What Can You Do With a PhD in Cognitive Psychology?


Jane Flores

A PhD in cognitive psychology opens up a wide range of exciting career opportunities. Cognitive psychology is the study of how people perceive, think, and remember information.

It explores human cognition, the processes that underlie it, and the factors that influence it. A PhD in cognitive psychology provides students with advanced knowledge and research skills to investigate these areas further.

Academic Career Paths

One of the most common career paths for those with a PhD in cognitive psychology is to become a professor or researcher at a university. This involves conducting original research studies, publishing papers in academic journals, and teaching undergraduate and graduate courses. Professors may also mentor graduate students as they conduct their own research projects.

Careers in Research

There are many opportunities for cognitive psychologists to work in research settings outside of academia. Private companies, such as market research firms or technology companies, may hire researchers to analyze data related to consumer behavior or product development. Government agencies also employ cognitive psychologists to conduct research on topics such as human performance or decision-making processes.

Clinical Psychology

Some cognitive psychologists choose to pursue training in clinical psychology as well. This enables them to work directly with patients who have cognitive impairments or disorders such as dementia or traumatic brain injury. Clinical psychologists may evaluate patients’ cognitive abilities, develop treatment plans, and provide therapy.

Education and Training

Another potential career path for those with a PhD in cognitive psychology is education and training. Cognitive psychologists can work as trainers or instructional designers for businesses or educational institutions. They may also develop educational programs for organizations that aim to improve employees’ critical thinking skills or decision-making abilities.

Government Agencies

Cognitive psychologists are often sought after by government agencies who deal with issues related to national security, defense, and intelligence gathering. These agencies rely on experts in cognition to help design training programs for personnel, conduct research on topics such as human factors in security, and develop strategies to enhance decision-making processes.


A PhD in cognitive psychology opens up a diverse range of career opportunities. From academia to government agencies, cognitive psychologists are in demand for their unique skill set. Whether you choose to pursue a career in research, clinical psychology, education and training, or government work, a PhD in cognitive psychology can provide the foundation for a fulfilling and rewarding career.