Social Psychology

Information about the Social Psychology Graduate Major

The graduate program in Social Psychology features a distinguished faculty and numerous research opportunities in laboratory and field settings within a culturally diverse and multifaceted metropolitan area. Our faculty areas of expertise are broad and center on basic research on close relationships, intergroup relations, and social cognitive neuroscience. In addition, faculty interests include political psychology, positive psychology, sport psychology, stress and coping, and issues pertaining to culture, ethnicity, gender, and evolutionary psychology. A long tradition of interest in social problems and the applicability of rigorous, theory-driven research to addressing such issues is a distinctive feature of our program.

Familiarity with social psychology is gained through a two-quarter course sequence during the first year of graduate work, and followed by seminars in close relationships, intergroup relations, and social cognition. Students concentrate on a single research project in the first and second years (Psych 251) culminating with the receipt of the Master’s degree. As training progresses thereafter, social psychology students typically work with several faculty members to develop an increasing focus on their own particular topics in research, and expertise in the associated methods.

Methodological and statistical training covers experimental design and procedures, survey and field research methods, and univariate and multivariate techniques including use of structural equation modeling and hierarchical linear modeling. Social psychology students typically minor in measurement, health psychology, or political psychology, but may select from a variety of departmental minors.

Most social psychology faculty members run weekly small lab meetings with graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and visiting professors in which important training experience is gained above and beyond individual research supervision and coursework. Seminars and biweekly colloquia presentations by distinguished visiting speakers, students, and faculty are also offered and round out the course of studies.

UCLA’s Psychology Department has also developed leading programs in health and political psychology that are well integrated with the social psychology program. Along with the regular social faculty in the Psychology Department, the social program has a number of social psychology faculty affiliates who are faculty members in other departments and schools.  The social program also maintains close connections with the Institute for Social Science Research, the International Center for Talent Development, and UCLA’s Schools of Education, Medicine, Public Health, Nursing, and Management, and the UCLA Center for Behavior, Evolution and Culture. These connections foster interaction with faculty and students in other disciplines (e.g. Anthropology, Communications, Political Science, Psychiatry, and Sociology), and enable students to incorporate interdisciplinary study in a wide range of social and health sciences into their graduate education in social psychology.

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