Michigan State University

Michigan State University
Neal Schmitt, chair
Department of Psychology
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824-1117

Michigan State University was founded in 1855 as the nation’s first land grant university prior to the enactment of the Morrill Act in 1862. The university served as the model for the 69 land grant universities that were subsequently established under that act. MSU started as a school devoted to teaching the science of agriculture, but is now a comprehensive research university with 4,402 faculty and academic staff, and 34,342 undergraduate, 7,657 graduate, and 1,367 professional students. The total enrollment places MSU as the largest single-campus university in the state of Michigan and among the largest in the country.

The Department of Psychology has 52 faculty members and is recruiting four new psychologists in the 2002-03 academic year. There are approximately 110 active graduate students in the department’s six graduate programs and we have 1,439 undergraduate majors as of the 2002 fall semester. The clinical psychology program has been accredited since 1948 and the psychological clinic has served clients in the local area since 1949.

Department faculty members are active in seeking extramural support for their research and are awarded in excess of $6,000,000 in grants annually. The cognitive science group is supported by a large National Science Foundation training grant and faculty members in each of our six interest areas have externally funded research projects. Approximately two-thirds of the faculty members are supported as investigators on one or more grants or contracts. On average, faculty members publish 2-3 peer-reviewed papers annually.

Our psychological clinic is actively involved in outreach activities to various community organizations including our local schools, associations, and government agencies. The clinic served approximately 250 clients last year and was visited over 3,000 times. Our ecological/community psychology program is based on providing humanitarian and scientific solutions to social problems. Faculty and students are involved with local groups and government agencies working on several projects, including: partnering with the local criminal justice system to provide alternatives to incarceration for youthful offenders working with government and social service agencies concerned with family violence finding solutions for a local city to its economic and educational inequities a partnership with Schizophrenics Anonymous, a self-help organization for persons with schizophrenia.

The department’s industrial/organizational psychologists are involved with various organizations including Ford, 3M, College Board, FBI, Butterworth Hospital, US Air Force. The faculty are working with this organizations on research-based solutions to problems in the areas of training, selection, team effectiveness, organizational change, performance evaluation, and job attitudes.

The department of psychology has six graduate programs in behavioral neuroscience, clinical, cognitive, community/ecological, industrial/organizational, and social/personality. With university support, department faculty members are developing initiatives in applied cognition and evaluation science and have proposed a multicultural initiative. In each instance, new faculty were hired who have substantive interests in one of the department’s six major graduate programs with the notion that a “concentration” in these areas will be developed. The graduate students are supported by fellowships, traineeships, and research and teaching assistantships. About one-third of these students are supported on teaching assistantships; many are also supported during the summer months too. About 20 to 25 doctoral degrees are awarded each year. Graduate applicants successfully compete for university-level fellowships; we have been awarded more of these fellowships than any other university department over the past decade.

Behavioral Neuroscience. The behavioral neuroscience program consists of an eight-member faculty with approximately 20 graduate students. Some of these students are in the interdisciplinary neuroscience program that includes faculty members and students from five different colleges and multiple university departments.

The research strategy guiding this group recognizes the important advances in molecular genetics and the fact that behavior is the product of the interactions of the nervous system with an internal environment, such as endocrine factors. and an external environment that includes physical factors, seasonal and time factors, and social aspects.

Clinical. The clinical psychology program includes 11 faculty members and about 30 graduate students. Clinical graduate students can specialize in one of three major interest areas: neuropsychology, child/family, or community. These projects address a variety of problems including the etiology of attention deficit hyperactivity disorders, the neuropsychological risk for alcoholism, genetic and developmental factors in eating disorders, and risk and protective factors in domestic violence. Projects on the effectiveness of psychotherapy and aging and memory are ongoing research projects in the psychology clinic. Clinical students also serve practica at the university’s counseling center which serves occasionally as the basis for research projects.

Cognitive. There are 11 primary faculty members in the cognitive interest area and about 10 graduate students. The psychology faculty members in cognitive psychology are core members of a larger cognitive science program that includes 32 faculty from four other colleges as well as graduate students from some of these areas. The group is the recipient of a 2.5 million dollar Integrated Graduate Education and Research Traineeship from NSF that provides funding for research and graduate education for a period of seven years.

Community/Ecology. The community/ecological group includes five primary faculty members and about 25 graduate students. A hallmark of this group is its emphasis on the conduct of field experimental research designed to improve the human condition. Research by members of this group is usually conducted with community partners, attending to diversity issues and addressing the interdependencies between individuals and the social setting in which they find themselves. Faculty and graduate students in this area have worked at the local, state, and federal agency level.

Industrial/Organizational. Eight faculty members and approximately 20 graduate students comprise the industrial/organizational group. The faculty and students work on basic scientific research on team effectiveness, learning, technology use, and human ability or individual differences as well as a wide variety of applied problems such as job analysis, selection, performance appraisal, and organizational development and change. This graduate program was rated the No. 1 program among US graduate programs by the U. S. News and World Report for the last seven years.

Social/Personality. The social/personality program has five faculty members (two additional faculty members will join the program next fall) and about 10 graduate students. This program places a strong emphasis on understanding the interrelationships among various aspects of personal and interpersonal processes and structures. Research interests include small group performance, cooperation, psychology and the law, social identities, personality, emotion, and individuals’ sense of well being. Their research has been funded by the NSF, NIMH, Andrew Mellon Foundation, and the Michigan Bar Association. Graduate students are trained to engage in laboratory and field research.

With more than 1,400 majors, the undergraduate program is the largest in the college of social sciences and among the largest on campus. Faculty members also teach a large number of students in other majors who take our courses as electives or as part of graduation requirements for other courses. Majors in the department’s honors program are required to complete an honors thesis describing research that is supervised by committees of three faculty members. Three full time undergraduate advisors provide academic and career advice. Undergraduate majors must take the introductory course, two methods and data analyses courses, selections from the various psychology sub-disciplines, and advanced topic courses. MSU has more students participating in international programs than any other in the country; there are psychology programs in England and Germany. Undergraduate students have multiple opportunities to engage in faculty research and some exceptional students are invited to serve as teaching assistants in some of the large undergraduate courses.

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