About Us

Columbia University’s Department of Psychology has a history of excellence. Dating back to 1890, it is one of the oldest and most influential psychology departments in the United States. In the early nineteen hundreds, the scientific approach our department took to the study of psychology was so well known, it was referred to as the Columbia school of psychology (versus behaviorism or gestalt or psychoanalytic). Remaining a relatively small department, it consistently ranks among top programs, having more renowned faculty and graduate students than programs many times its size.

Our faculty, who have received many of the top honors in their fields, are not only outstanding researchers but also dedicated teachers, receiving teaching awards in recognition of their contributions. Actively engaged in interdisciplinary collaboration with other departments—including biology, business management, marketing, psychiatry, and neuroscience—our faculty are leading the way to exciting new frontiers in training and research.

The Department of Psychology is strongly represented as an undergraduate major in the university, offering an honors program and a neuroscience and behavior major co-sponsored with the Department of Biological Sciences. The curriculum offers a broad spectrum of courses and, in line with its history, supports an experimental orientation to learning about the many areas within psychology. Undergraduate majors often become involved in faculty research, thereby learning firsthand about the scientific method.

Our post-baccalaureate program, a relatively recent addition to the department (since 1998), has been enormously popular and successful in preparing students—who previously majored in other fields—to apply successfully to graduate programs in psychology. 

The graduate program aims to train doctoral candidates to become accomplished researchers and teachers, providing them with the opportunity to collaborate with faculty while pursuing their personal interests. The low student/faculty ratio creates a richly rewarding learning environment for students who benefit from the flexibility of delving into a wide range of research areas, often creating their own linkages across research areas. Twenty-five percent of our graduate students receive fellowships to support their research pursuits.

While the undergraduate program has strong offerings for students with an interest in clinical and abnormal psychology, the department has no graduate clinical program. For those graduate-bound students interested in pursuing a clinical Ph.D., we suggest looking into the clinical program at Teacher’s College.