Psychology Ph.D. Program

Graduate Program in Psychology

The Department of Psychology at Clark University offers graduate students a unique opportunity to explore a variety of theoretical approaches and to participate in ongoing research programs in the intimate atmosphere of a small research university. The department, which is part of Clark’s Frances L. Hiatt School of Psychology, offers a Ph.D. in psychology. Students are not accepted for master’s studies only.

In an era during which the discipline of psychology often seems to be splitting into isolated fragments, we are committed to the idea of the unity of psychology. Although various sub-specialties and methodological approaches are represented in the department, (Clinical, Developmental and Social Psychology), we respect different approaches and find ways to integrate them.

We strive, theoretically and through empirical research, to understand human development within a socio-cultural context. This focus on development, both in childhood and as a manner of conceptualizing all psychological phenomena, is in keeping with a distinguished history at Clark. This history includes developmentalists such as G. Stanley Hall, the first president of the University and founder of the American Psychological Association at Clark in 1892, and Heinz Werner, who reestablished Clark in the 1950s as a center of wide-ranging conceptions and innovative research in development.

Clark is a small university where faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates are involved in a joint educational enterprise. Our special focus is to prepare graduate students to work collectively and to also work closely with undergraduates as members of research teams that are led by faculty. Graduate students also lead these research teams when necessary. Numerous visiting scholars are present in the department every year and actively participate in research teams and in the departmental seminar where the intellectual integration of the department takes place.

Graduate students are expected to present their work at international and national conferences and to become involved in the activities of professional societies such as International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development, American Psychological Society, American Psychological Association, Society for Research on Child Development, Association for the Advancement of Behavior Therapy and others. We support the intellectual development of our students in ways that make them well qualified for their future careers, whether in academic teaching and research, clinical practice, or elsewhere. We expect our graduate students to do high-quality empirical and theoretical work during their years at Clark and to submit that work actively for publication.

Our faculty and graduates have always demonstrated the capacity to understand broad issues and to avoid pitfalls of temporary technical fads in psychology. This tradition continues in all three of our sub-programs of graduate education: Developmental, Clinical, and Social Psychology. We prepare Ph.D.s with special skills in their selected areas and wide integrative theoretical orientations.

It is often the case that prospective employers turn to us to find young scholars who can think beyond their specialty areas. Clark has a reputation for producing distinguished Ph.D. alumni who become valuable members of their professions.