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The objectives of both our master's and PhD programs in Social Psychology are to develop competence in designing, conducting and evaluating research in the fields of social psychology.

Program Overview

Our PhD in Social Psychology program helps individuals with a strong research background to fully develop into outstanding independent research investigators. An apprenticeship model provides students with an opportunity to acquire advanced academic knowledge in social psychology. Students will develop basic and/or applied research skills on attitudes, social cognition, affect and wellbeing, the self, close relationships, intergroup relations, social interactions, and personality processes.

Spanning several levels of analysis (e.g. social, cognitive, temporal), this research examines individuals, dyads and larger groups using both cutting edge and foundational methodologies (such as reaction-time measures, experience sampling and longitudinal self-reports, and moment-to-moment assessment, in addition to more standard experimental manipulations, surveys, questionnaires, and direct observation). The PhD dissertation requires original research that contributes significant new knowledge to the field. This research has clear practical implications within personal, organizational, social, political, and therapeutic contexts.

Graduates are trained for positions in university, hospital, community, industry or government settings.

Required courses:

  • PS800: Advanced Multivariate Methods
  • All PhD candidates are required to participate in the following research seminars. The seminars will have a component devoted to training in teaching. The seminars are taken in each of the first three years of the PhD program (I, II and III in year 1, 2 and 3, respectively) and are marked on a pass/fail basis:
    • PS846: Research Seminar in Social Psychology I
    • PS847: Research Seminar in Social Psychology II
    • PS848: Research Seminar in Social Psychology III
  • PS870: Specialized Research and Methods in Social Psychology I: Attitudes and Social Cognition,
  • PS871: Specialized Research and Methods in Social Psychology II: Interpersonal Relationships and Group Processes.
  • PS891: Comprehensive Research Experience I
  • PS899: Dissertation

Choose an elective:

To provide greater breadth of perspective in students’ dissertation areas, students must complete one elective course, which can be an additional comprehensive research experience (PS892), or an elective content course from another field in the PhD program, or from other graduate course offerings at Laurier or graduate programs at other institutions.

Faculty with Supervisory Status

Eight full-time faculty members supervise theses and dissertations in our Social Psychology master's and PhD programs:

They research a wide variety of topics, such as:

  • People's thoughts about themselves through time, including their identity, memories, predictions, goals, and motivation.
  • Sociocultural influences on the self.
  • Implicit and explicit self-esteem.
  • Narcissism.
  • Experiences of awe.
  • Mindfulness.
  • Gender discrimination and coping.
  • Risk regulation in close relationships.
  • Personality and temporal processes at play during people’s social interactions.
  • Social anxiety and other anxiety disorders.
  • Role ambiguity.
  • Acceptance in sport and exercise groups.

Contact Us:

For more information about the programs in Developmental and/or Social Psychology, as well as admissions-related inquiries, email rsharkey@wlu.ca.

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