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Graduate: Psychology

  • Program Overview

    Psychology Department

    The Department of Psychology, in the College of Arts and Sciences, is one of Stony Brook’s largest graduate departments. More than 800 Ph.D. degrees have been awarded since the program began more than 40 years ago. In recent years the population of students has been approximately 60 percent female, 15 percent minority, and 10 percent international students.

    The department is administratively organized into four program areas: Clinical Psychology, Cognitive Science, Integrative Neuroscience, and Social and Health Psychology. Students must be admitted to one of these four program areas, but they are encouraged to receive training in more than one program area if appropriate. Course offerings and research training are structured in such a way that students can meet the requirements for a Ph.D. degree in Clinical Psychology, Cognitive Science, Integrative Neuroscience, or Social and Health Psychology. Stony Brook’s doctoral program in Clinical Psychology is accredited by the American Psychological Association (Commission on Accreditation, American Psychological Association, 750 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242, Phone: 202-336-5979) and the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System. A detailed description of the graduate programs, including requirements for students in each area of graduate studies, is available from the departmental graduate office or from our Web

    In all four program areas, the primary emphasis is on research training through apprenticeship, advisement and independent research. New students are encouraged to become involved immediately in ongoing research and to engage in independent research when sufficient skills and knowledge permit, with the goal of becoming active and original contributors.

    Description of the Masters Program in Psychology 

    The full-time program begins with enrollment in required graduate courses in the first and second summer school sessions and continues into the subsequent fall and spring academic semesters. The program is generalist in its orientation and provides advanced education that will transfer well either to a career right after graduation or to further graduate education in a variety of fields such as law, business, medical school, social work, and psychology. Specific applied training leading directly to professional licensure is not provided. Instead, the students in the MA program receive traditional and general grounding in psychology via courses chosen from our regularly offered graduate courses.

    A faculty director specifically for the MA program is available for consultation on course selection, career opportunities, and professional development. In addition to courses in clinical, social/health, cognitive/experimental, and integrative neuroscience, professional development workshops that address concerns about graduate school, career and personal choices, and professional presentation, are a regular part of the curriculum. Students complete relevant coursework, and engage in supervised research mentorship and training under the direction of Psychology or University affiliated faculty at the University. “Brown bag” seminars in Clinical, Social and Health Psychology, Cognitive Science, or Integrative Neuroscience provide awareness of ongoing research at Stony Brook and that of guest speakers at other research institutions, and the opportunity to gain applied skills through Internship placements is available.

  • Admissions

    Admissions Requirements for the Psychology department

    The requirements for admission to masters study, in addition to the minimum Graduate School requirements, ordinarily include:

    A. A bachelor’s degree with a major in psychology, or in a program providing adequate preparation for the intended area of study (ordinarily including statistics, research methodology, and/or psychology laboratory).

    B. An average of 3.25 or better in all graded academic undergraduate coursework.

    C. One official copy of all previous college transcripts, with certified English translations of any transcripts in a foreign language.

    D. Letters of recommendation from three instructors or academic advisors.

    E. The GRE is not required.

    F. For international students, TOEFL or IELTS scores (unless their native language is English) and the International Student Financial Affidavit.

    G. Students who do not meet these requirements may also apply if they feel that special circumstances should be considered.

    H. Acceptance by the department and Graduate School.

    The Master's Program begins Summer Session I. Applications are accepted January 15 through February 28th. All applications must be submitted online through the Graduate School. Admission questions and application instructions are available at the Graduate School website at:

  • Degree Requirements


    Requirements of the Masters Program in Psychology

    The 1-Year MA Program in General Psychology provides an advanced education preparing students for a career in psychology or related fields directly after graduation or to further graduate education in psychology or related fields such as business, law, medicine, and social work. 

    The full-time program begins with enrollment required graduate courses in the first and second summer school sessions and continues into the subsequent fall and spring academic semesters.

    • MA students are required to enroll in the Academic and Professional Development seminar (PSY610) during Summer Session 1 of the year they enter the program, and a statistics course (PSY501) during Summer Session 2.
    • Students are required to enroll in a weekly seminar in the Fall semester with all first year graduate students (PSY504), which include discussions of current research and research practices by faculty and visiting speakers.
    • MA students can select among a wide range of courses in the Psychology Department from clinical psychology, cognitive science, developmental psychology, integrative neuroscience, and social and health psychology.  For information on the courses offered, see the link below.  (Note: not all courses are offered every year.)

    • In the Fall and Spring semesters, MA students enroll in weekly seminars in either Cognitive Science, Integrative Neuroscience, or Social and Health Psychology (PSY581, 582, 583, 584, 585, or 586).  These seminars include presentations on current methods and topic areas.
    • MA students have a faculty advisor specifically for the MA program who is available for consultation on course selection, career opportunities, and other matters.
    • The MA program includes professional development opportunities that address students’ concerns about graduate school, career and personal goals, professional presentation, etc.
    • Students engage in supervised research mentorship and training under the direction of Psychology or University affiliated faculty at the University.
    • A wide variety of internships are available to MA students, which provide them with experiential learning relevant to their future careers.
    • Applicants to the MA program will be evaluated on the basis of their undergraduate GPAs (minimum 3.25), three letters of recommendation, and their personal statement. GREs are optional.



    • End of February: Application period ends.
    • March and April: Offers of admission are made.
    • End of May (Summer Session 1): Program begins.
    • Mid-May of the following year: Graduation.

    In light of the extraordinarily short period between admissions offers and the start of the MA program, applicants should carefully consider whether they will be able to satisfy all administrative and practical tasks to join the MA program on time.

    • Completion of the MA program will be contingent on completion of 30 credits with at least a 3.0 GPA, as per the regulations of the Graduate School. Additionally, students are expected to earn grades of C or better in all courses.

     Sample Curriculum:




    Summer session 1

    Professional Skills Seminar (PSY610)


    Summer session 2

    Graduate Statistics (PSY501)



    Weekly seminar (PSY581, 583, or 585)



    First year seminar (PSY504)



    Survey course in Clinical Psychology



    Course in Social Psychology



    Research Supervision



    Internship Supervision



    Weekly seminar (PSY582, 584, or 586)



    Course in Cognitive Science



    Course in Integrative Neuroscience



    Research Supervision



    Internship Supervision





    Requirements for the Ph.D. Degree in Psychology

    The receipt of the Ph.D. signifies both a scholarly mastery of the field of psychology and the ability to conduct independent research. In addition to the Graduate School’s degree requirements, students must satisfy the following requirements (as well as requirements of their area of studies):

    A. Course Requirements
    A student must maintain a graduate G.P.A. of at least 3.0 and successfully complete an approved program of study with a grade of at least B in each required course. Two semesters of quantitative methods and three breadth courses selected from outside the student’s area of graduate studies are required. In addition, one semester of First-Year Lectures (no credit) and two semesters of a practicum in statistical computer applications are required. The four training areas of the department have additional course requirements. Following admission, students with graduate training elsewhere can petition to satisfy course requirements on the basis of their previous graduate work. No more than three departmental course requirements will be waived. Petition to waive requirements or to satisfy them on the basis of previous graduate work should be directed to the Psychology Graduate Office. Petitions concerning area requirements should be addressed to the student’s area head.

    B. Yearly Evaluation
    The progress of each graduate student is reviewed at the end of each academic year by the student's area's faculty. This provides opportunities for both positive feedback about the student's achievements and constructive feedback for improving or accelerating the student's progress. We expect that all students admitted to the Ph.D. program have the potential to succeed; however, any student whose performance is below the standards established by the department and the area may be dismissed or asked to withdraw. Under certain circumstances a student may be permitted to obtain a terminal Master of Arts degree satisfactorily completing the required courses and 30 graduate credit hours of study, and writing a second-year research paper.

    C. Second-Year Paper 
    At the end of the second year of study, each student must submit an original research paper to the advisor and the area head. Although the form of this paper and the date it is due varies by area, all second-year papers must include data collection and analysis. The second-year paper must be approved prior to the specialties paper (see item E). A copy of the approved paper must be provided to the Psychology Graduate Office.

    D. M.A. Degree in the Course of Doctoral Studies 
    The department will recommend granting an M.A. degree to students who have successfully completed the second-year requirements, including the second-year research paper, upon the recommendation of the faculty in the student’s area of graduate studies. This process is not automatic; students wishing to obtain an M.A. degree must file for one.

    E. Specialties Paper and Examination 
    This requirement should be completed by the end of the sixth semester of study. The specialties paper is a review/research paper suitable for submission to a refereed journal. The paper must be presented to and defended before a committee. The form of the specialties paper depends upon the student’s area of graduate studies, but all areas require its completion by the end of the third year in order for a student to be considered to be on track.

    F. Advancement to Candidacy 
    After successful completion of the specialties paper and examination, all required coursework, two SDI courses (see G), and the requirements of the student’s area of studies, a majority vote of the faculty of the student’s area is required to recommend advancement to candidacy for the Ph.D. The Graduate School requires that students must advance to candidacy at least one year before defending their dissertations.

    G. Research and Teaching 
    All four graduate training areas focus heavily on research; research activity from the time of admission through the length of the program is required. Students who are funded on state lines serve as teaching assistants (TAs) for classes taught by departmental faculty and instructors. For all students, regardless of source of funding, two semesters or summer sessions of substantial direct instruction (SDI) in the classroom or laboratory is required (one of which must be PSY 310). Students may satisfy this requirement by providing significant hours of lecturing and student contact in a class for which they are serving as a TA, or by serving as the instructor of record for a class of their own (and obtaining faculty observation). During these semesters, graduate students must receive teaching evaluations from their students.

    H. Residence 
    Minimum residence of two years and the equivalent of three years of full-time graduate study are ordinarily required. Unless admitted as part-time students (which happens very rarely), residents must register for full-time study until they are advanced to candidacy. Full-time study is 12 credits during the first year and nine thereafter.

    I. Dissertation 
    The approval of the dissertation proposal and successful oral defense of the completed dissertation are required.

    Within Area Course Requirements: In addition to satisfying Graduate School and departmental degree requirements, students must satisfy all of the course requirements of their training programs.

    Clinical Psychology

    Complete the following courses in the first year (required of all Clinical Area students):

    PSY 534 Assessment: General Principles, Clinical Interviews, and Adult Psychopathology

    PSY 602 Assessment: Personality Testing, Intellectual/Cognitive Testing, and Child/Parent Assessment

    PSY 537 Methods of Intervention: Treatment of Internalizing Disorders

    PSY 538 Methods of Intervention: Treatment of Externalizing Disorders and Relationship Problems

    PSY 545 Psychopathology: Conceptual Models and Internalizing Disorders

    PSY 596 Psychopathology: Externalizing and Psychotic Disorders

    PSY 603 Ethics and Professional Issues

    PHY 620 Human Diversity

    Complete the following courses in the second year (required of all Clinical Area students):

    PSY 505 Structural Equation Modeling and Advanced Multivariate Methods, or an alternative advanced statistics course approved by the Area Head

    PSY 604 Intervention Practicum

    PSY 605 Advanced Clinical Practicum

    PSY 606 Supervised Practice

    PSY Breadth Course 1

    Complete the following courses in the third year:

    PSY 606 Supervised Practice (Fall and Spring)

    PSY Breadth Course 2

    PSY Breadth Course 3

    PSY 698 Research (Fall and Spring)

    Complete dissertation (PSY 699) during the fifth year and complete internship (PSY 608) in the sixth year.


    Cognitive Science

    Complete three of the following:

    PSY 513 Theories of Attention

    PSY 516 Judgment and Decision Making

    PSY 518 Memory

    PSY 520 Psycholinguistics

    PSY 610/620 Seminars in Selected Topics: Cognition (must be approved in advance by the Area Head)

    Sign up for the following sequence each year (required of all students):

    PSY 583 Experimental Colloquium I

    PSY 584 Experimental Colloquium II

    The Cognitive Science Area also requires submission of a First-Year Research Paper requiring data collection and analysis. This paper must be submitted to the advisor and second reader at the end of the second semester of graduate study.


    Integrative Neuroscience

    Complete the three following courses (required of all Integrative Neuroscience Area students):

    PSY 561 Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience I

    PSY 562 Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience II

    PSY 565 Functional Neuroanatomy

    Complete at least oneof the following courses:

    PSY 560 Cognitive Neuroscience

    PSY 564 Neuropsychopharmacology

    PSY 610/620 Seminars in Selected Topics: Affective Neuroscience

    PSY 610/620 Seminars in Selected Topics: Hormones and Behavior

    PSY 610/620 Seminars in Selected Topics: Neurology of Learning & Memory

    Sign up for the following sequence each year (required of all Integrative Neuroscience Area students):

    PSY 581 Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience Colloquium I

    PSY 582 Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience Colloquium II


    Social and Health Psychology

    Complete two of the following courses:

    PSY 541 Social Psychology of Close Relationships

    PSY 543 Attachment

    PSY 549 Prejudice & Discrimination

    PSY 555 Social Psychology

    PSY 556 Stress and Coping

    PSY 558 Theories of Social Psychology: Health Applications

    PSY 559 Psychology of Women’s Health

    PSY 594 Psychology of Gender

    Complete an additional special topics course in the Social and Health Area (PSY 610 or PSY 620). Alternatively, students can complete an additional course from the preceding category.

    Students must complete one of the quantitative courses listed below or an additional methods or statistics course as approved by the student’s advisor and Area Head.

    PSY 505 Structural Equation Modeling and Advance Multivariate Methods

    PSY 506 Psychometrics

    PSY 507 Meta-Analysis


    Cognitive Neuroscience Certificate:

    Integrative Neuroscience students must take 3 of the following courses from the Cognitive Science Area:

    PSY 513 Theories of Attention

    PSY 516 Judgment and Decision Making

    PSY 518 Memory         

    PSY 520 Psycholinguistics


    Cognitive Science students must take 3 of the following courses from the Integrative Neuroscience Area:

    PSY 610/620 Current Issues in Brain Imaging

    PSY 561 Cognitive & Behavioral Neuroscience I

    PSY 562 Cognitive & Behavioral Neuroscience II

    PSY 565 Functional Neuroanatomy

    PSY 560 Cognitive Neuroscience

    PSY 610/620 Seminars in Selected Topics: Hormones & Behavior

    PSY 610/620 Seminars in Selected Topics: Molecular Psychology

    PSY 610/620 Seminars in Selected Topics: Neurology of Learning & Memory

    PSY 610/620 Neuroscience: Applications in Psychology


    Quantitative Methods Certificate

    Students must complete both of the following courses:

    PSY 501 Analysis & Design

    PSY 502 Correlation/Regression

    Students must complete three (3) additional quantitative courses from the following list (instructors may change; courses outside Psychology require the permission of those instructors). Any substitutions must be approved by the Graduate Director in advance by providing a syllabus of the course to be substituted.

     PSY 505 Multivariate Methods/Structural Equation Modeling

    PSY 506 Psychometric Methods

    PSY 507 Meta-Analysis

    PSY 508 Introduction to Computer Applications in Statistics

    PSY 535 Advanced Research Methods

    PSY 610/620 Computational Modeling

    POL 602 Applied Data Analysis I: Probability Theory

    POL 603 Applied Data Analysis II: Regression

    POL 604 Applied Data Analysis III: Maximum Likelihood Estimation

    POL 606 Duration & Panel Models

    POL 610 Experimental Design

    POL 676 Advanced Topics: Methods

    CSE 507 Introduction to Computational Linguistics

    CSE 529 Modeling and Simulation

    AMS 571 Mathematical Statistics II


    Teaching Requirement for the Quantitative Certificate:

    Students must serve as the instructor of one of the following courses:

    PSY 201 or PSY 301

    OR Serve as a Teaching Assistant in one of the following courses:

     PSY 501 or PSY 502.



  • Facilities

    Facilities of the Department of Psychology

    Faculty in each area maintain active laboratories with state-of-the-art equipment for research and graduate training.  Faculty, students, and postdoctoral associates have access to the Psychology Department's large volunteer pool of human subjects.  In addition, the program supports the development of teaching and professional skills.

    The  Clinical  Program's research interests of the core faculty center on depressive disorders (child, adolescent, adult), anxiety disorders (child, adolescent, adult), autism spectrum disorders, personality, child maltreatment, close relationship functioning (e.g., discord and aggression among couples, romantic competence among adolescents and adults, relationship education), lesbian, gay, and bisexual issues (among youth and adults), emotion regulation processes (e.g., cognitive, interpersonal, neurobiological), and emotion and attention processes in normal and pathological conditions. Faculty labs are equipped with state-of-the-art facilities including equipment for observational research (e.g.,digital cameras and DVDs), psychophysiological equipment (e.g., heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate,) as well as electrophysiology (EEG, ERP). The clinical area also utilizes a number of other on- and off-campus facilities for clinical research and training, including the Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience Center for neuroimaging, and the Krasner Psychological Center, a training, research, and service unit that provides psychological services and consultation to the community and as well as a site for graduate practica. Within the Krasner Psychological Center, an Anxiety Disorders Clinic provides assessment and treatment of various anxiety disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder and social anxiety disorder. The University Marital Therapy Clinic provides therapy for couples and individuals in the community who are experiencing relationship difficulties. Personnel at the Marital Clinic also provide forensic assessments for child custody and therapeutic visitation for the Supreme and Family Courts of Suffolk County, NY. Affiliations have been established with the University’s Health Sciences Center, numerous other local hospitals, and local public schools.

    The  Cognitive Science  Program offers broad training in cognitive science through its affiliations with the Departments of Linguistics and Computer Science, and in cognitive neuroscience, in cooperation with the Integrative Neuroscience Program, the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, and Brookhaven National Laboratory's Medical Department. Laboratory facilities include a state-of-the-art research dedicated 3T fMRI scanner housed in our new NSF-funded SCAN (Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience) center, electrophysiology (EEG, ERP) labs, multiple eyetrackers for psycholinguistics and visual cognition studies, rooms equipped to study electronic communication and human-computer interaction, sound-isolated chambers for perception and psycholinguistics experiments, multimedia workstations for presenting stimuli and collecting data, and computer-controlled choice stations for testing human and non-human subjects. Faculty research is particularly strong in language, memory, attention, visual cognition, perception, and decision making. Most research programs are funded by agencies such as the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the Department of Defense.

    The  Integrative Neuroscience  Program provides opportunities to learn the neurobiology, genetics, anatomy, physiology and neurochemistry underlying a comprehensive array of behaviors and human disorders, including Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, autism and depression.  The broad range of faculty expertise within the program introduces students to social, affective, cognitive and clinical neuroscience at all levels of analysis, from molecular/genetic to human brain imaging and behavioral and cognitive testing  and at all ages across the lifespan.  In addition to gaining core knowledge, students also develop the cutting edge research expertise which is essential to successful careers in neuroscience. Students have access to facilities for histological and neuroanatomical analysis, behavioral analysis, and animal models of human diseases, molecular and genetic analysis, human electrophysiology and fMRI imaging.  Students have the opportunity for research training with core faculty or with affiliated faculty in the Departments of Neurobiology, Psychiatry and Neurology as well as at Cold Spring Harbor Labs. The curriculum supports the development of broad content knowledge, while research training provides development of skill expertise. In addition, the program supports the development of teaching and professional skills.

    The  Social and Health  Program offers predoctoral training for students who are interested in a research career in social psychology, health psychology, or the interface between these two disciplines (e.g., application of social psychological theory to health problems). Areas of particular strength in the faculty’s research in social psychology include the study of attachment, close relationships, and social rejection in adults and children; social cognition; social-cognitive development; social identity, prejudice, and stereotyping; academic achievement; and the representation and processing of social experience, motivation, and self-regulation. Health psychology focuses on identifying, evaluating, and enhancing the psychosocial and behavioral factors that promote health, prevent disease, or affect adjustment to illness. Faculty research topics in health psychology include the impact of stress on health; the role of social support in dealing with health problems; coping with breast cancer; reproductive health; and behaviors that promote or impair health; and aging and health. Social and Health Area faculty have affiliations with the College of Business, Department of Psychiatry and other departments in the University, and they collaborate with researchers and clinicians in the Stony Brook School of Medicine, Dental School, and University Hospital. Students in our graduate program work collaboratively with faculty members on research projects of mutual interest. A variety of courses are offered so that students can fulfill requirements by selecting the courses that best fit their interests and needs. Students may also take courses in other departments of the university, such as Political Science, Public Health, or Women’s, Gender, and Sexual Studies. In addition, students have the opportunity to receive training in methodological and quantitative techniques such as structural equation modeling and meta-analysis and they may elect to complete a quantitative minor. Seminars are offered on topics such as career issues, teaching methods, and grant writing. Another important feature of our program is its cultural and ethnic diversity. We strive to integrate cultural and ethnic concerns into all aspects of graduate training.

  • Faculty
  • Contact

    Department of Psychology

    Dr. Sheri Levy, Psychology B 154 (631) 632-7808
    Cynthia Forman (ATC), (631) 632-7027

    Graduate Program Director 
    PhD Programs: Dr. Richard Gerrig, Psychology B 201 (631) 632-7847 
    MA Program: Dr. Bonita London,

    Graduate Program Coordinator 
    Marilynn Wollmuth, Psychology B 150 (631) 632-7855

    Web Site

    Degrees Awarded 
    MA in Psychology, Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, Ph.D. in Cognitive Science, Ph.D. in Integrative Neuroscience, Ph.D. in Social/Health Psychology