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Basic and Applied Social Psychology

Mission Statement/Training Philosophy


The BASP Program is designed to provide students with:

  • Knowledge and understanding of core concepts and theories in the field of social psychology, the scientific study of how people think about, influence, and relate to one another;
  • Competence in a variety of research skills and methods;
  • Synthesis or application of research expertise in one or more specific areas of social psychology; and
  • Hands-on professional development opportunities, including both formal and informal training in manuscript preparation and revision, article review, oral presentations, grant writing, and teaching.

Our training philosophy combines formal coursework with an apprenticeship model of doctoral mentorship. Although students are expected to explore and develop their own lines of research, they will work closely with one or more faculty members in the first two years of their training to learn basic skills, gain facility with various stages of the research process, and receive exposure to particular approaches and methodologies. This apprenticeship model trains students in the empirical tools of social psychological research, allowing them to select from this toolbox in developing their own independent programs of research.

Three factors distinguish our program from others offering traditional social psychology doctoral training. First, our commitment to training in a broad variety of research methods provides students with diverse skills that will enable them to succeed in both academic and non-academic research settings. Members of our faculty have been recognized nationally and internationally for conducting basic and applied research, using multiple and mixed methods. Second, many members of our faculty study topics within social psychology with direct policy applications, and their research occurs in collaboration with community-based organizations, public schools, courts, hospitals and other human services, policy institutes, and federal, state, and local governments. These faculty members maintain active and cutting-edge programs in health, relationships, psychology and the law, judgment and decision-making, intergroup relations, stigma, and stereotyping and prejudice. Third, our home at the CUNY Graduate Center, an internationally recognized center for advanced studies and a national model for public doctoral education, enables us to attract top quality students. BASP’s home at the Graduate Center promotes an interdisciplinary perspective that allows students to benefit from a vibrant and active place of learning, culture, science and the arts, all in the heart of New York City. For over 50 years, the Graduate Center has been a hub for activism and social justice pursuits, and it is within this context that our program trains students to apply their interests and skills.