The graduate program in Social Psychology prepares students for careers in social psychology, health psychology, or the interface between these two disciplines. Areas of concentration include interpersonal relations and motivation, close relationship and self-regulation, social influences on health behavior, biopsychosocial and cultural influence on health and illness (e.g. cancer), the role of personality in creativity, success, and well-being, and IRT and social psychological measurement issues. The program generally emphasizes the application of social psychological theories, methods, and concepts to research in real life settings and important social issues.
Faculty members in the program have continually received support from both federal (e.g., NIH) and local agencies. Graduates of the doctoral program have received appointments at a number of university and research organizations such as: Baylor College of Medicine, California State University at Sacramento, Duke University, East Carolina University, Michigan State University, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, North Dakota State University, Stanford University, State University of New York at Buffalo, Texas Department of Human Resources, Texas Youth Commission, University of Alabama, University of Arizona, University of California at Santa Cruz, University of Washington, University of Wisconsin, and Wayne State University. Students working in the areas of health behavior or close relationships are prepared for positions in university departments, medical schools, and federally funded research organizations.
The social psychology curriculum is directed at developing the student’s strength in quantitative methods and theoretical, conceptual, and biological perspectives that are central to advanced training in social psychology. While students are encouraged to engage in self-initiated research endeavors, students in the program also have an opportunity to participate in active research programs under the mentorship of various members of the psychology faculty. There is also opportunity for inter-disciplinary research, allowing for a breadth of research experiences. Strong departmental programs in industrial-organizational, developmental, and clinical psychology provide excellent opportunities to augment and diversify the training in the social psychology program, as does the student’s access to courses offered in the Texas Medical Center (e.g., epidemiology, public health) and other universities in the Houston metropolitan area.
The core classes for social psychology students include: Foundations of Social Psychology, History and Theories of Social Psychology, Social Cognition, Methods in Social Psychology, Grantwriting/Proposal development, and Program Evaluation. At least two semesters of statistics, as well as a minor (9 units) are also required. Recent social graduate students have minored in Marketing, Political Science, or Quantitative Methods. All students will complete a masters thesis and successfully pass comprehensive examinations before culminating their experience with a dissertation. Students generally take 4-5 years to complete the program.