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About the Psychology Department

Message from the Department Chair

In the opening lines of the original Star Trek TV show, the captain of the Starship Enterprise claimed that space was the final frontier. While I loved the show, this never seemed true to me. Every science is exploring and seeking new understandings at its frontier. This is certainly true for psychology. Human behavior is a complex expanse. Some of that expanse is well trod. That is, we know it well and use that knowledge to make predictions and interventions to help the human and the human condition. Maps for other parts have been proposed and much work is being done to evaluate the accuracy of those maps (i.e., validating theories). Still other parts – the frontier – are being engaged by the intrepid researchers and scholars seeking to chart the uncharted. Here at Ohio University, students will gain knowledge of the well-trod areas, learn how to evaluate proposed theories and applications (e.g., interventions), and join the intrepid as they boldly go where none have gone before.

Dr. Jeffrey B. Vancouver, Chair

Nationally and Internationally Respected Research

The Psychology Department at Ohio University is dedicated to conducting cutting-edge research that is nationally and internationally respected for its contributions to the field.

Research is focused in three areas:

Reflecting the department's commitment to collaborative, cross-disciplinary research, these areas cut across both the experimental and clinical psychology programs.


The Ph.D. program in clinical psychology has been accredited by the American Psychological Association since 1968.

Teaching and Research Missions

One of the goals of the Psychology Department is to create an innovative scholarly environment that fosters the cross-disciplinary exchange of expertise, theories, and methods and encourages the development of collaborative research partnerships. To that end, the department draws a critical distinction between curricular programs and research areas. The department is committed to attaining excellence in graduate and undergraduate education by encouraging breadth in its curriculum and excellence in research by focusing its resources in a small number of research areas. That is, the goal is to gather scholars from different content areas within psychology who can bring the perspective, knowledge, and skills of researchers trained in those areas to address significant psychological problems that transcend the traditional boundaries of training programs in psychology. Thus, the goal is to have coherent graduate and undergraduate curricula that complement the department's research foci and reflect the collaborative relationships that exist among faculty from different content areas.


The Psychology Department is committed to attaining a national reputation in three research areas: health psychology, social judgment and behavioral decision-making, and intervention design and outcome evaluation. Each of these areas is composed of faculty who share common research interests but who are drawn from different specializations or content areas within psychology.

Graduate Education

The department offers Ph.D. programs in clinical and experimental psychology.

Clinical Psychology

The doctoral training program in Clinical Psychology is organized according to a scientist-practitioner model, training students intensively in clinical skills and research. Program requirements include coursework, clinical practica, independent research, and a one-year clinical internship. All students receive intensive, broad-based training in general clinical psychology; however, there are ample opportunities for students to pursue research interests and students may opt to complete a track in clinical child, clinical health, or applied quantitative psychology.

Experimental Psychology

The doctoral program in Experimental Psychology focuses on a scientific investigation of normal psychological processes. Its purpose is to prepare students for research careers. Program requirements include coursework (in a broad array of content areas as well as in statistics and research methods) and independent research. Students admitted to the Experimental Psychology program elect a track in cognitive, health, industrial/organizational, or social psychology. Students in these areas also may complete an applied quantitative track.

Undergraduate Education

The department offers Psychology and Psychology Pre-Physical Therapy majors. The Psychology Pre-Physical Therapy major requires the completion of all requirements for the Psychology major as well as extra-departmental courses that are prerequisites for admission to graduate programs in Physical Therapy. The Psychology major is designed to conform to the guidelines for the undergraduate psychology major published by the American Psychological Association. To this end, the undergraduate psychology curriculum includes the following goals:

  • To ensure students develop a strong foundation in the major substantive areas of psychology. The department not only requires the standard introductory psychology course, but also requires that all majors complete five core courses (psychopathology, biological, cognitive, developmental, and social) that are designed to provide students with both a breadth and depth of understanding of the critical concepts, theories, and findings in the field.
  • To ensure students develop strong methodological and research skills. All majors are required to complete introductory statistics and research methods courses and are encouraged to complete advanced coursework in research methods and statistics and work in faculty labs under the mentorship of the department's faculty and graduate students.
  • To ensure students are prepared not just for careers in psychology, but also for careers in the multitude of fields for which training in psychology is beneficial (in recognition of psychology's position as one of the disciplines at the heart of the liberal arts education). The department devotes considerable resources to its advising efforts to make students aware of the multitude of professional opportunities available to them and to encourage students to develop multi-disciplinary curricular plans that reflect their own intellectual interests and/or career goals.

Psychology Student Learning Outcomes

Student learning assessment at the program level is intended to promote and maintain program excellence and improve student learning. Each department in the College of Arts & Sciences has developed a set of learning outcomes for their programs and engages in faculty-led assessment activities to help inform curricular and program review and development. Student learning is assessed in different ways across A&S departments, informed by disciplinary standards and the specific learning outcomes of the program.