Social-Personality Psychology

Overview

The Department of Psychology at the University at Albany, State University of New York, offers the opportunity for exceptional students to pursue graduate study in social-personality psychology. Students in social-personality psychology are given a strong research background. Because of our flexible course offerings, each student can develop a specialization in any of several broad areas of social and personality psychology.


Program Objectives


Doctoral training in social psychology prepares the student for an academic career in teaching and research. Our goal is to provide students with a strong background in the theories of social-personality psychology as well training in research design and statistical analysis so that they will be able to continue making a scientific contribution after graduating.

Research training is a major component of our program and follows an apprenticeship model. We encourage students to collaborate with faculty in the program, as well as with faculty in other research areas and fellow students. Students are expected to engage in full-time research throughout the course of their graduate study, beginning in their first year and culminating in their doctoral dissertations. We aim to provide the encouragement and support needed for students to publish their work in top-tier peer-reviewed journals.

Our program is distinguished by its unique focus on self-regulation and self-control. The faculty investigate applied and basic issues in topics such as emotional regulation, goal setting, socioemotional development, and willpower. We also conduct extensive research on creativity and cognitive performance, at risk populations, along with many other topics. Core faculty in social-personality psychology also share a common interest in studying addictive behaviors.

Graduate Training

Graduate training in social-personality psychology at the University at Albany is designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to conduct research and scholarship, focusing on the interaction between the individual and the social environment. Through apprenticeship to one or more faculty members, as well as coursework and hands-on training experience, students gain the conceptual and methodological expertise required to do research and to teach at the university level.

Students are all expected to work closely with their mentor to conduct research, beginning in their first semester. There are many opportunities within the department to present and discuss research findings and most students attend at least one academic conference a year. All students are also expected to publish research papers, typically in collaboration with their research mentors.

Graduate students take courses in the core areas of social-personality psychology, and advanced seminars on selected topics. In the recent past, courses on social cognition, self-regulation, emotions, and intimate relationships have been offered. Students also take courses in statistics and research design as well as electives from both other fields of psychology and other departments. Students also have to take courses on statistical analyses and must demonstrate competence of a research tool.

In addition, students benefit from weekly seminars, informal readings seminars, and departmental colloquia. A seminar on how to teach at the university level is regularly offered and advanced graduate students often teach courses over the summer and during the school year. We also emphasize the “intangibles”, or how to create and manage an academic career.

Students typically graduate from our program in 4-5 years.

Facilities

In addition to several suites of rooms with a variety of layouts for running research, there are several large rooms available for administering surveys or conducting focus groups. Rooms with banks of computers are also available for computer-assisted testing. Most labs are fully stocked with equipment for presenting social stimuli and measuring participants’ reactions.

Albany has a very large volunteer participant pool, providing an ample supply of participants for experiments. Students also have access to a range of socio-economically distinct school districts, for testing developmental theories.

The University Library contains over 1.7 million volumes and 16,000 journals, an interactive media center, and a state-of-the-art electronic library system. Offices and labs are networked with the University Computer Center, which has IBM, MAC, VAX, and Unix systems available for data analysis and electronic communication.

Financial Aid

Graduate assistantships are awarded to students in the social-personality program on the basis of merit. Students in good standing typically receive at year three years (and usually more) of financial support in the form of academic-year assistantships and full-tuition waivers. Teaching fellowships are available to students in their fourth year and beyond. Research appointments are also available over the summer.

Admissions

Students who are interested in research in social-personality psychology are encouraged to apply online. We look for students who have a high undergraduate GPA, strong GRE scores, and whose research interests match those of the faculty. Although an undergraduate major in psychology is not required, students must demonstrate a strong basic understanding of psychology. Prior research experience is very highly regarded.

Individuals interested in obtaining application materials or additional information about the program in social-personality psychology at the University at Albany may contact Dr. Mark Muraven, Program Director, University at Albany, State University of New York, Department of Psychology, SS399, 1400 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12222 (Ph: 518-442-4123; Fax: 518-442-4867; email:muraven@albany.edu).

Faculty in Social-Personality

Course Requirements in Social-Personality