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Applied Social Psychology

Researchers in the Applied Social Psychology Program use psychological theories, principles, and methods to understand social issues and offer real-world solutions to social problems.

Program Overview

Our research-intensive program emphasizes developing, implementing and evaluating change-oriented initiatives. Courses include applied and basic research approaches to address social change at multiple levels and in multiple forms. Our graduates work in academia, research and development settings, industry, community programs, public health agencies, government at local, state, and national levels, and international institutions.

Degree Requirements

The program curriculum emphasizes: (a) theory and research on social change; (b) developing, implementing and evaluating prevention and intervention programs; (c) examining various forms of diversity, inequality and justice among individuals, institutions, communities and societies; and (d) action-oriented research methods. Program coursework includes training in: 

  • Social psychology
  • Translational science
  • Social and behavioral health
  • Inequality and social justice
  • Applied research methodology
  • Advanced statistical methods
  • Program development and evaluation
  • Specialty topics reflecting faculty expertise

Individual programs of study are tailored to the student’s research interests and career objectives. Students may supplement their psychological studies with interdisciplinary coursework in other areas such as public administration, economics, sociology, criminology, communication, design and engineering. Students may also take courses at other area universities via the Inter-Institutional Registration Program, including Duke University, North Carolina Central University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Faculty and students in the Applied Social Psychology Program incorporate psychological theories, research methods and robust data analytic practices to understand and address social issues. We develop and rigorously test interventions designed to help individuals, organizations and communities to thrive. A few of the practical and social problems we seek to address include reducing health disparities, improving educational outcomes and enhancing mental, physical and sexual health among adolescents and adults.

Faculty in our area have received specialized training in many areas of psychology, including social psychology as well as developmental, health, community, school and clinical psychology. We bring these unique backgrounds to our work to solve social problems and train students to be the next generation of applied social psychologists.