Ph.D. Concentration in Social Psychology

Students in the social psychology concentration begin conducting research in their first semester and continue throughout their graduate careers. They also take seminar courses that cover topics like meta-analysis, theories of intergroup relations, stigma, health psychology, prejudice and stereotyping, social cognition, cross-cultural psychology, analysis of language, self and identity, attitudes, and grant-writing.

Students may also opt to complete a graduate certificate offered by the Department of Psychological Sciences, such as quantitative research methods or health psychology; or certificates offered outside the department, such as human rights, cognitive science, or women’s, gender, and sexuality studies.


Students take graduate courses in statistics, research methods, and advanced social psychology en route to their master’s degree. They participate in the Proseminar (5700) every semester. In addition, students must take at least one seminar from three different social psychology faculty members across their tenure in the Ph.D. program.


  • PSYC 5104. Analysis of Experiments
  • PSYC 5105. Quantitative Methods in Behavioral Science
  • PSYC 5701. Experimental Methods for Social and I/O Psychology
  • PSYC 5703. Advanced Social Psychology
  • PSYC 5700. Proseminar in Social Psychology*

Additional social seminars

  • Department or university breadth courses
  • PSYC 5799. Research Team in Social Psychology
  • PSYC 5800. Research in Psychology*
  • GRAD 5950. Master’s Thesis Research**
  • GRAD 5960. Full-Time Master’s Research**


  • Additional social seminars
  • Department or university breadth courses
  • PSYC 5799. Research Team in Social Psychology
  • PSYC 5800. Research in Psychology*
  • GRAD 6950. Doctoral Dissertation Research – (S/U)**
  • GRAD 6960. Full-Time Doctoral Research**

* Taken each semester

** Can be substituted for PSYC 5800


Students conduct research (with credit given via 5800 or a substitute class) every semester. They plan and carry out an original master’s degree study during their first year and original dissertation research in later years. They are encouraged to do research with more than one faculty member if their time permits.

Research resources include:

  • Laboratories
    • Experiment rooms with video monitoring
    • Computer-equipped experiment rooms and cubicles
    • Group interaction rooms
    • Psychophysiological measuring equipment
    • Virtual reality equipment in laboratories
  • Databases and software
    • Multiple canned and original programs for advanced data analysis
    • Licensed survey- and experiment-designing software
    • Numerous international and national proprietary databases
  • Measures
    • Original psychological measures developed by our faculty (see resources on each faculty member’s webpage)
    • Many in over 20 languages

Find more research resources for current students.

Academic Milestones

Master’s Defense

  • Design study in semester one;
  • collect and analyze data in semesters two through three;
  • submit first draft  by the start of semester four;
  • complete public defense and revise thesis during semester four.

Advancing to Ph.D. Candidacy

  • The Comprehensive Exam consists of an original review paper.
  • Students entering with approved MA may elect to take Comprehensive Exam in their first year.
  • Students begin the exam during their second year and complete it during their third year.


  • Select committee members in third year;
  • submit plan of study in third year;
  • propose dissertation to committee during fourth year;
  • complete public defense of written dissertation in semesters eight through ten.