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The Social Psychology Program

The social psychology training program at Syracuse University was established in 1924 by Floyd Henry Allport (1890-1978), and is the oldest of its kind in the world. Consistent with the tradition begun by Dr. Allport, the training program embraces research as a central focus for the training of social psychologists.

The Scholarship of the Causes, Consequences, and Remediation of Social Challenges

The goal of the Social Psychology Program is to train students with the skills necessary to function as applied or research scientists within one or more of the many sub-domains of social psychology. The majority of the top 20-30 social psychology graduate programs in the country have multi- (or inter-) disciplinary themes (both within and between departments) for graduate students. Our training is in accordance with such an approach, and explicitly adopts a multidisciplinary approach to create a unique graduate training program in the systematic research of important challenges facing society. The central focus of the social psychology program is the scholarship of the causes, consequences, and/or remediation of social challenges. Students are encouraged to pursue specific research interests that complement this broad programmatic theme.

Students in our social psychology training program benefit from a number of existing departmental strengths. Such strength consists of extant research programs that are directly relevant to the scholarship of the causes, consequences, and/or remediation of social challenges. Within the social area, internationally recognized research programs in inter-group processes, the self, and relationships are well established. Many related strengths exist in our other graduate training areas. Faculty in the Cognition, Brain, and Behavior area conduct basic research on memory and categorization processes, much of which has relevance to social cognition. Social personality processes are studied in the clinical area, with a particular eye towards social psychophysiology. Very strong scholarship also exists in the study of behaviors and behavior change that, although primarily focused on sexual behavior and alcohol use, can readily extend to other behaviors and other contexts. Finally, work examining the psychology of children at home and school (primarily in the school psychology area) examines factors of direct relevance to a social-developmental perspective. The potential for multiple areas of synergy is tremendous.

Furthermore, strong cognate academic units exist within the University and its close environs. These include, but are not limited to, the Maxwell school of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Newhouse school of Communication, African American studies, Sociology, Women's Studies, Law, and Upstate Medical University. Finally, as this program strives to maintain the vision of Floyd Allport, an emphasis is placed on exceptional training in the research and statistical methodologies of social psychology. Domains of excellence include topics from experimental and quasi-experimental research design, meta-analytic procedures, structural equation modeling and path analysis, multi-level random effects modeling, measurement, psychometrics, epidemiology, and factor analysis.

The Training Program

The Syracuse University Social Psychology program was developed for students entering with a bachelor's degree in psychology or a graduate degree in related fields. Among the 90 credit hours that are required for the Ph.D. degree, course requirements include 18 credit hours of theoretical social psychology, 15 credit hours of social psychology methodology, 6 credit hours of statistics, 9 credit hours of other psychology courses, 6 hours of thesis and 18 hours of dissertation credits. In addition to course work, students are expected to participate in research with program faculty throughout their graduate training career.

In addition to completing the degree requirements in social psychology, students in good academic standing can also enroll in the Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Graduate Program, which appears as a graduate specialization on a student's transcript. The program is a 4-course sequence that spans broad areas of Neuroscience, including biological and psychological processes. More information about the Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Graduate Program can be found here.


A complete application includes official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate work, scores on the Graduate Records Examination (GRE) (the advanced GRE test is helpful but not required), and three letters of recommendation from persons familiar with the applicant's academic and/or professional work. Upon receipt of this information the Graduate School forwards copies of the completed application to the Psychology Department for consideration. The deadline for completed applications for admissions in the Fall is December 1; there are no spring admissions. Applicants are typically notified of their acceptance or rejection by April 15.

Applications for admission to the graduate program are evaluated by a committee, including faculty in the Social Psychology program and one graduate student from this program. An applicant's grades, GRE scores, and letters of recommendation are considered important indices of a person's potential success in graduate study and all three are taken into consideration. Typically students admitted to our graduate program have a 3.5 or better grade point average and combined (verbal and quantitative) GRE scores of 1100 or above. Of course, these numbers are merely guidelines and proficiencies in one area (e.g. high GREs or excellent letters of recommendation) can balance deficiencies in other areas necessary for consideration as an applicant.


Here are the names of our full-time faculty in the Social Psychology Program.

Dr. Leonard Newman

Dr. D. Bruce Carter

Dr. Richard Gramzow

Dr. Laura VanderDrift

Affiliated Faculty

Makana Chock

Breagin Riley

Contact Us

For more information about the program please direct requests to: Alecia Zema.