The Social Psychology Doctoral Program maintains a light and flexible curriculum that allows students to develop their full potential as researchers and theorists. Students, in consultation with their research mentors, have the opportunity to design a course of study that will best suit their unique scholarly trajectory. It is expected that students will complete the program in 4 to 5 years.

Curriculum requirements include:

  • PSYC 830 Statistical Methods in Psychology I
  • PSYC 831 Statistical Methods in Psychology II
  • PSYC 860 Directed Research Seminar in Social Psychology
    • To be taken every semester the first 2 years, as well as in subsequent semesters only when students register for more than 3 credit hours.
  • PSYC 863 Methods of Social Psychology
  • A minimum of 2 Core Courses in Social Psychology
    • PSYC 719 Experimental Health Psychology
    • PSYC 864 Topics in Attitude Research
    • PSYC 866 Interpersonal Processes and Close Relationships
    • PSYC 869 Advanced Social Cognition
    • PSYC 870 Psychology of Emotions
    • PSYC 873 Prejudice and Stereotyping
    • PSYC 874 Social Judgement and Decision Making
    • PSYC 875 Positive Psychology
    • PSYC 876 Social and Affective Neuroscience
    • PSYC 888 Moral Psychology
    • PSYC XXX Self-Regulation
  • An additional 3 “out-of-area” courses; Quantitative Psychology is highly recommended.
  • Competency in Doctoral Candidacy
  • Defense of Doctoral Dissertation

For more information regarding courses, please review the current Graduate Record.

Competency in Doctoral Candidacy

To pass Doctoral Candidacy, the Social Psychology Doctoral Program requires that students show competency in terms of research breadth and depth. It is recommended that students complete the following requirements prior to the start of their 3rd year:

  • Empirical Master’s Thesis
    • Must be written in one of the following research article formats:
      • Psychological Science [up to 4000 words]
      • Journal of Personality and Social Psychology [longer format]
      • Another, more relevant format to the student’s area of focus [approved in consultation by the student’s advisor]
  • Theoretical Paper OR Complete Grant Proposal
    • Theoretical paper must be written in the format of an article suitable for admission to Psychological Review
    • Example for grant proposal: Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Individual Predoctoral Fellowship [F31]
  • Breadth Essay
    • Essay must be 12-15 pages, double spaced; based on a topic largely outside the student’s area of focus, covered in PSYC 860 (Directed Research Seminar in Social Psychology).
    • The goal of these essays is to take a contextualized stance on a contemporary research topic and show scholarly originality.
    • No more than 2 pages can outline an empirical approach to test the hypothesis. Students should endeavor to demonstrate that their proposed empirical approach would represent a significant contribution to the field of Social Psychology.

Sample Graduate Curriculum





PSYC 830
PSYC 860
PSYC 863
PSYC 991
Core Course
PSYC 792
PSYC 831
PSYC 860
PSYC 991
Core Course
First-Year Talk in PSYC 860
PSYC 790
PSYC 860
PSYC 993
Out-of-Area Course
PSYC 860
PSYC 993
Out-of-Area Course
Second-Year Talk in PSYC 860
Submit and Defend Master’s Thesis


Year 3: Submit Theoretical Paper
Years 3-5: PSYC 994 Doctoral Dissertation
Years 3-5: PSYC 994 Doctoral Dissertation

Note: Any additional courses must be taken as necessary, in consultation with an advisor, and all program and departmental requirements must be fulfilled. When registering for a formal course, students must register for PSYC 860. When not registering for a formal course, students must register for 3 credit hours of PSYC 993 or PSYC 994. A successful Doctoral Dissertation must be defended before a Ph.D. is conferred.