Message from the Chair
Welcome to UCLA’s Department of Psychology, one of the largest and intellectually most diverse departments, in any discipline, in the entire University of California system. We look after the educational needs of thousands of undergraduate Bruins every year. Our community also includes about 200 PhD students, 35 postdoctoral trainees, 42 administrative staff, 83 research staff, and 77 core, adjunct, and emeritus faculty.
A key principle for us is integration. Psychology spans basic science and applications across the full range of human behavior. The units of analysis in our classes and our research include molecules, genes, cells, circuits, organ systems, individuals, couples, families, cultures – the full range of the Research Domain Criteria initiative of the National Institute of Mental Health; classrooms, courtrooms, police forces, military and government agencies, religious settings, medical clinics… We span micro to macro, because psychological phenomena are critical in all of them.
Our home is Franz Hall, over 800 rooms in three connected buildings on the east side of campus. Appropriately for our diverse scholarly operation, we are on the boundary of what UCLA locals call “north campus” and “south campus” – close to the medical school but close to the humanities, the social sciences, and engineering – a good thing, because all of those disciplines are prominent in psychology and in our Department of Psychology. We have the best view of the famous Inverted Fountain. We are 2 minutes’ walk from the wonderful music programs in Schoenberg Hall and 5 minutes’ walk from the Murphy Sculpture Garden. We are just uphill from the Bruin Walk and even closer to “Ackerman” – the student union, bookstore, food court, and many other venues for a break from studying.
Our faculty and students have many opportunities to connect with scholars across the campus. We are part of the Division of Life Sciences in the College of Letters and Science, and we have strong ties to the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior and the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center in the UCLA School of Medicine as well as a variety of other departments, centers, and institutes. Our faculty have joint appointments and formal affiliations in the Schools of Business, Education, Medicine, and Public Health, the Bunche Center for African American Studies and the Institute of Society and Genetics, and the Departments of Asian American Studies, Communication Studies, Political Science, Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, Neurobiology, Neurosurgery, and Statistics.
Another way in which our Department of Psychology is exceptionally diverse is that we have substantial programs of scholarship and action in community health, diversity science, clinical science, human neuroimaging, animal neuroscience, and basic developmental, quantitative, cognitive, and social psychology.
Our broad scope includes an undergraduate honors program and a UCLA Psychology Research Opportunity Programs initiative for undergraduates. We host an annual Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference with local and national participants. Our Diversity Science Initiative crosses traditional disciplinary boundaries to advance theoretical and research perspectives on underrepresented minority groups in the behavioral sciences. We house our own clinic, an Infant Development Program, and an animal vivarium. Our faculty directory and our course offerings provide many more examples of our broad program.
I would love to tell you about the 3 majors and 2 minors in our undergraduate program, but there’s lots to say about those on other webpages. I could tell you about how highly our doctoral programs rank nationally, but I’ll just say that overall we may be the highest-ranked department at UCLA.
Let me close by saying that our Department is energized and growing – expanding our majors, improving our space in Franz, increasing our alumni involvement, and stretching our intellectual reach. The support of the Division, the College, and senior UCLA administration is crucial in what we do. Even more crucial are the many people who learn and study and work in Franz Hall.
Gregory A. Miller, Distinguished Professor and Chair, Department of Psychology