A group of people in a therapy session.

Doctor of Philosophy

Social and Personality Psychology

Program of Study


In the PhD in Social and Personality Psychology program build foundational knowledge through core classes in social psychology and statistics and then proceed to specialized classes tailored to your interests.

Social and Personality Core Courses

  • Social Psychology I
  • Attitudes and Social Cognition
  • Four specialization courses such as:
    • Multivariate Analysis
    • Meta-Analysis
    • Group Dynamics
    • Theories of Personality
    • Research Methods in Psychology
    • Psychometric Theory and Research
    • Special Topics in Social Psychology

Out of Area Courses

Two courses from two different areas of specialization within Psychology PhD programs

Statistics/Method Courses

  • Statistical and Experimental Methods I
  • Statistical and Experimental Methods II

Initial Research Project

Demonstrate basic research competency in your subfield of psychology

Research Tool Requirement - demonstrated proficiency in one of the following:

  • Pass a foreign language test
  • Course in computer programming, mathematics, electronics, biochemistry, histological techniques, foreign language, pharmacology, or advanced statistics
  • Master a technique, statistical or otherwise, in the process of conducting the Initial Research Project or another research project

Qualifying Examinations

  • Two-day general exam based on a reading list provided by the area OR
  • Write a comprehensive literature review



Additional Information

See the Graduate Bulletin for details.

For more information, contact Program Director Cynthia Najdowski at [email protected].

Research and Applied learning

You will engage in research-intensive study throughout your graduate training, beginning in your first year with the Initial Research Project and culminating in your doctoral dissertation.

Strengthen your research, writing, and critical-thinking skills in a collaborative environment. In the Social Area at UAlbany, you will work closely with faculty to foster learning and interest across labs. You will have the opportunity to conduct research in the lab, online, and in real-world settings.

As a doctoral candidate funding is available for conference travel and for independent research. You will have the opportunity to present and discuss research findings with peers from other universities as well as publish research articles. Gain experience teaching your own courses either in the classroom or online.

Researchers discussing data
Young professionals working at a computer
Career Outcomes

Pursue your area of specialty to make an impact on communities, corporations or individuals. Recent graduates of UAlbany's social and personality PhD program have obtained positions at Yale University, the University of North Carolina and Union College, as well as research positions in the government, military, and private sector.

With a PhD in Social and Personality Psychology potential careers include:

  • Professor
  • Researcher
  • Data Scientist
  • Educational Program Designer
  • Human Resource Manager
  • Marketing Researcher

"The faculty are very supportive and collegial. The classes and supervised research projects prepare you for conducting rigorous independent research."

- Christa Taylor, Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence

International Students

This degree is designated as a STEM program. International students maintaining F-1 status are allowed to apply for up to 12 months of post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) following completion/graduation from their degree program. Currently, this degree program is also designated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as an eligible degree for the F-1 STEM OPT work authorization extension; students who secure qualifying employment may be eligible to apply for the STEM OPT extension for a cumulative total of up to 36 months of F-1 OPT work authorization.

Admissions Requirements

Departmental Assistantship Consideration

  • Fall: December 1
  • Spring: Not Available
  • Summer: Not Available

 No Departmental Assistantship Consideration

  • Fall: December 1
  • Spring: Not Available
  • Summer: Not Available
Required Application Materials
  • Transcripts from all schools attended
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Statement of goals
Special Notes

This program offers an internship, field experience, study abroad component, or clinical experience in the course listing as an option to fulfill course requirements. Students who have previously been convicted of a felony are advised that their prior criminal history may impede their ability to complete the requirements of certain academic programs and/or to meet licensure requirements for certain professions. If applicants have concerns about this matter please contact the Dean’s Office of the intended academic program.

Student Learning Objectives

Learning objectives that UAlbany students are expected to attain through their course of study within their academic program.

  1. Demonstrate the ability to conduct original research which will include these basic competencies:
    1. Perform comprehensive literature reviews
    2. Generate novel and testable research hypotheses
    3. Implement appropriate laboratory or field-based research methodology
    4. Perform quantitative and/or qualitative analyses of data
    5. Incorporate findings into the existing literature and identify implications of the findings
  2. Demonstrate effective presentation skills
  3. Demonstrate:
    1. A comprehensive understanding of one or more major areas of investigation within the broad field of social/personality psychology
    2. An ability to use critical thinking skills and inductive reasoning to develop new theoretical models and/or research hypotheses
    3. An ability to draw principled connections between disparate research findings
  4. Demonstrate the acquisition of essential laboratory and/or field research skills