Ph.D. Concentration in Ecological Psychology

Ph.D. students who concentrate in ecological psychology gain intellectual and technical skills demanded by problems in the field. They take courses in the Department of Psychological Sciences, such as:

  • Sensation & Perception
  • Control and Coordination of Movement
  • Ecological Foundations of Psychology
  • Ecological Social Psychology
  • Nonlinear Dynamics and Movement Control I and II
  • Introduction to Complex Systems
  • Applied Time Series Analysis
  • Dynamics and Language
  • Approaches to Emergent Structure
  • Evolution and Development

The concentration also requires two basic courses in statistical methods; these courses may be augmented by courses in a variety of advanced statistical methods.

Depending on a particular student’s interests, they can pursue courses outside of psychological sciences. Examples include biomechanics, computer graphics, embryology, evolutionary biology, neurobiology, philosophy of mind, philosophy of psychology, philosophy of language, philosophy of physics, kinesiology, nonlinear dynamics, differential equations, and tensor calculus.


Required Courses

Within the first two years:

  • PSYC 5574. Control and Coordination of Action*
  • PSYC 5571. Sensation and Perception I*
  • PSYC 5104. Foundations of Research in the Psychological Sciences I
  • PSYC 5105. Foundations of Research in the Psychological Sciences II

*Whichever course offered at the time is taken, followed by the other the following year or semester

Concentration Core Requirements

Students are required to take two of the following courses. These two courses must be taken before prelims. The other courses are recommended but not required.

  • PSYC 5553. Introduction to Nonlinear Dynamics
  • PSYC 5554. Advanced Nonlinear Dynamics
  • PSYC 5575. Introduction to Cognitive Systems
  • Developmental Systems**
  • STAT 5825. Applied Time Series Analysis
  • Introduction to Complex Systems**
  • Longitudinal Data Analysis**

**Offered as “Current Topics” courses

Academic Milestones

General Examination

  • Typically taken in the 4th year
  • Two-week take-home exam covering Historical, Technical, and Theory domains
  • Students do not take it until they have submitted a senior-authored paper for publication and demonstrate the wherewithal to complete a dissertation

Dissertation Proposal

  • Announced to the division
  • Oral defense open to the division
  • Dissertation Defense
  • Completely open to all to attend; family members leave before questions; non-PhDs leave before deliberation