The Department’s History
The department’s first faculty members were hired in the 1950s, and we began awarding PhDs in the 1960s. A constant theme has been the application of psychology. One of our five programs is clinical psychology. Clinical psychologists were among the founders of the department, the clinical program has been APA accredited since 1973, and a majority of the PhDs we have awarded have been in clinical. Today about 40% of our faculty members are associated with the clinical program, as are about 56% of our graduate students.
The community program shares an applied bent with the clinical program; (and some graduate students are jointly enrolled in both programs). We hired our first community psychologist in the early 1980s; today about 20% of our faculty members are associated with the community program. In less applied areas, perhaps the research done at GSU that is most broadly known is the Rumbaughs’ work with chimpanzees and language.
That heritage is reflected today in two of our programs: the developmental program, which includes interests in communication and communication disorders, and the cognitive sciences program, which includes interests in cognition as it is manifested across species and which remains associated with the Language Research Center. The fifth program, neuropsychology and cognitive neuroscience (NCN), whose first members were hired in the 1980s, reflects another important emphasis of our department, which is collaborative work that crosses boundaries. Some members of this program have clinical interests (and some graduate students are jointly enrolled in both clinical and NCN programs), while others stress laboratory work, reflected primarily in our joint appointments with the Neuroscience Institute.
Resources and the Environment
The department occupies two and a half floors of the 12-story Urban Life Building and commands views of downtown Atlanta, the golden dome of the State Capitol, and Stone Mountain in the distance. Our space includes a Psychology Clinic (services to the community, training for grad students), an undergraduate computer lab, and the expected faculty office and research space; additional lab and instructional space is available in a nearby building. All graduate students who wish receive financial support (select For Applicants, then Financial) and faculty research is well funded by national, state, and foundation grants.
Ways to Get Involved
Psychology is one of the more popular majors at GSU and there are a number of ways for undergraduates to become involved. We have a large Psi Chi club for majors and an active Honors Program. Each year we sponsor a conference at which undergraduates can present their research projects. We also maintain an active practicum program that places students in both applied and research setting. Additionally, students appointed as University Scholars can work in individual professor’s labs.