PhD Psychology & Neuroscience

Meaningful mentorship

Dalhousie's interdisciplinary Psychology/Neuroscience PhD program emphasizes research and independent critical thinking, undertaken with the guidance of thesis supervisors conducting world-class research in the field. The relationship between student and supervisor is a foundational element of the program, one that hones research skills and encourages the exchange of knowledge between developing and established scientists.

Dalhousie is a national and international leader in psychology and neuroscience research. PhD students play critical roles in a diverse range of research projects led by a faculty equally dedicated to teaching and research.

Program Details

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology & Neuroscience

Choose a research supervisor

Before you begin your studies at Dalhousie, we encourage you to visit our department or correspond by email with faculty members whose research interests you. The best way to find a research supervisor whose interests match yours is to:

  • Discuss ideas and projects with prospective supervisors
  • Ask faculty for descriptions of possible research projects
  • Write to the Graduate Secretary for general information

Program structure

Students entering with a master's degree in the area of graduate work are admitted into a PhD program with a two-year residency requirement, while those entering without a relevant master's degree have a three-year residency requirement. In addition to the dissertation, which is the major requirement of this program, students in the PhD program must complete the following classes if not completed as part of the master’s degree:

  • Psychology 6100.06: Principles of Neuroscience
  • Psychology 7100.03: Seminar in Teaching Effectiveness
  • Psychology 7501.03: Proseminar in Methods of Psychological Inquiry I
  • 7502.03: Proseminar in Methods of Psychological Inquiry II (Must be completed in the same year as 7501).

The Graduate Program Coordinator, in collaboration with the student and supervisor, will assess the needs of the student and determine any other requirements beyond the minimum outlined above. Advanced standing for some work completed during the master’s program may be granted.

The major, non-dissertation, component of the PhD program are the comprehensive projects. PhD students must complete three comprehensive 'examination' projects that are not directly related to their dissertation research, with at least one supervised within Psychology and at least one supervised in one of the other participating departments. These may be actual examinations, review papers, empirical research, grant proposals, etc., and the student's plan must meet with approval of the Psychology Department and the NPC.

During each residency year in the PhD program, students are required to serve as a teaching assistant in our undergraduate program.

For each year that you are in the PhD program you are required to register for thesis (Psychology 9530), and during the residency years you must attend a colloquium series.

PhD defence

A PhD defence is open to the public. The Faculty of Graduate Studies arranges and publicizes the PhD defence in consultation with the supervisor and the student.

The PhD candidate makes a 20-minute oral presentation of the work. Members of the Examination Committee then question the candidate. The external examiner, the members of the examining committee and the supervisor vote on the outcome of the thesis defence.

Application Deadlines

Applications must be received by December 1.