Students who are interested in studying evolutionary psychology can do so by enrolling in either master's degrees or Ph.D. programs. During their studies, they can expect to take some foundational psychology courses as well as those which are more specific to the field of evolutionary psychology.
Information About Evolutionary Psychology Graduate Programs
There are a few graduate programs in evolutionary psychology available at universities around the United States and these programs are typically offered through the psychology departments of these institutions. Typically, students can enroll in a more general psychology program and then choose to study evolutionary psychology through the track they select, the kinds of elective courses they enroll in, and the type of research they pursue for their master's thesis or doctoral dissertation. Below are five courses that are common parts of the curriculum for these types of programs.
Introduction to Evolutionary Psychology
Graduate programs in evolutionary psychology will likely include a course that gives students a foundation in the concepts of evolutionary psychology. This course will include a theoretical component, in which students will study the theories of evolutionary psychology. Some concepts that may be discussed include natural selection, how species have developed adaptations over time, and current research in this field.
A course in cognitive neuroscience is another common part of the curriculum of evolutionary psychology graduate programs. In this course, students will learn about the methods of research that are used in cognitive neuroscience, as well as the dominant theories of this field. Topics that will likely be covered in this course include memory, perception, decision-making, language, neural plasticity, and emotion.
fMRI Data Analysis
It is also common that students will be required to take a course that covers the methods of fMRI data analysis. Students may learn how to set up research projects using fMRI data, various data collection methods, and different ways of analyzing and evaluating data. The course may also have a laboratory component for students to test their data analysis skills.
Individual Personality Psychology
Students who enroll in these programs also may take a course that focuses on the psychology of personality. In this class, students will learn about different factors that affect the development of an individual's personality, like genetics, home environment, and social factors. Students will learn about the different prominent theories in personality psychology, as well as what research is currently being done in this field.
Another course that is commonly required in these programs is a course in social psychology. This course may cover the fundamentals of this field, including the major theories and research in social psychology, as well as more advanced topics like experimental and non-experimental methods that are used in social psychology research. Other topics that may be covered in this course include social perception, intrapersonal processes, prejudice, and stereotyping.
Admission Standards for Evolutionary Psychology Graduate Programs
Students who would like to be admitted into graduate programs in evolutionary psychology will generally need to submit a completed application form, a personal statement, letters of recommendation, undergraduate transcripts, and results from the GRE examination. When reviewing applicants, admissions committees will likely take into account the applicant's undergraduate GPA, what types of courses they took, and whether the applicant has any research experience. Some programs may specify a minimum GPA and will expect the applicant to have completed courses like statistics, research methods, and general psychology courses. All applicants must have a bachelor's degree by the time of enrollment in the graduate program.
To summarize, graduate programs in evolutionary psychology are available as master's and Ph.D. programs. These programs allow students to study evolutionary psychology through their elective course choices and research interests.