About Cognitive Psychology

How is the program structured?

The program in Cognitive Psychology affords students the flexibility to take courses related to their interests in cognition, as well as in other areas of psychology, including cognitive neuroscience, developmental, social, and statistics/psychometrics. By participating in a lively series of seminars, students learn presentation skills and acquire an ability to critique theories, methods, and research in an environment that fosters new research ideas. Research collaboration is highly encouraged and supported. In fact, many faculty and students collaborate with other students and faculty both within the Cognitive Area, and with members of the other core areas.

What is the focus of the program?

The focus in our graduate program is on the completion of top-notch, publishable research and the development of independent research skills that will aid students in their subsequent careers. For this reason, there is no comprehensive examination requirement in our program. Students generally have several publications by the time they complete their degrees. As the partial list of our graduates shows (see “Grads – Where are they now?”), they have been very successful in obtaining positions both inside and outside academia.

What resources are available for students?

Students in the program have access to a variety of resources that support and enhance their research. There is ample research laboratory space with up-to-date equipment, including eye-trackers, an Electroencephalogram (EEG)/Event Related Potential (ERP) system, and access to functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Undergraduate research assistants, many of whom have extensive research experience, play an important role in supporting faculty and graduate student research. The program maintains a year-round paid research participant pool, which is available in addition to the departmental pool of participants drawn from psychology courses. Travel funds, provided through faculty member research grants as well as department and university sources, allow graduate students to attend academic conferences, present their work, and meet colleagues from other universities around the world.

How long does it take to complete a PhD?

In this environment, motivated students are able to make rapid progress on their research and degree requirements. It is not unusual for students to complete their masters degrees at the end of their first year. The PhD is typically completed by the end of the fifth year; recently, however, a number of our students have finished in four years.

What financial support is provided?

We offer financial support to every student admitted to our program through a combination of fellowships, teaching assistantships, and grant-funded research assistantships. Thanks to continuous grant support to all of the cognitive faculty from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), we are able to offer a very competitive funding package, which is more than sufficient for students to live comfortably, particularly in light of the relatively low cost of living in the Kitchener-Waterloo area.

See Funding and Awards for future students for further details.

Cognitive Core Faculty

Derek Besner
Jonathan Fugelsang*
Derek Koehler*
Colin MacLeod
Evan Risko*

*Accepting graduate students for Fall 2020.