Carnegie Mellon University

Graduate Program Requirements

Goals of the Program

The overall goals of the graduate program are to instill in students the independence, skills, and content knowledge that will result in their becoming productive research scientists. Among the types of independence we aim for are a sense of direction of the field, self-motivation, self-evaluation, and the ability to acquire new skills and knowledge on one's own. Key skills to be acquired are developing new and innovative research ideas, communicating these ideas and research findings in written and verbal formats, synthesizing existing research and theory into a coherent framework, and utilizing a variety of methodological techniques. Our program also seeks to foster the desire for scientific and social progress that motivates the research process. Ultimately, the training we provide is meant to produce a mature, creative researcher and scholar who will make significant contributions to their field.

The particular content knowledge and methodological skills each researcher needs will vary considerably. Students will become authorities in the area of their particular research focus, and they will be experts in related research areas. They will be broadly and deeply trained in the substantive domain of psychology within which their research lies (e.g., cognitive, cognitive neuroscience, developmental or social/personality psychology). They will learn about and understand central issues in their field and know about the important research findings in that domain.

Students have the opportunity to teach in the general area of their research as well as their specific interests. We provide training in teaching so that our students will be able not only to contribute to existing knowledge but also to teach others to appreciate, critically evaluate, and utilize existing knowledge.

We also wish to provide a sense of community and common endeavor for students. We provide opportunities for shared experiences within the graduate program through classes, brown bags, colloquia, and informal activities (e.g., ice-cream socials).