Mentor Model

Students are admitted to the Program under a primary research mentor. This faculty member serves as the supervisor for a student's first-year research assistantship and students will be generally expected to complete thesis and dissertation projects with their primary research mentor. Nonetheless, they are encouraged to interact and engage in research with other faculty members as time and workload allow. Students who develop research interests that fall outside their primary mentor's areas of expertise may conduct thesis and/or dissertation research under the supervision of other faculty members with the approval of all faculty members involved.


Each student must complete an empirical thesis as a requirement of the doctoral degree. The thesis represents a substantial and meaningful empirical research project, but is typically less complex than the dissertation. This requirement may be waived for students who enroll in our program after having completed a master’s thesis at another university. In such cases, the faculty will review the thesis to ensure appropriate scientific rigor and quality.


Each student must complete a dissertation as a requirement of the doctoral degree. The dissertation is a scholarly work that represents an investigation of a problem of significance and makes a meaningful contributes to the field of psychology. It is the culmination of a program of advanced study leading to a doctoral degree and, as such, is expected to demonstrate a high degree of scholarly competence. It must show that the candidate is capable of (a) sophisticated independent research and analysis and (b) scholarly reporting in the field of psychology.

Research Activity

Students are encouraged to become involved in research with their primary mentors and possibly other faculty, as quickly as possible after they arrive on campus. Typically, students are awarded a research assistantship during their first year that provides a stipend while they work in their mentors’ labs. This involvement in research is encouraged and supported throughout students’ time on campus; faculty support students seeking research funding and encourage students to publish and present research findings (please see our list of student publications and presentations). In addition, the SHSU Office of Graduate Studies provides travel funding for students presenting at professional conferences.