Formal requirements for the doctorate in social/personality psychology include the satisfactory completion of 72 points (at least 32 in residence at New York University); two terms of statistics, either PSYCH-GA 2228, Intermediate Statistics, and PSYCH-GA 2229, Regression, or courses approved by the program director; satisfactory completion of an oral or written comprehensive examination, and presentation of an acceptable dissertation. After completion of the required number of points, doctoral students maintain matriculation by fee each semester until completion of the dissertation. Five years of post-baccalaureate study are usually required to complete the Ph.D. degree; however, no more than seven years may elapse between matriculation and the completion of all degree requirements. Continuation as a matriculant is contingent on the demonstration of satisfactory progress toward the doctorate. It cannot be overemphasized that the accumulation of high grades in formal courses, while important, is secondary to the completion of research that contributes significantly to the field and is effectively presented in the dissertation.
The program encourages faculty-student interaction through a weekly research seminar called the Social Psychology Brownbag Series. Students present in the series each year, and presentations may focus on proposed research designs, literature reviews or new empirical findings. Students also regularly present papers at regional, national and international psychology meetings. Informal presentations are often given in laboratory meetings, which most faculty members hold on a weekly basis. Students are explicitly encouraged to attend more than one lab meeting to expand their research breadth. Hands- on research training is a core component of the doctoral training.
The Department of Psychology offers a unique concentration in developmental psychology. Students engage in advanced-level seminars and research with faculty affiliated with both developmental psychology and their chosen field of interest. The fact that the concentration cuts across different areas of psychology assures that students receive broad exposure to theories of development and methods of studying developmental change across a range of content areas. Students pursue a specific course of study in developmental psychology within the required curriculum of their core psychology program. They attend and present their research at weekly lab meetings. Nationally renowned developmental scholars are invited to present their research to the program, and students have the opportunity to discuss their work with them.
Students may also specialize in quantitative psychology, which involves mathematical representations of behavioral data, using statistical analysis and mathematical models of psychological phenomena. All areas of psychology can be approached from a quantitative perspective, so it is possible to pursue a quantitative specialization from any of the doctoral specialty programs. Students take elective courses in advanced statistical and/or mathematical topics and demonstrate an ability to communicate mathematical approaches clearly.