Behavioral Science Ph.D. Program


The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Behavioral Science is a research-intensive program with a strong focus on topics in health psychology and methodology. There are few programs nationwide in which you can study both of these topics simultaneously. Through this integration, we prepare students for traditional academic career positions as well as positions in contract research, service and the private sector. In addition to our leading strengths in these two areas, we offer robust coverage of social, cognitive, and developmental perspectives in our training, while attending to individual and group differences and diverse social, familial and community settings. We welcome the full range and diversity of life experiences and perspectives of our students and faculty, and value the importance of multicultural competence in teaching, research design and practice in behavioral science.

Application Requirements

Application materials for the Psychology Ph.D. Behavioral Science or Clinical Psychology programs should be submitted  online at the URI Graduate school website We select candidates through an area-wide review process that considers objective criteria such as grades, research and teaching experience, as well as subjective criteria such as fit with our program and previous challenges and successes. We welcome candidates from all backgrounds. Note that if you enter with a Bachelor’s degree, you will earn a Master of Arts degree as part of the doctoral program.

See admissions for more information on the Behavioral Science program.

Why Behavioral Science at URI?

Applied Research Focus. Our program uses research and psychological principles to solve real-world health problems. You will be trained in traditional content areas (e.g., social, developmental) and research methodology with the goal of applying these concepts to a range of health behaviors. Our faculty investigate health issues including alcohol, diet, tobacco, and hunger/food insecurity as well as conduct research on the development and application of advanced statistical methodology in health psychology.          

Collaborative Research Opportunities. Our nationally and internationally recognized faculty are engaged in cutting edge research topics with research projects underway with colleagues at URI, regional partners in other universities and research institutions, and worldwide collaborators. Working under our faculty may offer opportunities to study psychological phenomena with collaborators and samples from diverse backgrounds including from Australia, China, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, the United Kingdom, or Zimbabwe.

Flexible Program Requirements. Our program requirements are flexible with a small number of required courses. Although the program requires a core sequence of traditional psychological courses and methodological training, we will encourage you to work with your faculty and peer mentor(s) to tailor your academic and research experiences to build the strengths you desire for your professional development.

Teaching Opportunities and Training. Our training involves some coursework but also a strong commitment to apprenticeship under a professional partnership and mentorship model. We offer formal coursework in teaching pedagogy, opportunities to be a teaching assistant/instructor, and to mentor undergraduate students on research projects, as well as access to many graduate student and faculty level teacher training resources, including specialized workshops and training programs offered by the URI Office for the Advancement of Teaching & Learning (ATL).