Program Requirements

Coursework Requirements

These are the general coursework guidelines for all psychology graduate students.

Minimum Departmental Course Requirements

  • Statistics: Students are required to take Psychology 610 and 710. Students must earn a grade of B or better in both 610 and 710. 
  • Additional Courses: Beyond 610 and 710, students are required to:
    • Complete two semesters of Psychology 621-099 (colloquially known as “Meet the Faculty”).
    • Register for and attend a proseminar meeting each academic year semester (Fall/Spring) during their first three years. Students are encouraged to continue to register for and attend a proseminar in later years while in residence. The proseminar meetings by area group are as follows: Psych 701 (CCN); Psych 703 (Social); Psych 704 (Clinical); Psych 706 (Developmental); Psych 707 (Bio)
    • Take six additional graduate-level courses (numbered 600 and higher).  Students must average a B or better across the six courses with no grade lower than a BC in any of these courses.  
    • In an effort to achieve breadth, 2 of the 6 required courses should be outside of the student’s area of research. Courses outside of the student’s area group and outside of the Psychology Department can meet this requirement except in cases in which the course content overlaps with the student’s research focus. Examples include linguistic courses for students studying psycholinguistics or courses on the development of prejudice for students studying prejudice in the social area group.
  • Eight week courses count as half courses, two half courses are equivalent to one full course.
  • By end of Year 3, all departmental course requirements should be completed.

Research (990) Credits

  • After registering for all courses, proseminars, and other electives, a student who does not have dissertator status may fill their schedule with 990 credits. For reference, the Graduate School considers full time enrollment to be 8-15 graduate level credits (no audit or pass/fail) during the academic year. 
  • All dissertators must enroll in 990 credits. Further, dissertators register for 3 credits, no more and no less. These credits must be comprised of only 990 credits, unless one is enrolling in a proseminar or a course that is directly related to dissertation research or clinical practica (e.g., 805).

Summer Enrollment

  • Students holding an academic year (i.e., Fall/Spring semesters) TA, PA, or RA appointment or a UW Fellowship do not need to enroll in summer courses.
  • Students with a RA summer appointment must enroll in at least two graduate level credits in summer.
  • Trainees and fellows (NRSA, NSF, etc.) who are being paid during the summer months must enroll in at least two graduate level credits in summer.
  • Dissertators must be enrolled in three credits during the summer if they are expecting to successfully defend their dissertation and graduate during the summer session
  • Students holding spring TA, PA, or RA appointments are eligible for summer tuition remission, if necessary

Professional Development

  • All graduate students are required to take the online training modules on Human Subjects Protection and on Responsible Conduct of Research. Students who use animals are also required to complete the Animal User Online Certification. Proseminar courses regularly include sessions devoted to research ethics. “Meet the Faculty” also contains sessions devoted to ethics and other aspects of professional development.  
  • Graduate students are strongly encouraged to obtain some teaching experience (e.g., TA, etc.). Teaching experience is an important part of training in professional development, especially for students going into careers that involve teaching.

Breadth/Ph.D. Minor (UW-Madison Graduate School Requirement) 

  • Students have two options available in order to fulfill the Graduate School’s breath/minor requirement. One option is to minor in an outside department and enroll in 9 credits in only that department. The other option is to choose a distributed minor, which can include credits from within the psychology department, as long as they are not within your area group, as well as credits from any department outside of psychology.


Area Group Coursework Requirements


Same as general departmental requirements, except that students will register for the BBB proseminar in all years while in residence.


Same as general departmental minimum requirements


Clinical Coursework Requirements 


Students must take at least 8 courses; two of these courses must be Psychology 610 and 710. Note that eight-week courses count as half courses; two half courses are equivalent to one full course.

In selecting coursework, students should aim to achieve breadth in psychology, breadth in developmental psychology, and depth in a special area of interest; this may mean taking more than the minimum number of required courses. Further, students should ensure they have sufficient exposure to methods (including statistics) that are relevant for research in developmental psychology; this may mean taking more than the two methods classes required by the Department (i.e., courses beyond 610 and 710).


Same as departmental minimum requirements


Same as departmental minimum requirements


Students in the Social Area are required to take at least 8 courses; two of these courses must be the statistics sequence (PSY 610 and 710). The remaining 6 courses should be distributed as follows: 1 advanced statistics or methods course, the advanced social psychology seminar (PSY 728), 1 topical seminar in Social Psychology, and 2 graduate level content courses outside of the Social Area.

Graduate students are required to enroll in the social area group proseminar ( SALAD; PSY 703) each semester. Note that PSY 703 may not be used to fulfill the content or methodology course requirements.