Graduate opportunities

The Behavioral Science program at the University of North Texas is unique.

While most programs are highly focused and concentrated, we expose you to a variety of content areas, including cognition, social, developmental, motivation, health and neuroscience. This approach allows you to pursue a focus with a fully informed background and better prepares you to work in collaborative research environments.

A Doctor of Philosophy degree in Behavioral Science will help you move into prominent roles as a researcher or professor at a university or as a research consultant with a counseling center, hospital, mental health center, medical school or rehabilitation services agency.

While pursuing your degree, you will gain competence in research through course work, individual work with faculty members, vertical research teams led by faculty members and informal research experiences. The individual work is conducted simultaneously with projects leading to publications or grant applications. You’re expected to participate in research with faculty members throughout your time in the program.

We provide specialized training in human research while staying flexible to allow the development of individual interests. For example, you may conduct research in memory and cognition, stress and its physiological consequences, adolescent alcohol use or cardiovascular consequences of effort.

Key research areas for our faculty members include:

  • Adult development
  • Health psychology
  • Neuropsychology
  • Personality disorders
  • Physiological psychology
  • Traumatology
  • Memory and Cognition
  • Critical Race and Tokenism
  • Addiction
  • Social Motivation

The program offers many teaching opportunities and support for professional development, and it maximizes training for research.

Strong student support

The university provides several services exclusively for graduate students. The Graduate Student Writing Support office can help you with writing, and the Center for Interdisciplinary Research offers assistance with statistical research.

A Dissertation Boot Camp and other specialized workshops are available through the Toulouse Graduate School. Many of the workshops are available online for your convenience.

Attending UNT

Admission requirements

You need to meet the minimum requirements for the graduate school and the department’s specific requirements. Graduate school requirements and possible exceptions are outlined at the school's website. The department’s requirements include submitting:

  • Completed department application
  • Résumé
  • A statement of goals
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • GRE scores

Undergraduates planning to apply for graduate admission should take the GRE during their senior year.

Admission to this program is a committee decision and not determined by any one criterion or quantitative measure of achievement. Meeting minimum criteria doesn’t guarantee admission.

Degree requirements

This degree program requires a minimum of 72 credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree that includes:

  • 57 credit hours in behavioral science general core psychology courses
  • 15 credit hours of course work selected in consultation with the major professor, reflecting your specialty area of research

Financial assistance

Financial support for doctoral students is often provided through teaching and research assistantships, teaching fellowships and scholarships.

Competitive scholarships and fellowships are available from the graduate school and other sources. For more information on financial assistance programs, visit the graduate school website or the financial aid website.


Heidemarie Blumenthal, Assistant Professor; Ph.D., University of Arkansas. Etiology of anxiety and problematic substance use; developmental psychopathology.

Adriel Boals, Associate Professor and Director, Behavioral Science Program; Ph.D., North Carolina State University. Executive functioning and emotion; trauma memory and health; stress and memory.

Danica Slavish, Assistant Professor; Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University. Behavioral and physiological pathways linking sleep, stress and health over time; principal investigator, Sleep and Health in Everyday Life (SHEL) Laboratory; ecological momentary assessment; ambulatory psychophysiology assessment and longitudinal data analyses.

Donald Dougherty, Department Chair and Professor; Ph.D. Ohio University. Research and interest in the psychology of alcohol and substance abuse.

Kimberly Kelly, Associate Professor; Ph.D., University of Kentucky. Psychoneuroimmunology; stress and psychophysiological correlates; placebo effect.

Anthony Ryals, Assistant Professor; Ph.D., Colorado State University. Memory and cognition.

Casey Guillot, Assistant Professor; Ph.D., University of Southern Mississippi. Disposition, emotion and addiction research.