Move beyond theory and methods to enhance your psychology career Research Psychology

Research psychology in America’s Navy is so much more than abstract theory, methods or models. It’s the real-world application of your research. There’s no better place to test your spatial cognition theories than by evaluating and enhancing submariners’ spatial thinking abilities at the Naval Submarine Medical Research Laboratory in Groton, Conn.

Navy Research Psychologists delve deep into cognitive, experimental and physiological psychology issues and more. Striking the perfect balance between research excellence and operational support, Navy Research Psychologists help keep Sailors and Marines strong in mind and body, preparing them for situations that test their mental and emotional well-being.

There are research psychology jobs in the civilian world. But nowhere else will you be able to advance your skills so quickly and make such a real difference. In the Navy. In people’s lives. And in your career.

Job Description

There are many possible career paths as a Navy Research Psychologist. Early positions often involve submarine, diving and medical research in laboratory and field settings, on a wide variety of variables affecting numerous aspects of human performance in military systems.

You may also:

  • Become eligible for positions involving policy development, research management and oversight, as well as program evaluation
  • Manage large research and development efforts in laboratories and provide staff assistance related to human performance, training and personnel issues
  • Take advantage of Senior Officer opportunities for medical department leadership positions, including command of Navy Medical Research and Development Laboratories

Specific Responsibilities

As a Research Psychologist and Officer in the Medical Service Corps, you will be among approximately two dozen research psychologists who deliver operational products, systems and procedures that dramatically impact the health, safety and operational well-being and performance of Fleet and Marine Corps forces.

Areas of specialty include:

  • Cognitive
  • Experimental
  • Social
  • Industrial/organizational
  • Human factors
  • Engineering
  • Personnel
  • Neuroscience
  • Physiological

Work Environment

As a Navy Health Care Specialist, you may serve at any one of more than 250 Navy and medical facilities around the globe, in some of the most dynamic environments imaginable: from Hawaii to Japan, Germany to Guam, and Washington, D.C., to Washington State.

You could find yourself working at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., the Naval Submarine Medical Research Laboratory in Connecticut, the Naval Health Research Center in San Diego, or at Navy Personnel Research, Studies and Technology in Tennessee.

No matter where you serve, you’ll provide leadership and expertise to support your country. In support of the men and women who defend it. And the world at large.

Education Opportunities

Wherever you are in your professional career, the Navy can help ease your financial burdens and advance your career with financial assistance and continuing education programs.

There's an alternative to spending years paying down the cost of your graduate education. If you're currently a practicing professional, you could potentially be eligible to receive financial assistance through the Navy Health Professions Loan Repayment Program (HPLRP). Talk to a Navy Officer Recruiter for more information.

Offers have many variables. To get information and find out which offer would benefit you most, request that a Navy Officer Recruiter contact you.


To qualify for Active Duty employment consideration as a Research Psychologist in the Navy Medical Service Corps, you must meet these basic requirements:

  • Be a U.S. citizen currently practicing in the U.S. (contact a
    Navy Medical Recruiter for details)
  • Completion of all course requirements for a Ph.D. degree in psychology with a concentration in cognitive, experimental, social, industrial/organizational, human factors, engineering, personnel, neuroscience or physiological areas
  • Ph.D. Dissertation Pending: Applicants in an "all but dissertation" (ABD) status will be considered. All research psychologists commissioned under the ABD provisions of this program will have three years from the original date of commissioning to complete their dissertation. Officers failing to meet this requirement will be subject to separation from the Navy. Before commissioning, applicants who have not completed all dissertation requirements will acknowledge in writing awareness of this requirement
  • Be willing to serve a minimum of three years of Active Duty
  • Be between the ages of 18 and 41
  • Be in good physical condition and pass a full medical examination

You may also be expected to meet certain preferred requirements:

  • Evidence of professional versatility, flexibility and broad interests within the field of psychology
  • Demonstrated expertise in research design, methodology, execution and statistical analysis
  • Strong academic record, strong early record of publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals, and outstanding professional recommendations


After the Navy

In the Navy, you’ll find unrivaled training and educational opportunities. Incomparable benefits and experience. Deeper pride and purpose. And superior career advancement opportunities that will pay off when you return to the civilian world.

Consider Your Service Options.

There are different ways that you can commit to serve in America's Navy. Besides full-time opportunities in Active Duty, part-time Reserve positions are also available in this career area.