About the Interdisciplinary Social Psychology Ph.D. Program

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Our interdisciplinary doctoral program is founded on a vision of social psychology as the core discipline of human affairs. It represents an integration of psychological and sociological scholarship with a bio-psycho-social foundation, grounded in culture and gender, to form an interdisciplinary, contextualized perspective for the investigation of personal and social life.

Our scholarship integrates the study of individuals, the small groups in which they interact, and the context of larger systems and organizations within which they exist.


Our major areas of specialization are:

  • social psychology and health,
  • social psychology and law/justice,
  • personal and social relationships, and
  • organizational behavior

as well as the intersection of these areas.

Read about features unique to our program.

View the program handbook

Our Mission

The mission of our doctoral program is to advance scientific knowledge of social psychological structures and processes, and to do so through scholarly study, training of Ph.D. students, and dissemination of our knowledge in both scientific and applied communities.

We are deeply committed to the guidance and instruction of graduate students as both junior colleagues and advanced students.

Our Program

The Interdisciplinary Social Psychology Ph.D. program has existed at the University of Nevada, Reno since 1962. The interdisciplinary committee, which operates this program, awards a Regents-approved doctoral degree in social psychology. Similar to all interdisciplinary graduate programs at the University, the social psychology program is an autonomous unit, located independent of its participating departments.

Our Interdisciplinary Faculty

Our program is administered by a committee of faculty from the following departments:

Adjunct faculty members (i.e., faculty eligible to supervise second year research projects and serve as members of dissertation committees) are social psychologists with doctoral degrees who work in research positions at universities and organizations, such as the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, the Center for the Application of Substance Abuse Technology, and the Center for Applied Research. Emeritus professors from psychology and management also contribute to the program. The present director of the program is from the Department of Sociology with training in both psychology and sociology.

Our program has approximately 40 students actively pursuing their doctoral degrees. Our curriculum has a theory core and a methods core as well as a number of seminars. We emphasize early involvement in research through several mechanisms, including first year research proposal development and a second year research project.

Research interests of the faculty range widely, and include the study of areas such as:

  • Intergroup relations and social networks
  • Health, well-being, and health policy
  • Law and justice
  • Gender
  • Culture
  • Religion
  • Attitudes
  • Collective behavior
  • Social identity
  • Law and juvenile studies
  • Adolescence
  • Social psychology of education
  • Socialization
  • Interpersonal and family relationships
  • Political psychology
  • Bureaucracies and organizations

A unique aspect of the program is its emphasis on an integration of the social psychology of health and law/justice. Our program also has links with the two national judicial education centers located at the University, as well as with the Grant Sawyer Center for Justice Studies and the Sanford Center for Aging.

Our program has special international ties in Great Britain, The Netherlands, Spain, Japan, and Australia. Program faculty members are also on the editorial board of a variety of international scholarly journals.