The present-day Department of Psychology at Florida State University
is organized into five doctoral programs that reflect the mainstream
emphases in the field. The programs are in Clinical
Psychology (the study of determinants of pathological behavior
in children and adults with emphasis on biological, cognitive
and environmental factors), Cognitive
Psychology (the study of how humans process complex information
received by the senses), Developmental
Psychology (the study of physical, cognitive and social change
throughout the life span), Neuroscience
(the study of the biological bases of behavior), and Social
Psychology (the study of how we think about, influence, and
relate to one another).
The primary goal of doctoral study in Psychology at Florida State University is to produce scholar-researchers with sufficient breadth and depth to permit successful independent and significant research. While major emphasis is given to the preparation for research, an organized and concerted effort is also made to give students the necessary background for teaching, applications of psychological science, or any combination of these fields. In these endeavors only students whose intentions are to achieve the doctoral degree during full-time study are accepted to the graduate programs. Students may receive the master's degree at an appropriate stage in their education, but this is regarded as incidental to the Ph.D. program to which they are admitted.
Research training in all doctoral programs begins in the first year with a research apprenticeship in a supervising professor's laboratory or research setting. Each student works closely with a faculty member who is conducting research in an area of interest to the student. This collaborative work typically evolves into a master's thesis during the second year for students who seek this degree. Research training continues throughout the student's graduate education, culminating in a doctoral dissertation. The continued opportunity to associate with, and participate in, research is regarded as an activity of central professional and educational importance. Students are highly successful in publishing their research in refereed journals and presenting their work at national conferences.
The general requirements of the department and of the Graduate School are kept to a minimum in order to encourage students to be educated in accordance with their own interests and career goals. The basic requirements are: (1) a research apprenticeship, (2) a preliminary doctoral examination, (3) a dissertation research project, and (4) an internship for clinical students. Program areas and students' supervisory committees may establish additional requirements, including specific courses and a master's degree. Students work closely with their supervisory committees to develop an optimum combination of course work, research experience and, when applicable, applied experience to meet their professional goals.
To enhance the intellectual atmosphere, the department sponsors a colloquium series. Each program also holds regular meetings and seminars on research and professional issues relevant to their areas.