The Department of Psychology offers graduate study leading to the M.A. and Ph.D. degree in Psychological Sciences (including social, cognitive, and biological psychology) and to the Ph.D. degree in Clinical Psychology.
Candidates for admission are expected to meet the general requirements of the Graduate School and to have completed fundamental courses in psychology as undergraduates, including a laboratory course in research methods of psychology and a course in basic statistics. Applications for the Clinical Psychology program are due Dec. 1, and all other programs are due Dec. 31, for a September admission.
The Department of Psychology believes the best graduate education involves close working relationships between faculty and students. Thus, a high faculty-to-student ratio and small class size characterize our graduate programs. Every incoming student works directly with a faculty mentor as a means of gaining valuable research, teaching, and professional experience. There also are opportunities for individualized study and experience in directed readings, research, and supervised teaching. A faculty committee, selected to represent the student’s interest, will assist the student in planning an appropriate program of study.
The programs leading to the Ph.D. in Psychological Sciences and Clinical Psychology include a residence requirement as specified in the general section of the graduate catalog. However, the time required to complete course work and a dissertation based upon an original investigation ordinarily is longer than that required for residence.
Program in Psychological Sciences
The goal of this program is to prepare students for careers in teaching and research. All students are expected to demonstrate a high level of competence in one of the specialty areas listed below. Students are also expected to demonstrate competence in statistics and experimental design, and in several areas of general psychology outside their specialty area. Competence is assessed in terms of performance in courses, research projects, teaching, and a comprehensive examination. The comprehensive exam is given at the end of the second year of graduate study or at the end of the first year for students entering with a master’s degree from another university. The Department offers the following specialty areas within Psychological Sciences:
Cognitive and Biological Psychology
This program covers several basic areas of experimental psychology, including cognition, perception, biopsychology, and behavioral neuroscience. Students develop research skills and conduct research in at least one specialty area. Students also become familiar with areas of general psychology outside their specialty, and with statistics and experimental design. Students work closely with a research advisor and begin research involvement in the first year. There are many opportunities for individualized study and directed readings. Opportunities for teaching are available to advanced graduate students. Applicants should write to faculty members in their area of interest, with whom they might want to do research. (Faculty: Cobo-Lewis, Fremouw, Robbins)
By emphasizing basic and applied research at the Ph.D. level, the social psychology program aims to produce well-rounded academicians and practitioners by fostering a solid understanding of theory and research in social psychology, as well as knowledge of how social research may be applied to solve practical problems. The program operates on an apprenticeship model by which students work closely with faculty members on theory-driven research. Students are trained to think conceptually and to acquire proficiency in research methodology, statistics, scholarly writing, oral presentation, and teaching. Faculty research specializations include stereotyping and prejudice, personal and social identity management, social cognition, political attitudes, attraction, person perception, nonverbal communication, and health disparities. (Faculty: LaBouff, McCoy, Ruben)
Program in Clinical Psychology
The Clinical Psychology Training Program prepares students for the doctorate (Ph.D.) in psychology and for careers combining research and clinical practice. While students earn a master’s degree (M.A.) on the way to earning their Ph.D., a terminal M.A. program in Clinical Psychology is not available. The program is accredited by the American Psychological Association and adheres to the scientist-practitioner model.
An academic core provides the foundation of knowledge in the areas of general and experimental psychology as well as psychotherapy, psychopathology, assessment, professional issues and ethics, and clinical research methods. Clinical training is centered on course work, individual tutorials in research, and clinical experiences supervised by professional models actively engaged in careers in those areas. Students are given increasing responsibility for the content and emphasis of their training by being encouraged to sample a wide variety of training opportunities at the University and in the community. They are encouraged to articulate career objectives early in training, and to contribute to modifications in the program to meet their goals. Applicants are urged to match their interests with those of the clinical psychology faculty and to specify areas of compatibility. All training is based on a generalist model, in which students are broadly trained to work with children, adolescents, and adults. Building on this foundation, students may also choose to specialize by completing one of two emphases; child clinical and neuropsychology. The Psychology Department’s Psychological Services Center serves as the primary practicum training site with additional practicum experiences available at inpatient, outpatient, community, and hospital settings elsewhere in Maine. Core training in the traditional areas of clinical psychology is supplemented with opportunities for innovative approaches to psychotherapy and community involvement; geographic considerations permit special attention to rural problems.
Ph.D. training culminates with the doctoral dissertation and a full-year internship in an approved clinical setting. (Faculty: Ahmed, Erdley, Goodhines, Haigh, Hecker, MacAulay, Nangle, Schwartz-Mette)
Facilities for experimental and clinical research include laboratories for the study of human and animal behavior, cognition, perception, and emotion. Departmental research foci include mood disorders, peer relations, developmental psychopathology, cognitive aging, neuropsychology, and biological, social and cognitive factors influencing health and well-being. There are rooms designed for observation and audio-visual recording of behavior, as well as electrically shielded rooms for psychophysiological recordings. The department also operates a psychology clinic (Psychological Services Center). Through faculty affiliation with Northern Light Healthcare Systems, research opportunities may also be available through Eastern Maine Medical Center, Acadia hospital as well as other local health service providers.
Fayeza Ahmed, Ph.D. (University of Georgia, 2011). Assistant Professor. Adult and geriatric neuropsychology, health factors/behaviors and risk for cognitive decline, dementia caregiver stress, and wellness/aging in place.
Alan B. Cobo-Lewis, Ph.D. (University of Wisconsin, 1992), Associate Professor. Visual perception; language development; statistical and computational methods.
Cynthia A. Erdley, Ph.D. (University of Illinois, 1992), Professor. Social cognition, children’s peer relationship experiences and psychological adjustment.
Thane Fremouw, Ph.D. (University of Utah, 1998), Associate Professor. Cognition, brain, & behavior; auditory neurophysiology; auditory perception; neural basis of cognition, learning, and memory.
Patricia A. Goodhines, Ph.D. (Syracuse University, 2022), Assistant Professor. Health disparities, sleep, substance use.
Benjamin Guenther, Ph. D. (University of Georgia, 2011). Sensation and perception, visual attention, human-computer interaction.
Emily A.P. Haigh, Ph.D. (Kent State University, 2009), Associate Professor and Director of Clinical Training. Cognitive vulnerability to mood disorders, biological correlates of the cognitive model of depression.
Jeffrey E. Hecker, Ph.D. (University of Maine, 1986), Professor. Sexual offending risk assessment; anxiety disorders. Currently serving as Provost and Vice-President for Academic Affairs.
Jordan P. LaBouff, Ph.D. (Baylor University, 2011) Assistant Professor. Social psychology of religion and spirituality, intergroup bias, and humility; pedagogy and research methodology.
Rebecca MacAulay, Ph.D. (Louisiana State University, 2016). Assistant Professor. Aging, cognition, and emotion regulation across the adult life span, biopsychosocial models of cognitive aging and risk and resiliency for dementia, and neuropsychological assessment and foundations in clinical psychology training.
Shannon McCoy, Ph.D. (University of California, Santa Barbara, 2003), Associate Professor. Social psychological study of the self, social identity, and social stigma.
Douglas W. Nangle, Ph.D. (West Virginia University, 1993), Professor. Child and adolescent peer relations; close relationships and psychological adjustment; social skills assessment and intervention.
Michael A. Robbins, Ph.D. (University of Maine, 1985), Research Associate Professor. Biopsychosocial correlates of cognitive aging.
Mollie Ruben, Ph.D. (Northeastern University, 2014), Assistant Professor. Social psychology of perceiving others accurately; nonverbal communication in soical and professional (i.e., patient-provider) interactions; physical pain; LGBTQ health disparities.
Rebecca Schwartz-Mette, Ph.D. (University of Missouri, 2013). Associate Professor. Psychopathology and peer relationships in adolescence; interpersonal theories of depression; ethics and graduate training in clinical psychology.