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As you make a decision about where to attend graduate school, we would like to provide additional information about the unique aspects of UChicago Psychology that has made it a leading program in the world. The Department of Psychology is organized into specialized programs that reflect the contemporary state of the discipline as well as the wide-ranging interests of its own faculty. These programs are:

Cognition

The goal of the doctoral program in Cognitive Psychology is to train graduate students to be well-rounded researchers and scholars. Our unique approach fosters integrative thinking that crosses disciplinary boundaries, and focuses on research questions that have both theoretical and practical significance. Faculty, students, and post docs collaborate on projects spanning a variety of cognitive domains, such as human memory, language and communication, perception, attention and action, and conflict resolution and negotiation. Not only do we focus on fundamentally cognitive questions, but we also situate these questions within a broader context, including the biological bases and the social manifestations of cognitive phenomena. Our integrative approach allows graduate students to benefit from the University as a whole, by interacting with faculty from the Biological Sciences, the Humanities, and the Social Sciences.

Developmental Psychology

The University of Chicago has long been a pioneer in the field of developmental science.  With its renowned faculty and state-of-the-art laboratory facilities, the Developmental Psychology Program provides a rich environment for scientific inquiry, training, and mentorship.

Among the faculty, there is particular convergence in the areas of language and cognitive development. Our research on language acquisition spans a broad range of topics, including early vocabulary growth and word learning, the effects of language input on language development, the development of narrative and discourse abilities, and the development of the gestures that accompany speech. Our research on cognitive development includes studies of perceptual development, mathematical and spatial abilities in infants and children, the effects of school and home environments on cognitive development, the development of autobiographical memory, the development of infants' knowledge about objects, and infants' and children's concepts of intentional action. There are also thriving research programs in social and emotional development, including the development of emotional understanding and interactions between parents and children. In addition to these areas of research, a number of us investigate relations between multiple factors in development, for example relations between thought, language and culture, and relations between action, perception and cognition.

Integrative Neuroscience

The Integrative Neuroscience graduate program at the University of Chicago is designed to provide the training and research opportunities for the next generation of behavioral, cognitive, and social neuroscientists.  Behavioral, cognitive, and social neuroscience represent three complementary and partially overlapping aspects of this integrative neuroscience of mind and behavior.  Behavioral neuroscience places an emphasis on the biological mechanisms underlying basic behavioral processes; cognitive neuroscience places an emphasis on the biological mechanisms underlying cognition, with a specific focus on the neural substrates of mental processes and their behavioral manifestations; and social neuroscience places an emphasis on the biological mechanisms underlying social processes and behavior, including the ability to perceive and communicate mental states including the beliefs and desires of others and to form and maintain interpersonal and group relationships.  The University of Chicago is optimally positioned to meet this challenge because its unique academic structure facilitates interactions across disciplinary perspectives. 

Social Psychology

The Social Psychology Program is defined by its faculty, its students (past and present), and the training and research opportunities that are available to its students at the University of Chicago.  Among the features of the Program are the following.

At the center of the training program are five core principles: scientific competence & integrity; scholarship as a way of life; personal and social responsibility; priority setting; and the sovereignty of each student. These principles are operationalized within the program through the structure of coursework, research activities, professional service activities, and mentoring.  The training program provides opportunities, and students choose which opportunities to pursue.

  • First, the Social Psychology Program is, by design, a relatively small, intensely interactive, and collective training and research nexus.
  • Second, training components provide opportunities for students to acquire the conceptual and methodological tools needed to examine social psychological phenomena through interdisciplinary, multi-level analyses.
  • Third, the program provides a framework for understanding the synergistic relationship between theory and methods in scientific research.

Consistent with the interdisciplinary traditions of the University of Chicago, many faculty members serve on more than one of the department's programs.