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Research PhD in Psychology and Social Intervention

Research

Our faculty study a wide range of ecologies (e.g., families, schools, neighborhoods, policy contexts, programs) and preventive interventions (e.g., pertaining to school readiness; school success; HIV and health behaviors; mental health; housing and homelessness), locally, nationally and internationally. Our faculty also conducts work on how cultural factors and identities influence and interact with experiences of these ecologies and interventions. Our New York City location provides students and faculty with an ideal urban setting for studying many kinds of communities and settings combined with easy access to gateways to the world at large.

Student Research

Students work collaboratively with faculty on a range of activities in these research areas, including study design, data collection and analysis, journal publications, conference presentations, policy briefs, and evaluation activities carried out with service, community and policy organizations. Program faculty collaborate closely with one another, as well as with other social, behavioral, health and policy scientists at NYU and other universities.

Students are required to participate on the research team of a PSI faculty member (or another Applied Psychology faculty, by program approval), beginning the first semester of their first year. Students are expected to allocate at least half of their time (20 hours per week) to this activity. By year 3, in line with our training expectations to be exposed to more than one project, students should spend a minimum of 5 hours (of the 20 hours per week) working with another research mentor (within or outside of the program by approval of primary research mentor). Students are free to transition onto new research teams throughout their doctoral training.

Affiliated Research Centers and Institutes

The Child and Family Policy Center

The Child and Family Policy Center works to bring state-of-the field knowledge about how to promote children's healthy development and school success to the forefront of policymaking, program design, and practice. Faculty and researchers affiliated with the Center conduct research, technical assistance, and research dissemination activities.

CRCDE

The Center for Research on Culture, Education, and Development (CRCDE) is dedicated to advancing knowledge on the intersections of human development, culture, diversity, and context in the United States and regions across the globe (Europe, Asia, East Asia, Central Asia, South America, and the Middle East).

IHDSC

The Institute of Human Development and Social Change (IHDSC)'s mission is to stimulate interdisciplinary research and influence social policy on children, youth, families, and communities in the context of a rapidly changing social world.

Research Alliance for New York City Schools 

The Research Alliance for New York City Schools conducts rigorous studies on topics that matter to the City’s public schools. We strive to advance equity and excellence in education by providing nonpartisan evidence about policies and practices that promote students' development and academic success.

Affiliated Research Labs/Projects

Five children drawing on sidewalk with chalk

CONNECT

Strengthening Connections & Opportunities for Learning in and out of Schools

The CONNECT lab at NYU conducts research to understand and strengthen contexts for learning and mental health in low-income education settings. We study natural opportunities for academic, social, and emotional learning via productive relationships and quality interactions.

Using social network approaches, we investigate and enhance connections among children, between children and non-familial adults (educators, practitioners), and among adults who work with youth. We collaborate with school and community partners to activate internal resources to support children with and without behavioral difficulties.

PSI Faculty: Elise Cappella, Ph.D. and Pamela Morris, Ph.D.

group photo of lab

The Researching Inequity in Society Ecologically (RISE)

RISE is directed by Erin Godfrey, Ph.D., and Shabnam Javdani, Ph.D. The team’s research and activities serve traditionally marginalized populations, focusing on health and mental health disparities in women and youth who are involved, or at risk of involvement, with the justice system. As such, the RISE Team takes a contextual, multi-level and interdisciplinary approach to systems change and implementing evidence-based practices promoting health and well-being, working closely with community partners to bridge the gap between research and practice.

A young woman with a purple filter over her picture and the Safe Spaces logo

SAFE Spaces: Systems Aligning For Equity

Developed in partnership with the NYC Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), SAFE Spaces uses evidence-based principles to provide training and coaching support for frontline staff working in ACS Close to Home (CTH) non-secure and limited-secure placement facilities.

Through unique skills-based staff training activities and guidance from a trained coach, SAFE Spaces aims to increase the professional development, job satisfaction, retention, and well-being in CTH staff who work directly with youth. By focusing on these staff outcomes and the environment in which they work, we also help to promote and encourage a healthier environment for youth’s lives and promote their safety, well-being and positive development. The efficacy of SAFE Spaces is being assessed through a cluster-randomized control trial supported by the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH). 

PSI Faculty: Erin Godfrey, Ph.D.

A group of children at a table

SMART Beginnings

The SMART Beginnings project tests a comprehensive approach to the promotion of school readiness in low-income families, beginning shortly after the birth of the child, through enhancement of positive parenting practices (and when present, reduction of psychosocial stressors) within the pediatric primary care platform. We do so by integrating two evidence-based interventions: 1) a universal primary prevention strategy (Video Interaction Project [VIP]); and 2) a targeted secondary/tertiary prevention strategy (Family Check-up [FCU]) for families identified as having additional risks. Drs. Pamela Morris (NYU), Alan Mendelsohn (NYU School of Medicine), and Daniel Shaw (University of Pittsburgh) have received support and funding for this project from the National Institutes of Health.

Crayons with a coloring child in the backgroun

Strengthening the Architecture for High Quality Universal Pre-K (NYU UPK)

Since 2014, senior leaders in education research and practice at both New York University and the NYC Department of Education Division of Early Childhood Education (DOE-DECE) have fostered a research-practice partnership to support roll out of universal pre-kindergarten through Pre-K For All improving the quality of its programming. The purpose of this partnership is to provide quantitative and capacity-building solutions to educational problems faced by the DOE-DECE.

PSI Faculty: Pamela Morris, Ph.D. and Elise Cappella, Ph.D.

Explore Faculty Publications

To find out more about a faculty member’s research, please visit their NYU Scholars page by clicking on the professor’s name below.