The field of social psychology, as defined by American psychologist Gordon W. Allport, is “an attempt to understand and explain how the thought, feeling and behavior of individuals are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presences of others” (1985, p. 3). The Social Psychology Concentration provides students with the theoretical background along with basic and applied research skills needed to study the social bases of behavior. As part of the VCU Department of Psychology, students must study and appreciate all areas of theory and research in the field, but their specialized focus is on social processes. Graduates are awarded the PhD in Psychology, as approved by the State Council of Higher Education of Virginia in 1971. Students earn a Master of Science degree as part of their training, but not as a terminal master’s degree.
Mission Statement: The Social Psychology Concentration is dedicated to three fundamental goals: the discovery of new information about social behavior, the application of that information to the solution of social problems, and the dissemination of the field`s knowledge to others. The primary goals, then, are research, application, and education (in a variety of settings, including traditional classroom based learning, the training of new social psychologists, distance learning, life-long learning, etc.).
For additional questions, please contact David Chester, Ph.D., director of Social Psychology.
Virginia Commonwealth University
Department of Psychology
806 West Franklin Street
Richmond, Virginia 23284-2018