Psychology

Why do people do what they do? Where do personality characteristics come from? Can our dreams tell us about our conscious life? What does “normal” mean?

Psychology is the study of human behavior and mental processes. If you’ve ever wondered about people’s motivations, tried to understand your own feelings, or discussed the actions of others around you, you’ve already explored psychology informally.

Our majors and minors in psychology and gender, sexuality and society formalize that inquiry into a scientific study by providing a solid background in the central theories, approaches, and controversies in contemporary psychology. It’s an endlessly fascinating field.

Departmental interests

Psychology is a broad subject. Along with offering the historical underpinnings of the discipline, our department is especially interested in how culture and social context influence basic aspects of psychology including:

  • Identity, human development, and the life course
  • Motivation, cognition, and perception
  • Gender and sexuality
  • Conscious and unconscious processes
  • Interpersonal relationships and social representations
  • Health, pathology, and the concept of normality

Drawing on both the American liberal arts tradition and our location in Paris, we offer access to interdisciplinary perspectives and intercultural field experience, as well as to resources from French and European scientific institutions, laboratories, and archives.

A variety of methodologies

Our diverse courses consider human psychology from a variety of analytical frameworks including neuropsychological, psychodynamic, cognitive, cultural, developmental, and social. Our goal is to give insight into the complexity of human beings, their social positions, and their relationships.

Challenging the validity of any single framework, the program aims to foster dialogue and debate between different orientations on psychology. Such debate takes place both in the classroom and across the AUP community through hosted conferences and invited speakers from around the world.

Solid preparation for professional life

AUP’s psychology department prepares students for entry into professional life or for graduate studies in diverse programs of study, including clinical, neuroscience, developmental, social, and cultural psychology.

Due to the small professor-student ratio, students have the opportunity to collaborate closely with professors in their areas of research and benefit from their mentorship while getting hands on experience. Our students become independent thinkers capable of reading critically, making sensitive observations, and developing sound arguments—all valuable skills in many careers.

Get in touch

Please feel free to explore our diverse course offerings, meet our accomplished faculty, and contact us if you have any questions about whether studying psychology is right for you. We look forward to hearing from you.