Training Model, Goals and Objectives

Graduate training in the Social Psychology Doctoral Program at the University of Arizona is based on the Research Mentorship Model. Graduate students are admitted to the Ph.D. program based not only on their merit but also on the basis of the fit of their research interests to those of faculty members in the program.

The primary purpose of our Ph.D. program is to train graduate students to become productive social psychologists who will contribute to the field in two ways:

  • By contributing to the advancement of theoretical understanding and empirical research in social psychology.
  • By effectively teaching courses within the domain of social psychology.

To be an effective researcher and teacher, our doctoral students, upon graduation, will have:

  • A broad knowledge base within social psychology;
  • A strong understanding of statistics and methods;
  • Extensive experience with the entire research process from conception to publication;
  • Directions for future research.

To achieve these goals, we expect the following from our graduate students:

  1. Participation in all graduate courses offered by the social psychology faculty (1 or 2 each year). Graduate courses provide background in specific areas of social psychology. They also represent a forum for scholarly discussion, feedback, brainstorming and developing collaborations for future research.
  2. Active participation in research from the first semester in the program until completion of the Ph.D. A Master's Thesis or Master’s Project is to be completed by the end of the second year and a Dissertation is to be completed by the end of the fourth or fifth year. The department maintains a large subject pool and each faculty member has ample lab space for their students’ research endeavors.
  3. Experience T.A.-ing and teaching courses (online and, whenever possible, in-person) in social psychology and related areas. Teaching is one of the best ways to develop breadth of knowledge and ideas for research.
  4. Completion of a 9-credit minor (a departmental requirement). The minor requirement is useful because it provides breadth that should enhance future research endeavors and because it adds knowledge and skills that are often useful in seeking employment upon completion of the Ph.D. Your choice of minors in the department include: clinical, cognitive, health, law, physiological psych, and statistics. Minors outside the department are possible with your advisor's permission.
  5. Active participation in all program-relevant activities. These include:
    • Program Brownbag and Lab Meetings. Brown-bag meetings provide a semi-formal opportunity for doctoral students to practice research presentations and discuss their ideas with the faculty and other students in the social program.
    • Colloquia and other Activities Involving Visiting Social Psychologists. The Department Colloquium Series features one or two social psychologists; occasionally unofficial visits occur as well. Students have the opportunity to meet and help host visiting colloquium speakers. This a great way for students to extend their intellectual network beyond the department.
    • Participation in Faculty Job Searches and Recruitment of New Graduate Students. Getting involved with various recruitment activities provides students with insight into the job market and experience with evaluating applicants.
  6. Participation in regional and national conferences, such as APA, APS, SPSP, and WPA. These conferences are an opportunity for doctoral students to make others aware of your work and to meet other people in the field. They are of great value for your own research and for your eventual job prospects.
  7. Doctoral students are expected to develop a broad knowledge base in a broad range of areas of social psychology. Therefore, it is expected that doctoral students make the effort to read classic works and keep up with theoretical and empirical progress.
  8. Finally, to establish the kind of publication record necessary to compete successfully in the job market, you will need to go far beyond what is formally required of you, and this is what we will expect of you. If you are highly motivated to be productive and influential in the field of social psychology, the training and experience provided by our program should allow you to launch a fulfilling career in the field of social psychology.