Department of Psychology Title The Ohio State University

Graduate Program


After a century of excellence in teaching, research and service, The Ohio State University is recognized as a leader among the nation's centers of higher learning. Ohio State sponsors a wide variety of graduate and professional programs.


The study of psychology is part of a long and distinguished tradition at Ohio State.

The first psychology course was offered in 1879, and in 1907 an independent Department of Psychology was formed. The first Master of Arts degree in Psychology was awarded in 1915; the first Ph.D. in 1917. Since that time, about 2,800 master's degrees and 2,000 doctorates have been conferred.

Department graduates hold respected teaching, research and professional positions across the United States and many practice in other countries. In fact, there is at least one Ohio State graduate on the psychology faculty of almost every major university in America.


About 60 professors make up the Psychology Department faculty at the Columbus campus. Many are recognized both nationally and internationally for their contributions to their fields, and many hold joint appointments, which mean they are also members of other department faculties at Ohio State.

Our faculty members, as well as a number of our alumni, are the recipients of the discipline's highest awards for professional and scientific achievement. Many serve as editors of major journals and several are president's of professional societies. They understand that they are role models and that they have a responsibility to help graduate students develop their sense of professional identity and commitment. Click here to access a list of faculty awards and here to access faculty editorships.

Admitting Faculty
Behavioral Neuroscience Clinical Cognitive Decision Psychology Developmental IDD Social Quantitative
Laurence Coutellier Theodore Beauchaine Julie Golomb Mike DeKay John Gibbs Betsey Benson Jennifer Crocker Robert Cudeck
Kathryn Lenz Jennifer Cheavens Richard J. Jagacinski Kentaro Fujita Susan Johnson Susan Havercamp Russell Fazio Paul De Boeck
Benedetta Leuner Charles Emery Ian Krajbich Ian Krajbich John Opfer Luc Lecavalier Kentaro Fujita Mike DeKay
Derick Lindquist Ruchika Prakash Zhong-Lin Lu Ellen Peters Steve Petrill Marc Tassé Lisa Libby Andrew Hayes
  Daniel Strunk Gail McKoon Roger Ratcliff Vladamir Sloutsky Katie Walton Richard Petty Jolynn Pek
  Michael Vasey Alexander Petrov Duane Wegener Laura Wagner   Steve Spencer  
    Mark A. Pitt       Baldwin M Way  
    Roger Ratcliff       Duane Wegener  
    Julian Thayer        
    James T. Todd          
    Brandon Turner          
    Saygin Zeynep          


As a graduate student at Ohio State University, you will find that faculty consider you a colleague. You will have every opportunity to develop the research and professional skills you need to become a well-qualified psychologist in the specialty area you choose. With the faculty's help, you will develop an individualized study and research program and you will study in an invigorating, research-oriented environment, one you should find both challenging and intellectually stimulating. Our overriding goal is to train scholars who, through independent research, are capable of making substantive contributions to the body of knowledge in the field of psychology.

Areas of Study

The Department of Psychology awards the Ph.D. in seven programs, each covering a wide range of research topics, as described below.

Behavioral Neuroscience

Main areas of emphasis: behavioral neuroscience, behavioral endocrinology, neuropsychopharmacology, and neuroimmunology. Research focuses on animal models of neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disease; aging; plasticity; neurobiological and neurochemical mechanisms of cognitive (i.e., learning, memory and attention), affective, and social behaviors.

Various behavioral methods are utilized and combined with electrophysiological, neurochemical, neuroanatomical, immunohistochemical, molecular, and pharmacological approaches.

Clinical Psychology

The main areas of emphasis: systematic research on clinically-relevant problems; assessment and treatment of problematic behavior. There are three subspecialties: adult, child, and health. Faculty emphasizes behavioral, cultural, developmental, and social perspectives. Faculty research interests include health psychology, i.e. cardiovascular and pulmonary disease, cancer, psychoneuro-immunology, women's health and related topics. In the adult and child specialties, the areas of interest include personality assessment and training of social skills, clinical/social judgment, sexuality, childhood psychopathology and anxiety disorders. The program is accredited by the American Psychological Association. The department's Psychological Services Center and other cooperating mental health facilities are the sites for clinical training.

Cognitive Psychology

Main areas of emphasis: cognition/memory/learning; human performance; and perception. Faculty research includes: perceptual-motor coordination, human memory and cognition, categorization, decision-making, human factors, language processing and psycholinguistics, auditory and visual perception, higher-level vision and attention, and music perception/cognition. Research methods include psychophysics, computational modeling, eye-tracking, EEG, and fMRI.

Developmental Psychology

The Developmental Psychology Program considers fundamental questions in the field of psychology from the perspective of developmental change. The primary area of emphasis is cognitive development, including attention and memory, learning and conceptual development, language acquisition, and the interactions among these processes. Secondary areas of emphasis include social cognition, moral development, and parent-adolescent relationships. Faculty employ state-of-the-art experimental methods for studying cognition in infants and young children, for example preferential looking, habituation, EEG, fMRI, microgenetic approaches, as well as traditional experimental techniques and physiological measures. Students are encouraged to visit individual labs for more specific information about on-going research.

Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) Psychology

The Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) Psychology Graduate Program is designed to train scientific research psychologists in the area of IDD and leads to a PhD degree in IDD Psychology. The science of psychology applies to individuals with IDD just as to non-disabled groups, although this is a specialization in its own right. Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities as a field includes disorders such as intellectual disability (formerly called mental retardation), autism spectrum disorders, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, Williams syndrome, and other related disabilities that originate during the developmental period. The IDD Psychology Program offers two possible tracks: the "IDD Psychology" track and a "Dual Clinical-IDD Psychology" track.

Quantitative Psychology

There are three areas of specialization within the quantitative program: (1) traditional quantitative methods, including multivariate quantitative methods and models, measurement theory, and model selection; (2) judgment and decision making, including modeling and experimental studies of human judgment and decision processes; (3) mathematical psychology, including development and application of mathematical models of psychlogical processes. Students can focus their studies in one area, or a combination. The program helps students develop and expand their mathematical, statistical, and computer skills, and encourages them to apply those skills to substantive areas in psychology. There is considerable flexibility to accommodate students with a variety of interests.

Faculty research includes quantitative methods such as covariance structure models, factor analysis, categorical data analysis, models of multilevel data, clustering, and multidimensional scaling; mathematical modeling of human judgment and decision processes, including axiomatic, algebraic, connectionist and stochastic approaches; and model selection methods.

Students, faculty, and prominent visiting scholars interact in weekly seminars. The area supports several microcomputer laboratories, including a judgment and decision making laboratory.

Social Psychology

Main areas of emphasis: attitudes and persuasion, social cognition, attribution, political pyschology, intergroup relations and personality processes and individual differences. Applied opportunities and training are also available in consumer psychology and health psychology.

The program emphasizes the acquisition of research and conceptual skills. Current research and theory are evaluated in weekly seminars, many of which are conducted by outstanding visiting scholars. Laboratory space and equipment, including computer-based attitudes and social cognition laboratories, closed-circuit audio/video facilities and one-way observation rooms, permit the study of the full range of social processes.

Decision Psychology

Ohio State offers a cross-area training program in Decision Psychology. In it, faculty members study the psychological underpinnings of judgments and decisions that people make. Area members stress the development of theories of evaluation and behavior that bridge multiple disciplines. The empirical testing of theory is key, leading to a common concern with methodology. Research in the area often has important implications in a variety of areas, including health and finances, business (e.g., consumer choice), and public policy.

The program focuses on research in basic cognitive, affective, and social processes in forming judgments and making decisions. Research areas of particular strength include behavioral decision research, attitudes, experimental economics, neuroeconomics, quantitative modeling approaches, and the application of theory to health and environmental concerns. The laboratories in the Decision Psychology program have computational resources and systems to conduct behavioral experiments (including eye-movement studies) and to perform computational modeling. The department also hosts centers for functional magnetic resonance brain imaging (fMRI) electroencephalography (EEG).

Graduate students in this program are exposed to a cross-disciplinary menu of courses and research methodologies designed to provide both the breadth and depth of training necessary to produce exciting new research on decision making. Students become involved in a research project conducted by a decision psychology faculty member from the moment they begin study. As he or she develops competence and experience, the student assumes a larger role in concept development and project implementation. Eventually, the student becomes a full collaborator. Advanced students are encouraged to conduct research that includes different faculty members. Collaborative research with the faculty usually results in co-authored articles in books and journals and in presentations at professional meetings.

Cross-area Focus Groups

The Group for Attitudes and Persuasion
Social Behavior Interest Group
Social Cognition Research Group
Cognitive Neuroscience Group
Decision Psychology Group

Departmental Facilities

You will complete your study and research in facilities considered among the best in the nation. The Psychology Department is housed primarily in two adjacent buildings. The Psychology Building and Lazenby Hall, which contain extensive laboratory and computing facilities, as well as faculty, staff, and student offices and classrooms.

The large and experienced Psychology Department staff includes programmers as well as electronics and audio/visual technicians.

Departmental researchers have access to the Departmental subject pool, wherein students in introductory psychology courses contribute more than 35,000 hours of participation each year.

Ohio State's library system is the largest in Ohio and among the largest in the nation. It has more than 5.2 million volumes and receives more than 36,000 periodicals. More than 600 of these periodicals are journal titles cited in Psychological Abstracts. It has PsycLiT on CD-ROM, which provides access to all contents of Psychological Abstracts from 1974 to the present. It was the first automated library system and it remains the most advanced library and circulation system in the country.

Admission is Selective

The Department of Psychology invites applications for its graduate program. Your application will be evaluated by the department's Admissions Committee and by the faculty in the area of study in which you intend to concentrate. You will be asked on the application to indicate one or more OSU Psychology Faculty members or labs with whom you would like to work while at OSU. This field will be required so please take time to look and see whom you feel your interests are similar. All faculty pages are linked with their names under the admitting faculty. We are eager to receive applications from members of disadvantaged groups.

Only students who intend to pursue the Ph.D. are admitted. To apply, you should have a minimum of 20 quarter hours-or 14 semester hours-of study in psychology at the undergraduate level. You need not have an undergraduate psychology degree.

Transfer credit is considered on a case-by-case basis, as is advanced standing based on graduate work done elsewhere. Credit decisions are based on how closely the previous work matches that which is required by the area in which you intend to concentrate.

    In considering your application for admission, we will pay close attention to the following:
  • Your undergraduate transcript, including grade point average (GPA) and courses, and the quality of the undergraduate training you received. You must supply complete transcripts of all previous academic training, including the first semester or quarter of the senior year, if possible. We require at least a 3.0 undergraduate GPA to be considered for admission. Very rarely students with undergraduate GPA < 3.0 but with other outstanding strengths (e.g., extensive research experience) are admitted provisionally. Historic mean & median GPAs of past, admitted students can be seen in the table below.

  •   Mean GPA Median GPA
    2017 3.78 3.73
    2016 3.71 3.8
    2015 3.75 3.8

  • Graduate Record Examination Current scores in the verbal, quantitative, and analytical (written) categories. The GRE is administered nationally by the Educational Testing Service (Princeton, NJ) and may be taken at most universities and colleges. See your local registrar for further information. You are strongly encouraged to take the GRE in October (or earlier). Historic mean & median GRE scores of past, admitted students can be seen in the table below.

  •   Mean Verbal % Median Verbal % Mean Quant % Median Quant % Mean Analytical Median Analytical
    2017 87.44 90 75.81 79 4.53 4.5
    2016 89.3 93 79.24 80 4.7 5
    2015 84.77 89 81.11 80 4.3 4.5

  • Electronic letters of recommendation You should submit three letters of recommendation. The people who submit these recommendations should have direct knowledge of your capacity for graduate work. Electronic recommendations can be submitted with the graduate school application.

  • Your autobiographical statement and resume/Curriculum Vitae

When you apply, indicate on the completed application form the area of specialization in which you intend to concentrate. Your application must be complete on or before December 1 for domestic and for international applicants.

Fellowship and other stipend decisions are made in March for students who will begin graduate study the following Autumn semester.

Online Applications

M.A. and Ph.D. Requirements

Graduate students are expected to pursue full-time study. Advanced degrees are awarded to candidates who demonstrate both a personal excellence in their area of specialization and a general understanding of the various methodologies and contents of psychology.

You may complete a master's degree as you pursue your doctorate. The master's thesis, generally based on empirical research, must be completed before you can receive the M.A. degree.

The Ph.D. program can be completed in five years. The final one to two years of work are heavily concentrated on research leading to the dissertation. In certain areas, a one-year predoctoral internship is required. While the department cannot guarantee an internship, our students are successful in finding placement.

Specific programs of study are largely determined by your interests and the requirements of the specialty area. All areas emphasize research competence. You can expect to take courses in history and systems of psychology, statistics, and research methodology. You also are urged to attend colloquia outside your area of specialization.

Other study requirements include: credit-hour standards, written and oral examinations, and a thesis or dissertation. No foreign language proficiency is required, but graduates must be able to communicate fluently and precisely in English.

Financial Support

Funding a doctoral education can be a challenge for many students. Our department strives to ease this burden by offering paid research and teaching associateships to a majority of our admitted students. In addition, most of our students are awarded one of the several first year Fellowships offered by the Graduate School. Students will be made aware of the terms of their funding offer prior to being required to accept or decline admissions in the department.

Teaching Associateships - Halftime appointments in the Psychology Department have a 2017-18 salary range of $15,000-$18,000 for nine months' work. Students appointed for at least 50% FTE will receive a full tuition and general fee authorization. GA appointments receive fee authorizations that include Instructional, General Fees and non-resident fees. Other fees, including parking and late penalties as well as the student activity fee and the mandatory COTA fee, Union fee, Rec fee, and RPAC, must be paid by the student. Graduate students holding a 50% appointment for two consecutive semesters are entitled to a full fee authorization during the immediately following summer term without being on an appointment. Duties vary from assisting a professor in preparation and grading of exams to teaching an introductory course. You should expect to begin work at the lower end of the salary scale. Most Graduate Teaching Associateship positions are reserved for students in their second year and beyond.

Research Associateships - Half- time appointments are available. The 2017-18 nine-month salary range begins at $15,000. Specific salaries depend on the funding source and your academic level. Students appointed for at least 50% FTE will receive a full tuition and general fee authorization. GA appointments receive fee authorizations that include Instructional, General Fees and non-resident fees. Other fees, including parking and late penalties as well as the student activity fee and the mandatory COTA fee, Union fee, Rec fee, and RPAC, must be paid by the student. Graduate students holding a 50% appointment for two consecutive semesters are entitled to a full fee authorization during the immediately following summer term without being on an appointment.

University Fellowships - If you demonstrate outstanding academic achievement, you may be eligible for one of the limited number of University Fellowships offered each year. Eligible students will automatically be nominated by the department upon admission. Fellowship competition results are announced in early March. University Fellowships cover at least the first 12 months of tuition and fees as well as providing a monthly stipend, which during 2017-18 is $2108 during the academic year. To review University Fellowship criteria, please visi

Graduate Enrichment Fellowships - If you are a minority student, you may be eligible for a Graduate Enrichment Fellowship or a Dean's Graduate Enrichment Fellowship. Eligible students will automatically be nominated by the department upon admission. Fellowship competition results are announced in early March. Graduate Enrichment Fellowships cover at least the first 12 months of tuition and fees as well as providing a monthly stipend, which for 2017-18 is $2108 during the academic year and $1700 during the summer. To review Graduate Enrichment Fellowship criteria, please visit

American Psychological Association (APA) Minority Fellowships - Through a cooperative arrangement with APA, the department awards three-year fellowships. The total stipend is comparable to other Ohio State fellowships, and academic fees are waived. For more information about this program and how to apply online please visit

Other Predoctoral Fellowships -Apply in early Autumn quarter of your senior year for a predoctoral fellowship from either the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, the Danforth Foundation, the Ford Foundation, or the U.S. Public Health Service. For details, dates, and procedures, see the financial awards office of your college or university.

The University and the Community

The University is part of a major metropolitan area, surrounded on all sides by the city and suburbs of Columbus, Ohio. The state capital and largest city, Columbus is home to more than one million people.

The quality of life is very good, with moderate cost of living, a variety of distinctive neighborhoods, an active arts community, as well as university and professional sports. As a midsize city, Columbus provides the civilized amenities of urban life without the hassles of a megalopolis.

The University is located near a thriving downtown center, complete with excellent restaurants, a symphony, a ballet company, theatres, museums, and art galleries. There are many fine public and private schools. Several other colleges and universities are located in and near Columbus. Together, these features make Columbus an attractive place to work, get an education, and raise a family. For more about Columbus attractions and events you can visit Experience Columbus

If you are married, you will discover that the diversified Columbus economy offers a wide range of employment opportunities for your spouse. The University is the city's largest employer and many spouses find work on campus.
OSU Campus Life


Several housing options are available to graduate students at Ohio State. The University maintains three coeducational graduate dormitories.

The University also maintains student housing for families in Buckeye Village, an apartment complex on campus. Off-campus housing of all kinds is available at reasonable rates.