FAQ - PhD in Psychology and Social Intervention

What is NYU Steinhardt's doctoral program in Psychology and Social Intervention (PSI)?  

• A PhD training program
• Core aim is to produce psychologists who can carry out socially relevant research aimed at understanding and solving social problems in natural settings.
• We study how features of schools, childcare programs, neighborhoods, policies, workplace, social service agencies, and the like influence individual well-being and behavior.

This doctoral program was approved by New York State as a student training program in the spring of 1997. It is not an APA-accredited program because we do not train for licensing as a practitioner. 

The program focuses on training students to understand, study, and change the various contexts and social systems in which individuals develop and spend time. Contexts could include families, peer groups, schools, neighborhoods, cultural groups, or public policies. The program also trains students in empirical methods for designing and assessing intervention/prevention and health promotion efforts. Thus, the program maintains a heavy focus on conducting research in applied settings for the purposes of understanding and changing them. Program faculty study a broad range of issues including early childhood programs, school transitions, ethnic-racial identity development, homelessness, HIV-AIDs, welfare and work policy, and the like. Students complete a rigorous core curriculum and are heavily engaged in research throughout the course of their training.

What are some core ideas of the program?

  • The program focuses on studying people in context
  • The program focuses on changing settings and systems, and therefore on prevention, intervention, and health promotion
  • The intent of the program is to produce psychologists who can carry out socially relevant research aimed at understanding and solving social problems in natural settings.
  • Faculty study schools, neighborhoods, social service systems, local and state policy
  • The program has a heavy emphasis on theory, research, and social action

How do I apply to the PSI program?

For detailed instructions on how to apply, including deadlines and admissions requirements, see the Application Guide for the PhD in Psychology and Social Development

What similar programs are there in the US?

There are a number of related programs in disciplines such as Ecological Psychology, Human Development, Community Psychology, and other disciplines

Examples include:

  • Ecological Psychology, Michigan State University
  • Community and Prevention Research, University of Illinois, Chicago Circle
  • Human Deveopment and Social Policy, Northwestern University
  • Community-Clinical Psychology, University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign
  • Community Psychology, Georgia State University
  • Prevention Research Training Program, Arizona State University

Is there funding available for students who are admitted to the program?

We offer a competitive funding program for full-time PhD students that supports tuition and living expenses. See more information about the funding program or visit the Financial Aid website.

How long does it take to complete the program?

Our program is designed so that students can complete core requirements within a 5-6 year period.

How many and which courses are required?

We have a structured curriculum which outlines a set of core courses and theory and methods related to our training goals as well as required departmental seminars and electives. See more information on degree requirements and a sample curriculum.

Is the program accredited?

This is a state approved PhD program. The program is not accredited by the APA, which means that students are not eligible for professional licensure as practitioners.

Can I be a part-time student?

This program is designed for full-time study. We expect that all students will be engaged in full-time training and will be available to attend all of the required seminars and colloquia.

Who are the faculty in the program?

The program consists of core and affiliated faculty. Current core program faculty include J. Lawrence Aber, LaRue Allen, Diane Hughes, Edward Seidman, Pamela Morris, Elise Cappella and Erin Godfrey. Core and affiliate faculty, and their research interests, are listed on the program website.

Are students admitted to work with a specific faculty member or do they choose a mentor after being accepted to the program?

Students are accepted to the PSI program as a whole, not to apprentice solely with one individual faculty member. Decisions about the faculty members with which incoming students will work during their first year are made at the time of matriculation.  we encourage students to work across at least two research labs over the course of their training.

Where can I find information on each professor's specific research interests?

The research interests of the faculty members can be found in their faculty biographies.