UConn’s Ph.D. in Educational Psychology

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Study at One of the Most Research-Productive Departments at UConn

The Department of Educational Psychology continues to be one of the most productive departments at UConn in terms of research. Opportunities abound for Ph.D. students looking to begin their research careers and learn from some of the top educational psychology experts in the country.

The department offers five areas of concentration for Ph.D. students, including the No. 17-ranked special education program in the nation according to U.S. News & World Report.


The Ph.D. in Educational Psychology offers students a range of concentrations to choose from:

Plans of Study

The Department of Educational Psychology ordinarily admits full-time doctoral scholars. A Ph.D. student’s plan of study is developed between the Advisory Committee and the student. A suggested list of possible courses from which to choose for each concentration is provided.

Learning Sciences

Required Courses (Substitutions Allowed*): 

  • EPSY 5605 – Quantitative Methods in Research I 
  • EPSY 5610 – Applied Regression for the Education Sciences 
  • EPSY 6601 – Methods and Techniques of Educational Research 
  • EPSY 5510 – Learning: Its Implications for Education 
  • EPSY 5602 – Educational Tests and Measurement 
  • EPSY 5220 – Introduction to Educational Technology 
  • EPSY 5621 – Construction of Evaluation Instruments 
  • EPSY 5613 – Multivariate Analysis in Educational Research 
  • EPSY 5515 – Professional Seminar in Cognition & Instruction (2 credits) 
  • EPSY 5520 – Instructional Design 
  • EPSY 5530 – Theories of Learning, Cognition, and Instruction 
  • EPSY 5540 – Research Ethics in Education and Psychology (2 credits) 
  • EPSY 6560 – Instructional Psychology 
  • GRAD 6950 – Dissertation Preparation (15 credits) 

        Recommended Courses (Substitutions Allowed*):  

        • EPSY 5230 – Web-based Learning 
        • EPSY 5195 – Distance Learning 
        • EPSY 5240 – Interactive Learning Environments 
        • EPSY 6230 – Advanced Educational Technology 
        • PSYC 5615 – Human Factors 
        • PSYC 5621 – Simulation and Training 
        • EPSY 6621 – Program Evaluation 
        • EDLR 5302 – Program Evaluation for School Improvement 
        • EPSY 6626 – Sampling and Survey Research Methods 
        • EPSY 6636 – Measurement Theory and Application 
        • EPSY 6637 – Item Response Theory 5 
        • EPSY 6611 – Logistic and Hierarchical Linear Models 
        • EPSY 6240 – Academic Motivation 
        • EPSY 6550 – Situated Cognition 
        • PSYC 5420 – Cognitive Development 
        • PSYC 5567 – Cognition 
        • PSYC 5572 – Sensation and Perception II 
        • PSYC 5575 – Introduction to Cognitive Systems 
        • EDLR 5203 – Adult and Experiential Learning 
        • EDLR 5201 – Influences on Adult Learning 
        • PSYC 5332 – Research Design and Test Construction 
        • PSYC 5702 – Field Research Methods 
        • PSYC 5130 – Causal Modeling in Social Psychology 
        • SOC 5201 – Social Research I 
        • SOC 5210- Applied Survey Design and Analysis 
        • SOC 5231 – Qualitative Methodology 
        • SOC 5753 – Methods of Population Analyses 

                  *Note: Course substitutions are permitted with approval from the student’s primary advisor and advising committee. 

                  Giftedness, Creativity, and Talent Development 

                  Required Courses for the Ph.D. 

                  Giftedness, Creativity, and Talent Development Required Courses (15 credits) 

                  • EPSY 5850: Introduction to the Science of Creativity 
                  • EPSY 6710: Conceptions of Human Potential 
                  • EPSY 6730: Contemporary Issues in Giftedness, Creativity, and Talent Development 
                  • EPSY 6770: Concepts in Curriculum and Instruction for Talent Development    
                  • EPSY 6780: Affective Issues in Achievement and Talent Development 

                  Research and Other Required Courses (30 credits) 

                  • EPSY 5510: Learning: Its Implication for Education or EPSY 5530: Theories of Learning, Cognition and Instruction (EPSY requirement)  
                  • 2 of the following 3: EPSY 5605: Quantitative Methods in Research I; EPSY 5607: Quantitative Methods in Research II; EPSY 5610, Applied Regression Analysis (EPSY requirement; Gifted program students generally take EPSY 5605 and EPSY 5610) 
                  • EPSY 6601: Methods & Techniques of Educational Research or EPSY 6651: Introduction to Methods for Causal Inference Using Educational Data (EPSY requirement)  
                  • EDCI 6000: Qualitative Methods of Educational Research (Gifted program requirement) 
                  • GRAD 6950: Dissertation Research (15 credits – UConn requirement) 

                  Additional Course Options for the Ph.D. 

                  Possible Additional Research Courses 

                  • EDLR 6052: Qualitative Methods of Educational Research II (Gifted program recommendation) 
                  • EPSY 5621: Construction of Evaluation Instruments (Gifted program recommendation) 
                  • EPSY 6611: Hierarchical Linear Modeling 
                  • EPSY 6615: Structural Equation Modeling 

                  Possible Additional Gifted Education Courses (based on students’ background and interests) 

                  • Students should enroll in EPSY 5710: Introduction to Gifted Education and Talent Development (online course) if they enter the program without a strong gifted background. 
                  • Students should enroll in EPSY 5720: Developing Schoolwide Enrichment Programs (summer course) or the free online SEM course if they enter the program without a firm understanding of the Schoolwide Enrichment Model. 
                  • Students who anticipate accepting a position that involves training teachers in gifted education may wish to enroll in some of the following courses: EPSY 5740: Strategies for Differentiating the Grade Level Curriculum (fall on campus, summer online); EPSY 5750: Enhancing Creativity in the Classroom (summer on campus even years); EPSY 5760: Improving Students’ Thinking Skills (spring online); EPSY 5780: Social and Emotional Components of Giftedness and Talent Development (fall online). 

                  Research Methods, Measurement, and Evaluation

                  Competency 1: Research Methodology and Quantitative Expertise (24 credits or 8 courses) 

                  Courses for which students may test out: 

                  • EPSY 5601: Introduction to Educational Research Methods* 
                  • EPSY 5605: Introduction to Quantitative Methods I* 
                  • EPSY 5607: Introduction to Quantitative Methods II* 


                  • EPSY 5610: Applied Regression Analysis 
                  • EPSY 5613: Multivariate Analysis in Educational Research 
                  • EPSY 6601: Methods and Techniques of Educational Research 
                  • EPSY 6611: Hierarchical Linear Models 
                  • EPSY 6615: Structural Equation Modeling 
                  • EPSY 6619: Advanced Modeling Using Latent Variable Techniques 
                  • EPSY 6651: Methods for Causal Inference from Educational Data 
                  • EPSY 6655: Advanced Methods for Causal Inference from Data 

                  *Expected (equivalent or competency exam required to be waived) but do not count towards 24 credits in this area 

                  Competency 2: RMME: Theories, Methods and Models (21 credits or 7 courses) 


                  • EPSY 5602: Educational Tests and Measurements 
                  • EPSY 5621: Construction of Evaluation Instruments 
                  • EPSY 6621: Program Evaluation 
                  • EPSY 6194: Advanced Program Evaluation 
                  • EPSY 6636: Measurement Theory and Application 
                  • EPSY 6637: Item Response Theory 
                  • EPSY 6638: Advanced Item Response Theory 

                  Competency 3: Theories of Educational Psychology (3 credits) 


                  • EPSY 5510: Learning: Its Implications for Education** 

                  ** Students may request to have this requirement waived if they have taken a graduate-level Educational Psychology or Learning course from another university and earned a B or better. 

                  Additional Coursework (12+ credits) 

                  Students must take a combination of elective courses and independent study/practica which total at least 12 credits. At least 3 of these credits must be from coursework and at least 3 of these credits must be from independent study/practica. 

                  Dissertation Research (15 credits) 

                  Students must also register for 15 credits of dissertation research. 

                  School Psychology

                  Discipline-Specific Knowledge: 

                  • EPSY 5455 – History and Systems of Psychology 
                  • EPSY 5194 - Cognitive and Affective Bases of Behavior 
                  • PSYC 5140 - Foundations of Neuropsychology 
                  • EPSY 5318 - Human Growth and Development 
                  • EPSY 5194 – Advanced Social Psychology or EPSY 5570 – Current Topics in Social Psychology or EPSY 6750 – The Social Psychology of Stigma 
                  • EPSY 5430 – Child Psychopathology 
                  • EPSY 6601 - Methods and Techniques of Educational Research 
                  • EPSY 5605 - Quantitative Methods in Research 
                  • EPSY 5610 - Applied Regression Analysis 
                  • EPSY 6651 - Introduction to Methods for Causal Inference Using Educational Data 

                  Profession-Wide Competencies: 

                  • EPSY 5199 - Doctoral Seminar: Research in School Psychology  
                  • EPSY 5408 - Ethics in Educational and Professional Psychology 
                  • EPSY 5420- Roles and Functions of School Psychologists 
                  • EPSY5450 - Issues in Cultural Diversity 
                  • EPSY 5404 – Social Emotional Behavioral Assessment 
                  • EPSY 5403 - Intellectual Assessment 
                  • EPSY 5425 - Procedures in Academic Assessment 
                  • EPSY 5445 - Counseling in School Psychological Practice 
                  • EPSY 5405 - Applied Behavior Analysis 
                  • EPSY 5440 – Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Intervention in Schools 
                  • EPSY 5435 - Academic Intervention 
                  • EPSY 5194 - Crisis Prevention & Intervention 
                  • EPSY 5406 - Consultation  

                  Advanced Integrated Concentration (AIC) credits, including a minimum of 9 additional credits as approved by the major advisor. 

                  EPSY 6494 - Doctoral Practicum in School Psychology for a total of 18-24 semester hours across 6-8 semesters. 

                  EPSY 6491 - Doctoral Internship in School Psychology for a total of 12 semester hours. 

                  GRAD 6950 - Doctoral Dissertation Research (at least 15 credits must be included in the plan of study). 

                  Special Education

                  Each student will plan an individualized plan of study that includes required courses, recommended courses, and may include practicum and fieldwork opportunities. 

                  Required Courses 

                  Doctoral Seminars (12 Credits): 

                  • EPSY 6194: Four doctoral seminars are required. These are designed to provide in-depth exploration and discussion of current topics in special education such as law and policy, issues relating to persons with behavior disorders and learning disabilities, literacy, theory and academic writing. These can be taken out of sequence, and occasionally, in a different program with the advisor’s approval. 

                  Research Methods (9 Credits): 

                  • EPSY 5605: Quantitative Research Methods I (3 credits) 
                  • EPSY 5610: Regression (3 credits) and/or EPSY 5607: Quantitative Research Methods II (3 credits) 
                  • EPSY 6601: Methods and Techniques of Educational Research (3 credits) 

                  Learning Theory (3 Credits): 

                  • EPSY 5510: Learning (or the equivalent; 3 credits) 

                  Area of Emphasis: 

                  • A minimum of 12 credits (which could include independent study) provides an opportunity to develop expertise in a specialty area such as teacher education, cognitive and attention deficit disorders, early childhood special education, and postsecondary disability services. 

                  Dissertation Research (At Least 15 Credits Required): 

                  • GRAD 6950: Doctoral Dissertation Research 

                  Recommended Courses 

                  • EDCI 6000: Qualitative Methods of Educational Research (3 credits) 
                  • EPSY 6499: Doctoral Practicum (1-6 credits). A practicum comprises an opportunity to apply theory in a student’s area of specialization or interest. This may be in conjunction with a graduate assistantship. 


                  Learn more about each Ph.D. in Educational Psychology concentration in their handbooks:

                  Program Cost and Financial Aid

                  UConn’s Office of the Bursar maintains up-to-date costs for graduate students. The Ph.D. in Educational Psychology is considered a Program with Tuition and Mandatory Fees. Please visit the Bursar Office’s website for details. 

                  The total Cost of Attendance (COA) includes direct educational costs (i.e., tuition, fees, housing, and food) and indirect costs.  Indirect costs include books, course materials, supplies and equipment, transportation, miscellaneous personal expenses, loan fees, and professional licensure or certification, if applicable.  For additional information about the Cost of Attendance at UConn, please visit https://financialaid.uconn.edu/cost/.  

                  The University of Connecticut offers a variety of financial aid options, in addition to state and federal assistance. Visit the Neag School’s doctoral programs overview page for Schoolwide financial aid information.

                  EPSY Scholars Program

                  The Department of Educational Psychology also offers the EPSY Scholars Program, which has the following goals:

                  1. To provide a mechanism for students to engage in research work that will result in peer-reviewed publications for the student.
                  2. To facilitate faculty opportunity to support and prepare high-achieving graduate students.

                  EPSY Scholars will receive a 10-hour graduate assistantship from the Department of Educational Psychology for up to four years, contingent on satisfactory academic standing and consistent completion of program requirements (i.e., annual submission of a progress update and plan for committee review). This is paired with an additional 10-hour graduate assistantship (provided by the advisor or program), so all EPSY Scholars will be fully funded for at least four years. The EPSY Scholars Program is intended to be a competitive program that will support recruitment of nationally competitive Ph.D. students and will facilitate these students’ engagement with active scholarship during their program.

                  How to Apply 

                  Prospective Educational Psychology doctoral scholars must meet the admission criteria of both the Graduate School and the Department of Educational Psychology.

                  Ph.D. applications are due by December 1 for admission the following Fall. Applicants who submit by December 1 will be considered for funding opportunities (graduate assistantships, teaching assistantships). Applications are welcome after December 1 but may not be eligible for funding.

                  Consideration for admission requires the following:

                  1. Complete the online application to the Graduate School. In the Intended Program section of the application, select:  

                    • Level of Study: PhD/Doctoral 
                    • Academic Areas: Education 
                    • Program: Educational Psychology PhD
                    • Concentration: choose from the list.
                    • Campus: Storrs 
                    • Entry Term: Fall 2025 

                    2. Upload the following materials electronically into the online application. The Admissions Committee cannot make a decision about your application until all materials are submitted: 

                        • Transcripts of all collegiate work completed to date, graduate and undergraduate  
                        • Contact information for 3 individuals who can submit letters of recommendation on your behalf. 
                        • Complete the Residence Affidavit 
                        • GRE scores only if you are applying to the School Psychology or Giftedness, Creativity, and Talent Development concentrations. All other concentrations do not require GRE scores, but you are welcome to submit them as supplemental materials. 
                        • TOEFL Scores (if an international student)  
                        • Current Resume or Curriculum Vitae 
                        • Personal statement. Each concentration has different prompts for the personal statement. Please visit the concentration websites for more information: 

                                Contact Us

                                For questions related to the Learning Sciences concentration, contact: 

                                Professor Michael Coyne with schoolchildren

                                Michael Coyne

                                Professor and Department Head

                                Educational Psychology

                                Email: mike.coyne@uconn.edu

                                For questions related to the Giftedness, Creativity, and Talent Development concentration, contact: 

                                Catherine Little

                                Catherine Little

                                Professor, Educational Psychology

                                Giftedness, Creativity, and Talent Development

                                Email: catherine.little@uconn.edu 

                                For questions related to the Research Methods, Measurement, and Evaluation concentration, contact: 

                                Chris Rhoads

                                Christopher Rhoads

                                Associate Professor of Educational Psychology 

                                Research Methods, Measurement and Evaluation

                                Email: christopher.rhoads@uconn.edu

                                For questions related to the School Psychology concentration, contact: 

                                Melissa Bray

                                Melissa A. Bray

                                Professor of Educational Psychology 

                                School Psychology

                                Email: melissa.bray@uconn.edu

                                For questions related to the Special Education concentration, contact: 

                                Allison Lombardi

                                Allison Lombardi

                                Associate Professor of Educational Psychology

                                Special Education

                                Email: allison.lombardi@uconn.edu