Graduate Program

QUESTIONS? Please contact Melanie Kelley at or 859-257-9640 (1-800-315-7792)


The Department of Psychology at the University of Kentucky is committed to providing excellent training to facilitate successful careers in psychology. We offer two graduate degrees: a Ph.D in Clinical Psychology and a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology, with the experimental degree occurring in one of five areas of concentration (Animal Learning, Behavior, and Cognition; Behavioral Neuroscience and Psychopharmacology; Cognitive Psychology; Developmental Psychology; and Social Psychology). Although we welcome applications from students who have completed (or are nearing completion of) a Master’s degree, Master’s training is not a prerequisite for applying to our doctoral program. In fact, most students who enroll in our doctoral programs have a bachelor’s degree and they obtain the Master’s Degree in our programs on the way to the Ph.D. However, students with prior graduate work at another institution may waive some of the master’s level course work requirements by obtaining special permission from the program or by taking appropriate by-pass examinations. Applicants are selected for admission based on their overall academic record and on their expressed interest in research areas corresponding to individual faculty or graduate program training areas.

The Department is firmly committed to the principle of ethnic diversity in our faculty and graduate student body. For interested students, descriptions of student life for African American students and Latina/o students are available. For all students, and especially Latina/o students, here is a short essay on mentoring.

Below are descriptions of the two doctoral programs we offer and then links to further information. In an effort to provide accurate information in a timely manner to individuals interested in our graduate programs, we have posted all available information about our doctoral training programs on this website. Use the links embedded in the pages to obtain more information and apply to one of our doctoral training programs. If you have trouble finding anything, email Melanie Kelley ( or call her at 859-257-9640. You can also call 800-315-7792 to reach the Office of Research and Graduate Studies.

Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology

The clinical program is devoted to training clinical scientists and to the promotion of an integration of science and practice. We understand the scientific method as the appropriate basis for clinical psychology: it provides the strongest basis for developing new knowledge in our field, and clinicians should provide those services that are shown scientifically to be effective. We train our students to be leading researchers, critical consumers of the scientific literature, and clinicians who depend on scientific findings to guide their applied activities. All of our doctoral students are expected to conduct original research, and most of our graduates make ongoing contributions to the scientific literature over the course of their careers. We are members of the Academy of Psychological Clinical Science, which is a group of leading, university-based training programs that understand the scientific method as the basis for the field of clinical psychology.

Successful applicants to our program usually have strong research interests that they intend to pursue during their training. We anticipate that some students will enter the program without fully formed professional goals, and so will consider research, teaching, and delivery of clinical services as possible career activities. Our program offers sufficient breadth and flexibility to train students for careers that involve all three. All students will receive rigorous training in both research and practice, and will both conduct scientific research and apply science-based methods in clinical practice. In addition, classroom teaching and supervisory experiences are available to clinical students.

There are many career paths open to scientific clinical psychologists; many of our graduates receive university medical center and university psychology department faculty appointments. Both types of appointments involve clinical research, and many many medical center appointments also involve clinical service delivery. Ongoing conversations between students and their advisors, other faculty members, other scientists, and other professional psychologists assist students in clarifying their professional goals and tailoring their training to support them. It is our goal to train students to bring an empirical, science-based approach to all of their professional activities, regardless of their ultimate career paths.

Our doctoral program is accredited by the American Psychological Association and by the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System. For information on the doctoral program in clinical psychology including its degree requirements, the curriculum, faculty, students, facilities, resources, and our outcomes (e.g., competencies, graduation and attrition, internship and postdoc placements, and initial job acquisition), click on this link: clinical program.

Doctoral Program in Experimental Psychology

Doctoral training takes place within the context of research and training clusters that reflect prominent themes, levels of analysis, and methodologies within experimental psychology. The training clusters are: animal learning, cognition, and behavior; behavioral neuroscience and psychopharmacology; cognitive psychology; developmental psychology; and social psychology. Each cluster comprises faculty members whose primary identification is with the cluster, faculty members who have interests relevant to the cluster but whose primary identification is with another cluster, and faculty members from other departments (e.g., Biology, Behavioral Science, Marketing) whose research interests are consistent with the focus of the cluster and who have expressed a willingness to involve psychology graduate students in their research.

Although doctoral training takes place within the context of focused research and training clusters, the Department offers a single Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology. The goal of doctoral training in the Experimental Psychology Program is to produce research psychologists capable of productive creative scholarship and teaching in their chosen areas of interest. Ph.D. graduates of the Experimental Psychology Program are employed in both academic and non-academic positions. Expertise in theory and methods is developed via specialized course work and, in particular, research experience. A student’s course of study should be tailored to the student’s professional goals and substantive interests.

For information on the doctoral program in Experimental Psychology, including its research and training clusters, and application information, click on this link: experimental program.

Important FAQs:

Our GRE institution code is 1837.

Our department code is 2016.

We do not require a subject GRE score.

We require three (3) recommendation letters.

We do NOT require the letters be in a specific format.

We do NOT require submission of a rating form.

We do NOT require a waiver form.

All of our graduate students are automatically considered for teaching and/or research assistantships

Forms for Current Graduate Students:

Clinical Program Handbook 2010

Graduate Student Advisory Committee (GSAC) Guidelines

Behavioral Neuroscience and Psychopharmacology Program Handbook

Cognitive and Developmental Studies Handbook

Social Psychology Program Handbook



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