Please note: The Social and Consumer Psychology Specialization (SCP) is a track within the General MA Psychology Program. If you are a prospective applicant interested in the SCP specialization, you should apply directly to the General MA Psychology Program and note in your statement of purpose that your interest is in the SCP track. 

SCP Description
SCP Course Requirements
SCP Graduation requirements
SCP Faculty

SCP Description

The NYU General Masters Degree specialization in Social and Consumer Psychology focuses on the psychological factors influencing consumer behavior, including purchase behavior, effect of social influence, information processing of product/marketing messages, motivated goal and decision making, and assessment of marketing and advertising communication effectiveness. How organizations manage brands and situational change through leadership, structure and processes is also addressed.

Click here for the NYU Social & Consumer Psychology Association website

Core concepts in perception, memory, social psychology/cognition, motivation, self-regulation, industrial/organizational and personality psychology are applied to consumer behavior. Statistical and research methodology training is intrinsic to the field of social and consumer behavior. The unique combination of NYU’s resources to study social psychology and consumer behavior from a research perspective and to have access to courses and faculty in other departments and schools within NYU allows a student to select and prepare for multiple career directions while fulfilling the following learning objectives:

  1. Understand the major influences on consumer behavior mediated by internal perceptual, cognitive, and social psychological processes. This includes self-concept goal motivations and congruence with brand characteristics that drive decision-making.

  2. Learn statistical, research, and computer tools necessary for academic research, consumer market research, product development and consumer satisfaction assessments.

  3. Understand sources of external influence such as culture on globalization/localization of purchase and consumer decision-making.

  4. Learn the industrial/organizational factors that impact the consumer including corporate leadership and strategic organizational change management.

  5. Gain a basic understanding of social media as a form of social influence on consumer behavior and market research.

Career pathways with the Social and Consumer Psychology specialization include: marketing, market research, corporate communications, focus group facilitation and analysis, consumer awareness education, advocacy and public policy consulting, and general HR roles within product development and manufacturing companies. Students also prepare for academic research careers and doctoral studies in Social Psychology, Consumer Psychology or Business with this specialization. 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 looking into APA's Division 23, the Society for Consumer Psychology:

SCP Course 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. Students will work individually with a faculty advisor to develop a study plan tailored to their specific career goals in this area.

Required Foundation Courses - 6 credits:

  1. Statistics
  2. Research Methods and Experience or Consumer Research Methods

Required General MA Core courses – 6 credits

  1. Core A choose one: Cognitive Psychology OR Cognitive Neuroscience* OR Principles of Learning, OR Physiological Bases of Behavior
  2. Core B choose one: Theories of Personality OR Child Development OR Affective Neuroscience* (the Psychopathology Core B will only count as a general elective)
  3. *Students may take EITHER Affective Neuroscience OR Cognitive Neuroscience towards the Core A or Core B requirements. If a student takes both, one will count as an elective.

Required Social and Consumer Psychology Courses – 6 credits:

  1. Psychology of Social Behavior (Core B)
  2. Consumer Behavior

Elective Social and Consumer Psychology Courses – 18 credits

A total of 18 credits (6 courses) of electives must be taken in addition to the above Foundation, Core, and SCP-required courses. Three of these elective courses (9 credits) must be taken within the Psychology Department. The other three can be taken across other schools/departments at NYU. Exceptions require advisement permission.

Psychology Department Electives Relevant to Social/Consumer Psychology

  1. Psychology of Branding
  2. Psychology of Social Media Applications
  3. Psychology of Market Diversity & Segmentation
  4. Psychology Children's TV and Media Influence
  5. Advanced Doctoral Statistics (ANOVA, Regression, etc. by permission of instructor)
  6. Group Dynamics
  7. Psychology of Decision Making
  8. Topics in Organizational Psychology: Resilience and Quality (formerly Quality of Work Life)
  9. Culture, Thought, and Emotion
  10. Gender Roles
  11. Affective Neuroscience (if not taken as a Core B course)
  12. Introduction to I/O Psychology (summer only)
  13. Organizational Culture and Climate (permission required from I/O)
  14. Personality and Organizational Behavior (permission required from I/O)
  15. Other: Determined in conjunction with advisement

Electives in other departments and schools at 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.  Note: some schools/departments have limitations on enrollments so it is recommended to register early and/or speak with each department/school as needed to understand requirements for cross-registration. Because schools continuously update their offerings, please check their catalog or website. The classes below are ones that our students have been interested in, however you may find other relevant courses in Economics, NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering, or Computer Science depending on whether you have the pre-requisite courses or skill. A sample is included below:

Stern School of Business

  • Marketing (a course for non-Stern students is offered each Fall semester)
  • Market Research
  • Business Strategy
  • Organizational behavior courses (change management, leadership, etc.)

Steinhardt School of Education

  • History of Consumer Culture
  • Topics in Globalization: Global Consumer Culture
  • Issues in Organizational Communication

NYU School of Continuing and Professional Studies – Courses MUST be within their Masters Program (not Certificate Program)

  • Marketing
  • Market Research
  • Database Management (SAS)
  • Foundations of Human Resource Management
  • Business Strategy and Ethics

SCP Graduation Requirements

In addition to completing the course requirements described above, students will take the Comprehensive Examination or complete a MA thesis.

  1. 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. 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; and, 3) Choice of one Core A Question Set.


  1. 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.

SCP Faculty

Adrienne Gans, Director of MA Program in Psychology, Social and Consumer Specialization Coordinator
Robert Ausch
Bill Battle
Paulette Forte
Zoran Josipovic
Jung Min Lee
Deidre L. Kolarick
Boaz Mourad
Lise Saari
Dan Silberman
Jasmina Sose Selimotic

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. For more information about faculty, see