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Ph.D. in Social Psychology

Program Overview

The interests of the faculty in the social program encompass a number of topics including social influence, motivation, environment and behavior, health, and interpersonal relationships. In most of our research, we study the intra- and interpersonal processes that underlie behaviors in these different domains. We emphasize also the generation of basic social psychological theory and the extension of such theory to real-world problems.

The Social Psychology Ph.D. program represents and prizes the diversity of both faculty and students and offers multiple training opportunities and a strong record of Ph.D. placement. Students first receive strong training in basic social processes and methods. Through active participation in both primary and secondary research projects and advanced seminars, students develop a sophisticated understanding of how these basic processes influence a variety of social psychological phenomena. Students participate in many different social psychology research programs, including those devoted to understanding interpersonal aspects of the self, attitudes and persuasion, prejudice, decision-making, environment and behavior, motivation, self-regulation, relationships, and health.

Graduate Students

Graduate Students in the social program receive training in both laboratory and field methods. We employ the mentorship approach in which students typically work closely with one faculty member. However, to facilitate the student's career and to maximize research and professional opportunities, students are also required to complete a project with a second faculty member by the end of the third year. Students are also encouraged to participate in collaborative projects with other faculty and students. Faculty collaboration is frequent, and opportunities for students to engage in interdisciplinary research are readily available. Through coursework and research, students develop specialties in such topics as social cognition and the self, environmental psychology, stereotypes, intrinsic motivation and self-regulation, attitudes and persuasion, and health psychology. Students are encouraged to extend their specialties to applied topics such as medical compliance, recycling, instructional methods, health promotion, environmental design, program evaluation, and conflict reduction.

Strengths of the Program

  1. A focus on theory-driven research in several important areas of application, such as education, environmental change, cancer prevention, stress physiology, and aging
  2. Advanced training in such methods as social psychophysiology and advanced statistical techniques (e.g., hierarchical linear modeling, longitudinal data analysis) necessary to understanding how complex social processes unfold and change over time
  3. A strong history of both faculty and student collaboration with colleagues from other programs and departments and
  4. A cohesive and collegial program atmosphere, with small advanced classes and a modal student-to-faculty ratio of 2 to 1

Faculty with Social Psychology Focus

Last Updated: 6/4/21