Applications for admission in September are due December 15 of the previous year. See the How to Apply section of the Graduate Program Overview.
The Rutgers Social Psychology Ph.D. Program prepares students for research and teaching careers in both academic and nonacademic settings.
Students work closely with faculty members on research projects of mutual interest. Rutgers has a very favorable ratio of about two to three graduate students per professor, and we encourage our students to work with multiple faculty members. Social Psychology faculty members employ state of the art research methods including the assessment of implicit beliefs and attitudes, psychophysiological measurements (e.g., heart rate variability), and eye tracking; have laboratories equipped for dyadic interactions, and medical suites; and employ multilevel modeling and structural equation modeling of naturalistic and laboratory data.
The Rutgers Social Psychology Program includes nationally and internationally recognized scholars, many of whom have received prestigious awards and honors.
For example, the Program boasts two American Psychological Association Early Career Award recipients (Gretchen Chapman, 1999, for Scientific Contribution to Applied Psychology and Lee Jussim, 1996, for Scientific Contribution to Social Psychology); an APA Division 9 Early Career Award recipient (Diana Sanchez); a Senior Member of the National Academy of Sciences (Howard Leventhal); two recipients of the Gordon Allport Prize for Research on Intergroup Relations (Lee Jussim, and Laurie Rudman [twice]), and the recipient of the 2014 APA Division 35 Carolyn Wood Sherif Award (Laurie Rudman).
In addition, the Rutgers Social Psychology Program has a strong commitment to graduate and undergraduate teaching. In 2000, Richard Contrada received the Rutgers University Award for Outstanding Graduate Teaching and Mentoring. Laurie Rudman and Diana Sanchez received School of Arts and Sciences Teaching Awards.
The Program has strengths in two main areas:
Self, Interpersonal, and Intergroup Processes (Professors Aiello, Cole, Jussim, Rudman, Sanchez, & Wilder). One focus of research at Rutgers involves relations among self, interpersonal relations, and intergroup processes. Faculty interests include lay conceptions of personality; cognitive organization of multiple identities and social problems; development and use of categories to define the self and stereotypes to define others; prejudice; gender roles and beliefs, the integration of ideographic and nomothetic methodologies; role of feedback in self evaluation; the role of identity in intergroup perception and conflict; self-fulfilling prophecies; the role of nonverbal communication in the regulation of interpersonal interactions; managing workplace diversity; computer monitoring, telecommuting, and organizational change. Several members of the social faculty are associated with the Rutgers Center for Race and Ethnicity.
Health Psychology: (Professors Chapman, Cole, Contrada, Leventhal, & Sanchez). Faculty interests include effects of emotions and personality on cardiovascular and immune systems; coping with environmental threats; the perception of health risk; health promotion and preventive health behavior; management of chronic disease; effect of chronic illness on emotional reactions and the self concept; common sense reasoning and the representation of disease threats; judgment and decision making in medical and health domains, racial/ethnic disparities, stigma-related coping styles, physician reasoning, and patient utility assessment. Social and Health students are part of a larger multidisciplinary group that draws upon members of the Clinical, Cognitive, and Behavioral Neuroscience Areas. Current research projects involve collaborative work with faculty in Medical Sociology, History of Medicine, Medical Economics, Medical Anthropology; the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research; the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School; and the New Jersey Cancer Institute.
Students have the options to pursue their doctoral degree in social psychology, social/health psychology, or a joint degree in social psychology and business. Admission to the joint program in Business and Psychology is a separate application process that occurs after admission to the social psychology program. Information regarding the joint doctoral program, can be found here.
Course of Study
The program is designed to be completed in 5 years (or less if students come in with a transferrable Masters degree) by which time a student is an accomplished research social psychologist. Students finish a Masters thesis by the end of their second year, pass a Qualifying Exam in year 3, and defend their dissertation research in year 5. Course work includes statistics, research methodology (laboratory and field designs, implicit methods, and psychophysiology), core courses in social psychology and health, and seminars reflecting faculty expertise. It is expected that students will be actively involved in research throughout these years.
Application and Selection Procedures
[Note: The following professors and laboratories have openings for students in this year's (2015) round of applications: Professors Cole, Jussim, Rudman, & Wilder.]
- Applications are strongly encouraged to be submitted no later than December 15th.
- Students are selected on the basis of the following criteria:
1. Potential for becoming excellent researchers and scholars.
2. Availability of faculty advisors.
- The last cohort admitted to the Psychology social program had an average GPA of 3.88; an average GRE Verbal score of 165 (93rd percentile); and an average Quantitative score of 161 (81st percentile).
- The typical class includes three to six students.
We value diversity in our program and encourage women and minorities to apply.