Skip to main content
Indiana University Bloomington

Social Psychology

Social psychology is the study of the cognitive and social processes that underlie individuals' perceptions of, influence over, and interactions with other people. As one of the top social psychology graduate programs in the country, Indiana University - Bloomington trains Ph.D. students in theory and research methods, in preparation for academic or nonacademic careers.

The social faculty possess extensive expertise in traditional social psychological content areas and research methods. In addition, the program's unique strength is that the entire Psychological and Brain Sciences Department prizes interaction and collaboration across traditional disciplinary boundaries. For example, members of the social faculty have ongoing research projects with faculty in cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, clinical psychology, neuroscience, marketing, and law. This richly interactive context makes the social psychology program at I.U. ideal for students who are interested in cutting-edge interdisciplinary training that integrates the study of social psychology with other substantive areas of psychological inquiry (cognitive science, neuroscience and brain imaging, clinical, developmental, etc.). Because the program has a relatively small number of faculty and graduate students, coursework and research experiences can be highly individualized depending on the student's interests.

Graduate Requirements

The Ph.D. Program in Social Psychology at Indiana University encourages a good grounding in related areas of psychology and cognate fields, and offers opportunities for advanced training across the broad range of substantive problems within social psychology. It also offers freedom for the student to determine the focus and breadth of his or her own program concentration.

In addition to meeting departmental requirements, social psychology students are expected to gain substantial conceptual and empirical knowledge within social psychology by taking core courses designed to cover the field.

  • P820: Social Perception and Social Cognition
  • P620: Attitudes and Attitude Change
  • P721: Group and Intergroup Process
  • P647: Judgment and Decision Making

Students are expected to obtain a broad background in social psychology by taking advantage of the range of topical seminars offered by program members, as well as by participation in the program's weekly area meetings, and speaker series, which attracts many prominent social and personality psychologists to the campus. In addition to these courses, special reading groups and individual research courses can be arranged to meet student interests.

As the final step to Candidacy, all students take a preliminary examination prior to the beginning of the third year. Preparation for the exam is organized by students themselves with the guidance of members of the area faculty who serve as general advisors to the cohort until Candidacy is achieved.


AREA FACULTY: Edward Hirt, Ann Krendl, Mary Murphy, Robert "B.J." Rydell, Steven Sherman, Stanley Wasserman.