The graduate program in Psychology at Baylor University is predicated on the assumption that the study of Psychology is basic to an understanding of the human condition. Doctoral students are expected to acquire sufficient knowledge and expertise to permit them to work as independent scholars at the frontier of their field upon graduation. The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree is ultimately awarded to those individuals who have attained a high level of scholarship in a selected field through independent study, research, and creative thought.
While in the program students are expected to take coursework, participate in seminars, assist faculty in hands-on research, develop independent research skills (culminating in the dissertation), and gain teaching experience. The program is designed so that the requirements can be completed in four years, though many students take 5 years to complete the program.
The doctoral program in Psychology has three training tracks; Behavioral Neuroscience, Social Psychology and General Experimental Psychology. All Ph.D. students begin by taking a set of general core classes representing the breadth in the discipline of psychology. Differences in the tracks begin with the specialty core which is comprised of coursework specific to Behavioral Neuroscience or Social Psychology. Upon acceptance to doctoral candidacy, students in each track have a specific set of doctoral and elective classes from which to choose.
Behavioral Neuroscience as a discipline emphasizes the relationship between brain and behavior. Within the behavioral neuroscience faculty research interests vary widely. Many of the faculty have behavioral interests, such as animal learning and behavior, personality and impulsive/aggressive behavior and substance dependence. Others have interests in the more molecular aspects of neuroscience, such as psychopharmacology and electrophysiology.
Social Psychology as a discipline examines how the power of the situation and relatively stable personality dimensions, influence individual behavior, cognition, and emotion. The social psychology track follows a research-intensive apprenticeship model in which students develop skills in research methodology, statistics, social-personality psychology, and other content areas. Specific faculty research areas include interpersonal relations (e.g., prejudice, aggression, attraction, helping, deception, and social rejection), positive psychology (e.g., gratitude, forgiveness, humility, and quality of life), personality, and the psychology of religion.
General Experimental Psychology as a discipline is concerned with employing empirical principles and procedures in the study of psychological phenomena. Specific faculty research areas include memory and cognition, quantitative psychology and sensation and perception.
Collaborative research among different laboratories is common.