile). 
    • The typical class includes two to five students.

     

    To apply please see the How To Apply section of the Graduate Program Overview or go directly to Graduate and Professional Admissions.

    We value diversity in our program and encourage women and minorities to apply.

    For additional information, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Social Psychology Area Coordinator.

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  • Graduate Course Syllabi
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Contact Us

Rutgers Psychology Buildings

Busch Campus              Psychology Building 848-445-2576

 

 

Livingston Campus Undergraduate Advising at Tillett Hall  848-445-4036

 

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