Laura E. VanderDrift, Ph.D.
430 Huntington Hall
Emily B. Ansell, Kevin M. Antshel, Sara E. Burke, D. Bruce B. Carter, Catherine A. Cornwell, Amy H. Criss, Joseph W. Ditre, Tanya L. Eckert, Joshua C. Felver, Les A. Gellis, Shannon C. Houck, Brittany K. Jakubiak, Randall S. Jorgenson, Michael L. Kalish, David Kellen, Lawrence J. Lewandowski, Lynn J. Lohnas, Stephen A. Maisto, Brian K. Martens, Leonard S. Newman, Aesoon Park, Natalie Russo, Lael J. Schooler, Bradley A. Seymour, Shannon M. Sweeney, Stanislav Treger, Peter A. Vanable, Laura E. VanderDrift, and Sarah E. Woolf-King
Since its creation in 1924, the program has embraced research as a central focus for the training of social psychologists. We train students with the skills necessary to function as applied or research scientists within one or more of the many sub-domains of social psychology. Our program explicitly adopts multidisciplinary themes to create a unique graduate training experience. The central focus of the social psychology program is the scholarship of the causes, consequences, and/or remediation of social challenges. Students are encouraged to pursue specific research interests that complement this broad programmatic theme.
The admissions committee consists of social psychology area faculty members. This committee makes decisions on the admission of applicants to graduate school; students who have or will soon complete either bachelor’s or master’s degrees, and who qualify in the judgment of this committee are admitted. To make this judgment, the committee considers a candidate’s letters of recommendation, verbal and quantitative Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, previous grade record, personal statement, and whether the research interests of this student matches with a member of the faculty.
Student Learning Outcomes
1. Demonstrate broad knowledge of the field of social psychology and a deep understanding of its basic principles - Examine the causes, consequences, and/or remediation of social challenges
2. Conduct reviews of the social psychology literature and integrate/synthesize that literature
3. Design and conduct systematic research of important challenges facing society
4. Utilize classic and contemporary quantitative methods to conduct statistical analysis for their research
5. Present research by means of poster presentations and/or talks at professional conferences
6. Follow ethical guidelines of the American Psychological Association
7. Demonstrate expertise as a psychology instructor
Consistent with the general goal of the program, students are strongly encouraged to become involved in research at an early point in their training by participating in faculty research projects and by carrying out individual research under the guidance of faculty members. Accordingly, all students obtain extensive training in research methods, both within a classroom setting and in actual research practice. Students earn both the master of science (M.S.) and doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees; the master’s degree is a prerequisite for the Ph.D.
The courses offered in the program consist of intensive exposure to the prominent theories and methods in social psychology. In order to qualify for the Ph.D., students are required to take 18 credits of theory-relevant coursework, which may consist of any combination of the following three-credit courses:
Conceptual Courses (18 credit hours)
Note: PSY 775 may be repeated if the topics change
Department Core Requirements (15 credit hours)
Methods Courses (15 credit hours)
Research (24 credits)
Thesis credits (6 credits)
Dissertation credits (18 credits)
Electives (12-15 credits)
Finally, 12-15 additional hours are required for the minimum requirement of 90 hours for the Ph.D.
Qualifying Examination for the Ph.D.
After a student completes the master’s degree and all requisite coursework, she or he selects one of two possible options to qualify as a doctoral candidate. These options are (a) writing a literature review of an area within social psychology in a style of reviews published in the Psychological Review (and similar sources); or (b) preparing for a written examination based on a list of readings. Once a student has passed the qualifying examination, she or he may select a topic and complete a dissertation regarding it. The student defends her or his work before her or his doctoral committee, including many social psychology faculty. It is recommended that the qualifying examination be satisfied during the third year of graduate school.
When a student passes the qualifying examination, she or he is a doctoral candidate and may select a topic on which to write a doctoral dissertation, which also must be defended before a committee composed of faculty members knowledgeable in the domain of the research. Before actually conducting the thesis research, the candidate defends a proposal for this work before this committee. It is recommended that the dissertation be completed during the student’s fourth year of graduate studies.
Optional Concentration - Neuroscience Concentration (4 required courses)
1. BIO 607 Advanced Neuroscience (3 credits)
2. PSY 777/NEU 777 Cognitive and Applied Neuroscience (3 credits)
3. NEU 613/BIO 624/CSD753/PSY 778/BEN 613 Readings in Neuroscience (0 or 3 credits)
4. NEU 614/BIO 625/ CSD754/PSY779 BEN 614 Interdisciplinary Methods of Neuroscience (0 or 3 credits)
Students can take these courses as their electives.
The social psychology program tries to find sources of support for all of its students. This support may consist of fellowships, teaching assistantships, or research assistantships. A number of such assistantships are available, and outstanding students are placed into competition for University-wide fellowships. In addition, students are encouraged to apply for available external funding.