Social Psychology Ph.D. Program

Social Psychology Ph.D. Program

The Social Psychology Ph.D. program is designed as a five-year doctoral program (with instructional language in English) to prepare students for scholarly careers in academic and other research settings. It is a research-intensive doctoral program with the goal of training the next generation of social scientists. Formal course requirements are minimized and collaborative research with one or more faculty is emphasized. Coursework in the major may consist of a diverse array of classes, including independent study, selected by the student with the approval of the student's major advisor. Developing a strong record of peer-reviewed publications is expected and extensive training is provided to help students achieve this goal. 

There are currently 6 core faculty in the social psychology program. In addition, we usually have numerous postdocs working with our social faculty and they contribute greatly to the program as well. There are also a variety of faculty both in Psychology (e.g., Clinical Psychology, Cognitive Neuroscience) and other departments (e.g., Family Studies and Human Development, Communications, Management, Marketing, Public Health) with strong backgrounds and interests in social psychology and related areas.

Program Highlights

Some of the unique features of our program include:

A robust, dedicated, and active program leading to successful students. With six core faculty and a core, rotating group of approximately 10 grad students and 2 or more postdocs, the social program is relatively small by national standards. This allows for faculty and graduate students to develop deeply collaborative and productive working relationships. Seminars are also small and highly productive. We are selective with graduate student admissions, and our students develop strong bonds with their mentors and cohort. By graduation, our students are well-prepared for the academic job market, as shown by the fact that most currently have a permanent or visiting faculty position. Some recent examples include:

  • Isaac Young, Ph.D. (2020) visiting assistant professor, Beloit College, Wisconsin
  • Peter Helm, Ph.D. (2019) postdoc, University of Missouri
  • Uri Lifhsin, Ph.D. (2017) postdoc, IDC, Herzylia, Israel
  • Colin Zestcott, Ph.D., (2017) Assistant Professor at College of St. Scholastica, Minnesota
  • Peter Leavitt, Ph.D., (2016) Assistant Professor at Indiana State University
  • Elizabeth Focella, Ph.D., (2012) Senior Consultant at Opinion Dynamics
  • Rebecca Covarrubias, Ph.D., (2012) Associate Professor at U.C. Santa Cruz
  • Melissa Soenke, Ph.D., (2012) Associate Professor at Cal State Channel Islands
  • Megan Robbins, Ph.D., (2011) Associate Professor at U.C. Riverside
  • Dave Weise, Ph.D., (2011) Senior Lecturer and Psych Advisor at Texas Christian University
  • Shannon Holleran, Ph.D., (2010) Lecturer, Owens Community College, Ohio
  • Daniel "Spee" Kosloff, Ph.D., (2009) Associate Professor at Cal State Fresno
  • Chad Forbes, Ph.D., (2009) Associate Professor, and Social Psychology Program Director at the University of Delaware
  • Mark Landau, Ph.D., (2007) Full Professor at the University of Kansas

Although our program is relatively young, we also take great pride in the accomplishments of the alumni of our program, three of whom have garnered early career awards: APA (Mark Landau, PhD. in 2007), International Society for Self and Identity (Jamie Arndt, Ph.D. in 1999; Mark Landau), the Society of Experimental Social Psychology (Eddie Harmon-Jones, Ph.D. in 1995) and the Society for Psychophysiological Research (Eddie Harmon-Jones).

Collaboration across psychology programs. The University of Arizona is a highly interdisciplinary environment, and the social psychology students have a history of successful collaboration with students and faculty in the clinical and cognitive neuroscience psychology programs and in other departments on campus. Our program is especially enhanced by clinical students who are mentored by our social faculty and by clinical faculty who mentor our social students. Whenever a social student is interested in psychophysiology, perception, clinical, or other topics in psychology, there is usually a great opportunity for collaboration with faculty from our other departmental programs.

The health psychology minor. Our doctoral program offers an emphasis in Health Psychology (through a concentration/ minor in the Department’s Health Psychology track). Health psychology is one of the most popular areas of focus and funding for new faculty positions in social psychology. The emphasis in Health Psychology comprises a set of courses (e.g., Foundations in Health Psychology, Behavioral Medicine Interventions), attendance of the regular Health Psychology Brownbag Series, and mentored research in the area of Health Psychology. For further information about our Department’s Health Psychology track, please check out this website: