PhD in Applied Social Psychology


Two women seated with one another having a discussion.

A member of Dr. Tonya Dodge's research team, ASP PhD student Steffi Renninger, has conducted work and presented at conferences on the topics of physical activity and parental attitudes towards the MMR vaccination.

The Applied Social Psychology (ASP) doctoral program trains students to employ social psychological theories and methods to understand and address major health problems and disparities. Students explore the effects of people’s thoughts and behaviors on health issues, the influence of social issues on health outcomes and the role of diversity on health disparities and inequities. Students collaborate with faculty on research related to HIV/AIDS, obesity, sexual risk and substance abuse, among other topics.

Students round out their academic experience with electives from other areas including public health, public policy, economics and minority and community psychology.

One unique aspect of the ASP program are the opportunities for professional training through practical internship experience. Students have held internships at the National Institutes of Health, Dollar Shave Club, Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) and many more employers.



Dr. Laurel Peterson

Laurel Peterson

PhD '12, Applied Social Psychology

"The program [shows] an unwavering commitment to integrate research on identity as central to the field."

Faculty and Mentorship


Faculty offer students a strong grounding in psychological theory and advanced research methodology, preparing them for successful academic or applied career paths. Students are matched with mentors who fit a student's specific research interests and career goals. Working on everything from laboratory studies to intervention work with local communities, students gain a broad perspective on the social influences that impact health cognitions and behavior.



Three women seated together and having a discussion.

A member of Dr. Michelle Stock’s (left) research team, ASP PhD student Charlotte Hagerman (right) has presented at conferences and co-authored articles on topics including UV exposure interventions and social determinants of healthy eating.


Course Requirements

The following requirements must be fulfilled:

The general requirements stated under Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, Graduate Programs.

The requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy Program.

72 credits, including 33 credits in core requirements, 21 to 27 credits in elective courses, and 12 to 18 credits in dissertation, and successful completion of a comprehensive examination.

Required core
Applied social
PSYC 8253Social Cognition
PSYC 8254Social Influence
PSYC 8255Attitudes and Attitude Change
PSYC 8277Health Psychology
DNSC 6274Statistical Modeling and Analysis
DNSC 6275Advanced Statistical Modeling and Analysis
DNSC 6276Exploratory and Multivariate Data Analysis
PSYC 8202Psychological Research Methods and Procedures
PSYC 8256Introduction to Survey Research
6 credits in psychology (PSYC) courses out of the applied social program.
21 to 27 credits in elective courses. Recommended electives are listed below; other courses may be selected in consultation with the advisor.
PSYC 8218Evidence-Based Interventions
PSYC 8231Development of Psychometric Instruments
PSYC 8245Seminar: Organizational Behavior
PSYC 8257Current Topics in Social Psychology
PSYC 8258Qualitative Research and Analysis
PSYC 8259Psychology of Individual and Group Decision Making
PSYC 8279Special Topics in Health Psychology
PSYC 8295Independent Research
12 to 18 credits in dissertation.
PSYC 8998Advanced Reading and Research
PSYC 8999Dissertation Research
Comprehensive examination
Students must successfully complete a comprehensive examination.



"The Applied Social Psychology program provided me with the skills and knowledge necessary to design and implement interventions for vulnerable populations in my current work: addressing tobacco-related health disparities among low-income populations."

Natalie Alizaga

PhD ’17, Applied Social Psychology

More Alumni Testimonials