Graduate Degree Requirements

Detailed information about the psychology graduate program is available in the psychology graduate student handbook. During the first year of study, students develop a Program of Study (POS) with the aid of an individually selected faculty advisory committee.  The POS is tailored to incorporate departmental and program requirements while also including additional courses appropriate to students’ career interests and goals.  Curricular requirements for the PhD degrees are based on a core course system that is sufficiently flexible to accommodate the different interests and needs of individual students.

The Graduate College requires that 72 graduate credits be completed for the doctoral degree, of which at least 36 must be earned at Iowa State University.  Of those, 24 must be earned during two consecutive semesters at Iowa State University, unless the student is employed more than 1/2 time at Iowa State University. All work must be completed within seven years.  In addition to completing an empirical dissertation, students must complete the following courses:

Course Listings

1)  Psych 501 (Foundation of Behavioral Research)

2)  All students must take one advanced statistics course beyond Stat 401 (e.g. 402, 404).

3)  At least 8 hours of Psych 699 (Research in Psychology) for work towards completion of
the Dissertation.

4)  At least one course each from four of the following seven core groups [PDF]:

     Biological Bases of Behavior 

  • Psych 510 (Behavioral Neuropsycholoy) – Offered Fall every year
  • Psych 519 (Cognitive Neuropsychology) – Offered Spring of odd-numbered years

     Cognitive-Affective Bases of Behavior

  • Psych 516 (Advanced Cognition) – Offered Fall every year

     Social Bases of Behavior

  • Psych 580 (Advanced Social Psychology) – Offered Fall every year

      Individual Bases of Behavior 

  • Psych 560 (Advanced Personality Psychology) – Offered Spring, even-numbered years
  • Psych 561 (Psychopathology) – Offered Spring every year

      Applied Psychology

  • Psych 542 (Psychoeducational Assessment) – Offered Fall, even-numbered years
  • Psych 621 (Counseling Theory & Practice) – Offfered Fall every year
  • Psych 595B/683 (Aggression) – Offered Spring, about every 3 years
  • Psych 595C (Culture) – Offered Spring 2014, about every 3 years thereafter
  • Psych/HCI 521 (Human and Computer Interaction) – Offered Fall every year

      Historical and Philosophical Foundations

  • Psych 601 (Historical & Systematic Psychology) – Offered Fall, even-numbered years


  • Psych 633 (Teaching of Psychology) – Offered Spring every year; enrollment limited to approved Psychology grad students only