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Social Psychology Curriculum

Training Goals

Our primary training goal is to prepare students for a research career in academic or non-academic settings. To achieve this goal, we involve students in ongoing research from the beginning of their graduate career and help them to develop their own research programs as their training proceeds. To expose students to a broad range of approaches and methodologies, we expect all students to work with different faculty over the course of their training. To the extent it meets their interests, we also encourage students to conduct some of their work with researchers outside of the core social psychology program. The formal course requirements are relatively limited to provide sufficient time for research and to allow students to tailor their training to their specific interests.

Because academic, and many non-academic, careers involve a commitment to teaching and mentoring, a secondary goal is to help students in the development of teaching and mentoring skills. We therefore expect students to acquire teaching experience during their training by serving as a Graduate Student Instructor, usually for three or four semesters. Workshops at the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching offer relevant training in teaching skills. In addition, students acquire mentoring skills by directing the work of undergraduate research assistants, who provide support for graduate students' own ongoing research.

A successful research career further requires a variety of additional professional skills, including the presentation of research results at conferences and authoring of articles and chapters. We help students develop these skills through regular presentations at the social psychology brown bag, participation in conferences, and publications.

Course Requirements

The course requirements ensure a good grounding in psychological theorizing and methodology as well as cognate fields. In addition to meeting departmental requirements, social psychology students are expected to gain substantial conceptual and empirical knowledge within social psychology by electing two of three core courses designed to cover the field. Advanced seminars in both social psychology and other areas of psychology, and a sequence of methods courses, are also required.

Pre-Candidacy (first two years)

All underlined courses represent classes that may be taken any semester during the first two years (the semesters listed here are merely examples).

Information deemed accurate but is subject to change. Please consult the Psychology Graduate Office and your advisor regarding specific questions and concerns about the requirements.

Fall 1st Year
682: (Advanced Social Psychology)
681: (Cohort Seminar)
613: (Statistics; Students can place out of this class)
619: (First-Year Research Project)

Winter 1st Year
782 or 785 or 787 or 788 (Social Psychology Core Course)
681: (Cohort Seminar)
Breadth Course
614: (Statistics; Students can place out of this class)
619: (1st Year Research Project)

Fall 2nd Year
619: (First Year Research Project)
681: (Cohort Seminar)
Cognate
Breadth Course or GSI Psych 111/112
685: (Prelim Prep.)

Winter 2nd Year
685: (Prelim Prep.)
782 or 785 or 787 or 788: (Social Psychology Core Course)
786: (Research Design)
Cognate

Post-Candidacy (all additional terms)

995: Dissertation Preparation

Your Choice: Candidates are allowed to take one additional 3-credit course per semester; it's up to you which of your additional requirements you want to fulfill with this course each semester.

  • (6 hours) Advanced Seminars in Social Psychology — Two advanced seminars (800 or 900 level) or six hours total.
  • (3 hours) Advanced Applied Statistics — Can be taken through departments such as Political ScienceSociology, etc; requirement can also be fulfilled by taking one of the applied statistics courses offered through ICPSR. (Approval by area chair is required.)
  • (4-6 hours) Additional Courses — These courses will normally be elected in psychology in any of four ways:
    1. The 700 level courses offered in social
    2. Advanced seminars either inside or outside Social
    3. Additional outside core courses; and
    4. Flexible individually tailored courses (e.g., 719).

As the final step to Candidacy, all students take a preliminary examination prior to the beginning of the third year. Preparation for the exam is organized by students themselves with the guidance of members of the area faculty who serve as general advisors to the cohort until Candidacy is achieved. In addition, sometime before the beginning of the fourth year, students present a portfolio of their research papers to the committee that they select to supervise their doctoral research. The committee reviews this work and discusses their review with the student. The dissertation completes the training sequence and typically builds on the strengths of the student's research portfolio.

The training program can be completed in 4 years, although 5 years is the typical time to graduation.

Information deemed accurate but is subject to change. Please consult the Psychology Student Academic Affairs Office and your advisor regarding specific questions and concerns about the requirements.