For Students, Faculty, and Staff: MyU One Stop


Social Psychological & Developmental Processes M.A. & Ph.D.

Inspire positive social change by studying human relationships and growth

The way we work, think, and play in groups and alone affects our personal success as well as the success of our schools, workplaces, and communities. As a Ph.D. or M.A. student, you’ll study the social and social developmental processes experienced across the lifespan, with a primary focus on processes during the years of schooling. You’ll apply what you learn to further the development of groups and organizations as well as individuals, particularly in educational and related settings.

How to apply


Degrees & coursework

A master’s degree is not required to apply for the doctoral program.

Master's of Arts (M.A.)

M.A. curriculum (33-34 credits)

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)

Ph.D. curriculum (72 credits)

What you'll study

  • Social influence processes
  • Group dynamics/cooperative learning
  • Theories of intergroup relations
  • Methods of organizational change and conflict resolution
  • Action research models and engaged research
  • Impacts of disparities on educational and life outcomes
  • Social emotional development
  • Prosocial and antisocial behavior in schools


Headshot of Geoffrey Maruyama

Geoffrey Maruyama

Email | Lab

  • Achievement processes in schools and other organizations
  • Connections between social processes and educational success
  • Research and community partnerships in challenged communities and urban settings

Adjunct faculty

Muriel Bebeau, professor in Department of Primary Dental Care

Emeritus faculty

David W. Johnson


Headshot of Lara Westerhof

Lara Westerhof

Psychological foundations student representative


"I want to help all students feel socially and emotionally equipped to learn."

  • Interests: How social and emotional factors affect student learning and development
  • Work: Partnerships with local non-profit organizations, including a job training program for low-income adults and a network of afterschool programs for urban youth
Headshot of Carolyn Dienhart

Carolyn Dienhart


"I decided to join the department because my program gives me the flexibility to explore all of my interests, specifically in social, educational, and organizational psychology."

  • Interests: Student achievement and retention, volunteerism and civic engagement, employee engagement, adult learning, children's play
  • Work: Carolyn holds positions as a Research Intern at Search Institute and as a Project Coordinator for the fund for Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE).
  • Future Plans: She plans to pursue a career in educational administration or human resources consulting, where she can work to create the positive relationships and environments that are conducive to learning and personal growth.