About the Department

Wordle of Psychology


Promoting Healthy Minds and Society through Psychological Science

The Psychology Department discovers the fundamental principles underlying human behavior and how one can change behavior in ways that enhance our lives and society. Our undergraduate and graduate instructional programs train science-minded students to enter the workforce, and to create new leadership for a better world.


The strong success of our research programs places Psychology Department research among the top three departments in the College of Arts and Sciences in terms of grant and contract awards (over $10 million.)

Current research initiatives seek to:

  1. Promote social equality by
    1. understanding how prejudice and bias develop and can be changed
    2. discovering new approaches that reveal implicit bias, inequalities, disparities
    3. solving social justice issues
  2. Optimize human potential by increasing one’s resilience
    1. in young children and adults
    2. to address mental health disparities
    3. in vulnerable conditions
    4. with new and innovative intervention
  3. Understand the mind through behavior and brain science to
    1. enhance communication
    2. make better decisions
    3. improve learning and emotional stability


Undergraduate program: Psychology is among the top departments in undergraduate teaching at the UW. In 2015- 2016, the Department had nearly 11,990 course enrollments and continues to be the leading department offering faculty-supervised undergraduate research. Our students also gain hands-on experience via faculty-supervised undergraduate teaching opportunities and numerous community-based volunteer and internship positions. Well over 1,000 undergraduates participated in research, peer teaching, and community-based field work. The diversity of interests and backgrounds of our students and the percentage of under-represented minority students in our major exceeds that of the University as a whole.

The Department offers both Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees, as well as a range of general education courses. The B.S. program—which prepares students for doctoral programs in psychology and careers in teaching, research, or clinical practice— emphasizes laboratory research and statistics. The B.A. program provides a more general background in psychology and prepares students for a wide range of graduate studies and a diversity of career pathways. Our courses are also popular with non-majors. In 2015-2016, 3,377 students were enrolled in Psychology 101 (Introduction to Psychology), making it the most popular course on campus. We continue to increase non-major course offerings to provide greater opportunities for all UW students to study psychology.

Special programs and services for undergraduates include our departmental Honors Program, Writing Center, Statistics and Methods Lab, Undergraduate Study Center, and advising support in the areas of academic planning, career, and graduate school preparation.

Graduate Program: The department’s Clinical Psychology Graduate Training Program has been ranked in the top ten programs in the nation for the past 10 years, according to the U.S. News and World Report. Overall, our Graduate Training Program ranks 14th in the nation (U.S. News and World Report, March 2016).

Our graduate program offers not only traditional doctoral education and research training in the subfields of animal behavior, behavioral neuroscience, clinical psychology, cognition / perception, developmental, quantitative, and social / personality psychology, but strong emphasis is placed on interdisciplinary approaches to most effectively address society’s most pressing challenges. A quantitative minor and a diversity science specialization are also available to students. Our Ph.D. graduates go on to prestigious and highly competitive postdoctoral positions in academia and industry, clinical internships, or faculty positions.