Program Requirements

Please expand the text of the program area below to view its requirements.

The program curriculum emphasizes: (a) theory and research on social change; (b) developing, implementing, and evaluating prevention and intervention programs; (c) examining various forms of diversity, inequality and justice among individuals, institutions, communities, and societies; and (d) action-oriented research methods. Program coursework includes training in: 

  • Community psychology
  • Social psychology
  • Innovation and technology
  • Translational science
  • Social and behavioral health
  • Inequality and social justice
  • Applied research methodology
  • Advanced statistical methods
  • Program development and evaluation
  • Specialty topics reflecting faculty expertise

Individual programs of study are tailored to the student’s research interests and career objectives. Students may supplement their psychological studies with interdisciplinary coursework in other areas such as public administration, economics, sociology, criminology, communication, design, and engineering. Students may also take courses at other area universities via the Inter-Institutional Registration Program, including Duke University, North Carolina Central University, and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

An overview of the curriculum requirements and sample 4-year plan can be found here:Curriculum Brochure.

The Psychology Department requires that all doctoral degree students complete nine semester hours of statistics and research design, a one-credit orientation and ethics course (PSY800), and three core courses on the biological, cognitive-affective, and/or social bases of behavior.

Departmental Core Courses

To satisfy the current distributional requirement, students are required to take 9 credit hours of core courses in total, spanning the two groups listed below. Two courses must be taken from one group and one course from the other. The student, with committee approval, selects the area of greater emphasis.

The two groups and their corresponding courses are:

Group A

  • PSY 500 - Visual Perception
  • PSY 502 - Physiological Psychology
  • PSY 508 - Cognitive Processes
  • PSY 744 - Human Information Processing

Group B

  • PSY 511 - Advanced Social Psychology
  • PSY 584 - Advanced Developmental Psychology
  • PSY 591 - History and Systems of Psychology
  • PSY 764 - Survey of I/O Psychology

Lifespan Developmental Core Courses: In addition to the general departmental requirements, all Developmental students must take the following core courses:

  • PSY 584 - Advanced Developmental Psychology
  • PSY 785 - Methodological Issues in Developmental Psychology
  • PSY 786 - Cognitive Development
  • PSY 787 - Social Development
  • PSY 788 - Adulthood and Aging: Cognitive and Intellectual Changes
  • PSY 789 - Social-emotional Processes in Adulthood and Aging

In addition to the above courses, most students in the Lifespan Developmental Psychology program also take advantage of the five course series in research design and applied statistics, all of which are taught by Lifespan Developmental area faculty. These courses are workshop-based, providing hands-on training in analyzing data using advanced statistical techniques such as Structural Equation Modeling, Latent Growth Curve Modeling, Hierarchical Linear Modeling.

Students are expected to attend and participate in the Lifespan Developmental Area Seminar (PSY820D), an informal series (held from 12:15-1:30 every other Wednesday) at which students and faculty meet to discuss ongoing research, development projects, and professional issues.

Our program is also one of the constituent members of the internationally renownedCenter for Developmental Science, and maintains ties to the UNC system-wide Institute on Aging. Students are encouraged to augment their training through participation in special seminars and research opportunities associated with each of these organizations.

See the Graduate Psychology Course Catalog for more descriptive information about graduate psychology courses. MyPack Portal lists current schedule of courses offered.

All Human Factors and Applied Cognition doctoral students complete courses in statistics, ethics, research methods, cognition, perception, human factors, and inter-disciplinary studies in addition to various seminars. Courses outside of core requirements may be taken to meet university requirements or to satisfy individual educational needs upon approval of the Graduate Advisory Committee.

Students are expected to develop research skills through a first year research project, class research projects, thesis research, dissertation research, and additional research projects.  Conference participation and publications are highly encouraged.

Students are also expected to apply research skills by working in industry, government, or other institutional settings either prior to or during their stay in the department. This may involve part-time placement during the academic year or summer, or be satisfied by previous work experience.

School Psychology Program - Complete Listing of Required Courses




PSY 502 Physiological Psychology


PSY 511 Advanced Social Psychology


PSY 705 Affect & Cognition


PSY 710 Academic Assessment and Intervention for School Psychologists (listed under Special Topics in Psychology)


PSY 584 Developmental Psychology (Adv. Developmental Psychology)


PSY 820 History & Systems: Implications for School Psychologists* (listed under Special Topics in Psychology)


PSY 721 Area Seminar in School Psychology


PSY 722 Individual Intelligence Assessment


PSY 723 Personality Measurement (Socioemotional Assessment)


PSY 724 Psychological Intervention I (Applied Behavior Analysis)


PSY 725 Psychological Intervention II (Child Behavior Therapy)


PSY 727 Psychological Consultation


PSY 752 Action Research in Psychology*


PSY 792 Psychology of Families and Parenting


PSY 820E Ethics in Psychology (Special Topics in Psychology)


PSY 880A Directed Study in Psychology (Quantitative Methods in Psychology)


PSY 880B Directed Study in Psychology (Applied Multiple Regression)


ECD 525* Cross Cultural Counseling


Research credits

PSY 680 Directed Study in Psychology


PSY 695 Master’s Thesis Research


PSY 895 Doctoral Dissertation Research


Practica & Internship

PSY 641 Psychological Clinic Practicum (Initial practicum in assessment)


PSY 641 Psychological Clinic Practicum (Remainder of required assessment cases)


PSY 641 Psychological Clinic Practicum (Initial cognitive behavioral therapy practicum, ACES)


PSY 641 Psychological Clinic Practicum (Initial school practicum)


PSY 841 School Psychology Practicum (Teacher-centered services)


PSY 841 School Psychology Practicum

(Families practicum)


PSY 851 Internship in Psychology (12 credits required)**

6 x 2


92 credits

Recommended courses

PSY 880C Multivariate (3rd statistics course) (Directed Study in Psychology)


PSY 841 School Psychology Practicum (Extra practicum in student’s area of interest)

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*Other options are available. Consult the program director.

** The internship consists of a minimum of one academic year full time. At least 600 of the 1500 minimum clock hours must be completed in a school or educational setting. A student is permitted to begin the internship only after he/she has defended the dissertation proposal.