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The University of Texas at Arlington
Graduate Catalog 2002-2004

Department of Psychology
Admissions Criteria | Degree Requirements | Courses

Areas of Study and Degrees


(Emphasis in Experimental or Industrial Organizational)

General Experimental Psychology


Mathematical Sciences

(See Interdepartmental and Intercampus Programs.)

Master's Degree Plans



Paul Paulus
315A Life Science, 817-272-2281

Graduate Advisor

David Gorfein
313 Life Science, 817-272-2281

Graduate Faculty


Amster, Bernstein, Ickes, Levine, Mellgren, Paulus

Associate Professors

Jackson, Jensen-Campbell, Kopp, Mann

Assistant Professors

Fuchs, Hillstrom, Peng, Pool

Professor Emeritus



The objective of graduate work in psychology is to educate the student in the methods and basic content of the discipline and to provide an apprenticeship in the execution of creative research.

Graduate work in the master's program will be offered in psychology. Graduate work in the doctoral program will be offered in general experimental psychology. Students' individual programs may be arranged to give emphasis to a particular aspect of the general program.

Within this framework, options include, but are not limited to, Animal Behavior and Animal Learning, Cognition and Perception, Developmental, Industrial Organizational, Physiological, and Social-Personality Psychology. An interdisciplinary M.S. option, Animal Behavior, is offered jointly with the Biology Department (see Animal Behavior Option). Students specializing in Cognition and Perception may include, in addition to their area C courses (described below), advanced topical seminars in their area of specialty. Recent advanced seminars in Cognition include: Issues in Cognition, Cognitive Development and Expertise. Students specializing in Developmental Psychology have taken seminars in Developmental Psychobiology and Visual Cognition and Infancy. In addition to core courses (see area A) for those interested in Physiological Psychology, seminars offered in the recent past include Aggression and Nociception. For those seeking expertise in the Social-Personality area, in addition to the area B courses, seminars have included topics such as Social Influence and Empathetic Accuracy and Intersubjectivity.

Animal Behavior OptionStudy in the area of animal behavior is also offered jointly by the biology and psychology graduate programs. Students specializing in animal behavior may initially enroll in the Master of Science program in either biology or psychology. There are a number of biology and psychology courses offered within this specialization. In addition to the courses specified in the catalog, advanced courses in Animal Behavior are often offered under enrollment in BIOL 5310 (Special Topics in Biology), PSYC 5389 (Contemporary Problems in Psychology), and PSYC 6300 (Seminar in Psychology). Recent courses offered under these titles include Animal Cognition, Behavioral Ecology, Behavioral Genetics, Developmental Psychobiology, Nociception, and Predator-Prey Interactions.

Research InvolvementSince the Psychology Department believes that graduate training should involve the student continuously in the research process, students are encouraged to make personal contacts by letter or E-mail with faculty members of their choice. A description of the faculty and their areas of research may be obtained by consulting the department Web page at or by writing to or calling the department at 817-272-2281. Every effort will be made to assign the incoming student to a faculty member of choice, but priority is given to those who have discussed their placement in advance.

Deadline for Financial Aid ApplicationsStudents who wish to be considered for assistantships should have their applications and departmental forms sent to The University of Texas at Arlington by April 1 for the Fall Semester and November 1 for the Spring Semester. Students who do not desire financial aid may apply at any time up to the deadline listed by the Graduate School.

Admissions Criteria

There are no fixed criteria for admission to the M.S. or Ph.D. programs in Psychology. Of course the student is expected to have successfully completed the appropriate work prior to admission. In the case of the MS program an undergraduate B.A. or B.S. degree is required. As calculated by the graduate school, a minimum grade point average of 3.0 in undergraduate work is expected for unconditional admission. For the Ph.D., a minimum of 30 graduate hours with a GPA of 3.0 or better as calculated by the Graduate School is required. Beyond these minimal criteria there is no single criterion that determines whether a positive or negative admission decision is made.

Our admissions focus is on seeking positive indication of potential success in the program. These indications include:

1. A detailed examination of the student's transcript. Grade point average per se' is not weighed heavily as most candidates for admission present averages greater than 3.0. Instead we examine the coursework as evidence for research interest. Positive indicants of potential success in our program include greater than average work in the biological and physical sciences and mathematics. In similar fashion evidence of experimental research previously undertaken is viewed as a predictor of future research. For students interested in specialization in Industrial/Organizational (IO) Psychology at the Master's level appropriate coursework is taken into consideration.

2. Submission of Verbal and Mathematics GRE scores is required. High GRE scores are viewed as positive indicants, while low GRE scores need not exclude a candidate who shows positive indicants in other areas.

3. Letters of reference in general have little impact except where they offer evidence of commitment to experimental research (as in letters from an undergraduate research sponsor). Evidence of success in employment relevant to IO psychology will be considered for the Master's degree in that area.

4. The personal statement describing the applicant's laboratory, field, or applied interests, career plans and discussion of how the UTA program can serve to further these interests and plans will be examined for evidence of the appropriateness of the candidate to the UTA program.

5. Finally, successful completion of a Master's degree in another department is viewed positively even when the degree was received in an area outside of psychology. In this latter case some conditions in terms of make-up coursework may be specified.

In summary the department views its mission in the MS/Ph.D. program as to train students to be skillful in research. Therefore we seek students who show aptitude in as well as motivation for research. Students interested in the terminal MS program in Industrial/Organizational Psychology will have their records examined for indicants of potential to succeed in industrial settings.

Probationary Admission

If an applicant does not have a majority of the positive indications for unconditional admission described above, they may be considered for probationary admission after careful examination of their application materials. Probationary admission requires that the applicant receive a B or better in their first 12 hours of graduate coursework at UTA.

Deferred Admission

A deferred decision may be granted when a file is incomplete or when a denied decision is not appropriate.

Provisional Admission

An applicant unable to supply all documentation (including certified transcripts, GRE scores, letters of reference, and personal statements) prior to the admission deadline but who otherwise appears to meet admission requirements may be granted provisional admission.

Denial of Admission

Applicants whose records in the aggregate do not show sufficient positive indications of potential success will be denied admission.

Eligibility for Scholarships/Fellowships

Students unconditionally admitted to the program are eligible for scholarship and fellowship support. The criteria applied will be the same as those applied to admission decisions. To be eligible, candidates must be new students coming to UTA in the Fall semester, must have a GPA of 3.0 in their last 60 undergraduate credit hours plus any graduate credit hours as calculated by the Graduate School, and must be enrolled in a minimum of 6 hours of coursework in both long semesters to retain their fellowships.

Degree Requirements

In addition to the requirements outlined elsewhere, the Department of Psychology will require undergraduate courses in statistics and in experimental methods. These courses may be taken as deficiency courses.

Degree requirements for the Department of Psychology are established by the Committee on Graduate Studies in Psychology and supplement those established by the University (see general requirements of the Graduate School as stated under the section entitled "Admission Requirements and Procedures").

Each entering graduate student will be furnished a copy of the departmental rules which will serve as guidelines for departmental actions and recommendations.

Each student must adhere to the code of ethics of the American Psychological Association.

Master of Science Degree

Emphasis in Experimental Psychology – 30 hours, including six hours of thesis are required for this option. The program is designed to form the basis for the doctoral program. It is, however, open to those seeking a terminal master's degree. PSYC 5405, 5406, and 12 hours among 5321, 5322, 5331, 5333, 5345, and 6336 are required, including at least three hours from each area A, B, and C (see below).

As soon as is feasible, a student should decide on an area for concentration and research. After discussion with and consent of the involved faculty members, the student selects a supervising professor and a thesis committee. No student may enroll in PSYC 5398 or 5698 until the thesis committee has approved a proposal for the thesis project.

Emphasis in Industrial-Organizational Psychology50 hours in psychology and management are required for this degree, including six hours of internship. The program is designed as a terminal degree for those interested in careers in industrial-organizational psychology. Thirty-two hours are required in psychology. These are PSYC 5405, 5406, 5322, 5323, 5324, 5355 or 5344, 5321 or approved elective, and an internship and a capstone course. Required core management courses are MANA 5312, 5340, and 5341. Three additional management courses should be selected from MANA 5321, 5323, 5325, 5326, 5327, 5334, and 5342. Students should do an internship in the summer after the first year and the capstone course at the end of their second year.

Doctor of Philosophy

The degree of Doctor of Philosophy in experimental psychology requires distinguished attainments both in scholarship and original research, and the deep understanding of the strategic role of thoughtful experimentation in the development of an empirical science. Although the student must meet the minimum requirements of a planned course of study, the ultimate basis for conferring the degree must be the demonstrated ability to do independent and creative work and the exhibition of a profound grasp of the subject matter of the field.

MathematicsExperimental psychology requires sophistication in mathematics. Prospective students are encouraged to recognize this trend and prepare themselves as well as possible. Mathematics from College Algebra through Calculus is desirable.

Computer Knowledge RequirementBecause of the fundamental and varied ways in which computers are applied in psychology, students are expected to understand their use and application in psychological research. Specifically, students are expected to demonstrate competence in the use of operating systems such as Windows or the Macintosh System, e-mail and other aspects of the Internet, standard office packages, data bases, programming languages (with specific reference to the programming of psychological experiments) and statistical packages such as SAS. This computer knowledge requirement has been established in lieu of the foreign language requirement. It may be satisfied by successful completion of PSYC 5348. If you feel that you already have the prerequisite knowledge to satisfy this requirement, see the graduate advisor to arrange a proficiency examination.

Course requirementsEntering graduate students will be required to take the following courses during their first four semesters of enrollment. Exceptions may be made only with written permission of the Committee on Graduate Studies.

Current Topics in Experimental Psychology (5110)
Statistics I (5405)
Statistics II (5406)
Experimental Design (5407)

Four of the following courses, at least one from each area A, B, and C:

Area A: 5333 Physiological Psychology, 6336 Comparative Psychology

Area B: 5321 Personality, 5322 Social Psychology

Area C: 5331 Perception and Attention,

5345 Human Learning and Memory

Students with prior graduate work may be exempted from any of the above requirements by petition to the Committee on Graduate Studies. The petition should include a syllabus or other
documentation showing that a prior course and one of our required courses are equivalent. Students should discuss course equivalency with the professor(s) who teach the course(s) in question before submitting a petition. Having fulfilled the above, the following are required:

1. An additional five courses (15 hours) from among lecture courses.

2. Two six-hour research courses. These may be taken from PSYC 5698 or PSYC 5600. Students who plan to obtain the MS should elect PSYC 5698 as one of the research courses and students who do not plan to obtain the MS should select two sections of PSYC 5600. If the student does not elect to obtain the MS, one of the research courses must result in a formal thesis-equivalent paper, which will be evaluated by a committee and defended in an oral examination. The two research courses are a minimum requirement. Students are strongly encouraged to take PSYC 5391 or 6391 before taking PSYC 5600 and 5698.

3. Nine hours of PSYC 6300.

4. Additional hours of coursework to be determined by the Graduate Advisor and dissertation committee. The student should plan to take approximately 90 hours including 6999. No student may enroll in a dissertation course until the dissertation committee has approved a proposal for the dissertation project.

A student has completed the course requirements when he or she has:

1. Maintained at least a B average in 5405, 5406, and 5407.

2. Maintained at least a B average in his or her area A, B, and C courses.

3. Received at least a B average in all other courses.

Diagnostic EvaluationsDoctoral students normally take diagnostic examinations in a major and minor area between the fourth and fifth semester of graduate work. Satisfactory completion of the area A, B, and C course requirements by the end of the first four semesters is necessary for achieving satisfactory progress in the graduate program. It is also a condition for taking the diagnostic exams. Exceptions will rarely be made, and then only with the written permission of the Committee on Graduate Studies.

The grade of R (research in progress) is a permanent grade; it cannot be changed by completing course requirements in a later semester. To receive credit for an R-graded course, the student must continue to enroll in the course until a passing grade is received.

An incomplete grade (the grade of X) cannot be given in a course that is graded R, nor can the grade of R be given in a course that is graded X. To receive credit for a course in which the student earned an X, the student must complete the course requirements. A grade of X cannot be changed by enrolling again in the course in which an X was earned. At the discretion of the instructor, a final grade can be assigned through a change of grade form.

Three-hour thesis courses and three- and six-hour dissertation courses are graded R/F/W only (except social work thesis courses). The grade of P (required for degree completion for students enrolled in thesis or dissertation programs) can be earned only in six- or nine-hour thesis courses and nine-hour dissertation courses. In the course listings below, R-graded courses are designated either "Graded P/F/R" or "Graded R." Occasionally, the valid grades for a course change. Students should consult the appropriate Graduate Advisor or instructor for valid grade information for particular courses. (See also the sections titled "R" Grade, Credit for Research, Internship, Thesis or Dissertation Courses and Incomplete Grade in this catalog.)

Psychology (PSYC)

Course fee information is published in the online Student Schedule of Classes at Please refer to this Web site for a detailed listing of specific course fees.

5110. CURRENT TOPICS IN EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY (1-0). A survey of contemporary topics in experimental psychology. Prerequisite: admission to the graduate program in psychology or permission of the instructor.

5112. TEACHING PSYCHOLOGY (1-0). Required for teaching assistants during first semester of award. Topics will include: selecting appropriate course materials; preparing syllabi, lectures and demonstrations; audiovisual aids; grading; assisting special-needs students; dealing with academic dishonesty.

5310. MATHEMATICAL MODELS IN PSYCHOLOGY (3-0). Elementary probability theory, matrix algebra, and theory of linear difference equations applied to theoretical problems in learning, signal detection, decision processes, and social interactions.

5313. HIGHER MENTAL PROCESSES (3-0). Includes topics such as concept identification, problem solving, reasoning, and knowledge representation.

5314. COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT (3-0). A survey of current theories of cognitive development. Recent research within topic areas, such as physical reasoning, spatial cognition, memory, and symbol use, will be used to evaluate the theories presented.

5315. BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS (3-0). Overview of operant theory with an emphasis upon contemporary problems. Basic concepts that are covered include: reinforcement and stimulus control, punishment, compound schedules, response topography, and chaining. Other topics include complex human operants, verbal behavior, behavior modification, and contingency management.

5321. PERSONALITY PSYCHOLOGY (3-0). A survey of contemporary topics in personality psychology, including personality assessment, strategies for studying personality, temporal stability and cross-situational consistency in behavior, and personality influence on social behavior.

5322. SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY (3-0). A survey of contemporary topics in social psychology, including interpersonal attraction, altruism and aggression, attribution and social cognition, social influence, group dynamics, and social motivation.

5323. GROUP PROCESSES (3-0). Survey of the major topics in group dynamics. Among the issues covered will be performance, motivation, goal setting, decision making, creativity, social influence, memory, leadership, teamwork, and collective behavior.

5324. INDUSTRIAL/ORGANIZATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY (3-0). Social and organizational factors in business and industry. Topics include leadership, group and organizational dynamics, personnel selection and training, innovation, influence and communication in organizations, and job satisfaction.

5327. PSYCHOLOGY OF HUMAN FACTORS (3-0). Survey of topics and methodologies in the application of psychology in the design of interfaces for computers, vehicles, and other machines. Methodologies include human performance assessment, task analysis, and usability evaluations.

5331. PERCEPTION AND ATTENTION (3-0). Survey of methods and findings dealing with perception; emphasis will be upon behavioral rather than physiological considerations; particular topics include signal detection theory, form and pattern recognition, and attentional mechanisms.

5333. PHYSIOLOGICAL PSYCHOLOGY (3-0). A survey of biological and physical processes underlying behavior. Emphasis on neural, hormonal, and genetic determinants of behavior. Topics include regulatory behaviors, reward and nociceptive systems, differentiation and sociosexual behaviors, limbic and cortical functions.

5337. ANIMAL COGNITION AND BEHAVIOR (3-0). A survey of theory and data on how animals learn and represent the world and the evolutionary processes that influence their individual and social behavior.

5341. DECISION MAKING (3-0). Factors that influence categorical and numerical judgments, choices, and preference decisions. Comparison of human decision behavior with various quantitative theories.

5345. HUMAN LEARNING AND MEMORY (3-0). Survey of current approaches to the study of human learning and memory.

5348. EXPOSURE TO CONTEMPORARY PC MICROCOMPUTERS (3-0). Operating systems, ASCII editors, word processors, spreadsheets, graphics, data bases, programming languages, programming psychological experiments, statistical programming, using networks, the Internet, e-mail, Gopher, FTP, and Telnet.

5151, 5251, 5351. READINGS IN PSYCHOLOGY. Independent readings under the supervision of an individual faculty member. Students wishing to conduct research should sign up for PSYC 5191, 5291, or 5391. May be repeated for credit with consent of the Graduate Advisor. Graded P/F/R. Prerequisite: consent of the instructor.

5353. PSYCHOLOGY EDUCATION I (3-0). Survey of the content of contemporary psychology.

5354. PSYCHOLOGY EDUCATION II (3-0). Survey of the methods of contemporary psychology.

5389. CONTEMPORARY PROBLEMS IN PSYCHOLOGY (3-0). Topics vary; may be repeated for credit with consent of Graduate Advisor.

5390. CAPSTONE COURSE IN INDUSTRIAL-ORGANIZATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY (3-0). Designed for students near at the end of their I-O curriculum to demonstrate the ability to apply knowledge of industrial-organizational psychology.

5191, 5291, 5391. RESEARCH IN PSYCHOLOGY. Independent research under the supervision of an individual faculty member; may be repeated for credit with consent of Graduate Advisor. Graded P/F/R. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.

5405. ADVANCED STATISTICS I (3-2). Review of essential mathematical ideas and techniques, a survey of the basic concepts of probability theory, mathematical expectation, special distributions; parametric estimation theory.

5406. ADVANCED STATISTICS II (3-2). Statistical hypothesis testing, Bayesian inference, decision theory, linear regression and correlation; analysis of variance; distribution-free techniques.

5407. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN (3-2). Statistical aspects of complex experimental designs used in psychological research. Prerequisite: PSYC 5406.

5600. ADVANCED RESEARCH. Supervised research. May be repeated for credit. Graded P/F/R. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.

5610. INTERNSHIP. Supervised internship in an organization related to area of major interest. Graded P/F/R. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.

5398, 5698. THESIS. 5398 graded R/F only; 5698 graded P/F/R. Prerequisites: 12 hours of advanced psychology and an approved thesis proposal.

6300. SEMINAR IN PSYCHOLOGY (3-0). Offered each semester. Topics vary. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.

6312. ANIMAL LEARNING (3-0). Survey of contemporary topics in animal learning.

6316. HISTORY AND SYSTEMS (3-0). Consideration of the origins of psychology in the development of Western thought. Early conceptualization of problems and their modification with changes in evidence is emphasized.

6317. PHYLOGENY AND ONTOGENY OF BEHAVIOR (3-0). Selection contingencies as they operate to modulate behavior between phylogenic and reproductive cycles. Topics such as learning, conditioning, reinforcement, foraging, imprinting, modeling, social behavior, group selection, and cultural behavior will be treated as varieties of phyletic adaptation in the evolution of hominids.

6318. SOCIAL AND PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENT (3-0). Theory and research on social and emotional development with an emphasis on the interaction between individual needs and abilities and societal expectations and demands.

6320. NEUROPHARMACOLOGY (3-0). Survey of the basis of behavioral pharmacology including mechanisms and theories of drug actions, techniques and strategies of research, common psychoactive drugs, and the uses of drugs in clinical practice.

6325. THEORIES OF MOTIVATION (3-0). Surveys the current literature and theory on emotion and the neural and physiological basis for motivation. Material to be covered will include both biological drives, such as hunger and thirst, and interpretations of drives less immediately related to the underlying biological processes.

6326. EMOTION (3-0). A survey of current theories of emotion. Evidence bearing on conceptions of the causes and functional significance of states of emotion and mood from evolutionary, neuroscientific, and psychological perspectives will be discussed.

6335. ANIMAL BEHAVIOR (3-0). Phylogenetic approach to some basic problems in behavior, with special emphasis on unlearned behavior.

6336. COMPARATIVE PSYCHOLOGY (3-0). Theory and data about all aspects of behavior stressing similarities and differences across species.

6338. NEURAL AND COGNITIVE MODELING (3-0). Principles of neural network and dynamical systems modeling; application of these principles to the simulation of cognitive processes in both brains and machines; models of associative learning, pattern recognition and classification, and individual and group behavior. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.

6343. COGNITIVE NEUROPSYCHOLOGY (3-0). Surveys current experimental and clinical research and theory relating the brain and cognition. Emphasizes selected areas i.e., perception, attention, memory, language, and thinking.

6346. EVOLUTIONARY PSYCHOLOGY (3-0). Evolutionary processes influence behavior and thinking of humans and nonhuman species. Sociosexual behavior, aggression, cognition, and information processing from an evolutionary perspective will be among the topics covered.

6347. ENVIRONMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY (3-0). Survey of the current literature on the impact of various features of the physical environment on human behavior. Topics covered include crowding, privacy, territoriality, personal space, noise, the natural environment, residential, educational and work environments, urban and community design, and pollution and resource management. Designed to be of interest to graduate students in architecture, urban affairs, environmental science and engineering, geology, sociology, as well as those in psychology.

6349. PSYCHOMETRIC THEORY (3-0). Introduction to test construction. Topics include reliability theory, test validation, and item analysis.

6355. MULTIVARIATE ANALYSIS (3-0). Application of general linear model to special cases such as factor analysis, multiple regression, and discriminant analysis. PSYC 5344 recommended.

6399, 6699, 6999. DISSERTATION. 6399 and 6699 graded R/F only; 6999 graded P/F/R. Prerequisite: approved dissertation proposal. For students in the Ph.D. program in Mathematical Sciences, see Mathematical Sciences entry.


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