Graduate Program

Graduate Program Highlights

Small is beautiful. The program is intentionally small, ensuring a favorable faculty-student ratio, close faculty-student collaboration, and a congenial atmosphere. We plan to expand from our current enrollment of 17 to about 20 students at full capacity.

State-of-the-art facilities. Well-equipped psychological laboratories provide an excellent setting for research. The department has ample facilities for research in each of our three specialization areas.  Lehigh has a sophisticated network system and excellent on-line library and informational support. The department also has its own computer facilities, providing statistical, experimental, and general purpose software.

Generous financial support.  Students admitted with regular full-time status are normally given a full tuition waiver and an annual 9 month stipend ($25,500 for 2023-2024). Support may come in the form of a teaching, research or graduate assistantship, or a fellowship (the latter sometimes being endowed with a more generous stipend). Additional support is usually available in the summer. In assessing our support package, bear in mind that the cost of living is a good deal lower here than in major cities.

An idyllic location. Lehigh's park-like campus, in historic Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, is a heavily wooded former arboretum with ivy-covered Victorian-era stone buildings. Located in Pennsylvania's third largest metropolitan area (pop. 630,000), the Lehigh Valley combines the advantages of urban and rural life. It is a short drive from New York City, Philadelphia, the Pocono Mountains, and the New Jersey shore.


Program Requirements

Ph.D. Program

We are a research-intensive department, where graduate students and faculty work collaboratively in three areas of psychology: cognitive, developmental, and social psychology.  Most students work with one professor as their primary research adviser, but collaboration across research labs is encouraged.  Our program involves some course work, but the focus is on designing, conducting and publishing cutting-edge psychological research.  Students also have multiple opportunities to gain teaching experience.

Coursework: The minimum required courses include: three core courses covering cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, and social cognition; two courses on statistics and research methodology; a professional development seminar; at least three graduate seminars; and two elective courses.

Research: All students are active in research throughout their residence in the program.  The formal requirements include a first year project that may provide the basis for the Master’s thesis, and the doctoral dissertation. Students are strongly encouraged to engage in additional research projects outside these requirements.

General Examination: During the third year, preparatory to the dissertation, students undertake an examination based on a reading list centered on their general area of the study: cogitive, developmental or social psychology. The reading list is compiled by faculty in each area and is designed to provide a broad expertise in each particular subfield of psychology.

Teaching Experience: Most students work as teaching assistants at some point during the program, and Ph.D. students have the opportunity to teach at least one undergraduate course after completing their M.S. degree. 

Master’s Program

The M.S. degree is mainly awarded to students in the process of working towards their Ph.D. However, well-qualified students may also be accepted for a Master of Science degree.

Coursework: The minimum required courses include: two core courses covering cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, or social cognition; two courses of statistics and research methodology; a professional development seminar; and two elective courses, approved by the advisor.

Research: All students are engaged in research throughout their residence in the program.  The formal requirements include a first year project that typically provide the basis for the Master’s thesis.
See the Catalog and the Psychology Graduate Program Handbook for additional details about the program.


Areas of Specialization

The department’s main fields of specialization include:

Cognition and Language: Broad training in cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience; special expertise in cognitive control and attention, executive processes, memory, knowledge representation, language, causal reasoning and categorization. (Central faculty include: Arrington, Bickhard, Carlisle, CoxHupbach, Marsh, and O’Seaghdha)

Social and Cognitive Development: Research covers many central developmental topics, including cognitive, meta-cognitive, and perceptual development; language, narrative, and literacy development; symbolic and play development; attachment, socio-emotional, and moral development; gender and identity development; socio-relational and socio-cultural development, and lifespan development. (Central faculty include:  AnBarrett, Bickhard, BorowskiBrandone, Laible)

Social Cognition and Personality: Examination of how situational influences, individual differences, and information processing mechanisms combine to create social cognition and behavior. Current emphases include conscious and unconscious influences on social judgment, social influence, prejudice and stereotypes, goals, motivation, and self-regulation, and social-cognitive changes associated with aging and health status, including coping and depression. (Central faculty include: Burke, Gill, Moskowitz, Napper, Packer)