The Cognitive, Social, and Developmental Psychology PhD program emphasizes the role context plays in shaping cognition and behavior, focusing on social factors, culture, the body, and the situation.
This contextual approach provides a framework for understanding psychological theories and other biologically based perspectives on mental and emotional activity. Students concentrate in either cognitive, social, or developmental psychology.
Overall, the research conducted in the program reflects a broad-based perspective that supports diverse methodological approaches and that encourages interdisciplinary work. Students concentrate in either cognitive, social, or developmental psychology
through specialized seminars and independent study with members of the faculty who share the student's interests. However, they are welcome to take courses, work with faculty, and engage in research that bridges these different concentrations. Students
also can take relevant courses offered by other universities through the Inter-University Consortium.
The doctoral program uses an apprenticeship model in which students work closely with a member of the faculty on collaborative research projects and developing a dissertation. Students are expected to become members of lab groups and to attend and present
their own research at seminars and conferences.
Faculty and research emphases associated with each concentration are indicated below:
Cognitive: Hirst, Mack, Schober, Ginges, Fincher
Faculty research centers on consciousness, memory, attention, language and thought, cognitive neuroscience, visual perception, and semantics-for example, the nature of collective memory,
inattentional blindness, unconscious perception of emotion, perspective taking in language use, psycholinguistics, conversational interaction, and social media, psychology of music, emotion, cognitive style and the cerebral hemispheres
Social: Ginges, Hirschfeld, Hirst, Miller, Schober, Rubin, Fincher
Faculty research centers on political psychology, culture and cognition, close relationships, existential psychology and the impact of cultural artifacts
on social cognition. Specific topics include dehumanization, conflict resolution, sacred values, essentialism and entativity, self-objectification, culture and norms of reciprocity, interpersonal motivation, the origins of racial categories, immigration
and cultural conflict, judgment and decision making, and empathy and theory of mind.
Developmental: Hirschfeld, Miller, H. Steele, M. Steele
Faculty research centers on cognitive development, social cognition, social and emotional development, and life course development-for example, development of a theory of mind,
children's understandings of racial groups, cultural influences on adolescence, parent-child relationships, intergenerational consequences of attachment, adoption and foster care, and children with autism and their families.
STEM Designation for International Applicants
This program is STEM-designated. After graduating, eligible F-1 students in this program can apply for an additional 24 months of Optional
Practical Training at the end of their Post-Completion OPT.
A full account of degree requirements and procedures is contained in the Psychology departmental handbook.
PhD candidates must earn 30 credits in addition to the 30 credits taken in the General Psychology MA program, for a total of 60 credits, with a minimum grade point average of 3.7.
Students can use elective courses toward completing one of the university’s graduate minors. These structured pathways of study immerse master's and doctoral students in disciplines outside their primary field and expose them to alternative modes of research and practice. Completed graduate minors are officially recorded on students' transcript.
The dissertation proposal process consists of two separate stages:
- Preliminary Dissertation Proposal and Defense
- Doctoral Dissertation Proposal and Defense
The dissertation itself consists of two separate but related portions:
- Literature Review: The first portion is a stand-alone literature review article that is submitted in a form that is potentially acceptable to a peer review journal. This article should be approximately 15 (double-spaced) pages in length (including references), and will review theoretical and empirical research relevant to the topic on which the dissertation research focuses.
- Empirical Article: The second portion consists of a stand-alone empirical article written in a form that would be acceptable to a peer review journal. This article should be approximately 25-50 pages (double spaced) in length. Students should familiarize themselves with the types of articles that appear in quality journals relevant to their area of research and use these as models when writing their dissertations.>
See Dissertation Requirements in the department handbook for complete information.
A limited number of research and teaching assistantships are available in the Psychology department. Teaching assistantships are usually restricted to doctoral candidates.
Students begin their studies toward the PhD by obtaining an MA in General Psychology, which includes courses in psychopathology and the psychology of individual differences. Only after this can they apply for admittance to the Cognitive, Social, and Developmental Psychology PhD program. Complete admission procedures are detailed in the Psychology departmental handbook.
Successful completion of the MA in General Psychology does not guarantee admission to the PhD program, but academically strong MA students have a very good chance of progressing to the PhD program. To be eligible to apply, students must complete the distribution requirements for the MA degree with an overall grade point average of at least 3.7 at the time of application.
Students who wish to pursue the PhD in Cognitive, Social, and Developmental Psychology must submit a statement of research plans. Students will be informed of the preliminary status of their applications: that is, whether they will be admitted provided space permits; or not admitted.
Students with MA degrees in psychology from other universities may be eligible for "Advanced Standing" status in the New School MA program. Accepted students are informed of whether or not they will be admitted with Advanced Standing status prior to beginning the MA program. Once accepted, eligible students may apply to enter the Cognitive, Social, and Developmental PhD after at least one semester of study here at the MA level, depending on how many of their credits transfer and assuming they have successfully completed requisite courses to meet eligibility for doctoral application. Students in this situation should consult the section "Advanced Standing" in the department handbook for additional information.