The Department of Psychology and Social Behavior (PSB) at UCI offers exciting and innovative programs of study at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Our 25 faculty members are prominent scholars whose specialties include developmental, social, personality, health, psychology and law, biological, clinical, cultural, community, environmental, and ecological psychology. The faculty are united by an overarching interest in understanding the origins of human behavior as it develops across the life course and in diverse sociocultural contexts. The faculty also share a strong commitment to interdisciplinary scholarship and to research that has the potential for application to important societal problems.
The approximately 1200 undergraduate majors in the Department of Psychology and Social Behavior begin their program of study with core courses in developmental, social, health, and abnormal psychology. Advanced courses cover specialized topics in these fields, as well as in environmental, clinical, and community psychology. A number of advanced courses delve into the psychological aspects of important societal issues and problems, such as child abuse, violence, divorce, work and family, and community health. Undergraduates also gain rigorous training in research methods and statistics (see Degree Requirements for Psychology and Social Behavior Majors). A rich array of internships are available to undergraduates through a very popular required Field Study sequence. Opportunities for Field Study internships are plentiful in Orange County in settings such as schools, child care facilities, counseling centers, senior citizen centers, hospitals and other health care settings, and social service agencies. Opportunities to participate in faculty research projects enrich the undergraduate experience by providing competence in the research process, thereby readying students for future careers and graduate study. Outstanding undergraduates have the opportunity to conduct an Honors Research Project with individual faculty guidance. Graduates from our program have assumed positions in the private and public sectors or have continued their education at leading graduate institutions, where they have pursued advanced degrees in psychology, education, human development, public health, social work, counseling, law, and business, among other fields.
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 affective science. 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.