The PhD Program in Applied Cognitive Psychology offers students training in cognitive psychology research and theory and a wide range of statistical and methodological skills necessary to do basic and applied research on important issues related to human cognition.

CGU’s PhD programming in Applied Cognitive Psychology offers in-depth scholarship in the theories and research that define the traditional and contemporary areas of cognitive psychology, including cognitive aging, eyewitness memory, intelligence and working memory, and perception and human performance. Intensive research will define your education; you’ll be quickly involved as a student, collaborator, and colleague with globally renowned faculty-scholars, conducting research on applied topics that inform important societal problems.

Program Highlights
  • A key component of the Applied Cognitive Psychology program is the apprentice model, in which PhD students collaborate closely with their faculty research advisors throughout their graduate studies.
  • Many cognitive psychology students focus their research in law & psychology, including the topics of eyewitness memory, autobiographical memory, and lie detection.
  • Other students focus their research on cognitive abilities, including working memory, attention control, and fluid intelligence.
  • Cognitive psychology students also collaborate with faculty from The Claremont Colleges on a range of topics, including cognitive aging, decision-making, prospective memory, autobiographical memory, and embodied cognition.
  • Cognitive psychology graduate students and faculty gather regularly for Cognitive Brown Bag Lunches to hear research presentations on topics of current interest.
  • All Applied Cognitive Psychology students who request financial aid receive fellowships. The Division of Behavioral & Organizational Sciences also regularly hires students for paid teaching assistantships.
  • We also offer an MA program in Applied Cognitive Psychology: User Experience. Learn more

Program at a Glance

72 units

5-7 years

Fall | Spring

Division of Behavioral & Organizational Sciences

PhD in Psychology

Featured Courses

Psychology of Thinking

Explores aspects of cognitive psychology including problem solving, creativity, intelligence, mental representation, expertise, decision processes, and more.

PSYCH 260po
Perception & Cognition

Explores the information processing approach to sensation and perception, including topics on attention and working memory.

PSYCH 328a

Explores the major empirical and theoretical issues in human memory research and analyzes the interaction between memory and emotion and the neural basis for this interaction.

PSYCH 350d
Law & Psychology

Covers topics including eyewitness memory, plea bargaining decisions, investigative interviewing, false confessions, the death penalty, and more.

PSYCH 350g

Reviews the history of intelligence testing and covers more recent topics bridging psychometrics, cognitive psychology, and neuroscience.

PSYCH 350u
Applied Cognitive Psychology

Explores the most productive avenues for applying cognitive psychology in the real world.


Cognitive Psychology Core Courses (12 units)
Perception & Cognition (4 units)
Psychology of Thinking (4 units)
Memory (4 units)

Cognitive Psychology & Related Electives (32 units)
Students are often encouraged to take elective courses in the School of Educational Studies, the Drucker School of Management, the Division of Politics & Economics, the Center for Information Systems & Technology, the School of Arts & Humanities, and the Institute of Mathematical Sciences.

Statistics & Methodology (20 units)
Research Methods (4 units)
Directed Research Seminar: Cognitive Psychology (two 2-unit courses)
Intermediate Statistics (2 units)
Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) (2 units)
Applied Multiple Regression (2 units)
Categorical Data Analysis (2 units)
Sequence: 4 additional units of Advanced Methodology

Field/Teaching Experience (4 units)
Supervised Teaching Seminar (4 units)
Field Placement (4 units)

Transdisciplinary Core Course (4 units)
All PhD students are required to enroll in a transdisciplinary core course from the “TNDY” course sequence during their first three semesters at Claremont Graduate University.

In addition to 72 units of coursework, all students must complete a portfolio that represents a cohesive set of experiences balancing training in their area of specialization.

PhD Completion
• PhD qualifying exam
• Dissertation proposal
• Dissertation and oral defense

Faculty & Research
  • Andrew Conway profile image

    Andrew Conway

    Associate Provost for Research
    Professor of Psychology

    Research Interests

    Intelligence, Working memory, Statistics

  • Kathy Pezdek profile image

    Kathy Pezdek

    Professor of Psychology

    Research Interests

    Memory and comprehension, Visual memory, Eyewitness memory, Suggestibility of memory, Autobiographical memory

Extended Faculty

Lise Abrams

Pomona College

Research Interests

Language and memory, speech production, tip-of-the-tongue (TOT) states, cognitive aging, bilingualism

Gabriel Cook

Claremont McKenna College

Research Interests

Cognition, memory

Alison Harris

Claremont McKenna College

Research Interests

Cognitive neuroscience, decision neuroscience, neuroeconomics

Catherine Reed

Claremont McKenna College

Research Interests

Cognitive neuroscience, electroencephalography, human behavior and human factors, multisensory perception

Shlomi Sher

Pomona College

Research Interests

Rational and psychological levels of analysis; scientific approaches to the mind-body problem

Patricia Smiley

Pomona College

Research Interests

Language development, self-development, achievement motivation

Sharda Umanath

Claremont McKenna College

Research Interests

Cognition, education, experimental psychology, memory

Megan Zirnstein

Pomona College

Research Interests

Sentence processing, individual differences in reading behavior and comprehension, bilingual language processing, ERPs, eye tracking

Where You Can Find Our Alumni

Request information about the Applied Cognitive Psychology program

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Matthew Gold

Assistant Director of Admissions
T: 909-607-7498 (Direct)
T: 909-607-7811 (Central Admissions)