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Psychological Sciences



Psychological Sciences at Vanderbilt represents a diverse group of scholars in the Department of Psychology in the College Arts and Science, the Department of Psychology and Human Development in Peabody College, and faculty in allied disciplines across the university. Psychological Sciences combines breadth across the traditional domains of academic psychology with depth in specific programs of inquiry likely to contribute to solutions of major scientific, social, and psychological problems.

The graduate program in Psychological Sciences focuses on psychological theory and the development of original empirical research. Students are admitted to work toward the Ph.D. degree in the following areas:

Many of our faculty also participate in an Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Graduate Program at Vanderbilt.

The Department of Psychology and Human Development in Peabody College offer undergraduate majors in Child Development, Cognitive Studies, and Child Studies, as well as a Master of Education program in Child Studies. The Department of Psychology in the Colleges of Art and Science offers an undergraduate major in Psychology.


Recent News

  • Congratulations Rob Reinhart!

    November 23, 2015—Rob has been selected to receive an American Psychological Foundation 2015 COGDOP Graduate Research Scholarship. As a recipient of this scholarship, he will receive $1,000. The Foundation will also publish notification of his award in the APA Monitor on Psychology and in its newsletter, Psychology Giving. The Foundation provides financial support for innovative research and programs that enhance the power of psychology to elevate the human condition and advance human potential both now and in generations to come.
  • Congratulations Sun-Joo!

    November 4, 2015—Sun-Joo Cho, will be receiving the 2016 Bradley Hanson Award for Contributions to Educational Measurement from the National Council on Measurement in Education! Below is some information about the award. What a wonderful honor to be recognized in this way! Congratulations, Sun-Joo! The Bradley Hanson Award has been established to honor Bradley Hanson's contributions to the field of educational measurement and to further advance the goals embodied in his work. Applicants must describe a recently completed research project or propose a new research project that promises to make a substantive contribution to the field of educational measurement or the development, instruction or mentoring of new professionals in the field. A typical time frame for the expected completion of a proposed project is one to two years. Please see the list of previous recipients and their projects for more information. The recipient will be awarded $1,250 and a commemorative plaque from NCME, which will be presented to the recipient at the NCME Annual Meeting.
  • Congratulations Sonya Sterba!

    October 21, 2015—Sonya K. Sterba is named the 2015 recipient of the Cattell Early Career Research Award: The Cattell Early Career Research Award is named for Raymond B. Cattell, a founder of SMEP. This award is an early-career award given annually by the Society to a young researcher who has made outstanding contributions to multivariate experimental psychology and who shows promise of continued work of a very high quality. The recipient need not be a member of SMEP. Criteria for the award are as follows: (1) outstanding contribution to multivariate experimental psychology; (2) age 40 or younger, or 10 years or less post-Ph.D.; (3) a minimum of one publication in a refereed journal. Nominations are solicited annually from members of the Society, and members then vote among the nominees to select a winner. The winner of the Cattell Early Career Research Award is invited to the annual SMEP meeting to present an address and is also given an honorarium.
  • Congratulations Sam Ling!

    September 18, 2015—Sam Ling, postdoctoral alumnus from the Blake lab, is an assistant professor at Boston University, and was recently awarded a prestigious Peter Paul Professorship. This award is given annually to promising junior educators in recognition of their exceptional contributions to their field of study. For more details, see:
  • Jennifer Coppola wins the Lisa M. Quesenberry Scholarship

    April 22, 2015—The Lisa M. Quesenberry Scholarship Fund was established by Irvin and Mary Ann Quesenberry and Kathryn Quesenberry to memorialize the accomplishments of their daughter and sister, Lisa M. Quesenberry. The scholarship is designed to provide research or study awards to motivated graduate students. The award is targeted to female graduate student who overcame significant personal hurdles to pursue their education. Jennifer is currently a first-year graduate student with Anita Disney. She received her undergraduate degree from the Ohio State University. Not only is Jennifer the first in her family to enter a PhD program, but she is the first to go to college and the first to finish high school. Congratulations, Jennifer.
  • May Shen and Yao Jiang win The William F. Hodges Teaching Assistant Award

    April 22, 2015—This award recognizes outstanding achievement as a teaching assistant by a graduate student in the Department of Psychology. William Hodges was an undergraduate and a graduate student at Vanderbilt in the 1960s. After his untimely death in 1992, family and friends established the William F. Hodges Teaching Assistant Award at Vanderbilt to honor outstanding teaching assistants in the department. May Shen is a graduate student with Thomas Palmeri. She has completed a Certificate in College Teaching from the Center for Teaching and has TAed for a wide array of courses in the department, including PSY208 (Principles of Experimental Design), PSY209 (Quantitative Methods), and PSY225 (Cognitive Psychology); this semester, she is TAing for a statistics course in Psychology and Human Development. Adriane Seiffert, for whom May TAed in PSY208 and PSY209, noted that her work was “exemplary in both courses”, and that students commented that “she was responsive and helpful - gave exact answers to questions”, “conveyed the material in a way she knew would be effective, logical and memorable”. Geoff Woodman, for whom May TAed in PSY225, noted that she “jumped on a week’s worth of lectures when given the opportunity.” Yao Jiang is a graduate student with Vivien Casagrande. She most recently TAed for the introductory NSC201 Neuroscience course. Students commented that Yao is “very energetic and very very smart”, and that “her review sessions helped so much”. Dr. Leslie Smith, who Yao TAed for in Neuroscience, commented that “She was always eager to volunteer for jobs as they sprung up during the semester. Her exam reviews were spot on, and students raved about her upbeat, enthusiastic personality during these sessions. … I truly enjoyed working with her. She was so positive, a breath of fresh air every lecture day.” Congratulations, May and Yao.
  • Rob Reinhart wins The Pat Burns Memorial Graduate Student Research Award

    April 22, 2015—This award is named after Pat Burns, who was Education Coordinator in the Department of Psychology until her death several years ago; Pat touched generations of doctoral students during her nearly four decades of service to Vanderbilt University. In memory of her tireless efforts to help guide our students through all phases of their graduate education, this award recognizes outstanding achievement in research by a graduate student in the department. This year’s winner, Rob Reinhart, is a PhD student working with Geoff Woodman, Jeff Schall, and Sohee Park. He received his BA from the University of Connecticut. Rob was awarded a pre-doctoral NRSA fellowship and already has 12 peer-reviewed publications in top journals, such Psychological Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Cerebral Cortex, and Journal of Neuroscience. Congratulations, Rob.