Social and Consumer Psychology Specialization
The NYU General Masters Degree specialization in Social and Consumer Psychology focuses on the social and cognitive factors influencing consumer purchase behavior, product development strategy, marketing and advertising communication programs, product placement, and how organizations manage these through their structure and processes. Core concepts in perception, memory, social cognition, motivation, culture, diversity and personality are studied in application to business decision making as well as branding of products and services.
Career pathways with this concentration include: marketing, advertising, public relations, market research and focus groups, strategic branding, consumer awareness education, advocacy and public policy consulting, and general HR roles within product development and manufacturing companies.
Click here for the NYU Social & Consumer Psychology Association website
Curriculum and program requirements
In the context of the broader requirements of the MA program, the suggested options for a 36-credit curriculum with a social and consumer psychology specialization are listed below. Note that the curriculum is flexible, and students will work individually with a faculty advisor to develop a study plan tailored to specific career goals in this area.
Required Foundation Courses:
- Research Methods and Experience or Consumer Research Methods
General MA Core courses (choose at least one from each Core group):
Core A: Cognitive Psychology OR Cognitive Neuroscience OR Principles of Learning
Core B: Theories of Personality OR Child Development
Required Social and Consumer Psychology courses:
- Psychology of Social Behavior
- Consumer Behavior
Social and Consumer Psychology Elective courses (choose at least three electives from the following list):
- Mind of the Consumer
- Group Dynamics
- Psychology of Decision Making
- Culture, Thought, and Emotion
- Gender Roles
- Affective Neuroscience
To complete the 36 credits required for the MA degree in General Psychology, and to further tailor her or his curriculum, the social/consumer student may take up to three additional electives from other sources, such as the General Psychology program, the I/O program, or other divisions of NYU (see following sections).
Recommended Social and Consumer Psychology Electives from the I/O MA Program (special permission required):
- Introduction to I/O Psychology (summer only)
- Organizational Culture and Climate
- Personality and Organizational Behavior
- Quality of Work Life
Other Perspectives on Social and Consumer Psychology @ NYU
As the largest private University in the country, NYU has multiple Schools, Centers, and Departments with social and consumer behavior-related courses. You may take up to three elective courses from other divisions of NYU to broaden your perspective on the topic. The following are just some of the possibilities:
Introduction to Marketing Research (Stern School of Business)
Theories of Adult Learning (Steinhardt School of Education)
History of Consumer Culture (Steinhardt)
Topics in Globalization: Global Consumer Culture (Steinhardt)
Issues in Organizational Communication (Steinhardt)
Critical Issues in Conflict Resolution (Steinhardt)
Financial Management (School of Continuing and Professional Studies)
Foundations of Human Resource Management (SCPS)
Business Strategy and Ethics (SCPS)
Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management (SCPS)
Graduation Requirements for the Social and Consumer Psychology Specialization
Comprehensive Examination: A separate written comprehensive examination, similar to the one that is given to General MA students, is offered three times a year, on the first Fridays of the following months: October, February, and June. Prior to taking the Social and Consumer Psychology Comprehensive Examination, students must have minimally taken and passed with a grade of B or better) the following courses: Psychology of Social Behavior, Consumer Behavior, Statistics, Research Methods, 1 Core A Course, 1 Elective Course.
The "comps" exam for the Social and Consumer Psychology specialization requires studying from, and taking, the following 3 question sets:
1. The Psychology of Social Behavior Question Set (Core B)
2. The Consumer Psychology Question Set
3. Choice of one Core A Question Set
MA Thesis: Instead of the Comprehensive Examination, the student may seek permission to write an MA thesis. For such permission to be granted, the student must demonstrate an outstanding record of performance in his or her studies and, as a minimum, must have completed all of the core requirements with at least a B+ average in all core courses. The student must also secure the sponsorship of a full-time faculty member in consultation with the MA director.
Note: The specialization in Social and Consumer Psychology is available as an informal track that does not appear on students' transcripts. The Department may develop a concentration that designates a formal course of study designed to meet standards set by the NYS Board of Regents. For more information on the field of consumer psychology, including career opportunities, we recommend that you begin by looking into APA's Division 23, the Society for Consumer Psychology: http://www.apa.org/about/division/div23.aspx.
NYU MA Social and Consumer Psychology Faculty
Adrienne Gans, Interim Social and Consumer Psychology Coordinator
Note: Our Social and Consumer Psychology professors are all psychologists with expertise reflecting the spectrum of specializations in this field including social psychologists, licensed clinical psychologists, business and consumer psychology experts, and organizational consultants.