Ph.D. in Social Psychology

The Interdisciplinary Social Psychology Ph.D. program applies rigorous psychological and sociological scholarship to better understand the processes, structures and contexts that impact social interactions.

Program at a glance

Admissions cycle: Fall
Application deadline: Jan. 1
Assistantship types available: Teaching, Research
Graduate director: Markus Kemmelmeier

Why choose this Ph.D. in social psychology?

The University's social psychology Ph.D. program was formally established in 1967, making it the oldest interdisciplinary social psychology program in the nation. The program's interdisciplinary committee includes faculty from across the University's departments and colleges, including the College of Liberal Arts, the College of Business, the School of Community Health Sciences and more.

The program emphasizes training in theoretical foundations, as well as qualitative and quantitative methods in basic and applied research. Though not all students choose one of these specializations, areas of emphasis include psychology and law, personal and social relationships, social psychology and health, and organizational behavior. Gender, culture and development issues are integrated into the curriculum in each area of emphasis.

Faculty research specialties include:

  • Attitudes
  • Collective behavior
  • Culture
  • Emotion expression and regulation
  • Gender
  • Health and health policy
  • Interpersonal communication and relationships
  • Intergroup relations
  • Law and juvenile studies
  • Life span and aging research
  • Political psychology
  • Religion
  • Social inequality
  • Social networks
  • Socialization

Incoming students develop a mentoring relationship with a faculty member of the program. Students are encouraged to engage in scholarly research, often in collaboration with faculty, to present findings at professional meetings and to publish in reviewed journals and volumes. In addition to the support offered by the University's Graduate Student Association, the social psychology Ph.D. program offers financial assistance for student travel and research.

The program's interdisciplinary focus allows students to experience a wide range of perspectives within the field of social psychology. This holistic approach prepares students for engaging and rewarding work in both academic and applied settings upon completion of the program.

Graduates of the program are today employed in a variety of capacities. Roughly one-third teach and conduct research at universities, typically in tenure-track positions. One-third have full-time research positions in the public sector (county, state or federal level positions, including nonprofit organizations). The final third of graduates work in the private sector, either for commercial organizations -- for example, Adobe or Hotwire -- or operate their own consulting business. In short, advanced graduate training in social psychology can lead to a wide range of career paths.

To learn more about the program, view the Social Psychology graduate program handbook.

How do I apply?

All applicants must meet the admissions standards of the Graduate School. When applying, applicants should select social psychology from the drop-down menu on the declaration of major page.

Applicant should be sure to submit with their application:

  • GRE scores
  • Statement of purpose
  • Sample research paper
  • Three letters of recommendation

Program admissions occur for the fall semester. The deadline for applications is Jan. 1. Learn more about the social psychology application process.

Is funding available?

Yes. All students enter with full-time support (20 hours per week plus a tuition waiver) for their first year. Over the last 15 years, all students have maintained full-time support throughout their entire time in the program, unless they declined support or became ineligible per University rules.

What's next?

If you're ready to begin at the University, you can apply now. See the contact information below if you'd like to connect with a faculty member and learn more about the program.

Markus Kemmelmeier, Ph.D.
Professor, Director of the Social Psychology Ph.D. Program
(775) 784-1287

Contact Interdisciplinary Social Psychology Ph.D. Program

Phone (775) 784-1878
Location Mack Social Science