University General Course Catalog 2021-2022 
    Feb 27, 2024  

Social Psychology, Ph.D.

The Interdisciplinary Social Psychology Ph.D. Program integrates psychological and sociological scholarship in the study of processes and structures to investigate personal and social life.  Several areas of emphasis are available including:

  • social psychology and health,
  • social psychology and law/justice,
  • personal and social relationships, and
  • organizational behavior.

We also have a unique emphasis in the intersection of the social psychologies of health and law/justice. Contextual issues (such as culture, gender, religion, and biopsychosocial development) are integrated.  The program emphasizes training in theoretical foundations, as well as quantitative and qualitative methodologies in basic and applied research. Faculty have expertise in psychological and sociological research, and their intersection.

This interdisciplinary program has support and participation from the College of Liberal Arts, the Division of Health Sciences, the College of Education and Human Development, and the College of Business. Faculty from Sociology, Psychology, Criminal Justice, Community Health Sciences, Human Development and Family Science, Communication Studies, and Management are active in the program. Students also participate in scholarly activity with the Grant Sawyer Center for Justice Studies, National Judicial College, Center for Research Design and Analysis, Nevada Cooperative Extension, Sanford Center for Aging, Washoe County School District, and Renown Regional Medical Center. The program’s quality and unique integrative nature have earned it membership in the Western Regional Graduate Program.

Contact Information

Markus Kemmelmeier, Professor/Director, Interdisciplinary Social Psychology PhD Program
(775) 784-1878
Mack Social Science, 344

Program website:

Graduate Handbook *

Program Objectives/Student Learning Outcomes

Student learning outcomes are reported on annual assessment data; they include:

  • Students will deal competently and critically with literature and research in the field of social psychology; they are able to summarize books and/or articles on a specific topic, identify their strengths and weaknesses, and identify gaps that suggest directions for future research.
  • Students will generate hypotheses, design, execute, and analyze empirical social science research, using methods appropriate to the research question, research topic or type of data. They are exposed to quantitative, experimental and qualitative approaches to social research, helping them choose the appropriate method for their own research endeavors. This comprehensive approach prepares students to conduct successful, meaningful research and to have engaging careers in both academic and applied settings.
  • Students will communicate effectively social psychological theory and research findings both orally and in written form.
  • Students demonstrate knowledge of general and important concepts, theories and research findings in various arenas of social psychology; the ability to integrate and analyze ideas and findings, especially as they pertain to the student’s stated research interest.
  • Students will be prepared adequately for a career in academia or an applied field, dependent on the student’s preference and specialization.
  • Students seeking such careers will develop skills as a teacher and instructor.

Admission Requirements

Students interested in this program must have a background in both psychology and sociology, with a minimum of 18 credits in one of the two fields and the equivalent of 6 credits in the other. Students can be admitted without sufficient background in the second field, but such a deficit must be made up early during their graduate study. Guidance in the selection of appropriate courses for fulfilling a deficit includes consultation with the student’s adviser and the Program Director. Students must also have completed courses in research methods and statistics prior to admission (minimum of 3 credits in each). The General GRE Exam is required; no GRE Subject Tests are required. Details on application components and deadlines can be found on the Interdisciplinary Social Psychology Program website.

I. Program Requirements

The curriculum of the Program extends over a minimum of 4 years. Time to completion for most students is between 4.5 and 6 years.

Program requirements include:

  • First year core curriculum of prescribed courses in theory, methods and statistics
  • Written qualifying examination at the end of the first year
  • A second year research project
  • Advanced seminars in social psychological content areas, methods, statistics
  • Written and oral comprehensive examination prior to candidacy
  • Dissertation

Students may apply for the optional Masters of Arts in Social Psychology en route to the Ph.D., which requires 30 units. (All 30 units also apply toward the Ph.D. if all 30 were completed at UNR. Up to 24 units may apply if those units include transfer units.) Courses are chosen with guidance from the student’s advisor and Program Director.

B. Qualifying Examination (1 unit)

Please contact the program director for course approval.

C. Graduate Research (6 units)

Please contact your graduate advisor for course approval.

D. Comprehensive Examination (1 unit)

Please contact your graduate advisor for course approval.

E. Dissertation (24 units)

Please contact your graduate advisor for course approval.

F. Additional 600/700 Courses (18 units)

Please contact your graduate advisor for course approval.

II. Total Units

The Ph.D. degree requires a minimum of 74 credits beyond the B.A. or B.S. degree.

This total includes

  • 1 credit of written qualifying examination,
  • 1 credit of a written and oral comprehensive examination,
  • 48 credits of coursework (including up to 9 credits of graduate research), and
  • a minimum of 24 credits of dissertation.

Students with deficits or completing the M.A. en route will earn more than the minimum 74 credits. They select these courses upon consultation with their adviser and the Program Director.


Graduate Research and Teaching Assistantships

Graduate research and teaching assistantships are available on a competitive basis. Most students obtain financial support from one of these sources. Summer research assistantship positions are also available. Students are also encouraged to seek support through pre-doctoral fellowship applications.