Carnegie Mellon University

The Psychology Department offers a highly-individualized, challenging, and exciting training program leading to one of two degrees: Psychology Ph.D. or Cognitive Neuroscience Ph.D.

Within these two degrees, graduate students are trained in the areas of:

A hallmark of our program is significant attention to research development and apprenticeship with individual faculty, with each student's course of study tailored to meet the individual’s needs and interests. The focus is on acquiring research skills, and this generally takes place through collaboration with the student’s advisor and other faculty in the environment. Our overall goal being to train independent, creative, and insightful scientists capable of using analytical and empirical methods to advance basic scientific knowledge.

Approximately 25-35 graduate students are in residence at any time. All students receive full support, including an annual stipend, full tuition, and health coverage. Support comes from a variety of sources including external or university fellowships, training grants, and faculty research grants.

The Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience Ph.D. programs emphasize:

  • collaboration with faculty/students in the program
  • quantitative skill acquisition
  • qualitative skill acquisition
  • theory development
  • training with multiple methodologies, including behavioral, computational, neuroimaging, eye-tracking, clinical trials
  • data collection
  • open science efforts to encourage replicable research
  • cutting-edge measures of health and health behavior

Unique features and strengths of our program are:

  • an apprenticeship model that provides a solid foundation to conduct independent research
  • the selection of an advisor and a committee to provide guidance throughout your graduate experience
  • encouragement to collaborate with at least one other faculty member’s (in addition to the primary advisor’s) lab during the program
  • opportunity to design studies, collect one’s own data, and develop a program of research
  • program’s connection to the larger Pittsburgh community which includes University of Pittsburgh programs, area schools, and patient populations
  • opportunities for fieldwork and real-world application

This training positions students for successful careers in both academia and industry. Prior cognitive graduates hold positions as faculty at research-focused universities and teaching institutions, higher education administration, and a variety of education and technology industries.

Carnegie Mellon has a strong tradition of interdisciplinary research.

It is straightforward for students to take courses or engage in research with faculty across the university, including from the Neuroscience Institute, Robotics, Machine Learning, Human-Computer Interaction, Statistics & Data Science, Social and Decision Sciences, Philosophy, Biological Sciences, Biomedical Engineering, and the Tepper School of Business. In addition, students often take courses and interact with University of Pittsburgh faculty from Psychology, Neuroscience, Bioengineering, the Learning Research and Development Center (LRDC), and Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic (WPIC).