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. 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 involvement in research is the key to maximizing career opportunities down the road, whether a student aspires for academia or for a position in the public or private sector.

In the first year, our graduate students begin to develop their own specific professional goals and research specialization in consultation with their faculty advisor. The 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 are expected to complete a dissertation. Throughout the training program, students are expected to 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

All students are expected to be continuously involved in research throughout their time in the program. Research involvement begins immediately with a faculty supervised research apprenticeship or a faculty sponsored project of the student’s design. Later on, students may collaborate with other students on 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). The rotation of core seminars (PSY 630s) includes attitudes, motivation & emotion, intergroup relations, and social cognition, with each of these courses being offered once every two years (1 PSY 630 per semester). In addition, the social faculty periodically offer topical seminars (PSY 730s) that reflect faculty expertise and interest in more focused areas of social psychology. Recent PSY 730 offerings have inclued gender, social exclusion, the self in interconnected social contexts, and prejudice and stigma.

For all social students, the comprehensive examination must be passed prior to working on a dissertation. In addition, all social students are expected to 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., 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 year 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.