About

Spence Labs Photo courtesy of University Relations
Photography /University of Iowa

The Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences at the University of Iowa combines a long history of outstanding achievement in Psychology with an exciting ongoing program of cutting-edge research, expansion, and recruitment. It is the seventh oldest psychology department in the country, and has been home to such eminent psychologists as Kenneth Spence, Albert Bandura, and Leon Festinger. Today, the department's tradition of research excellence continues, as reflected in the selection of its faculty members as recipients of numerous awards (including four faculty who have been honored with the American Psychological Association's prestigious Outstanding Contribution awards). In addition, the department was recently chosen to receive the first Psychology Department of the Year Award from the American Psychological Association for Graduate Students.

The department's commitment to research excellence is matched by a commitment to providing outstanding training in psychology at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The undergraduate and graduate programs both reflect a carefully designed curriculum that combines breadth of exposure with an emphasis on methodological rigor and on active engagement in research. Opportunities abound for undergraduate majors to become involved in faculty research, while an active program of research is required of graduate students beginning in their very first year. All graduate students accepted into the graduate program are fully funded for at least five years. 

A unique strength of the Department is the interdisciplinary nature of faculty research. Thus, while the department has several graduate training areas offering different concentrations of graduate study, many faculty are affiliated with more than one training area. These cross-disciplinary affiliations have their impact both on the scope of research conducted by faculty and on the ability of students to work with a wide range of mentors. 

Departmental research and teaching overall are supported by outstanding facilities and a team of dedicated administrative and support staff. Facilities include a shop enabling a wide variety of special equipment construction needs to be met within the department; three computer support personnel who handle software and hardware computing needs for the department; newly installed high-speed data communications lines; computing facilities for the specific use of graduate students; and newly constructed graduate student offices. In addition to its own strengths, the department benefits from ties with many other schools, departments, and programs within the university, including the College of Medicine, the College of Business, the College of Education, the Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, the Neuroscience Graduate Program, and from the overall strengths of the University of Iowa. The department's intellectual life is also enhanced by its location in Iowa City's downtown area, which achieves a rare blend of charm, liveliness, and safety, and provides a variety of coffee-houses, eateries, and other stimulating environments within five minutes walking distance. Iowa City and the University of Iowa also offer a rich cultural life, from live blues and jazz downtown to performances and exhibits by internationally acclaimed artists at the Hancher Auditorium and other venues for the arts.