School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences

PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCES PHD FAQ

Is Financial Aid Available for PhD Students?

Financial support of full-time doctoral students in psychological sciences is awarded through teaching or research assistantship stipends and tuition scholarships. Admitted students are automatically considered for these sources of financial support, and most admitted students receive some type of support. Please see the UT Dallas Graduate Admissions site for information on other sources of financial aid for PhD students.

What is UT Dallas Like?

The University of Texas at Dallas recently was ranked second among U.S. universities founded in the past 50 years and is in the top 25 such universities world-wide. Total enrollment at UT Dallas is approximately 25,000, with more than 8,000 graduate students. UT Dallas’ main campus is located in Richardson, Texas, about 15 miles north of downtown Dallas; some of the centers of the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences are located in Dallas, near the campus of the UT Southwestern Medical School. Both Richardson and Dallas are vibrant communities, with opportunities for art, drama, music, athletics, and other activities. Visit the UT Dallas visitors website for more information about the University.

What are Richardson and Dallas Like?

Richardson and Dallas are richly diverse cities located in one of America’s largest and fastest growing metropolitan areas. The Dallas area boasts 50,000 acres of public park land, the nation’s largest urban arts district with excellent symphony, opera, and art museums, five major sports franchises, multiple entertainment districts, and a thriving culinary scene. The DART rail system runs from the suburbs of Plano and Richardson to the arts district, downtown Dallas, and DFW airport. Yes, it is hot in the summer, but the average daily temperature is 65 degrees (spring, fall, and winter are great!). The area offers a reasonable cost of living and an abundance of sunshine.

Where Should I Live?

Most doctoral classes are held on the main UT Dallas campus in Richardson, but some class offerings may be held in Dallas, at the Callier Center for Communication Disorders, the Center for Brain Health, or the Center for Vital Longevity. Your duties as a teaching assistant or research assistant likely will take place on the main campus in Richardson or at one of the centers in Dallas. Because locations of classes and duties may change over semesters it can be difficult to choose a place to live. Public transportation options are improving, but because commuting by car is relatively easy, many students choose to live in areas between Richardson and Dallas. Some student housing is available on the main campus in Richardson, but on-campus housing caters primarily to undergraduates. You can use online search engines to find housing options that fit your price range and target location, and the program office can also provide information and recommendations from current doctoral students.

What is the Admissions Process Like?

Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact potential mentors prior to submitting application materials. The admissions committee evaluates applications on several dimensions, including not only prior GPA and GRE scores, letters of recommendation, and personal statements, but also the fit between the research interests of the applicant and faculty, and the willingness and ability of the proposed mentor or mentoring team to accept new PhD student supervision responsibilities.

Prior to being admitted, students are invited to visit UT Dallas, to meet with prospective faculty mentors and see their laboratories.

Should I Contact Faculty Members with Whom I Would like to Work Before I Apply?

Yes. We strongly encourage you to identify faculty who share your research interests and to contact them about current opportunities for admission. A primary consideration in PhD admission is a faculty member’s agreement to serve as a student’s mentor.

When are Admissions Decisions Made?

Decisions on admission are made in mid- to late-February.

For What Careers Will This PhD Prepare Me?

The psychological sciences PhD program is an experimental psychology program and provides training for a career in teaching and research. Former graduates have successfully acquired university faculty positions, as well as research positions in hospitals, school systems, healthcare start-ups, and research institutes. Graduates also have worked in applied research settings, conducting program evaluation research with education and intervention programs.

Does UT Dallas Have a Clinical Psychology or Counseling Program?

No, we do not offer a clinical or counseling master’s or PhD degree.

Should I Apply for the Master’s Program or the PhD Program?

This depends on your goals. The master’s degree is appropriate for students interested in broad psychology training beyond the undergraduate level or additional training to prepare them for applying to doctoral programs in clinical psychology and other areas of psychology. The PhD program is appropriate for students interested in careers in research and teaching and involves extensive training in research design and methodology.

Should I Apply for the PhD Program in Psychological Sciences or in Cognition and Neuroscience? I Am Interested in Studying Cognitive Psychology.

These two programs have a lot in common. There is overlap in the coursework of these programs and many of the faculty members are involved with both programs. The psychological sciences program allows for broader training in psychology; students can select a concentration in developmental psychology, cognitive psychology, or social/personality psychology. The cognition and neuroscience program focuses more narrowly on cognitive psychology or neuroscience. One way to decide what program may be best for you is to think about what type of department you see yourself affiliated with in the future and which degree best serves your career goals.