Psychology PhD

Program Overview

The aim of the program is to prepare future academic careers in Psychology. This requires both specialization in a particular area and acquisition of general knowledge in different areas and different methods of psychology.

The program offers specialization in three areas:

• Developmental Psychology

• Social and Organizational Psychology

• Cognitive Psychology

Specialization in one of these areas is achieved through coursework and research. Students are required to take at least two advanced level courses in their area of specialization. More importantly, students will develop competency and acquire in-depth knowledge in specific areas through their dissertation work (i.e., Ph.D. thesis) and involvement in various research projects.

Students with an undergraduate or a Master’s degree can apply for admission to the Ph.D. program.

Students with degrees in areas other than Psychology can apply for admission to the Ph.D. program.

Application Requirements​

PhD Program offers concentration in the following areas:

  • Clinical Psychological Science
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology
  •  Social Psychology

Application Requirements: 

 – BA and/or MA degree

 – Reference LettersLetters of Recommendation: The Graduate School requires three reference letters for PhD applications. These should be by persons well qualified to speak from first-hand knowledge about the applicant’s potential for graduate study. Letters of recommendation must be submitted online*.

* recommendation letters from faculty members is not necessary for candidates applying to graduate programs in Psychology if they are the graduates of Koc University Psychology undergraduate program. 

 –Statement of Purpose, which should not exceed 2,000 words, focusing on why the applicant wants to study at Koç University and in this particular program as well as explaining career objectives and research interests

 English Language, when applicants’ native language is not English, they must ensure to provide their official scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL,), or any equivalent testing system. (Please see minimum required scores below).

 ALES or GRE Score: (Please see minimum required scores below)

– Successful performance in a written exam.

MA/Ph.D. applicants are invited to take a Science Exam which aims to test psychology and research methods knowledge, science literacy, and demonstrate the ability to understand the logic and design of an empirical research.

Ph.D. in Psychology Admission Requirements
ScoresWith BA DegreeWith MA Degree
ALES(Equal Weighed)8070
GRE (Quantitative)156153

Degree Requirements

Psychology PhD Program offers concentration areas in the following fields.

Clinical Psychological Science

Cognitive Psychology

Developmental Psychology

Social Psychology

Students curriculum may change according to the area of concentration.

1st Year – Fall Semester1st Year – Spring Semester
PSYC 501- Research Methods ıPSYC 502- Research Methods II (0ptional)/ or Area Elective
Area ElectiveArea Elective
Area ElectiveElective
PSYC 590- SeminarElective
KOLT 500: TA WorkshopsETHR 500 Ethics Course
TEACH 500: TA AssignmentsTEACH 500: TA Assignments
2nd Year – Fall Semester2nd Year – Spring Semester
ENGL 500 : English Academic WritingPSYC 695: Ph.D. Dissertation
TEACH 500: TA AssignmentsTEACH 500: TA Assignments
PSYC 695: Ph.D. Dissertation 
3rd Year – Fall Semester3rd Year – Spring Semester
PSYC 695: Ph.D. DissertationPSYC 695: Ph.D. Dissertation
TEACH 500: TA AssignmentsTEACH 500: TA Assignments
4th Year – Fall Semester4th Year – Spring Semester
PSYC 695: Ph.D. DissertationPSYC 695: Ph.D. Dissertation
TEACH 500: TA AssignmentsTEACH 500: TA Assignments

To obtain a Ph.D., students with an undergraduate degree will complete at least 14 courses (max. 6 years), while those with a Master’s degree will complete at least 7 courses (max. 4 years).

The Cognitive Program in Psychology provides students with advanced background in cognition, examining mental processes such as learning, perception, attention, memory, decision-making, and language with the option of specializing in cognitive and/or behavioral neuroscience. Research is central in our graduate training in this program. Students begin research immediately and have the chance to work with core cognitive faculty members as well as collaborate with faculty in related programs. With the acquired broad knowledge in cognition and the extensive research experience gained from this program, students acquire the necessary tools to develop their independent research careers.

Students Applying to the Program with an Undergraduate Degree:
Students admitted to the program with an undergraduate degree must fulfill the following requirements to work towards their Ph.D. degree.

a. have their Master’s level courses completed successfully (i.e. with a minimum GPA of 3.25), and

b. Successfully defend their Master’s Thesis or earn departmental approval to proceed to the Ph. D. level courses after completing a “major research paper.”

Students are required to complete a “major research paper” or a Master’s thesis before continuing to the Ph.D. program.

Students whose GPA is below 3.25 may not proceed to take courses to fulfill the requirements of the Ph.D. program. These students will have the opportunity to earn a Master’s degree after successfully defending their Master’s thesis.

Students applying to the Program with a Master’s Degree   OR  Students who Earned Departmental Approval to Proceed to the Ph. D. Program:

Students admitted to the Ph.D. program with a Master’s degree are expected to

a. complete their course work successfully,

b. pass their comprehensive examinations, and

c. defend their dissertation proposal.

The Ph. D. dissertation should be an original empirical study that has a significant potential to contribution to the scientific literature.

Students in the Ph.D. program must take 3 required courses and 4 electives. Course descriptions are provided below. It may not be possible to offer all the courses listed below. The available courses will be announced at the beginning of each academic year.

Following non-credit courses are required for the completion of the program:

KOLT 500: Teaching Assistant Training and Workshops (all students are required to take these workshops in their first semester.)

TEACH 500: Teaching Experience during the semesters of their assignments. (all students must enroll to TEACH 500 every semester) 

ETHR 500: Students must complete an online ethics course latest by 2nd Semester. 

ENGL 500: Academic Writing (Advanced) course. (all students must complete this course in their second year) 

PSYC 590: Seminar Course (all students must complete the seminar requirement in their first year 1st and 2nd Semester)

The courses with a 500 code are offered to students in both Ph.D. and Master’s programs.

Required Courses (3 courses in total from the following :

PSYC 505 Culture and Self

PSYC 509 Developmental Psychopathology

PSYC 517 Advanced Industrial and Organizational Psychology

PSYC 526 Cognitive Models and Theories

PSYC 552 Advanced Social Psychology

PSYC 600 Advanced Research Seminar

Elective Courses (4 courses in total from the following list):

PSYC 506 Policy and Practice in Psychology

PSYC 507 Evolution of Human Mind

PSYC 508 Human Memory

PSYC 511 Cognitive Neuroscience 

PSYC 512 Language Development

PSYC 515 Neural Bases of Memory 

PSYC 520 Attitudes, Persuasion and Social Influence

PSYC 521 Cognitive development

PSYC 523 Psychology of Close Relationships

PSYC 524 Social Development

PSYC 525 Applied Developmental Psychology

PSYC 527 Conditioning and Learning

PSYC 528 Socialization

PSYC 531 The Role of Culture in the Theories and Methods of Developmental Psychology

PSYC 532 Individual-Environment Interactions in Developmental Psychology

PSYC 534 Selected Topics in Quantitative Psychological Research

PSYC 556 Advanced Organizational Behavior

PSYC 555 Applied Social Psychology

PSYC 565 Selected Current Topics in Social Psychology

PSYC 566 Cross-cultural approaches to Human Resource Management

PSYC 567 Attitudes and Persuasion

PSYC 572 Social Psychological Perspectives in Health Psychology

PSYC 584 Theory and Research Methods in Cross-Cultural Psychology

PSYC 605 Cognitive Psychology and Aging 

PSYC 608 Readings and Research in Autobiographical Memory

PSYC 611 Psychology of Stress

PSYC 614 Language-thought interfaces

PSYC 616. Pragmatic development

PSYC 617 Changing Family Structure and Dynamics 

PSYC 630 Research Practicum

PSYC 635 Introduction to Behavioral Genetics

PSYC 664 Social Cognition

Program Guidelines

PSYC Ph.D. Program Guidelines


Required Courses: Ph.D. Students must take 7 courses* (21 Credits) in the course of the Ph.D. Program:

1 required course (PSYC 501), 6 Electives courses (Please consult with the program coordinator for the courses to be taken according to your track.

Additionally, students are required to take 6 non- Credit courses;
PSYC 590: Seminar Course (Required to be taken  in the 1st and the 2nd semester of the 1st year)
ETHR 500: Ethics Course
KOLT 500: Teaching Training Workshops  (Required to be completed in the 1st semester)
TEACH 500: Teaching and Research Training (Required every semester)
ENGL 500: Academic Writing (2nd or latest by 3rd semester)
PSYC 695: Thesis Course (Required every semester after passing the Qualifying exam)Students are suggested to complete all the course requirements by the end of 3rd semester. See degree requirements for details.*Students admitted with a BA degree are required to take 14 courses  (42 credits).Students must have a minimum of 3.00 GPA to graduate.

Taking Courses from different departments
 Ph.D. students can take any courses listed under the MA/PhD in Psychology program as well as some of the courses from other relevant graduate programs offered at KU or other universities with the approval of the program coordinators.

ndependent Study: Students may conduct Independent readings and research on academic topic of interest under the supervision of a faculty member for course credit. (Must be approved by the department)

Undergraduate Courses
Undergraduate courses cannot be counted towards degree requirements. Ph.D. students may audit undergraduate courses. *Students admitted with a BA degree may take up to 2 undergraduate courses with the consent of the program coordinator.Transferring Courses from previous studies: Please consult the program coordinator.

Appointing an advisor: Students are required to assign a thesis advisor latest preferably by the 1st semester or latest by the 2nd semester and turn in the advisor appointment form to GSSSH office.

Changing an advisor: Please consult with the program coordinator.

Withdrawal of an advisor: In the case that the advisor decides to discontinue monitoring the student’s thesis based on the student’s qualifications, then the student must consult with the program coordinator unless both the student and the advisor agree with the process. One semester probation period can be given to the student before finalizing the discontinuation.

 Secondary Advisor: Students may appoint more than one advisor. Second advisor may be outside of KU.

Term to take the exam: Students are required to take the Qualifying Exam latest by the end of the 4th semester (students admitted with a MA degree) 6th semester (students admitted with a BA degree). If the student fails to take the qualifying exam by the suggested term, then the student must submit a petition to GSSSH with the approval of the program coordinator.

Structure of the exam: Qualifying exam is composed of two parts; verbal and written.

Exam jury members: PhD Qualifying Exam Committee. Must be at least 5 members; at least 2 members must be outside of KU. Students must bring the Jury appointment forms to the GSSSH office after completed. Please see Ph.D. Milestones for details and jury appointment forms:

Students who fail the exam: May retake the exam within 6 months. Different jury may be appointed. Students who fail the second time will lose their stipend, housing aid and all other benefits and will be required to pay an annual tuition.

Passing the Qual exam: Students must bring the exam reports to GSSSH office after completed. 

Please see Ph.D. Milestones for details and forms.

*Students who do not take the Qual Exam by YÖK’s suggested term will have their scholarships put on hold. The funds will be released once the exam is completed.

One month after passing the qualification exam, students are required to form a thesis monitoring committee.

Please see Ph.D. Milestones for committee composition and appointment forms:

*Students who do not form the Thesis Monitoring Committee by YÖK’s suggested time-line will have their scholarships put on hold. The funds will be released once the committee  is formed for all the months that it was on hold.

When to propose?: Students are required to propose their thesis research within three to six months after passing the qualification exam. All Thesis Monitoring Committee members must approve the proposal. If the student fails to propose their thesis by the suggested term, then the student must submit a petition to GSSSH with the approval of the advisor and the program coordinator.

Format of the thesis proposal: Consult your advisor about the format. It should be aligned with the advisor and the thesis committee’s requests.

Forms Required! Please see Ph.D. Milestones for the committee for thesis proposal forms.

*Students who do not defend the Thesis Proposal by the suggested timeline will have their scholarships put on hold. The funds will be released once the proposal is defended for the entire time that it was put on hold.

When ? After thesis proposal student must meet with the thesis monitoring committed every six months. All Thesis Monitoring Committee member must approve the progress If the student fails to meet with the committee members by the suggested term, then the student must submit a petition to GSSSH with the approval of the advisor and the program coordinator.

Forms Required. Please see Ph.D. Milestones for thesis progress forms.

*It is our students responsibility to schedule their monitoring committee meetings every six-months after the proposal is defended. Students who do not turn in their progress report to the GSSSH office will have a hold on their scholorships.

3 Articles:

At least two of three papers have to be empirical articles

One of the papers can be a book chapter or a review article

Student has to be the first author in at least two of these three papers

  • The journal articles (at least two) are expected to be published in international peer-reviewed journals (ISI). By the time of dissertation defense, one of these articles with the student as the first author must be accepted for publication (could also be under “pending minor revision”).
  • Three papers should be compiled into a single document (by reformatting the copy edited papers in a single form). An introduction and a discussion should be written. The first chapter should be the introduction and the last chapter should be the discussion of the dissertation.

Traditional format: Thesis can be written in a form of a book consisting of chapters. Although the number of chapters used is relative to the specific research project and to the course duration, a thesis organized into chapters would typically look like this:

Thesis jury is composed of Thesis Monitoring Committee + 2 members. Thesis jury must have 2 Member’s from another University. 2nd advisor may attend meetings. Jury must be appointed by the department and approved by the Graduate School. Members of this committee must be affiliated with a University or an Academic Institution and must at least hold an Assistant Professor Degree.

Forms Required! Please see Ph.D. Milestones for committee for thesis proposal forms:

Final draft of the dissertation must be sent to the entire appointed Jury members by latest 2 weeks before the defense date.

Students must notify the Graduate School of their defense date and provide announcement information.

Forms Required! Please see Ph.D. Milestones for committee for thesis defense forms:

Except for official holidays when the University is closed graduate students are expected to be on campus fulfilling their degree requirements. During summer months graduate students who are on scholarships can take paid vacation (max two weeks) upon the recommendation of their advisors and the program coordinator. Otherwise they all have to be on campus.

All GSSSH students are expected to be present for proctoring exams (including make up and amnesty exams) of the courses they are assigned to. They may also be asked to proctor exams for courses, which they are not assigned to as TAs. These extra proctoring assignments would not exceed 4 per academic year. Proctoring assignment will be done centrally by the graduate office. Proctoring may be necessary on weekends, late evenings, or times outside of regular hours.

Students with a BA degree only and students with a non-thesis MA degree will complete a “major paper” by the end of their 4th semester.
These students are expected to draft and conduct an empirical research that is related to their upcoming doctoral work latest by the end of their second academic year (4th semester). The PhD candidate will be fully responsible for conceptualizing research question that will contribute to the literature and will be primarily responsible for designing the empirical study under the guidance of the PhD supervisor and the PhD Monitoring Committee. The student should turn in a paper to be evaluated by the advisory board and present the research during the Brown Bag seminars.