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Social Psychology Curriculum

Students pursuing the Ph.D. degree in Psychological Science may specialize in social psychology. The graduate faculty in social psychology share common interests in stereotyping, social stigma, and intergroup relations.

Ph.D. students in social psychology must complete the requirements in psychological science, which include:


  • PSYC 6090 – Univariate Statistics I
  • PSYC 6110 – Univariate Statistics II
  • PSYC 6130 – Multivariate Statistics
  • PSYC 7230 – Professional Issues in Psychology
  • Any three "core" courses (numbered 7000-7090) which include Social Psychology, Evolution and Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, and Biological Psychology
  • Elective courses to reach 48 credits, such as Stereotyping and Prejudice, Social Stigma, Attitudes, Intergroup Relations, Structural Equation Modeling, Children of Color, Stress and Trauma


  • Students must complete an empirical Master's Thesis; the M.S. degree is awarded en route to the Ph.D., when students have earned at least 24 graduate credits and successfully have defended the thesis.
  • After completing the M.S., students complete the preliminary examination comprising a one day in-house examination of developing expertise in the theories and methods of social psychology AND either a NRSA-style grant proposal or Psychological Bulletin-type literature review.'
  • Once students are eligible to take preliminary examinations, they may wish to begin the teaching pedagogy sequence (eventually leading to opportunities to teach their own courses.)
  • After successfully completing preliminary examinations, students complete an empirical Ph.D. dissertation.

Students entering with Masters Degrees

Approximately 25% of our students enter already holding a master's degree when they join the program.  [The program looks at each student's background holistically, so there is no preference for MS over BS holders...nor vice versa.]   A few relevant curriculum differences are noted below.

Transfer Credit

  • Students should have early discussions with the primary advisor on which courses, if any, are desirable to transfer. Students may, for example, prefer to transfer courses less central to social/personality psychology (e.g., biological psychology) but might wish to take central courses (e.g., social psychology) for a "local" point of view. Similarly, students may wish to enter the statistics sequence at the entry level or at a later point. There is no single strategy but, instead, transfer credit is unique to the student.
  • Once courses are identified for transfer, students seek approval from the faculty member who teaches the equivalent course. If the faculty member approves, Graduate Training makes the final recommendation to the School of Science and Engineering.

Master's Thesis

  • Most theses that are empirical, and equivalent in focus and scope to Tulane MS theses (i.e., similar to social/personality psychology theses at Tulane). These theses should be submitted to the primary advisor, who will make a recommendation to the program faculty to waive the thesis requirement.
  • Occasionally, students enter with theses that are empirical, but in another discipline (e.g., psychometrics, education, developmental psychology). Upon the recommendation of the relevant faculty and graduate training, the requirement of a formal thesis will be waived. However, to ensure developing expertise in theories and methods of the discipline, students formally write up their first year research project and present it to the program faculty.
  • Non-empirical theses are not equivalent to the MS theses in the department, so the requirement will not be waived.

Preliminary Examinations

  • Students whose empirical MS thesis is accepted by Tulane should take preliminary examinations after the 4th or 5th semester, but no sooner.