University of Minnesota
Department of Psychology

Department of Psychology's home page.


General Requirements

All CAB students must satisfy Graduate School requirements and general departmental requirements listed in the Department of Psychology Regulations. These include the departmental General Area Distribution Requirements, special prelim exam, and thesis requirements.

Additional requirements that must be met by CAB students include the following:

General Area Distribution Requirements

A. The Department of Psychology has a requirement of 5 semester courses distributed over 4 areas. The CAB area requires that students must meet distribution requirements in three of the following four areas as part of the 5 course requirement.

(An official listing of courses that satisfy these distribution requirements in included in the Departmental Regulations and Graduate Student Handbook, but is repeated here for your convenience.)

  1. Biological Psychology
    Psy 5034 Psychobiology of Vision (3 credits)*
    Psy 5061 Biological Psychology (3 credits)
    Psy 5064 Brain and Emotion (3 credits)
    Psy 5137 Introduction to Behavior Genetics (3 credits)
    Psy 5606 Clinical Psychophysiology (3 credits)
  2. Learning and Memory
    Psy 5012 Psychology of Conditioning and Learning (3 credits)
    Psy 5014 Psychology of Human Learning and Memory (3 credits)
    Psy 5051 Psychology of Human-Machine Interaction (3 credits)
  3. Cognition and Neural Systems
    Psy 5015 Cognition, Computation and Brain (3 credits)
    Psy 5038 Introduction to Neural Network Models (3 credits)
    Psy 5054 Psychology of Language (3 credits)
    Psy 5062 Cognitive Neuropsychology (3 credits)
  4. Sensation and Perception
    Psy 5031 Perception (3 credits)
    Psy 5034 Psychobiology of Vision (3 credits)*
    Psy 5036 Computational Vision (3 credits)
    Psy 5037 Psychology of Hearing (3 credits)

*A single course cannot be used to satisfy distribution requirements in more than one area.

B. Quantitative Methods and Research Methodology – Completion of 6 credits at the 5000 or 8000 level courses in advanced quantitative methods or research methodology offered throughout the University, with grades B or better, with the exception of the following: Psy 5862, EPsy 8262, Stat 5021. The student’s advisor must approve courses.

Note: The distribution requirements are not intended as an exhaustive prescription of classes to be taken by students. Most students will require a variety of additional classes in psychology and other disciplines.

First-Year Research Requirement

Every student must report on a research project no later that the Fall Semester of their second year. The report will be in written form and will also be presented orally within the context of a journal club, research group, etc. A committee of three faculty members will grade the report. The committee must include 1) the student’s advisor, 2) a member of the core CAB faculty other than the advisor, and 3) a third faculty member. There will be three possible outcomes: 1) Pass: continue in PhD program; 2) Pass at MA level: terminate PhD program and submit as Master’s Project (which, combined with meeting the distribution requirements [not including Quantitative and Research Methodology], will fulfill the requirements for an MA in the CAB program); or 3) Fail: termination of studies in the CAB program. The form to be used for reporting completion of the first-year research requirement is available as a PDF.

In most cases, students will register for Directed Research credits during the first year in order to work on their first-year research project. It is expected that the student will work with his/her advisor in designing and executing the project, but also that the student will take considerable independence and initiative in carrying out and interpreting the results of the project.

The intent of this requirement is to evaluate the research potential of the student at an early stage. It is also intended to motivate students to participate in research early.

Student Schedule

  1. The first year research requirement must be satisfied by the end of the Fall Semester of the second year.
  2. The distribution requirements must be completed by the end of the second year.
  3. The Special Prelim and oral must be completed by the end of the Fall Semester of the fourth year.

Failure to meet these deadlines will result in the termination of the student from the CAB program, unless an exemption has been granted.


Only in rare instances will students be exempted from any of the foregoing requirements. In rare instances, exemptions may be granted for students who enter the program with advanced standing or for other reasons.

Students seeking an exemption should petition the Area Director. If the Area Director considers the petition to have merit, s/he will poll the CAB faculty and a majority vote will decide the matter.

Students entering the CAB program who received the BA from the University of Minnesota may already have taken some of the classes in the distribution list. They may petition to satisfy the distribution requirement with an alternative list of classes approved by their advisor.


The CAB Area Director will maintain a record for each student, indicating when the CAB requirements are met. It is the joint responsibility of the student and his/her advisor to report completion of requirements to the CAB Area Director. During Spring Semester of each year, the Area Director will inform the student and advisor of the student’s status.



Area Director

Charles R. Fletcher
N255 Elliott Hall