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College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Department of Psychology

Prospective Students

Letter to Prospective Students

Dear prospective student,

We, the current graduate students enrolled in the University of Denver psychology programs, would like to take this opportunity to tell you a few things about our program from the students' perspective. We hope that you find this letter informative and useful in deciding if the University of Denver is the right place for you.

Community Atmosphere
Although our program is unquestionably a challenging and demanding one, these high expectations have not led to the development of a competitive attitude among the students. Our department is relatively small compared to other competitive programs and has fostered a unique sense of community among students and faculty.

Research groups and labs are encouraged to collaborate with each other on grants, projects, and papers, and this collaborative atmosphere provides the unique opportunity for all students to learn about specializations from some of the leading experts in diverse areas. Also, although students receive primary guidance from one faculty member, working with multiple mentors is highly encouraged. There is also a close link among the child clinical, cognitive, developmental and social/affective programs, with students from all areas taking a number of classes together.

Furthermore, our program has a low student-faculty ratio of about 2:1. As a result, the program is successfully able to implement a junior-colleague model, which involves close collaborative relationships between students and faculty. This community atmosphere facilitates the development and refinement of research skills, clinical skills and academic/intellectual sophistication.

Student Input
In line with our junior-colleague model, student input is strongly valued throughout the department. Student representatives participate in most department committees, including the Admissions, Area Meetings and Service Committees. All students are also encouraged to become involved in professional organizations, and state and national affairs that affect us as psychologists.

Commitment to Inclusive Excellence
The department strives to appreciate the breadth of graduate students' worldviews and lived experiences, and invites diverse perspectives to inform and enrich the work we do. In courses, research, and clinical work, we engage with issues of diversity relevant to modern psychology, such as systemic inequality, cultural trauma, and neurodiversity. We conduct research on a wide array of topics -- including stress and early adversity, social processes, and cognitive and learning differences -- and our research practices emphasize social justice and partnerships with affected communities.

The department is especially supportive of graduate student-initiated efforts to broaden and improve the department's training and policies around inclusivity. For instance, the Multicultural Interest Group (MIG) is a student-led group that meets monthly and includes students, faculty, and staff dedicated to enhancing the awareness of multicultural experiences as they relate to psychology. MIG organizes and participates in community events, brings in speakers related to issues of diversity, and provides a venue for members to engage in open dialogue about ways in which to increase multicultural competency within our department and the field as whole.

Research Presentations
Our program provides ample opportunities for students to present research ideas in formal and informal forums. Small reading groups and frequent lab meetings encourage intellectual development and lively discussion in a variety of research areas. These forums include student-faculty research groups and lunch meetings where students are strongly encouraged to present their research. These meetings provide opportunities to exchange ideas, receive feedback and to learn how to present research ideas. Colloquia given by speakers invited from outside the department are also scheduled throughout the year.

Academic Careers
Members of our faculty strongly believe in preparing students for academic careers. Thus, students are encouraged to publish their research, present research at national conferences and write grants. Our programs are primarily designed to train students to become competent researchers, teachers and clinicians.

Specialization Tools
Every student is required to complete a sequence of courses called a "tool," which satisfies students' unique interests and career goals that may not be met in regular coursework.

In the past, students have chosen tool topics such as statistical analysis, psychometrics, multiculturalism, developmental psychopathology and assessment tools for children. One other unique option for fulfilling the tool requirement is the developmental cognitive neuroscience (DCN) specialization, in which students take classes that build on a foundation in cognitive neuroscience with a developmental perspective.

The DCN faculty is drawn from the several areas of psychology as well as from the Biology Department. It is this kind of overlap that allows for great trans-disciplinary discussions and collaboration. This tool requirement provides unique opportunities for students to find specializations for our future careers.

Recognizing that teaching skills are important for success in academia, our department offers a course on teaching psychology. After completing the course, students are encouraged and supported to teach an occasional class for a faculty member, or teach an entire course or workshop.

Work-Life Balance
Our department values a balance between academic and personal lives. Denver is a wonderful place to live, rich with culture and history, where the sun shines approximately 300 days a year! Moreover, Denver is just 45 minutes or so away from the Rocky Mountains, which offers an abundance of recreational activities and breathtaking scenery.

In sum, we believe the University of Denver Department of Psychology provides a unique collaborative environment that fosters academic success for our unique interests. We hope we have provided you with a closer look at our program and answered some questions.

Thank you for your interest in our program.


The graduate students of the University of Denver psychology programs