The PhD in Psychology requires a minimum of 75 semester credits of graduate work beyond the baccalaureate, including a dissertation based on the student’s original research. A maximum of 9 credits may be transferred into the Applied Social and Cultural Psychology major from a completed master’s degree program with the approval of the major director.

A student must enroll for dissertation credits after completing all coursework, passing the candidacy examination and being advanced to candidacy. Dissertation credits cannot be taken before advancement to candidacy. After a doctoral student is admitted to candidacy, continuous registration for at least three dissertation credits is required until the dissertation requirement is fulfilled.


For more information about Psychology programs, consult the Graduate Catalog.

Required Courses

Applied Social and Cultural Psychology doctoral students are required to complete the 9 credits of departmental core course requirements established across majors in the Department, along with more specialized content courses and courses involving directed independent effort, as listed below, for a total of 75 credits.

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Click here for 2022 ASCP Handbook

  • Common Core Courses (9 credits)
    • PSY 5939 Special Topics in Psychology: Quantitative Methods I
    • PSY 5939 Special Topics in Psychology: Quantitative Methods II
    • PSY 5246C Multivariate Analysis in Applied Psychological Research
  • Applied Social and Cultural Psychology Content Courses (12 credits)
    • CLP 5007: Psychological Clinical Science I: Historical Perspectives and Current Controversies
    • CLP 6530: Dissemination and Implementation of Research
    • SOP 5058: Proseminar in Social Psychology
    • SOP 5316: Theories and Methods of Cross-Cultural Research
  • Breadth Requirements (9 credits)

    One course from each of the below categories, or other courses approved by the major director

    • Identity (choose 1)
      • PSY 5939: Cross Cultural Perspectives of Emerging & Established Adulthood
      • WST 5936 Women & Leadership
    • Social Justice (choose 1)
      • CYP 6766 The Psychology of Crosscultural Sensitization in a Multicultural Context
      • SOP 5726 Proseminar on the Psychology of Stereotyping, Prejudice, and Discrimination
    • Methods (choose 1)
      • CYP 6526 Psychological Methods of Program Evaluation
      • PSY 5930 Qualitative Research Methods in Psychology
  • Electives (15 credits)

    Fifteen additional elective classes, to be approved by the ASCP program director, may serve to support a student’s minor or graduate certificate, or efforts towards scholarly specialization or cross-disciplinary work. At this time, we strongly recommend the following elective classes:

    • CYP 6936: Current Issues In Community Psychology
    • PSY 6076: Professional & Personal Development for Doctoral Students
  • Supervised Research Courses (15 credits)

    Students are required to maintain an active, supervised program of research using these credits in summers and to supplement other semesters towards the second and third year of study. This supervised research is intended to be used towards the student’s M.S. project.

  • Master's Project

    The M.S. project in the ASCP program must include an empirical study. The primary focus of a project lies in the conceptualization, collection, analysis, and interpretation of data.

    The process for the ASCP Master’s Project includes choosing a topic with the approval of an advisor, who will serve as chair of the student's MS committee. In consultation with your advisor, you will also choose two other faculty members to serve on the committee, one of whom should be in the ASCP program. Next, the student will discuss the project topic with the advisor and committee members and proceed to conduct and write up the study/studies. On completion, the advisor and the two faculty will sign off on the completed paper. This paper will be filed with the Graduate Program Director and then submitted to a journal for peer-review with the advisor as a co-author.

    As you are taking courses, choose a chairperson from the ASCP group (e.g., based on your developing research interests) to guide your Master’s project. After completing your Master’s, you can change advisors for the dissertation if desired.

  • Comprehensive Exam

    After completing the M.S. requirements, and in order to ascend to doctoral candidacy, Ph.D. students in the ASCP program need to pass a program-level comprehensive examination. This examination is typically done in the second semester of the third year of the Ph.D. program, and involves the following components:

    1. An additional paper for publication (separate from your M.S. Project)
        a. This may be a review or empirical paper, possibly expanded from a class assignment
        b. The paper must be delivered to the 3 faculty members on the exam committee at least one
        month prior to the oral exam (see point 3 below)
        c. The paper must be approved by all 3 faculty members one week prior to the oral exam

    2. A small portfolio of research materials (N = 3 or more)
        These three documents can be the three additional ASCP requirements:
        1. Diversity Statement
        2. Public Psychology paper (which can be the MS Project or the additional paper above),
        3. Public communication(s). Public communications may include white papers, policy
        briefs, infographics, videos, OpEds, press releases, community presentations/workshops,
        etc. These public communication materials may be based on the student’s M.S. project,
        the additional paper, or on another project led by the student.

    3. An oral examination
        a. This independently-scheduled oral exam will involve a committee of 3 program faculty
        b. Questions specific to the 5 ASCP competencies will be asked in reference to the
        above two items (the publishable paper and the portfolio of research materials)
        c. The exam will last approximately 1 hour                                                                                  

    Qualifying exams are generally held sometime during the first two weeks of Fall and Spring. Summer quals are available only under special circumstances, and need the approval of all members of the ASCP program. Students must contact the ASCP Program Director to confirm they are eligible to sit for qualifying exams, and to confirm the exact day the exam will be held. Further, it is the student’s responsibility to notify the ASCP Program Director that they plan to take the exam at least 6 weeks prior to the scheduled date.

  • Dissertation Research (15 credits)

    In order to graduate, students will complete at a minimum 5 semesters of dissertation credit, with 3 credits per semester. Students can begin enrolling in dissertation credits after having passed qualifying exams and once done with all coursework.

  • Additional Requirements

    All students must also complete specific major requirements one semester prior to graduation. This will include:

    1. Diversity Statement
    2. Manuscript for publication that reflects elements of “public psychology” (see Eaton et al., 2022) namely:
      (1) Centering social problems
      (2) Engaging diverse publics in knowledge creation
      (3) Communicating and democratizing psychological knowledge
      (4) Rethinking what constitutes psychology
    3. One or more of the following public engagement activities:
      • Public workshop
      • White paper
      • Policy brief
      • Op-Ed
    Additional public engagement activities for the ASCP Major Portfolio will be approved on a case-by-case basis; the approval memo must be signed by a minimum of two Core ASCP Faculty members for activities not listed above.