Graduate Degree

Psychology - Doctor of Philosophy

Psychology - Doctor of Philosophy
Plan Code:
Program Level:
Award Type:
Doctor of Philosophy
College of Social Science

Excerpt from the official Academic Programs Catalog:

Listed below are the approved requirements for the program from the official Academic Programs Catalog.
Students must consult their advisors to learn which specific requirements apply to their degree programs.

College of Social Science

Department of Psychology

Graduate Study
Psychology - Doctor of Philosophy

Students are accepted for graduate study in psychology only if judged by a departmental committee to be qualified to complete a doctoral degree, and programs of study are planned with this goal in mind; the master's sequence is generally developed as an integral part of the doctoral program with special attention given to the plans and needs of each student. Additional details are given under the doctoral program as outlined below. There is no terminal master's program. 

In addition to meeting the requirements of the university and of the College of Social Science, students must meet the requirements specified below.


Factors given major consideration for admission to the graduate program at the first–year level include (1) an approved bachelor's degree from a recognized college or university, (2) a junior–senior undergraduate grade–point average of 3.20 or better in academic studies, (3) undergraduate courses in experimental psychology and statistics, (4) satisfactory scores on the Graduate Record Examination General Test, (5) favorable evaluations of the applicant by three referees, preferably instructors in the applicants undergraduate major; and (6) approval by a departmental committee. That an applicant has achieved the above is not sufficient for admission. The number of applicants with superior qualifications exceeds the number of students that can be accommodated. 

The department is especially interested in quality students and generally accepts them regardless of their undergraduate majors provided that they have adequate background for graduate study in psychology. Students meeting only the requirements for admission to provisional status are not generally accepted. 

Completed applications must be received by December 1 for consideration for the subsequent fall semester.

Requirements for Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Psychology

To meet individual needs, every student has a guidance committee with the student's advisor as chairperson. The committee develops a program of studies in consultation with the student. Students who are accepted into the doctoral program will fulfill the following program requirements for the degree:
  1. Complete the following course (3 credits):
    PSY    815    Quantitative Research Design and Analysis in Psychology    3
  2. Complete additional course work required by the student’s guidance committee.
  3. Successful completion of the comprehensive examination.
  4. Successful completion and defense of a dissertation.
  5. Completion of 24 credits PSY 999 Doctoral Dissertation Research.
There is no general language requirement. Where acquaintance with a foreign language is necessary for advancing the special interest of a particular student, the guidance committee may impose foreign language requirements.

Psychology graduate students may participate in advanced graduate training through a concentration in Quantitative Methodology and Evaluation Science (QMES).  Students selecting this concentration must complete two prerequisite courses, three advanced training courses, and one student-developed project under the supervision of two members of the Quantitative Methodology and Evaluation Science faculty.  

Transfer Credits

For Law College students who have been admitted to the dual J.D. - M.A. program with Michigan State University - College of Law, a maximum of 9 credits from Michigan State University - College of Law may be transferred to the M.A. program with a major in psychology. A grade of 2.0 in a Law course will transfer to MSU as a passing grade. Students will be assessed at the Law College tuition rate with a graduate assistantship covering only the MSU cost of in-state tuition.