Ph.D. in Psychology and Social Behavior

Next Application Deadline (for Fall 2016 Cohort): December 1, 2015

For answers to Frequently Asked Questions, please CLICK HERE.

Graduate Program


General Information

The Department of Psychology and Social Behavior offers four specializations of graduate study in Health Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Social and Personality Psychology, and Psychopathology. Each of these specializations provide training in theory, research methods, advanced statistics as well as the classic and contemporary issues of their respective fields. Graduate study in Psychology and Social Behavior prepares students for careers in academic research and teaching. Graduates also are well qualified for employment in the private or government sectors, where they bring advanced academic training, strong methodological and statistical skills, and specific expertise to a range of social policy issues.

The opportunity for students to gain experience conducting research with diverse populations in a variety of settings is a unique and important feature of graduate training in the Department of Psychology and Social Behavior. The faculty in the Department have a long history of conducting research in natural settings. As a result, we have excellent ties with local school districts, hospitals and community health clinics, mental health agencies and psychiatric facilities, and community organizations that provide rich opportunities for data collection. Much of this work has been conducted, moreover, with vulnerable or understudied populations, such as maltreated children from inner-city communities, low-income immigrant farmworkers from Mexico, residents of changing urban communities in China, mental and physical well being in individuals with spinal cord unjury, Cambodian and Vietnamese refugees, victims of natural disasters, elderly widowed individuals, Vietnam Veterans, and confined violent offenders. In addition, our faculty have extensive experience conducting international research in order to understand the nature and underpinnings of cross-cultural variations in human behavior. Examples include studies conducted in China, Korea, the Netherlands, Scotland, England, and Australia.

Another unique benefit of our graduate training is the opportunity for students to work on research that has direct relevance to the design of interventions, social programs, and policies. Faculty members are currently investigating, for example, the effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral interventions to reduce violence among incarcerated violent offenders, cross-cultural differences in the effectiveness a psychosocial intervention for caregivers with a recently diagnosed family member, and small-group training to increase resilience to life stress in young adults. Other faculty members have been active in the policy arena, addressing such issues as the effects of day care on children, the effects of adolescent employment, and the limitations of living wills and other common approaches to end-of-life decision making.

Our training thus prepares students for careers in universities and colleges and for positions in nonacademic research-oriented settings, such as research and government organizations, public policy institutes, hospitals, and other health care agencies. We offer a graduate-level course and frequent informal workshops designed to enhance students' professional skills and increase their competitiveness for academic and nonacademic positions. Departmental colloquia and our informal "brown bag" series represent additional means by which we seek to enhance the quality of students' educational experience.

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Health Psychology

This specialization focuses on understanding the psychosocial, physiological and behavioral factors that influence health 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, physiological assessments, intervention strategies, ethical issues, and current controversies in the field of health psychology.

In addition to the 5 required core courses that provide students with a foundation in social ecological perspectives and in research methods and data analysis, students pursuing the specialization in health psychology must complete 3 required courses: Health Psychology, Biobehavioral Bases of Health and Illness, and Applied Psychological Research. Two elective courses in health psychology may be chosen from an approved list. Some examples include: Child Health Psychology; Behavioral Perinatology; Coping with Stress Life Events; Interpersonal Processes and Health; Psychosocial Dimensions of Chronic Illness; Preventive Medicine; Perceptions of Environmental and Health Risks; Work Environments, Health, and Productivity.

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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 life. Coursework introduces students to developmental theories, concepts, and empirical research at all phases of the life course.

In addition to the 5 required core courses that provide students with a foundation in social ecological perspectives and in research methods and data analysis, students pursuing the specialization in developmental psychology must complete 4 required courses: Developmental Psychology, 2 life-span courses of the student's choice (selected from existing courses: Life-Span, Infancy, Childhood, Adolescence, Adulthood, Late Adulthood and Aging) and Applied Psychological Research. An additional elective course in developmental psychology may be chosen from an approved list. Some examples include: Development of Gender Differences; Cross-Cultural Developmental Psychology; Motivation and Control across the Life-Span; Parenting; Research on Divorce; Employment and Family Functioning; Developmental Psychology and the Law.

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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 identify, personality resilience, interpersonal relations, and adaptation to stress and perceived risks.

Students complete 5 required core courses that provide a foundation in social ecological perspectives and in research methods and data analysis, and also take 3 required courses: Social Psychology, Personality, and Applied Psychological Research. Two elective courses in social/personality psychology may be chosen from an approved list. Some examples include: Personality Assessment; Attitude Theory and Research; Social Cognition; Emotion, Reasoning, and Memory; Psychology of Emotion; Human Inference; Interpersonal Processes and Health; Subjective Well-Being; Self-Serving Illusions and Well-Being; Coping with Stressful Life Events; Environmental Psychology.

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Psychopathology

The specialization in psychopathology emphasizes the antecedents, characteristics, developmental course, outcomes, and options for the prevention or management of various forms of psychopathology. 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 disorder.

Students take 5 required core courses on social ecological perspectives and research methods and data analysis, and also complete 6 required courses: Child Psychopathology, Adult Psychopathology, Ecological Context of Psychopathology, Psychological Assessment, Mental Health Services and Intervention, and Applied Psychological Research. One elective course in psychopathology may be chosen from approved psychopathology electives. Some examples include: Violence and Its Societal Impact; Personality Psychology; Clinical Child Psychology; Coping with Stressful Life Events; Forensic Psychology; Juvenile Delinquency; Social Deviance.

It is important to emphasize that this component of the degree program is limited to a research-oriented emphasis in psychopathology and is not a program in clinical psychology.

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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, and several faculty in Psychology and Social Behavior who work on this topic are affiliated with the
<http://socialecology.uci.edu/research/psychlaw/>Center for Psychology and Law. To capitalize on our faculty's expertise in the field, and to provide students with training in this important area, students can pursue a concentration in psychology and law. For the concentration, students take additional courses in psychology and law and conduct research that
lies at the intersection of these two fields. Note that completing the concentration is optional and is designed to supplement students' general training from one of our four core areas of specialization.


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Course Offerings in Other Departments and Schools at UCI

Affiliated faculty from other departments in the School of Social Ecology and from other academic units at the university participate in our research and training programs. These include faculty members with expertise in anthropology; sociology, medicine, psychobiology, epidemiology, public health, psychiatry, criminology, law, and urban and regional planning. Students are encouraged to take courses outside of the Department of Psychology and Social Behavior. Psychology-related courses are offered in the School of Social Sciences (Department of Cognitive Science) and in the School of Biological Sciences (Department of Neurobiology and Behavior). Other courses of potential interest to our students are offered by departments in the School of Social Ecology (Criminology, Law and Society; and Planning, Policy, and Design), and by other Schools and departments on the UC campus, such as Sociology, Anthropology, and History.

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Admission to Our Graduate Program

Admission to graduate study in the Department is based on a combination of factors that include the nature of the student's undergraduate preparation, letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, relevant research experience, and Graduate Record Examination scores. All applications are carefully reviewed by a departmental admissions committee. Applicants must apply online using the UCI Graduate Studies Electronic Application Form. Graduate applications for the Fall 2014 entering cohort will be due on December 1, 2013. We welcome applications from students with strong academic and research backgrounds. For additional information concerning Admission to the School of Social Ecology, see the Graduate Office.

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Frequently Asked Questions

For answers to Frequently Asked Questions, please CLICK HERE.

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Financial Support

The vast majority of our active graduate students receive financial support, either from the University or from extramural sources of funding. These various sources of financial support include: teaching assistantships, research assistantships, predoctoral traineeships, university fellowships, extramural fellowships (such as the National Science Foundation Fellowship), and summer stipends. Applicants who are admitted to the program are automatically reviewed for intramural sources of funding.

For additional information concerning financial assistance at UCI, CLICK HERE.

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Campus Housing

The availability of affordable on-campus housing for graduate students is an appealing feature of graduate study at UCI. Roughly half of all graduate students at UCI live in attractive apartment complexes located on the campus. Many students also find desirable and affordable housing in the surrounding communities.

For additional information concerning UCI Campus Housing, CLICK HERE.

UC Irvine General Catalogue

UC Irvine General Catalogue
 


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