VCU Psychology Department

Do physicians’ racial biases affect clinical decision making?

Research has demonstrated that automatic, and sometimes unconscious, racial bias can affect how we make decisions about others. But can it influence something as important as a medical decision? read more...


What affects parenting in high-risk communities?

We know that living in high-risk communities is stressful for parents and youth. How does stress, including exposure to violence, affect parents’ management of their adolescents? read more...


How can we predict future rates of tobacco use?

Longitudinal population-based surveys of tobacco use can depict current prevalence levels as well as transitions over time, but how can they be used to forecast those in the future? read more...


Can coping skills help the bereaved bend but not break?

How do college students cope when a loved one dies? Bereavement is difficult at any time in life, but is coping with bereavement different for college undergraduates? read more...

school lunch

Why are VCU researchers dumpster diving?

If school cafeterias force children to take fruits and vegetables on their lunch trays, will students eat them? Will they like them more over time when fruits and vegetables are served regularly? read more...

social faculty and students

Social Psychology Faculty and Graduate Students

Social Psychology

The field of social psychology, as defined by American psychologist Gordon W. Allport, is “an attempt to understand and explain how the thought, feeling and behavior of individuals are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presences of others” (1985, p. 3). The Social Psychology Division provides students with the theoretical background along with basic and applied research skills needed to study the social bases of behavior. As part of the VCU Department of Psychology, students must study and appreciate all areas of theory and research in the field, but their specialized focus is on social processes. Graduates of this program are awarded the PhD in Psychology, as approved by the State Council of Higher Education of Virginia in 1971. Students earn a Master of Science degree as part of their training, but not as a terminal master’s degree.

Mission Statement: The Social Psychology Division of the Experimental Program of Virginia Commonwealth University is dedicated to three fundamental goals: the discovery of new information about social behavior, the application of that information to the solution of social problems, and the dissemination of the field`s knowledge to others. The division`s primary goals, then, are research, application, and education (in a variety of settings, including traditional classroom based learning, the training of new social psychologists, distance learning, life-long learning, etc.).

How to Apply

General information about graduate study at VCU can be obtained from the VCU Graduate School web site. Application for graduate study in psychology with an emphasis in social psychology should be initiated online from the VCU Graduate School admissions page. Please note that there is not a separate application for the program or department. Deadline for applications is Dec. 15.

Contact Information

For additional questions please contact Dr. Jeff Green, Director of the Social Program.

Virginia Commonwealth University
Department of Psychology
Social Division
806 West Franklin Street
PO Box 842018
Richmond, Virginia 23284-2018