Psychological Science, Ph.D.
The Department of Psychological Science offers a Ph.D. program in Psychological Science. The main goal of this program is to train behavioral scientists to apply theory and methods in psychology, together with perspectives and knowledge from allied disciplines, to the analysis of human behavior and health across the life span and in diverse sociocultural contexts. This program values both basic and applied research that is relevant to the improvement of individual, community, and societal functioning. Emphasis is placed on the integration of knowledge from several subspecialties in psychology in order to understand the antecedents and developmental course of adaptive or maladaptive behavior and on the conduct of research that has implications for social policies, programs, and interventions.
All students take seven required core courses:
|PSCI P201||Research Methods in Psychology|
|SOCECOL 264A||Data Analysis|
|SOCECOL 264B||Data Analysis|
|SOCECOL 200||Seminar in Social Ecology|
|An additional research methods/data analysis course from an approved list|
|PSCI P209A||Applied Psychological Research|
|PSCI P294A- P294B- P294C||Research Directions in Psychological Science I |
and Research Directions in Psychological Science II
and Research Directions in Psychological Science III
The course on Applied Research PSCI P209A introduces students to the scientific, professional, and ethical issues involved in conducting and translating psychological research in a variety of applied settings. The three-quarter course Research Directions in Psychological Science (PSCI P294A-PSCI P294B-PSCI P294C) allows students to increase their breadth of knowledge regarding contemporary issues and controversies in psychology by participating in the Department’s weekly colloquium series and interacting with visiting scholars and other speakers.
Students must select one of four core specialization areas in which to further focus their graduate training. Additional course requirements vary across each specialization.
|PSCI P258||Health Psychology|
|and three additional courses from approved health electives|
|PSCI P214||Seminar in Social Psychology|
|or PSCI P233|
|and three additional courses from an approved list|
|PSCI P226||Emotion in Psychology|
|or PSCI P250||Emotion, Reasoning, and Memory|
|and three additional courses from an approved list of Affective Science electives|
|PSCI P220||Developmental Psychology: Theories and History|
|and three additional courses from approved developmental electives|
In addition to selecting a core specialization area, students are also required to select a minor specialization and complete one required specialization course and one elective course in this area. The minor specialization and elective courses should be chosen according to the plan that best meets the needs of the individual student, as determined in consultation with the student’s faculty advisor and the departmental graduate advisor. In addition to courses offered by the Department of Psychological Science and the School of Social Ecology, students may take courses offered by other departments in other schools such as the Departments of Cognitive Science, Anthropology, and Sociology in the School of Social Sciences and the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior in the School of Biological Sciences. Approval from instructors is required to enroll in these courses.
Students who are interested can pursue an optional training track in psychology and law. This track is supplemental to the requirements associated with the required specializations and supplemental to the required minor. That is, all students must complete the above-listed requirements for their specialization and minor. Then, if the student decides to complete the training track in psychology and law, this training is in addition to the requirements listed above. For the training track, a total of four courses must be taken, one required (PSCI P266) and three electives. The electives must be approved by the student’s faculty mentor and departmental advisor and can be a course in PS, or in the School of Social Ecology or School of Law, with instructor and school approval.
Training in this program emphasizes four core areas of psychology. The specialization in Developmental Psychology focuses on the development of individuals at various periods in the life course and the effects of varying social and cultural contexts on cognitive, social, and health outcomes. Health Psychology focuses on identifying, evaluating, and enhancing the psychosocial and behavioral factors that promote mental and physical health, prevent disease, and optimize medical treatments. The specialization in Affective Science focuses on the effects of emotion, motivation, and values on human reasoning, behavior, and health in typical and atypical populations, across the life span, and across cultures. Social and Personality Psychology focuses on the interrelations among attitudes, perceptions, motives, emotions, and personality characteristics as they affect individual functioning, interpersonal processes, and intergroup relations. In addition, several faculty offer courses and conduct research in the area of Psychology and Law, dealing with such issues as the malleability of memory processes, the ability of jurors to understand scientific evidence, the impact on children and adolescents of contact with the legal system, and the response of the legal system to individuals with severe personality disorders.
Students will learn to understand human behavior from a social ecological, contextual perspective. They will be exposed to the major theories in each specialization and learn various social science research methods. All students are encouraged to become actively involved in research from the earliest stage of their training. Through close association with faculty members and participation in the faculty’s research projects, students learn to conduct methodologically sophisticated research that addresses contemporary psychological and social issues. Current research teams are investigating stress, coping, and social support; biobehavioral mechanisms of cardiovascular reactivity; psychobiology of stress; personality factors that increase resilience to health threats; parent-child relations; work and family; transitions across the life course; adaptive aging; end-of-life medical decision making; culture and adolescent psychosocial development; cultural influences on social judgment; relations between cognitive and emotional development; emotion regulation; memory and eyewitness testimony; violence and anger management; the development of health-risking and health-protecting behaviors during childhood and adolescence; economic stress and psychopathology/behavioral disorders; health impacts of environmental stressors; mental health and psychopathy; juvenile and criminal justice; positive psychology; and person-environment fit.
Program in Law and Graduate Studies (J.D./Ph.D.)
Highly qualified students interested in combining the study of law with graduate research and/or research qualifications in cognate disciplines are invited to undertake concurrent degree study under the auspices of UC Irvine’s Program in Law and Graduate Studies (PLGS). Students approved for this concurrent degree program may pursue a coordinated curriculum leading to a J.D. from the School of Law in conjunction with a Ph.D. in Psychological Science. The objective of the program is to promote interdisciplinary study of law while also enabling students to obtain both a J.D. and a graduate degree in less time than would be required to acquire both degrees separately. The normative time for completion is seven years for the J.D./Ph.D. combination.
Applicants must submit separate applications for admission to the School of Law and to Psychological Science. Once admitted for study into both components of their program, concurrent degree students will work with the PLGS director and the PS graduate advisor to develop a program of study that will permit efficient pursuit of both degrees. Ordinarily, students will commence their studies in PS and begin their first year of law school instruction after one or more years of graduate program training. Upon completion of the first year of law instruction, students will pursue a coordinated curriculum of upper-level law study and PS graduate program courses and research. Concurrent degree students’ law enrollments will include a required 1-unit “Graduate Legal Studies” colloquium and 3-unit “Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Law” course. Concurrent degree students will be eligible for financial support through PS while pursuing the Ph.D. and through the law school while pursuing law studies.