PhD in Applied Social Psychology

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

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

Laurel Peterson
PhD '12, Applied Social Psychology

Laurel Peterson

Location and Opportunities

Image of Washington, DC, on a clear day with the Capitol in the background

In addition to the academic curriculum, students supplement their portfolio of skills through unique internships that address major social and organizational issues. Our location in the nation's capital offers students the opportunity to conduct research in consulting firms, government agencies, health care organizations, nonprofits and major corporations.

Faculty and Mentorship

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.

Students work with faculty on everything from laboratory studies to theory-driven studies in local communities, giving students the opportunity to master multiple perspectives on human behavior. Students work with specific mentors who fit their research interests and help students gain key research skills and competencies.

Applied Social Psychology Faculty

New NIMH T32 Training Program for Select Students

NIMH T32 Training Program in Approaches to Address Social-Structural Factors Related to HIV Intersectionally (TASHI)​

The George Washington University is offering full doctoral scholarships* to prepare the next generation of community-engaged researchers to develop and lead social-structural and intersectional approaches to promote equity and improve HIV and related health outcomes. The training program is supported by 18 multi-disciplinary faculty conducting both global and domestic research on HIV, mental health, substance use, and violence.

Trainees will receive instruction and mentorship in the following:

  • Social and structural, critical, and intersectional theory
  • Community-engaged research design and methods​
  • Multi-level intervention development and evaluation
  • Grant writing, publication and presentation skills

Trainees must apply and be accepted to the PhD program. Individuals from underrepresented populations are strongly encouraged to apply. To learn more about TASHI, visit the TASHI website or email [email protected].​

*Full Scholarships include tuition, living expenses, and health insurance.

Drs. Lisa Bowleg and Deanna Kerrigan, TASHI Co-Program Directors​

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

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