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Department of Psychology

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Experimental Program

The goal of the Graduate Program in Experimental Psychology is to advance psychological science by promoting excellence and productivity in research and graduate training in areas broadly defined as behavioral neuroscience, cognitive neuroscience, cognitive psychology, quantitative psychology, and developmental psychology. 

In pursuing this mission, the program emphasizes integration across multiple areas of experimental psychology to further psychological science. The program has strong ties to the University's Schools of Medicine and Public Health, School of Business, the Statistics Department and the Linguistics Program.

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Funding Options

All graduate students are encouraged to apply for extramural funding from federal and state agencies. In particular, there are NIH graduate fellowships and NSF graduate fellowships that, while quite competitive, are also very prestigious.  There are also graduate fellowships from various other organizations and foundations that are usually specific to a type of research field;  you should consult your mentor about these opportunities.

  • Ralph H. Tindall Fellowship
    The department has an endowed award used to support students over the summer while working to complete the dissertation. An announcement calling for applications for the award is made by e-mail each spring via the department's graduate student listserv.
  • Student Loans from Emergency Fund
    The department currently is receiving regular anonymous donations earmarked specifically for emergency loans to graduate student. Two loan categories have been established. "Short-term" loans will be made to students for a period not to exceed 60 days. These loans will be of $50 or less. "Long-term" loans will be made for periods exceeding 60 days. These loans will be of $400 or less and will be made at a yearly interest rate of 4%. Please contact Dr. Bret Kloos for more information.

The USC Graduate School has a limited number of competitive and renewable awards for graduate students in our program. Nominations for these fellowships are made by the experimental graduate program and the process occurs in the spring of each year.  You will receive notices of when to apply for these awards from the program director. The Graduate School awards a limited number of Summer Dissertation Fellowships to students in the final phases of completion of the dissertation, but the student must have no other support for that period of time to be eligible. More information can be found on the Graduate School’s website. The Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences also awards some Dissertation Fellowships for the final year of graduate study and the process of nomination is in the spring. Again, you will be notified by the program director about the application process.

Other than grant funding from your mentor and travel awards from scientific organizations, there are two main sources of funding for student travel: 1) Graduate School and 2) Department of Psychology.  You should first apply for funding from the Graduate School and this should be done as early as possible; they tend to run out of funds particularly in the late spring. After you receive word of funding from the Graduate School, you should apply for funds from the Department of Psychology.

For information on eligibility, restrictions, and how to apply for funding, visit: the graduate school travel grants site.

The Department of Psychology will support one to two trips per year depending upon its budget in that year.  If the travel does not involve airfare, the award is typically $250 per trip and if the travel involves airfare, the award is $500 per trip. However, the department requests that you use the graduate school awards first. Any trips beyond two per year, or that cost more than the funds received will have to be paid for by you.  To make the case for the department funds, you should indicate how the trip advances the academic and scholarly mission of the department (e.g., paper presentations, conference presentations, etc.). In your letter you should include the dates and purpose of the conference and the role you will play (present paper; Presidential address). This letter should be sent to the Graduate Coordinator.  She will let you know whether the Department has approved the funding. 

Prior to travelling, you must fill out the department Travel Authorization form and give the form to Graduate Coordinator for a signature. A TA form must be completed and filed PRIOR to the departure date or reimbursement of expenses will not be approved. Original receipts must be submitted for reimbursement of travel and lodging expenses, registration fees, and parking. Receipts for meals are unnecessary since meals are reimbursed on a per diem basis. Reimbursement must be consistent with university guidelines.


Program Faculty


Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.