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Jacqueline Woolley, Chair The University of Texas at Austin, SEA 4.212, Austin, TX 78712 • (512) 475-7596

About the Psychology Department

The Psychology Department of The University of Texas at Austin is devoted to expanding the horizons of our discipline and to educate our students and the public about behavior, thought processes, and emotion. Our department combines outstanding faculty, staff, graduate, and undergraduate students to break new ground in the study of the mind and behavior. As part of this mission, we are dedicated to building an environment that encourages a diversity of backgrounds and perspectives.

At the undergraduate level, we provide students with a solid grounding in psychology by presenting historical and contemporary research on human and animal behavior. Students learn to think creatively and critically about human behavior across gender, culture, and age, and to relate psychological principles to everyday living. Students are also trained in experimental design and statistics, enabling them to evaluate new research findings and communicate their findings in writing and in oral presentations. Currently, there are over 1,500 undergraduate Psychology majors and double majors, with approximately 380 undergraduate Psychology degrees awarded per year. The five most common career fields for recent graduates were business (23%), service (e.g. social work, 12%), health-related professions (e.g. medicine, 8%), education (6%), and law (4%). 64% of the respondents indicated they have pursued or are planning to pursue further education after their Psychology undergraduate degree.

At the graduate level, our primary goal is to train students in the methods, philosophy, and ethics of scientific inquiry; to foster young scientists capable of widening the scope of scientific knowledge about psychology. Our graduate students go on to take placements at top universities, as well as government agencies and private institutions. Currently, there are 110 graduate students enrolled. The average time spent in the program is 5 years for non-clinical areas and 6 years for clinical, with 18-20 PhDs granted per year.

The faculty of our department is actively engaged in research on questions of fundamental importance to humanity, such as:

  • How does the brain control behavior?
  • How do we see, hear, remember and reason?
  • How do children develop normally and optimally?
  • How do nature and nurture combine to form unique individuals?
  • How do people develop beliefs about themselves and others, and how do these beliefs influence their ability to get along with one another?

The Department has a long history of productivity and international visibility. Since its creation in 1927, the department has attracted stellar researchers and instructors, including several members of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences, presidents of the American Psychological Association, American Psychological Society, and dozens of more specialized academic organizations. In any given year, faculty and staff receive awards of merit from the university, governmental agencies, and learned societies. Every discipline within the Department includes Fellows of professional organizations and current or former editors of major scientific journals.

The faculty currently has over 70 grants, predominantly from the federal government, worth approximately $4 million dollars annually. These grants provide employment for over 50 graduate student and professional research assistants. Our new building, a $52 million investment, boasts state-of-the-art laboratories and equipment. In the most recent rankings, U.S. News & World Report listed the Department's graduate program at 13th in the nation; a strong affirmation of the quality of our faculty, facilities, and education overall.

Department Chair

Chair James Pennebaker

James W. Pennebaker, Ph.D.

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