The Department offers a broadly oriented degree program that leads to the Ph.D. in Psychology and Social Behavior. Graduate study in our Ph.D. program will provide students with a foundation for a primary, or major, specialization in one of four core areas: health psychology, developmental psychology, social/personality psychology, and psychopathology/ behavioral disorders. Students select another area as a secondary, or minor, field of specialization. Our program seeks to provide students with a foundation of the theories, methods, and knowledge base of these four core areas in order to understand the antecedents and developmental course of adaptive or maladaptive behavior in diverse sociocultural contexts. An additional objective of our program is to provide training in the translation of basic research to guide the formulation and evaluation of social interventions, programs and policies that have the potential to promote health and well-being.
Graduate students in our doctoral program acquire a strong foundation in theory, research methods, advanced statistics, as well as in the classic and contemporary issues of their respective fields. Students collaborate with faculty on research from the very beginning of their graduate training and are encouraged to gain research experience with more than one faculty member. As their interests and skills develop, students pursue more independent research projects. With 25 full-time faculty to serve as mentors for approximately 70 graduate students, our students enjoy the benefits of a program with an excellent faculty-to-student ratio and with a strong sense of community. Because students work closely with faculty throughout their graduate careers, they regularly have opportunities to co-author conference presentations, journal articles, and book chapters.
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Specialization in Developmental Psychology
The specialization in developmental psychology focuses on the development and adaptation of individuals across the life-span and the effects of variations in the social, physical, and cultural contexts of development at different points in the life-span. Coursework introduces students to developmental theories, concepts, and empirical research at all phases of the life course.
Specialization in Health Psychology
This specialization focuses on understanding the psychosocial and behavioral factors that influence the onset or progression of illness and disease and the effectiveness of health promotion programs and medical treatments. Training will allow students to develop a strong foundation in the theoretical perspectives, research methods, intervention strategies, ethical issues, and current controversies in the field of health psychology.
Specialization in Social/Personality Psychology
The specialization in social/personality psychology trains students to examine how features of the social environment and characteristics of individuals interact to influence behavior, cognition, and affect. Training will allow students to develop a strong foundation in the theoretical perspectives, research methods, and current controversies in the field of social/personality psychology. Special emphases include social cognition, emotion, subjective well-being, self and identity, personality resilience, interpersonal relations, cultural psychology, and adaptation to stress and perceived risks.
Specialization in Affective Science
The specialization in affective science focuses on the effects of emotion, motivation, and values on human reasoning, behavior, and health in typical and atypical populations, across the life span, and across cultures. Special emphases include the biological bases of emotional experience; relations between emotion, reasoning, and memory; emotion regulation; goal engagement and disengagement; effects of emotion on physical and mental health; emotion in social relationships; and how emotional experience changes over the lifespan.
Specialization in Psychopathology/Behavioral Disorders
The specialization in psychopathology/behavioral disorders emphasizes the antecedents, characteristics, developmental course, outcomes, and options for the prevention or management of various forms of psychopathology and behavioral disorders. The focus is on psychological and biobehavioral mechanisms that influence the development, expression, and amelioration of maladaptative behavior. Illustrative topics include contextual influences on disordered behavior, emotion regulation and suppression, cognitive processes in depression and anxiety, antecedents of aggression and violence, and life-span developmental variations in and temporal course of behavioral disorders.
Concentration in Psychology & Law
UCI has emerged as one of the world's leading centers for research and scholarship in the interdisciplinary field of Psychology and Law. The concentration in psychology & law (forensic psychology) endeavors to investigate issues and train graduate students to address problems that fall at the intersection between these fields. Click here to read about the Center for Psychology and Law at UC Irvine.
Research and Computing Facilities
The Department maintains research facilities and equipment to support students and faculty in all aspects of their research. The Department has several laboratories equipped with observation stations, one-way mirrors, and audio-visual equipment. The rooms in these laboratories are configured to allow for observations of children, couples, families, or larger groups. Several faculty members also maintain laboratories with state-of-the-art equipment for both behavioral observation and psychophysiological assessments.
The School also maintains two microcomputer laboratories, which are equipped with updated computers, laserjet and color printers, scanners, and a wide variety of software programs including SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences), SAS (Statistical Analysis System), SYSTAT, EQS, LISREL, and AMOS (structural equation modeling programs), and standard word processing, graphics, and speadsheet programs such as Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Corel WordPerfect. The computers are networked to the campus ethernet system to provide high-speed access to e-mail and the Internet.
Graduate students and faculty are given unlimited free access to these computers, and orientation sessions offered in the fall quarter each year provide introductions to much of the statistical software available. The Office of Academic Computing at UCI provides further resources for computing and statistical analysis, as well as workshops on a variety of topics. Their technical staff are also available to consult with students and faculty about individual needs.