The two major goals of the social program are to develop students' expertise in social psychology and their methodological skills so that they can ask and answer important empirical questions regarding the study of health and well-being. We believe these goals are best met through "learning by doing," based on a program that emphasizes research involvement, intellectual exchange, collaboration, and initiative. Early and extensive engagement in research is the key to maximizing future career opportunities. Whether a student aspires for  positions in academia or in the public or private sectors, research expertise is essential.

In the first year, graduate students develop their specific professional goals and research specialization in consultation with their faculty advisor. Each student's program of study should be related to the expertise of the social faculty, but it may also involve faculty in other areas of psychology. During the second year, students should complete a master's thesis, and afterwards, compose a reading list for their comprehensive examination (usually completed during the third year). In their last year of the program, students complete a dissertation. Throughout the training program, students attend departmental and program events, give professional presentations at scientific conferences, publish articles in social psychology journals, and develop skills and expertise to translate social psychology to others through teaching, mentorship, and other forms of public dissemination.

View General Bulletin Course Requirements

Core Requirements: Specifics

Throughout their time in the social program, students are continuously involved in research. Research involvement begins immediately with faculty supervised research apprenticeship and the development of student-designed projects. 

In addition to the general department requirements, students are required to complete six graduate seminars in social psychology, at least three of which must be core social seminars (i.e., PSY 630s). The remaining three seminars may be core seminars (i.e. PSY 630s) or more topical seminars (i.e., PSY 730s). These graduate seminars provide students with strong foundations in social psychology and social psychological approaches to the study of health and well-being. The rotation of core seminars (PSY 630s) includes belonging and close relationships, health and well-being, intergroup relations, and social cognition and motivation,with each of these courses being offered once every two years (1 PSY 630 per semester). In addition, the social faculty offer topical seminars (PSY 730s) that reflect faculty expertise and interest in more focused areas of social psychology and the study of health and well-being. Recent PSY 730 offerings include biomarkers in health psychology, power and status, social exclusion, and stigma. 

For social area graduate students, the comprehensive examination must be passed prior to beginning their dissertation. In addition, all social students must obtain some type of teaching experience, which includes enrolling in a seminar in teaching and pedagogy. The department offers specific coursework to help students develop their teaching accumen, and there are a number of opportunities for graduate students to obtain advanced certifications (e.g., certificate in college teaching, quantitative expertise) in the department and in the university more broadly (as well as attend annual conferences, such as the Lilly Conference on College Teaching, held each Fall on campus at Miami).

Satisfying the minimum requirements of the social program, however, is only a start toward becoming an active social psychologist. Much of one's education and training takes place in informal settings, which include daily discussions with other students and faculty, reading journals and scholarly volumes, attending conferences and presenting one's work to the field. Members of the social area meet weekly at SPRIG (Social Psychology Research Interest Group) to present and discuss ongoing research. Each year numerous social students present papers at regional (e.g.. MPA), national (e.g., SPSP, APS) and international conferences and have papers accepted for publication in scholarly journals.