Doctor of Philosophy: Psychology - Applied Cognitive and Brain Sciences

The mission of the Applied Cognitive and Brain Sciences Option at UMKC is to enhance health outcomes, broadly defined, for individuals and communities.  In service of this mission, we offer advanced training in the fundamental areas of experimental psychology, health psychology, and quantitative and methodological approaches for applied psychology. The doctorate training emphasizes the development of research skills and empirical investigation of real-world problems in the life and health sciences.  Graduates are prepared for careers in academia, allied health, industry, and government agencies.

The Applied Cognitive and Brain Sciences Option at UMKC provides full­ time Ph.D. study.  Didactic instruction is integrated with research from the beginning of students' training.  Students are paired with a faculty mentor and become part of a lab where they learn how basic research is applied to practical problems and develop the knowledge and skills to carry out original research. These experiences are graded in complexity and designed to foster the development of cumulative knowledge and skill as the student progresses through their training. 

Admission Criteria

The Ph.D. in Psychology-Applied Cognitive and Brain Sciences option is not currently admitting new students. 

Our doctoral training is designed for applicants with a prior bachelor's or master's level degree. The following are minimum criteria recommended for admission:

  1. A bachelor's degree in Psychology or related discipline. Satisfactory completion of prior coursework in Introductory/General Psychology, Experimental Methods/Research Design and Statistics/Quantitative Methods is required. Satisfactory completion of prior coursework in at least two of the following areas is also strongly recommended: Biopsychology, Cognitive Psychology, Learning, Motivation, Neuroscience, Sensation and Perception, and Social Psychology.
  2. Undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or graduate GPA of 3.5. Alternative criteria may be accepted at the discretion of the admissions committee if there is good reason to believe the regular criteria do not adequately portray the student’s potential to do quality work while in the doctorate degree.  However, admission is highly competitive, and we seek to admit students with a general history of excellence.
  3. Competitive Graduate Record Examination scores from the general test (GRE Math + Verbal greater than 300; Analytical Writing score of at least 4.5). Students whose scores fall below this recommended minimum may present additional evidence of their capacity to do quality doctoral-level work. Such additional evidence will be considered and accepted at the discretion of the Admissions Committee.
  4. Demonstrated evidence of interest in health research. The training follows a mentorship model. Therefore, applicants whose research interests are similar to those of the faculty will be given higher consideration.
  5. History of personal conduct consistent with the ability to adhere to high standards of student conduct, as outlined in the UMKC Standard for Student Conduct.

Admission Procedure

New students are admitted in fall semester only. Because we receive applications from many more qualified individuals than can be admitted, admission is competitive. All application materials must be received by December 5 to be considered for admission the following fall.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students completing the Applied Cognitive and Brain Sciences Option will demonstrate:

1. Competence in the evaluation, conduct, and dissemination of research to support independent activity at the next level (e.g., post-doctoral research, academic research, applied research),

2. Ethical conduct and high professional standards in research, including sensitivity to issues of diversity,

3. Knowledge of the theoretical and scientific foundations of health psychology, and

4. Understanding of the breadth of scientific psychology and its application to health psychology.

Program Requirements

The following represents the program’s core curriculum.

Year I
PSYCH 0000 Psychology Core Course3PSYCH 55173 
PSYCH 55163PSYCH 55903 
PSYCH 55903PSYCH 56013 
 9 9
Year II
PSYCH 5538 (PSYCH 0000 Psychology Core Course)3PSYCH 55993 
PSYCH 55993EDUC-R&P 5611 (And/Or HLM)3 
 EDUC-R&P 5613 (And/Or SEM)3 
 Completion of Master's Degree1  
 6 9
Year III
PSYCH 0000 Elective3PSYCH 0000 Elective3Comprehensive Exam to advance to candidacy 
PSYCH 0000 Psychology Core Course3 PSYCH 0000 Psychology Core Course3 
PSYCH 56963PSYCH 56963 
 9 9 0
Year IV
PSYCH 569923PSYCH 569923 
Post-master's Degree3 Post-Master's Degree3  
 3 3
Total Credits: 57
Psychology Core Courses
Select four of the following:12
Advanced Social Psychology
Cognitive Psychology
Advanced Biopsychology
Advanced Systems And History Of Psychology
Adult Development And Aging
Possible Electives
Diagnosing and Treatment Planning
Evidence-Based Practice
Special Topics (Health Psychology: Community Based Participatory Research)

Requirements for Retention

A detailed description of policies and procedures, including the requirements for retention, is available in the student handbook.