The Psychological & Brain Sciences Department at Washington University was established in 1924 and began granting graduate degrees in 1932. The Department has graduated about 700 Ph.D.’s and thousands of psychology majors. In the early 1990s Washington University targeted psychology as an area of excellence and growth. As part of its commitment to this field of study, the University constructed a $28 million facility, which has been our home since 1996. Since then, we have been engaged in an ambitious effort to recruit faculty that has more than doubled our Department’s size. In 2006 we completed a 16,500 sq ft addition to the Psychology Building, which will allow for continued growth and development of the Psychology Department.
The Department has four primary research programs: Aging and Development, Clinical Psychology, Behavior Brain & Cognition, and Social and Personality Psychology.
- The Aging and Development program dates back to the 1950s, when we received our first training grant. This program has been continually funded since that time. Although research on older adults has become increasingly prominent at a number of universities, we have a long history of excellence and continue to be a leader in this important scholarly endeavor.
- The Clinical Psychology program, fully accredited by the American Psychological Association, trains students according to a clinical scientist model emphasizing clinical research. The clinical program is devoted to training clinical scientists and to the integration of science and practice. Our primary goal is to train students who will lead the search for new knowledge regarding the assessment, understanding, and treatment of psychological disorders.
- The Behavior, Brain & Cognition program includes researchers studying attention, language, and memory, as well as animal learning and behavior. Cognitive neuroscience is a current emphasis, with seven researchers who use functional brain imaging in their research.
- The Social/Personality program emphasizes both basic and applied research in such topics as stereotyping, the development of self-concept, racial dynamics, mood regulation and happiness, and decision-making related to health, careers, and relationships.
Cutting across these four primary research areas, a number of Psychology & Brain Sciences faculty are interested Diversity Science. This area focuses on research with and/or about underrepresented and understudied populations, including investigating the causes and consequences of bias, racism, prejudice, and socioeconomic disparities, as well as ways to overcome these challenges.
The Psychological & Brain Sciences Department has about 80 graduate students in residence and graduates approximately 200 majors a year. Psychology is the most popular undergraduate major at Washington University. Although we specialize in the four areas of research described above, the department provides a full undergraduate program with courses in many other topics within Psychological & Brain Sciences.
Members of the Psychological & Brain Sciences department collaborate closely with researchers in the Medical School (particularly in the Departments of Neurology, Radiology, Pediatrics and Psychiatry and the Institute for Public Health), the Brown School of Social Work, the Olin Business School, and the Law School. Other collaborations occur within the School of Arts & Sciences, including the departments of Education and Sociology. Washington University strongly emphasizes interdisciplinary programs and the Psychological & Brain Sciences Department participates fully in many such programs.
I hope you find the information available on our web site helpful. If you would like more information about our Department, feel free to contact us. I also invite you to visit us here in St. Louis. We would be glad to meet with you and tell you more about our Department in person.
Deanna Barch, Chair