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Social Psychology Overview

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 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. For specific requirements, consult the Course Catalog.

Admissions

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 304 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.

 

Social Area Faculty

Sara E. Burke, Assistant Professor, Ph.D., Yale University
Dr. Burke studies intergroup bias, focusing on underexamined groups. Her research demonstrates that prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination can show different psychological patterns depending on which social group they are targeting. Her recent work has focused on two specific kinds of stigmatized groups that pervade our social environment yet receive relatively little mainstream attention—"intermediate" groups that are perceived to fall between more commonly recognized advantaged and disadvantaged groups (e.g., biracial and bisexual people), and people with concealable stigmatized identities.

Brittany K. Jakubiak, Assistant Professor, Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University
Dr. Jakubiak’s research interests center on a) identifying behaviors and cognitions in relationships that foster relationship satisfaction and persistence and b) understanding how close relationships promote individual well-being. Specifically, she is interested in interpersonal support processes that regulate stress, encourage autonomous goal pursuit, and enhance relationship quality across the lifespan. One key line of research focuses on the role of affectionate touch to promote relational an individual well-being. Another line of research investigates how close others facilitate adjustment to chronic illness or stress.

Leonard S. Newman, Associate Professor, Ph.D., New York University
Dr. Newman’s interests focus on issues such as: How do people resolve the ambivalent feelings they have about members of other groups? What psychological processes facilitate aggressive behavior toward those groups? What mental maneuvers do people use to shield themselves from threats to their self-concepts? At the broadest level, his research focuses on the motivational aspects of social cognition. More specific interests include dehumanization, social stigma, defensive and self-protective processes in judgment and memory, and the social psychology of genocide and mass killing.

Laura E. VanderDrift, Assistant Professor, Ph.D., Purdue University
Dr. VanderDrift’s main research interests involve examining predictors of relationship outcomes, most notably relationship dissolution and condom use. In this work, she examines how individuals’ personal characteristics (i.e., those that are not dependent upon specific relational contexts, such as empathic concern or possession of a sexually transmitted infection) and relational characteristics (i.e., those that pertain to interpersonal dynamics, such as relational commitment) reciprocally influence each other and combine to predict relationship outcomes. 

Affiliated Faculty

 

About Our Brownbag

Brownbag provides a platform for discussion of current topics in social psychology as well as professional development for our graduate students (writing skills, methodological and analytic skills, etc.). Often, we invite speakers from other departments and universities to present their work - all are welcome to attend these meetings!

Upcoming Brownbag Presentations (open to all)*:

 *All meetings are held from 3:30-4:45 p.m. in Huntington Hall 432

Contact Us

For more information about the program, visit the Frequently Asked Questions page.
Please direct requests to: psychology@syr.edu.