The Psychology Department organizes itself into five programs representing the major substantive domains of psychology at Yale. Weekly seminars for faculty and students are offered in each of these programs.
Our program is committed to a model of clinical psychology education designed for the scientist-professional. The mission of the Clinical Psychology Program at Yale is to educate the next generation of leading academic and research psychologists and to create an environment for advancing theory and research for both students and faculty. Within this context, clinical training is designed to help students investigate theoretically important and clinically relevant questions. We emphasize integration of research and clinical work to develop innovators who will advance the theoretical and empirical bases of knowledge in clinical psychology. Although we do not have specific tracks (e.g. adult, child, health) because of the relatively small size of the program, opportunities are available for students to gain research and clinical experience with both adults and children. Rather than having specific tracks, students develop their own unique programs of study that meet general departmental standards and fulfill requirements that will enable them to obtain appropriate internships and to sit for state licensing examinations. Participation in faculty research and development of personal research and scholarly studies are key features of scientific training. Professional skills are developed through course work and direct involvement in clinical assessment, psychotherapy, and other methods of intervention (e.g. prevention, advocacy). Practicum training is available in the Yale Anxiety and Mood Service (YAMS) and the Yale Parenting Center and Child Conduct Clinic as well as in other settings in the Yale community including the Yale New-Haven Psychiatric Hospital, the West Haven VA, the Yale Child Study Center, and the Connecticut Mental Health Center. Weekly luncheon meetings in which students, faculty, or visitors present clinical research are held throughout the academic year.
The Clinical program is fully APA accredited based on periodic review by the Committee on Accreditation (CoA). Contact information for the CoA is provided below.
Committee on Accreditation
American Psychological Association
750 First Street, N.E.
Washington D.C. 20002-4242
Phone (202) 336-5979
The Clinical Psychology Graduate Program at Yale University is also a member of The Academy of Psychological Clinical Science, which is a coalition of doctoral training programs that share a common goal of producing and applying scientific knowledge to the assessment, understanding, and amelioration of human problems. Membership in the Academy is granted only after a thorough peer review process. Its membership in the Academy indicates that the Clinical Psychology Graduate Program at Yale University is committed to excellence in scientific training, and to using clinical science as the foundation for designing, implementing, and evaluating assessment and intervention procedures.
The program in Cognitive Psychology is concerned with basic research in perception, human learning and memory, consciousness, thinking and problem solving, language, and intelligence, as well as with applications of this basic research to everyday settings. Much of the research in the cognitive group bridges across these various fields of specialization. In addition to the core faculty in Cognitive Psychology, many faculty members with other primary specializations are also interested in cognitive research. Students are encouraged to read widely both in the cognitive area and in related disciplines, such as computer science, linguistics, philosophy, and statistics. Programs of study overlapping with other areas of psychological research such as developmental, social, clinical or behavioral neuroscience, are encouraged. The cognitive group meets together as a whole every Tuesday for a presentation (with discussion) by one of its members or an invited speaker, and numerous smaller groups with special interests also meet on a regular basis for exchange of ideas. Students are encouraged to study and do research with multiple faculty members, and to develop their own program of research in an area of their choosing. The Cognitive Psychology group is highly interactive and encourages research and discussion representing diverse viewpoints within the field.
In keeping with the distinguished history of the Developmental program at Yale University, faculty and students within this program study a wide range of populations (non-human primates, infants, children of all ages, adults) to investigate the ontogenetic and phylogenetic origins and development of cognitive and social processes. The areas of study are diverse, including conceptual development, social cognition, judgment and decision-making, moral cognition, causal understanding, categorization, and prosocial behavior.
The heart of the program is direct involvement in research: First term developmental graduate students begin to work with student and faculty colleagues in the exploration and systematic study of problems involved with the rich variety of child behavior. In their first year, students complete a first year research project, led by the student, that includes the collection and analysis of new data, and culminates in a formal paper and presentation of their findings. Throughout their program of study, students are encouraged to attend multiple lab meetings in order to better understand the types of research going on in the department and to help nurture their own interests. In addition to considerable and diverse research experience, the developmental area offers a range of courses and seminars taught by our faculty, as well as a weekly speaker series in which our own faculty and students, as well as visitors from other parts of the university and other universities, present their recent work.
In addition to the primary developmental faculty, many faculty in other areas of the Department also have interests relating to development (students are encouraged to consult the web pages of individual faculty). Students are encouraged to attend the courses of and/or to work with faculty members in other areas of our department: clinical, cognitive, neuroscience, and social psychology. There is also considerable developmental research at Yale beyond the Psychology Department, including, for example, the Yale Child Study Center, the Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy, and Haskins Laboratories. In addition, students in the developmental area, routinely attend weekly talk series in clinical, cognitive, neuroscience, and social psychology as well as talk series in cognitive science. The presence of a vibrant and active community of researchers, interested in all aspects of development, enables students to construct a highly individualized program of study tailored to their specific interests.
A course of study in Behavioral Neuroscience emphasizes an understanding of the basic mechanisms of behavior through the knowledge of their physiological substrates, and an appreciation of their varying or similar forms in different organisms. A major concentration of faculty interest is in the psychobiology of learning and memory. Approaches to this general question include abstract theoretical models (e.g., in animal learning), integrative physiological investigation (e.g., in the role of specific neural structures, such as the cerebellum and brain stem nuclei, in learning), cellular and biophysical analyses in simple systems (e.g., in invertebrate animals and hippocampal slice), and computational approaches (e.g., utilizing models of adaptive neural networks). Other current foci of faculty interest are in the neural bases of cognition, motivational processes, and psychopharmacology.
Training in Behavioral Neuroscience is generally integrated with study in related areas within the Psychology Department and enriched by affiliation with other Yale departments and associated research centers. For example, students with a special interest in the learning process may avail themselves of the extensive course offerings in human memory and information processing in the Psychology Department. Students may also pursue relevant courses and research experience with cooperating faculty in the Yale Neuroscience Program. This program represents a cooperative effort among the following academic units: Anesthesiology, Biology, Cell Biology, Cellular and Molecular Physiology, Computer Science, Genetics, Neurobiology, Neuroendocrinology, Neurology, Neuropathology, Neurosurgery, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Pediatrics and Respiratory Medicine, Pharmacology, Psychiatry, Psychology, and Surgery. The Neuroscience Program admits its own Ph.D. candidates, but graduate students for a Psychology Ph.D. are able to participate in any of the course offerings available in the Neuroscience Program. Additional course or research opportunities are available from the John B. Pierce Foundation, the West Haven VA Medical Center, and the Department of Psychiatry. All Behavioral Neuroscience faculty and graduate students, occasionally joined by visiting scholars, meet weekly to discuss current and ongoing research.
The Social/Personality Psychology program at Yale University has trained research scholars for more than sixty years. Under the influence of Carl Hovland in the 1940's and 1950's, the Yale program was concerned primarily with persuasion and attitude change. This group of psychologists, some of whom continue to be active in the Department even today, set the course for the Yale program through their investigation of problems such as the links between frustration and aggression, public opinion formation, and the cognitive basis of social behavior. During these years and the decades that followed, the program remained committed to training students interested in both laboratory-based methods as well as field research. The Social/Personality program has focused on advancing both basic knowledge about intrapersonal and interpersonal processes, while at the same time encouraging applications of these theoretically driven investigations.
Since its inception, the character of the Social/Personality program has been unique in combining four training goals. First, we believe that training students in scientific fundamentals is the most effective way to influence progress in the field of psychology. Second, in addition to a strong emphasis on traditional laboratory experiments as the primary tool of the Social/Personality psychologist, the training focus has also encompassed diverse methodologies such as field experimentation, survey techniques, computer simulation, and case studies (where the "case" might be an individual, group, or organization). Third, the program attempts to foster an awareness among students of the use of applied contexts to test theoretically based ideas. Finally, the faculty in Social/Personality Psychology is committed to an integration of personality processes and interpersonal influences in the study of human behavior. We believe that meaningful analyses of human behavior can best be accomplished when researchers investigate interactions between intrapersonal processes (e.g., emotion, social cognition, motivation, attitudes, and belief systems) and social behavior (e.g., persuasion, communication, decision making, stereotyping, political behavior, health behavior, and intergroup cooperation or conflict).
We believe that research skills are best developed by a program emphasizing supervised independent research with one or more members of the faculty. Although students receive classroom training in the essentials of general psychology theory, research methods, history, and the current literature, they are encouraged from their first days at Yale to develop a program of collaborative research with members of the faculty. There are only a few course requirements, and students are expected to construct a program consistent with their own research interests that includes elective courses in other areas of psychology and in other social science fields. The Social/Personality area meets as a group every Monday for research presentations and discussion. Individuals interested in specific areas of specialization such as political psychology, health psychology, emotion, or social cognition can attend additional weekly meetings of like-minded faculty and students.