Applied Social Psychology (PhD)
The PhD in Applied Social Psychology requires 60 credit hours of coursework, a master's thesis, internship in teaching or research, doctoral candidacy exam, and dissertation.
|Psychology Core 1||12|
|Research Methods in Psychology|
|Methods of Program Evaluation|
|Structural Equation Modeling|
|Social Psychology Requirements||6|
|Social Psychological Theory|
|Seminar in Cognitive Neuroscience|
|Choose One (1) Developmental/Individual Differences Course||3|
|One Additional Methods or Statistics Course||3|
|Choose Three (3) Basic Social Psychology Courses||9|
|Cognitive Social Psychology|
|Research in Group Dynamics|
|The Self and Self-Esteem|
|Cognition and Emotion|
|Choose Three (3) Applied Social Topics Courses||9|
|Psychology and Law|
|Prejudice and Intergroup Relations|
|Six Electives 2||18|
Courses in Psychology Core must be completed with a grade of B or better to be applied to degree.
Electives may be selected from above courses, other graduate level Psychology courses, and graduate level coursework from other departments in the University (eg Sociology, Counseling and Educational Psychology). Students are strongly encouraged to contact the Graduate Program Director for approval before registering.
All PhD students and students in thesis-based Master's degree programs must successfully complete UNIV 370 Responsible Conduct in Research and Scholarship or other approved coursework in responsible conduct of research as part of the degree requirements. It is strongly recommended that students complete this two-day training before beginning the dissertation/thesis stage of the program.
Doctoral Candidacy Examination
The Doctoral Candidacy Exam is broken down into two components. In order to be a successful applied social psychologist, there are two domains within which a student must develop expertise: the application of theory to applied questions, and the use of methodology and statistics in empirical inquiry. Consequently, the Candidacy Exam in Applied Social Psychology has two components that correspond to these two critical domains: Theory and Applied and Methodology and Statistics. Successful completion of the candidacy exam process will demonstrate that the PhD candidate has acquired expertise in a specific theoretical domain as applied to some relevant social issue, and has the developed the ability to empirically investigate such questions with appropriate methods and statistics.
For each area, students are required to choose the topics and present them to two members of the faculty – a first and second reader for that particular exam. Once both the student and the faculty readers are in agreement on the appropriateness of the topic, the student puts together a reading list of approximately 1500 to 2000 pages of relevant work in that domain. In addition, the student creates an outline summarizing the topics developed in the readings and what the student wants to learn from the endeavor. When the student and readers are in agreement on the readings and outline, the student becomes responsible for doing the readings and then demonstrating expertise in that domain. For each area, there are multiple ways to demonstrate such expertise and options are discussed in the student handbook.
*Note: The candidacy exam project cannot analyze exactly the same data from the student’s MA thesis or PhD dissertation. Students cannot use the exact same methods and analyses that are the core of the thesis or dissertation for this exam.
All PhD in Social Psychology students are required to complete an internship either as a researcher in an applied setting (for those students interested in applied setting employment), or as a teacher in an academic setting. The applied research internship requires approximately 1000 hours of research experience; the teaching internship requires teaching four college-level psychology courses, covering at least two different courses. Students can choose to split the internship - 1/2 applied research and 1/2 teaching by performing 500 hours of applied research and teaching two college-level courses. Internships are usually completed after receiving the MA degree and completing most required coursework - i.e., in the third or fourth year of a student's graduate career. However, students can also complete internship hours during the summer. All PhD students must make a presentation at SARS concerning their internships and what they learned while involved in order to complete the internship requirement.
Thesis and Dissertation
Students will complete a master's thesis and earn the MA in Social Psychology en route to the PhD. The master's thesis should reflect an applied problem or theoretical issue relevant to social psychology. In addition, the thesis should be empirical, i.e., involve the collection and analysis of data. The thesis will be published according to Graduate School policy.
The dissertation represents the culmination of one's graduate study. Writing a dissertation is an opportunity to draw upon all of one's knowledge and experience while making an original contribution to general knowledge and/or the solution to some social problem. After finishing the candidacy exam, students are well prepared for this task. In fact, students typically formulate their exam areas with an eye toward their relevance for the dissertation. Upon completion and successful oral defense of the dissertation, it will be deposited in a publicly accessible database in accordance with Graduate School policy.
Graduate & Professional Standards and Regulations
Students in graduate and professional programs can find their Academic Policies in Graduate and Professional Academic Standards and Regulations under their school. Any additional University Policies supercede school policies.
PhD Learning Outcomes
- Explain how classic and contemporary social psychological theory and research applies to human behavior in social settings
- Learn to conduct a literature review
- Evaluate the scientific rigor of research presented in social psychological journals and books
- Synthesize principles of basic and advanced research methods to produce independent, scholarly work
- Understand how to derive novel, previously untested hypotheses.
- Design and conduct basic and applied social psychology research
- Understand how to statistically analyze and interpret data collected in social psychology research
- Understand how to write up an academic research article
- Understand how to give a high quality professional presentation
- Apply ethical standards to evaluate psychological science and practice
- Apply knowledge of social psychology to scholarly and/or professional activities to promote positive social change
- Apply psychological content and skills to career goals
- Gain experience teaching undergraduate psychology classes
- Acquisition of research and publication skills that will allow students to pursue either an academic job or an applied job after completing the program