The Department of Psychology, the School of Media and Communication, and the Department of Computer Science house a number of research laboratories where students can pursue their research interests in cognition. Students are encouraged to seek opportunities to conduct collaborative research across areas.  (Prospective students must apply to a specific department or school).   


Richard Anderson (psychology) 
complex cognition; judgment; reasoning; memory

Rick Busselle (telecommunications) 
engagement with narratives; perceived realism of stories; social construction of reality through media

Mary Hare (psychology)
psychology of language; language development; semantic memory 

Dale Klopfer (psychology)
visual cognition; spatial-working memory; interaction between linguistic and perceptual representations of perceptual attributes

Dual Degrees

The dual degree program is a 5-year course of study in which students earn dual master's degrees in psychology and computer science (Year 1 through 3), along with a PhD in Psychology (Years 4 and 5).  Graduates are particularly qualified to fill high-technology positions that require a combination of technical and human expertise--for example, technical  corporate training or software usability engineering.  In addition, students who supplement their doctoral training in psychology with graduate work in computer science will be highly competitive in an academic job market that values strong computational skills.

Students must complete a single master's thesis that integrates psychology and computer science.  The computer science component of the thesis may focus on human/computer interaction, modeling/simulation, or some other suitable domain.

Applicants must meet the entry prerequisites for psychology and for computer science.  However, both departments will give individual consideration to each student's undergraduate coursework, and may allow remedial work if necessary.  The main psychology prerequisities are an undergraduate course in statstics and an undergraduate laboratory course in research methods.  Ideally, incoming students will have already completed a baccalaureate major or minor in computer science along with substantial undergraduate course work in psychology.

A single thesis ir required, and satisfies the thesis requirement for both degrees.  The thesis committee must include two Psychology faculty and two Computer Science faculty, and the thesis topic should demonstrate integration of the two fields.

Submitting an Application

Prospective dual-degree students must submit application materials to the Psychology Department prior to the January 1st deadline.  As part of the application, studnets should explicitly state that they wish to persue a dual degree.  If the student is accepted into the Psychology program, he/she must then apply for admission into the computer science program, which has its own, department-specific application materials.  However, applicants are not required to send duplicate letters of recommendation to the two departments.  Instead, letters may be sent to the Psychology Department only.  Psychology will then forward copies of the letters to Computer Science.


For further information, contact Richard Anderson

Suggested Course Plan

Courses should be chosen in close consultation with advisor(s).  For dual degree students, the master's in CS requires 24 credits:  12 credits at the 5000 level and 12 credits at the 6000 level.  Internship hours, readings, directed research, and thesis credits do not count toward the 24 credit CS requirement.

Year 1

Fall (13 credits)


6670 Stat l (4)

7120 Cogn. Psy. (3) or Cogn. Res. Meth. (3)

Colloquium (1) and Research Group (1) and 6990 Thesis Credits (1)


5640 Softw. Dev. (3) or 5400 Optimization (3) or 5100 Formal Language Theory (3) or 5620 Database Manag. (3)

Spring (13 credits)


6680 Stat ll (4)

Colloquium (1) and Res. Group (1) and 6990 Thesis Credits (1)


5250 Graphics (3)

6640 Softw. Engineering (3) or 6650 Human Issues (3) or 6150 Reliable Comp. (3) or 5420 Simulation (3)