Why Psychology?

Elliot Hall exterior with a University of Minnesota sign in the foreground

The Department of Psychology at the University of Minnesota is one of the most respected and innovative psychology departments in the United States. Our mission is to advance psychological science through rigorous research, effective teaching, and community engagement to improve people's lives. We seek to be a global leader in using psychology to maximize human potential in a changing world.

Our graduate programs are consistently ranked among the top in the United States. Our cutting-edge research is internationally recognized for its strengths in behavioral genetics, cognitive and affective neuroscience, cultural psychology, multisensory perception, organizational behavior, biological bases of psychopathology, counseling interventions, health and well-being, political psychology, and relationship science, to name a few.

We are the largest department in the College of Liberal Arts with over 1,500 undergraduate BA/BS majors and minors and 44 current full-time faculty members. Our 140 PhD students come from top universities around the world and engage in independent and collaborative research both within and beyond our department. The department currently has over $43 million in external funding to support faculty and student research.

Our setting in a liberal arts college within a major, comprehensive research university also provides students and faculty the opportunity for unparalleled interdisciplinary innovation. We collaborate with colleagues in the Academic Health Center (e.g., neuroscience, radiology, psychiatry, ophthalmology), the Institute for Child Development, the School of Public Health, and the Departments of Kinesiology, Computer Science, and Biomedical Engineering, to name a few.

Within the College of Liberal Arts, our faculty and students also collaborate with colleagues in political science, ethnic studies, economics, sociology, statistics, speech-language-hearing science, and several other departments. Some of our faculty and graduate students also conduct research in cutting-edge facilities at the Center for Magnetic Resonance Imaging and several other specialized centers and labs around the University.

Drawing on a wide variety of theories, models, and methodologies, Psychology at Minnesota addresses fundamental questions at the root of human experience: How does the brain operate and influence emotional, cognitive, and behavioral reactions in different situations? How do individual and cultural differences guide our thoughts, feelings, and behavior, and vice versa? What kinds of interventions improve physical and mental health across time? What affects the functioning and success of relationships, groups, and larger organizations? And how does the delicate interplay between nature and nurture unfold?