Applied Social Psychology

The Applied Social Psychology Program at the George Washington University applies social psychological theories (e.g., attitudes, social cognition, social influence and decision making) and methods (i.e., experimental, quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods research) to understand and address the following:

The effects of people’s thoughts and behaviors on health issues such as substance use, obesity, sexual risk behaviors, physical activity and sun exposure; and the influence of social issues such as prejudice and discrimination on outcomes such as substance use, HIV risk and mental health.

The role of diversity — race, ethnicity, gender, LGBT identity, socioeconomic status, physical ability and the intersection of these social categories/identities — on health disparities and inequities.

Location and Opportunities

In addition to the academic curriculum, students have opportunities to supplement their skills through unique internships that address major social and health issues. Our location in the nation's capital offers students the chance to conduct research in consulting firms, government agencies (NIH/NCI), health care organizations, nonprofits and major corporations. There are also many opportunities to gain teaching and mentoring as well as grant-writing experience.

Faculty and Mentorship

The educational mission of the ASP doctoral program is to prepare students for success in either academic or applied careers. Success in either career path requires a strong grounding in psychological theory and advanced research methodology, and we provide this for our students. Students work with faculty on everything from laboratory studies to intervention studies with local communities, providing a rich array of experiences to help master multiple perspectives on the social influences that impact health cognitions and behavior. Students are admitted to work with specific mentors in our program who fit their research interests and career goals.

Alumni Testimonials

Annette Kaufman, PhD ’09

"Learning through hands-on training, from developing research questions to publishing manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals, was one of the most significant parts of my training in the ASP program."

Caroline Fitz Johnson, PhD ’14

“On a daily basis, I use the research and critical thinking skills I gained in graduate school to help clients achieve their goals. … My time at GW positioned me to thrive in an applied research setting. I couldn’t be more grateful.”

Dana Litt, PhD ’10

"The strong one-on-one mentoring I received as a student in the program positioned me to not only obtain an academic job after graduation but has continued to aid me as I have mentored undergrads, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty."