Graduate Programs


Welcome to the Department of Psychology at Northern Illinois University! We hope these pages will provide you with a good introduction to graduate studies in our department and allow you to learn about various issues relevant to training and support elements. The page you currently are on contains fairly broad information spanning the entire department; conversely, the links provided on this page will bring you to program-specific content.

At the graduate training level, we offer a continuous program of study leading to the Ph.D. degree. As part of your program of study, you complete a master’s degree with a research thesis. However, note that all but one of the training programs are doctoral-only (the exception is School Psychology, which offers a terminal master’s program). Because of the nature of research training, we expect you to be enrolled full-time (12 credit hours per semester) throughout your graduate training.

We provide advanced training in six specific areas of psychology:

You will obtain training that integrates both basic and applied aspects of psychology. Each area of study is designed to thoroughly acquaint you with the theoretical content of the particular area and to provide training in the research skills needed to become a competent and creative investigator. We invite you to use the links on this page to learn more information about the specific program(s) of study in which you may be interested. Note that applications are reviewed by faculty within a given training area, not by the department as a whole.

In addition to being prepared to succeed in academic settings, you also will find suitable placements as an applied researcher or service practitioner in a variety of mental health, educational, physical health, and organizational (e.g., corporate and non-profit) settings. Students in Clinical, School, and Industrial/Organizational psychology receive practicum experience to develop the professional skills appropriate to those fields. For students in School Psychology, a program leading to state and national certification as a School Psychologist may be completed in conjunction with the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees.

Financial support, mainly in the form of research or teaching assistantships, generally is available to graduate students who are making satisfactory progress in their program. Students may use the “Financial Assistance” link on the right side of this page to learn more information, and to access the NIU Planning and Cost Estimator. Currently, graduate students receive a partial waiver of their tuition costs, amounting to a reduction of $357.00 per credit hour. Other costs, such as fees (at NIU, these are labeled “Non-instructional Tuition”) and costs related to student health insurance, also apply.

Each academic year, approximately 115 students are enrolled in the six departmental programs, including several who are on clinical or school internship and several who are in the process of completing their dissertations while employed off-campus. At any point in time, there are approximately 85-90 students in full-time residence.

A Reminder to Prospective Graduate Students

Please note that all areas of graduate study in the Department of Psychology require a full academic load of at least 12 credit hours per semester. There are no part-time study programs; online and night classes are not available; and all courses meet on NIU’s main DeKalb campus. Except for School Psychology, there are no terminal M.A. programs; that is, all other students are evaluated with respect to their potential to complete the Ph.D. degree. Applications are evaluated by recruiting faculty specific to each training area.

Contact Us

Northern Illinois University
Department of Psychology
Psychology-Computer Science Building, Room 400
DeKalb, IL  60115

815-753-8088 (fax) 

Director of Graduate Studies
Dr. Kevin Wu

Graduate Studies Assistant
Marj Holliday