The minimum course requirement for the Ph.D. set by the Graduate School at Northwestern is 9 quarters of full-time coursework. Three courses per quarter constitute a full-time load. Hence, students normally take three courses per quarter during their first three years of graduate work, yielding a total of 27 quarter-length courses. Within this framework, students are required to take a set of core social psychology and statistics/methodology courses, but there is considerable flexibility in tailoring the rest of the required course work around each student's particular areas of interest. At Northwestern, graduate courses are "400-level" courses (levels 100 through 300 are undergraduate courses). Graduate course credit may derive from three sources: social courses, other courses, and research.
The following graduate social psychology courses are offered regularly:
- 430: Attraction and Relationships
- 440: Self-Regulation
- 481: Theories in Social Psychology
- 482: Research Methods in Social Psychology
- 483: Social Cognition
- 485: Psychology of Attitudes
- 486: Stereotyping and Prejudice
- 489: Special Topics in Social Psychology (e.g., Motivated Cognition, Origins of Psychological Sex Differences and Similarities, The Self, Implicit Social Cognition, Social Stigma).
Students must complete at least six 400-level courses in social psychology. Two of these are mandatory: Psychology 481 (Theories in Social Psychology) and Psychology 482 (Research Methods in Social Psychology). In addition to these 6 social courses, students must also complete another 3 "400-level" courses, excluding 499. At least 2 of these must be nonsocial – that is, courses offered by other areas of the Psychology Department. Also, students are required by the department to take a full year of statistics (3 courses) and 2 quarters of a department-wide proseminar designed to introduce students to the field of psychology as a whole. Students will participate in an ethics training sequence during a third quarter of this proseminar, although this additional quarter will be a not-for-credit course (Psychology 519). Finally, students receive course credit for independent research (Psychology 499), which may account for one course per quarter, or nine courses in total.
Beyond these basic requirements, students are free to develop a program of coursework that suits their particular career and research aspirations. Relevant courses may be offered by the Departments of Anthropology and Sociology, the School of Communications, the School of Education and Social Policy, and the Kellogg Graduate School of Management (particularly the Marketing and the Management and Organization departments). Most students find it useful to take additional quantitative courses so as to supplement the three basic courses offered in the department.