James Madison University
PHOTO: Cognitive Science students

Concentration in Experimental Psychology

Dr. Kethera Fogler (foglerka@jmu.edu), Concentration Coordinator


The concentration in experimental psychology is designed for students interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in various areas of research psychology with an emphasis on basic science such as cognitive psychology, sensation and perception, learning theory, and behavioral neuroscience. It also provides a foundation for work in applied settings such as in the federal government.


Experimental psychology is the area of psychology that utilizes experimental methodology in the science of behavior and mental processes. It is an umbrella term that encompasses the efforts of researchers in several areas of psychology, including biological, perceptual, cognitive, developmental, and social psychology. Experimental psychologists seek to identify and understand the structures and processes that underlie behavior, and examine topics such as vision, audition, attention, performance, learning, memory, language, problem solving, reasoning, and decision making. Students will work throughout their two years on course work, scholarly studies, and research in their mentor's specific area of experimental psychology. Students may also gain valuable experience as a teaching assistant (e.g., experimental methods) or in comparative approaches to research.

Program Curriculum (36 credit hours)

Methodology and Research Core (15 credit hours)

  • PSYC 605 - Intermediate Inferential Statistics (3 credit hours)
  • PSYC 608 - Multivariate Statistical Methods in Psychology (3 credit hours)
  • PSYC 700 - Thesis (6 credit hours)
  • PSYC 602 - Psychological Research Methods or another methods-related elective (e.g., Psyc 606, 805, 836, 840) approved by adviser (3 credits)

Content Courses (9 credit hours chosen from the following and approved by adviser)

  • PSYC 610 - Applied Behavior Analysis (3 credit hours)
  • PSYC 613 - Cognitive Science (3 credit hours)
  • PSYC 616 - Social Psychology (3 credit hours)
  • PSYC 624 - Neuroscience (3 credit hours)
  • PSYC 625 - Human Neuropsychology
  • PSYC 690 - Experimental Analysis of Behavior (3 credit hours)

Concentration and Elective Courses (12 credit hours as approved by adviser)

  • Any additional content course listed above
  • PSYC 601 - Special Topics (3 credit hours)
  • PSYC 604 - Data Management and Analysis (3 credit hours)
  • PSYC 606 - Measurement Theory (3 credit hours)
  • PSYC 805 - Single Case Experimentation (3 credit hours)
  • BIO 504 - Evolution (3 credit hours)
  • BIO 550 - Neurobiology (3 credit hours)
  • CSD 523 - Psychoacoustics (3 credit hours)
  • Other courses as approved by adviser

Other experiences

In addition to course work and other requirements of the psychological sciences program (e.g., Apprenticeship, Research Roundtable), students participate in a monthly concentration meeting where faculty and students discuss published research and professional issues related to the various topics in experimental psychology.

View representative scholarly work for students in the program

For further information, please contact Dr. Kethera Fogler (foglerka@jmu.edu)