Social/Personality Psychology

Social/Personality Psychology Image

General Information





The graduate program in social/personality psychology provides students with doctoral level training with the goal of preparing students to assume positions as faculty members in universities or as research associates in the private or public sector. The program is research intensive and provides students with expertise in theoretical and methodological aspects of both social and personality psychology.



The Social/Personality program trains approximately eight to twelve graduate students in any given year. There are seven core faculty members in the program, creating a small faculty-to-student ratio. Students typically have one primary faculty mentor, though they are encouraged to and often do work with multiple faculty members during their training.



The Social/Personality program is a research focused training program. During their initial year in the program, students complete a first-year research project (this often involves collaboration in an ongoing project in their faculty member’s lab). During their first year, students also begin developing ideas for their master’s thesis, which should be completed and defended by the end of the second year. In the summer prior to their third year, students complete comprehensive examinations. Finally, during their third to fifth years, student work on their dissertations. Students are encouraged to become involved in additional research projects with faculty and other students during their tenure in the program.



Students take a range of courses, including three courses in statistics, a research methods course, general overviews of social and personality psychology, and topical seminars in interpersonal, group and intergroup behavior, close relationships, attitudes and social cognition. A variety of other special topic seminars are also offered including seminars in emotions, social identity, the self, personality and development, stereotyping and prejudice, law and psychology, and evolutionary psychology. Students can also take courses in other areas of psychology as well as other departments at the university.



Students in the Social/Personality program attend a weekly brownbag seminar, where students, faculty, and guests from other universities present their research. Current and past brownbag schedules can be found on the Social/Personality Interest Group speaker series webpage. The Social/Personality program also offers an informal weekly reading group where students and faculty read and discuss current research.



Most graduate students are supported for the first four years through either teaching or research assistantships and university fellowships.  After their fourth year, students often receive support by teaching their own classes. In addition to the stipend, financial support covers tuition and health care. Students are encouraged to apply for funding from external sources such as the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Health, and the Ford Foundation. More information about financial support can be found on the Graduate School webpage.