About the Program

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.

  • 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.

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.

The Program's Legacy

The Social Psychology Program at The University of Chicago has a rich history that has always emphasized innovative conceptual analyses of complex social issues. The first course in Social Psychology (entitled "Contemporary Social Psychology") was taught at the University of Chicago by George Herbert Mead in 1900. The lead article in Volume 1, Number 1, of the Psychological Bulletin, which appeared in January 15, 1914, was entitled "The Chicago School" by William James, in which he reviewed the work of John Dewey, George Herbert Mead, James Rowland Angell, and A. W. Moore. In 1965, the first meeting of the Society of Experimental Social Psychology (SESP) was held at the University of Chicago, and SESP was hosted again by the Social Psychology Program at the University of Chicago in 2007. Over the years, the program has grown from a small university committee to an interdivisional graduate training program administered in the Department of Psychology.