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Ph.D. Program in Health/Social Psychology


Graduate training in Health/Social Psychology at NDSU includes five objectives:

  1. Foundation and Core courses in Health and Social psychology that provide in-depth training in these topics.
  2. Extensive training and courses in quantitative and research methods.
  3. Intensive training and experience in conducting research as part of an apprenticeship system with faculty members in the program.
  4. Course experiences in breadth areas of experimental psychology.
  5. Coursework, training and experience in the teaching of psychology in academic environments.

Many of these objectives are reflected directly in the curriculum developed for students pursuing the master's degree on the way toward doctoral candidacy

Foundation and Core Courses in Health/Social Psychology

Students entering the program will have differing backgrounds and training. Consequently, our students will need to select courses based on advice and consultation with a major advisor and academic program committee. We want our students to have a strong foundation in Health and Social Psychology, and so we will recommend students take coursework in Health Psychology (681) and/or Social Psychology (670) if they lack a strong foundation in these areas.

As part of their training in Health/Social Psychology, we expect that students will take graduate courses in the core areas offered at NDSU (Social/Health Psychology Research - 771, Advanced Social Psychology and Health - 787, Social Judgment - 733, Emotions - 782).

Quantitative and Research Methods Training

Students are expected to take courses in research methods (76 - Applied Research Methods or its substitute) and quantitative methods (Experimental Methodology - 640). As part of the doctoral program, students will also take Advanced Research Methods and Analysis (762) and may take other courses as part of general doctoral breadth requirements (e.g., Advanced Regression, Multivariate Methods). In addition, much of students' exposure to quantitative and research methods will result from their research activities and meeting other parts of their degree requirements.

Research Apprenticeship

We will select students for our program who have the interest and desire to be engaged in intensive, cutting-edge research with faculty members in our department. Consequently, we expect that students will become involved in research with a faculty mentor during their first month in the program, and to continue this involvement throughout the time they are in the program. Thus, we expect that students will register for course credit (793) each term.

Breadth in Experimental Psychology

Students gain breadth in the areas of experimental psychology in a number of ways. Students are expected to take one course to provide breadth in the biological bases of behavior (i.e., Psychobiology - 665, Sensation and Perception - 660, Neuropsychology - 686) and one course in the cognitive bases of behavior (i.e., Memory and Knowledge - 661, Attention and Thinking - 664, and a course expected to be named in the next few years). In addition, each term the student is expected to attend and participate in the instruction and activities associated with the Psychology Department Colloquium Series (i.e., 790). Beyond these experiences, students may also gain breadth in experimental psychology as part of the general doctoral breadth requirements (e.g., Fundamental Processes in Cognition - 731, Applied Cognitive Processes - 732, Visual and Cognitive Neuroscience - 718, Advanced Topics in Visual Perception - 727).

Teaching of Psychology

Students in the program are expected to take a graduate level course in teaching strategies (e.g., Communication 790) which exposes them to different teaching methods and philosophies of education. Subsequently, students teach a full semester course in psychology (e.g., Intro to Health Psychology, Social Interaction). The teaching assignment is a mentored experience. The student selects a faculty member to serve as a mentor who has experience with the course to be taught. The faculty member will help on early course decisions (e.g., textbook selection, syllabus advice). In addition, the student and mentor routinely touch base during the semester. Fulfilling this requirement will prepare our students for teaching in a college/university setting. Applicants for academic positions are stronger when they have teaching experience, and they more easily make the transition from student to professor

Requirements and Checklists for Health/Social Program

We have constructed checklists for the requirements for the Master's degree (PDF).

We have also compiled checklists for the PhD requirements (PDF).

Primary Health/Social Faculty

FacultyResearch interest(s)
Clayton Hilmert, Ph.D.Stress, psychophysiology, and health
Verlin B. Hinsz, Ph.D.Social and organizational psychology, the cognitive psychology of groups
Leah Irish, Ph.D.Sleep, stress, health behaviors
Michael D. Robinson, Ph.D.Personality, emotion, cognition, self-regulation
Clay Routledge, Ph.D.Existential motives, the self, nostalgia, psychological health and well-being

Affiliated Faculty

FacultyResearch interest(s)
Kevin D. McCaul, Ph.D.Relationships between cognitions, feelings and self-protective health behaviors
David A. Wittrock, Ph.D.Dean of the College of Graduate and Interdisciplinary Studies


Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.

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Department of Psychology
North Dakota State University
Phone: +1 (701) 231-8622
Campus address: Minard Hall 232 
Mailing address: NDSU Dept. 2765 / PO Box 6050 / Fargo, ND 58108-6050

Department Chair: Mark Nawrot, Ph.D.
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Last Updated: Wednesday, January 09, 2019 11:54:29 AM
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