Academic Year 2023 – 2024

General Information

Peretsman Scully Hall

Program Offerings:

  • Ph.D.

Director of Graduate Studies:

Graduate Program Administrator:


Graduate work within the Department of Psychology emphasizes preparation for research and teaching in psychology, with specialization in the following broad areas: cognitive neuroscience, developmental psychology, language, learning and memory, perception and cognition, the psychology of inequality, social neuroscience, social psychology, and systems neuroscience. The program is designed to prepare students for attaining the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and a career of productive scholarship in psychology.

First-year students work closely with a faculty adviser to plan and conduct research, as well as begin their coursework. Second-year students conduct research, prepare a written report of a research project, and prepare a theoretical overview of research in their field. Students sometimes take relevant seminars and courses across departments. The third year begins with the general exam and is then devoted to conducting research and to continuing study in the student’s area of specialization by means of courses, independent reading, and advanced seminars. During the fourth and fifth years, students are expected to dedicate their time to mastering methods and techniques in the relevant area of study, discussing a dissertation proposal with their committee, completing dissertation-related research, and writing the thesis. Students are expected to write up and submit their research for publication on an ongoing basis throughout their graduate career.

The final public oral examination for the doctoral degree is based on the research questions, methods, and results of the dissertation and the relation of its findings to current problems in psychological research.


Application deadline
November 20, 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (This deadline is for applications for enrollment beginning in fall 2024)
Program length
5 years
General Test - optional/not required

Program Offerings

Program Offering: Ph.D.


During the first year of their Ph.D., all students will complete the following courses:

  • Proseminar in Basic Problems in Psychology: Cognitive Psychology (PSY 501)
  • Proseminar: Social Psychology (PSY 500)
  • Foundations of Statistical Methods for Psychological Science (PSY 503)
  • Advanced Statistical Methods for Psychological Science (PSY 504)

Also required:

  • Responsible Conduct of Research course (PSY 591A/NEU 591A), normally taken during the second year
  • Each semester starting in the first year, students will enroll in either a Research Seminar in Cognitive Psychology or Design and Interpretation of Social Psychological Research (PSY 543/PSY 551)

Additional coursework:

  • Students are encouraged to enroll in Current Issues in Statistical Methods and Research Practices for Psychological Science (PSY 505), which is offered regularly and offers an opportunity to stay up-to-date on new trends in statistics

In subsequent semesters it is expected that students will enroll in seminars in the psychology department and/or other departments at Princeton as they (and their advisors) see fit. Interdisciplinary courses are encouraged, and students in a joint degree program may have additional course requirements

Additional pre-generals requirements

Colloquia and Seminars
Psychology colloquia are held at regular intervals throughout the year and are attended by faculty, research staff, and graduate students. Weekly research seminars are also held throughout the year. At these seminars, students in various research areas present their work and exchange ideas with one another and with the faculty.

Pre-generals Research Project
Students are required to work with a faculty member on a research project related to their area of interest. Students must prepare a written report on their pre-generals research project prior to the general examination.

General exam

Students can take the general examination beginning in the fourth semester of enrollment, and nearly all students complete the general exam by early October of the third year. All students are expected to have successfully completed the general examination by the end of the third year of enrollment. No student will be admitted to a fourth year without completing the general examination. All components of the examination must be passed before a graduate student can advance to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree.

A decision as to whether the student has passed the general examination is made by the student’s  committee. The basic criterion for passing the examination is the faculty's conviction that the student is prepared to begin work on the doctoral dissertation.

Qualifying for the M.A.

The Master of Arts (M.A.) degree is normally an incidental degree on the way to full Ph.D. candidacy and is earned after successfully passing all parts of the general examination. It may also be awarded to students who, for various reasons, leave the Ph.D. program, provided that the following requirements are met: passing the proseminar, passing coursework in graduate statistics and ethics, successfully completing the pre-generals research project, and passing the general examination.


Teaching experience is an important and meaningful part of graduate education in the Department of Psychology, and students are encouraged to reason about their roles as teachers by engaging with pedagogy-related talks and workshops both in the department and at the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning. Ph.D. candidates in psychology do not teach during the first year, but every Ph.D. candidate is required to teach a minimum of nine hours during their graduate career, which usually corresponds to three semesters of teaching. Students will teach for additional semesters during their graduate careers if they do not have a fellowship or advisor funding to cover their tuition and stipend. Each semester of teaching provides support towards the student’s tuition and stipend.

Dissertation and FPO

The Ph.D. is awarded after the candidate’s doctoral dissertation has been accepted and the final public oral examination sustained.


  • Chair

    • Kenneth A. Norman
  • Associate Chair

    • Adele E. Goldberg
  • Director of Graduate Studies

    • Casey Lew-Williams
  • Director of Undergraduate Studies

    • Michael S. Graziano
  • Professor

    • Jonathan D. Cohen
    • Joel Cooper
    • Nathaniel D. Daw
    • Asif A. Ghazanfar
    • Adele E. Goldberg
    • Michael S. Graziano
    • Tom Griffiths
    • Uri Hasson
    • Sabine Kastner
    • Casey Lew-Williams
    • Tania Lombrozo
    • Yael Niv
    • Kenneth A. Norman
    • Kristina R. Olson
    • Elizabeth L. Paluck
    • Deborah A. Prentice
    • Emily Pronin
    • Eldar Shafir
    • J. Nicole Shelton
    • Stacey A. Sinclair
    • Susan L. Sugarman
    • Diana I. Tamir
    • Elke U. Weber
  • Associate Professor

    • Timothy J. Buschman
    • Alin I. Coman
    • Molly J. Crockett
    • Jordan A. Taylor
  • Assistant Professor

    • Rebecca M. Carey
    • Erik C. Nook
    • Natalia Vélez
  • Associated Faculty

    • Jesse Gomez, Princeton Neuroscience Inst
    • Elizabeth Gould, Princeton Neuroscience Inst
    • Sarah-Jane Leslie, Philosophy
    • Elizabeth H. Margulis, Music
    • Jonathan W. Pillow, Princeton Neuroscience Inst
    • Ilana B. Witten, Princeton Neuroscience Inst
  • Senior Lecturer

    • Justin A. Junge
  • Lecturer

    • Jason Geller
    • Megan Spokas
  • Visiting Professor

    • Heather Jennings
  • Visiting Assistant Professor

    • Theresa Herman
  • Visiting Lecturer

    • Mark Glat
    • Haran Sened

For a full list of faculty members and fellows please visit the department or program website.

Permanent Courses

Courses listed below are graduate-level courses that have been approved by the program’s faculty as well as the Curriculum Subcommittee of the Faculty Committee on the Graduate School as permanent course offerings. Permanent courses may be offered by the department or program on an ongoing basis, depending on curricular needs, scheduling requirements, and student interest. Not listed below are undergraduate courses and one-time-only graduate courses, which may be found for a specific term through the Registrar’s website. Also not listed are graduate-level independent reading and research courses, which may be approved by the Graduate School for individual students.

NEU 502A - Systems and Cognitive Neuroscience (also MOL 502A/PSY 502A)

A survey of modern neuroscience in lecture format combining theoretical and computational/quantitative approaches. Topics include systems and cognitive neuroscience, perception and attention, learning and behavior, memory, executive function/decision-making, motor control and sequential actions. Diseases of the nervous system are considered. This is one-half of a double-credit core course required of all Neuroscience Ph.D. students.

NEU 511 - Current Issues in Neuroscience and Behavior (also PSY 511)

An advanced seminar that reflects current research on the brain and behavior. Research by seminar participants and articles from the literature are discussed.

NEU 537 - Systems Neuroscience: Computing with Populations of Neurons (also MOL 537/PSY 517)

An introduction to the biophysics of nerve cells and synapses, the mathematical description of neural networks, and how neurons represent information. This course surveys computational modeling and data analysis methods for neuroscience and parallels some topics from 549, but from a computational perspective. Topics include representation of visual information, spatial navigation, short-term memory, and decision-making. Two 90 minute lectures, one laboratory. Lectures in common with MOL 437. Graduate students carry out and write up an in-depth semester-long project. Prerequisite: 410, or elementary knowledge of linear algebra.

PSY 500 - Proseminar in Basic Problems in Psychology: Social Psychology

Social Proseminar: Introduction to graduate level social psychology for first year graduate students in psychology. This course will serve as the basis for more advanced graduate courses on specific topics in this area.

PSY 501 - Proseminar in Basic Problems in Psychology: Cognitive Psychology

Introduction to cognitive psychology for first-year graduate students. This course will serve as the basis for more advanced graduate courses on specific topics in this area.

PSY 503 - Foundations of Statistical Methods for Psychological Science

An introduction to quantitative methods in psychological research appropriate for first-year graduate students. The topics covered include exploratory data analysis, analysis of variance and covariance, and multiple regression.

PSY 504 - Advanced Statistical Methods for Psychological Science

Through a combination of lectures, tutorials, and workshops, this course introduces a wide-array of statistical methods that are increasingly used in psychological science. Students learn how to interpret and use methods such as, but not limited to, network analysis, regression discontinuity design, text analysis, machine learning, and directed acylic graphs (DAGs).

PSY 505 - Current Issues in Statistical Methods and Research Practices for Psychological Science

Research practices and statistical methods are dynamic. First, psychologists continuously reassess the meaning of scientific rigor and adopt new practices aiming to improve the reliability of their findings. Second, psychologists constantly revisit and refine their research questions, which requires increasingly sophisticated statistical methods and tools. In this course, students explore the latest advances in these domains and learn how to implement them in their own research programs.

PSY 543 - Research Seminar in Cognitive Psychology

Current research and issues in sensation, perception, and cognition. Ongoing research by seminar participants, research methodology, and current issues in the literature are discussed.

PSY 551 - Design and Interpretation of Social Psychological Research

An advanced seminar that considers current research in social psychology. Contemporary research conducted by the seminar participants is discussed.

PSY 591A - Responsible Conduct of Research (also NEU 591A)

Examination of issues in the responsible conduct of scientific research, including the definition of scientific misconduct, mentoring, authorship, peer review, grant practices, use of humans and of animals as subjects, ownership of data, and conflict of interest. Class will consist primarily of the discussion of cases. Required of all first and second year graduate students in the Department of Psychology. Open to other graduate students.

PSY 591B - Neuroethics

Discussion of ethical issues raised by developments in neuroscience, including pharmacological enhancement of mood and cognition, neuroimaging, and transmagnetic stimulation. (Half-term course).

PSY 596 - Extramural Research Internship

Full-time research internship at a host institution, to perform scholarly research relevant to a student's dissertation work. Research objectives are determined by the student's advisor in conjunction with the outside host. A final progress report should be provided to the student's advisor and to the Director of Graduate Studies.

PSY 597 - Extramural Research Internship

Full-time research internship at a host institution, to perform scholarly research relevant to student's dissertation work. Research objectives are determined by advisor in conjunction with outside host. A mid-semester progress review and a final paper are required. Enrollment limited to post-generals students for up to two semesters.

SPI 519A - Negotiation, Persuasion and Social Influence: Theory and Practice (also PSY 528A)

Examines the principles of negotiation in organizational settings and provides firsthand experience in simulated negotiations. Theoretical and empirical research on the variables that affect success in negotiations is discussed. Students engage in a series of bargaining exercises between individuals and teams, and results are analyzed in detail by the class. Course is taught in two versions, 519a for MPA's, 519b for MPP's.

SPI 590D - Psychological Studies of Inequality (Half-Term) (also PSY 590)

Two major areas of psychology make important contributions to the study of social policy and inequality . The first is social psychology, which focuses on inter-group relations, interpersonal perception, stereotyping, racism, aggression, justice and fairness. These are the micro-level building blocks of structural inequalities and processes that are shaped by the larger context of race, ethnic and gender relations. The second is the fields of social-cognition, judgment and decision making , areas of research that study human information processing in a way that is not about individual differences, and often not social.