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Program Overview

Students are expected to master social psychological theory and research methodology and to become skilled in the development and dissemination of research. Students tailor their education to fit their own interests and professional goals through the selection of research projects and elective courses.

Knowledge and Skills Development

Students achieve a basic grounding in this field and to develop an ability to think critically about the body of knowledge in their specialty. With this as groundwork, students learn to reason theoretically and develop research projects that help them understand social phenomena in the everyday world.

Relationships with Faculty Members

Students are engaged in collaborative research with one or more faculty members throughout their graduate career. Each student has a major adviser who they meet with regularly to discuss progress and educational plans. As students progress, they are encouraged to take progressively greater responsibility for developing their own independent research programs.

Other Program Activities

The faculty and students meet weekly for a Brown Bag, a forum for students, faculty, and outside speakers to discuss ongoing research and/or professional development. The brownbag provides a collegial context for stimulating thinking, widening intellectual exchange, and developing presentation skills.

Progress Through the Program

Most students finish the program in 5 years.

The First Year

Students begin conducting research with their primary advisor.  This research often provides a foundation for students’ first major first-authored research paper (the Second Year Project).  Students also begin taking required classes, such as Advanced Social Psychology (680), Research Methods in Social Psychology, regression and ANOVA, elective social seminars, and/or one of the 3 required breadth courses in Behavioral Neuroscience, Clinical, or Cognitive.

The Second Year

Students continue to conduct research with their primary advisor and plan and conduct a Second Year Project (the equivalent of a Master’s Thesis).  By the end of their second year, students might also start secondary research collaborations with a secondary faculty member.  Students also take Multivariate Statistics, one or two departmental breadth requirements, and elective social seminars.

The Third Year

Students conduct increasingly independent research under the guidance of their primary and perhaps secondary mentor and plan and complete the Third Year Paper.  Developed in consultation with the primary advisor and two secondary area members, this paper can be either an empirical paper ready to submit for publication or a literature review.  Students typically finish their required course work by the end of their third year.

The Fourth and Fifth Years

Research is the primary focus as students prepare manuscripts for publication and plan and conduct their dissertations.  Students may also acquire experience teaching undergraduate classes in service of their professional development.