Program Description

The social psychology program at Duke has as its signature a unique interdisciplinary training environment that combines basic research training in experimental social psychology with opportunities for interdisciplinary study and collaboration. The social psychology faculty at Duke has expertise in an array of areas within social psychology including attitudes, the self, self-regulation, social motivation, emotion, stereotyping, gender, interpersonal relationships, and the link between personality and social behavior.

The graduate training program is designed to provide:

1. broad general knowledge of the field of social psychology

2. competence in specific research skills and methods

3. in-depth expertise in one or more specific areas in social psychology

4. secondary expertise in a complementary area ofd social science or quantitative methods

5. teaching experiences and training

During the first year, students acquire breadth of knowledge and familiarity with the field through a social psychology proseminar course and a weekly brownbag seminar that features talks by faculty, students, and visiting social psychologists, as well as professional development workshops. Also during the first year, students begin to acquire research skills through a first-year research project with their advisor. During the second year, students continue to acquire advanced methodological and quantitative skills through coursework and research. In the third year, students continue to develop in-depth expertise, acquire additional quantitative skills, and identify an area of social psychology to explore in their Major Area Paper (MAP). Students are required to defend their MAP by the end of their third year, after which they are admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D.

To provide additional breadth in training, all students are encouraged to work with a faculty member other than their major advisor and to develop secondary expertise in an area outside of social psychology such as developmental psychology, public policy, consumer behavior, cognitive/affective neuroscience, sociology, political science, or quantitative methods. With respect to developing teaching competence, most students serve as a teaching assistant for undergraduate classes and all students are encouraged to teach at least one course of their own during a summer session.

The social psychology labs, constructed in 2004, are a state-of-the-art facility for experimental social and behavioral science research. The facility is equipped with two computer/questionnaire labs, twelve acoustically sealed cubicles with networked desktop systems, four audio-video recording rooms with high quality cameras and microphones, two psychophysiology recording rooms (equipped for the measurement of galvanic skin response, heart rate, blood pressure, skin temperature, EMG, ECG, respiration and finger pulse amplitude), and a seminar-style meeting room. Information about the social psychology research facilities may be found here.