PhD in Behavioral Science
As a behavioral science PhD student at Chicago Booth, you’ll study human behavior in a wide range of contexts, including processes of negotiation, power and influence, and motivation and self-control.
You will have the flexibility to focus your doctoral studies in behavioral science on the research topics that most interest you. You can also augment your studies with work in economics, policy and intervention, psychology, marketing, finance, sociology, public policy, and other disciplines at Booth and across the university.
Some students earn a joint degree in psychology and business, a joint program between Booth’s behavioral science program and the Department of Psychology in the Division of the Social Sciences at the University of Chicago. Students must be admitted to the behavioral science dissertation area and apply for the joint program within their first two years in the PhD Program.
A Network of Support
Doctoral students at Booth have access to the resources of several high-powered research centers that offer funding for student work, host conferences, and foster a strong research community, as well as weekly workshops.
Center for Decision Research
Positioned at the forefront of the rapidly developing field of behavioral science, the CDR is devoted to building a richer understanding of human behavior and experience.
Keep up to date with the latest behavioral science work through the Center for Decision Research's weekly workshop series. Faculty, students, and invited guests meet to discuss their work on the behavioral implications of decision and judgment models.
Kaitlin Woolley, PhD ’17
Assistant Professor of Marketing
Cornell SC Johnson College of Business
Kaitlin Woolley studies consumer motivation and decision-making. She seeks to understand the factors affecting consumers’ goal pursuit to help them achieve important outcomes, including eating healthily, exercising, and studying. Her PhD is in behavioral science.
Ugur (Umy) Yasar
See a list of the current students in our Joint Psychology and Business Program.
Juliana Schroeder, ’15: 00:11
I was always interested in the way that we interact with those around us, and the way that we judge them, and how we make decisions, but I was interested in it from sort of a really broad social science perspective, both psychology and economics, and then, when I came to Chicago Booth, I met Nick Epley right away who's a professor here, and he got me really interested in this specific topic. This is research about how people convey their mental capacity to others. Most people think that if someone can see them, they might appear smarter.
Juliana Schroeder, ’15: 00:46
We don't find any evidence of that. We find that it carries through the voice. We think that being able to hear someone's voice, being able to hear them speak is humanizing in some way. It kind of conveys their mental capacities. We've been looking at what are the paralinguistic cues that mediate the fact, and it seems that variance and pitch is important. There could be boundary conditions to this effect. There might be certain accents that convey less intelligence, so we're looking at the Southern drawl, for example. That is one in particular in the U.S. that seems to be associated with less intelligence
Juliana Schroeder, ’15: 01:22
There might be other ways of speaking and aspects in someone's speech, like vocal fray, that could convey less intelligence as well. Working with Nick Epley on this project has been a really fantastic experience. He has been so supportive. We would meet every single week and discuss ideas. I feel extremely lucky to be at Chicago Booth. It's been such an incredible place with incredible resources to do research. When I do research, I think about what would be an interesting psychological idea, so how do we perceive others that can have an application in terms of who gets jobs.
Juliana Schroeder, ’15: 02:01
But, it can also have applications in terms of conflict, in terms of humanization, all sorts of different aspects. And so, being able to do basic research here, and having the resources available in this study pool, the funding for that, it's just incredible.
Research from Professor Fishbach suggests that, contrary to popular belief, we don’t always learn from failure.Line of Inquiry: Ayelet Fishbach on Learning from Failure
Program Expectations and Requirements
The PhD Program at Booth is a full-time program. Students generally complete the majority of coursework and examination requirements within the first two years of studies and begin work on their dissertation during the third year.
For details, see General Examination Requirements by Area in the PhD Program Guidebook.
Download the Guidebook