PULLMAN, Wash. — Social Psychology, a graduate specialty in Washington State University’s Department of Sociology, received a top ranking in an article in a recent U. S. News and World Report. The WSU offering was ranked 10th among the 12 schools considered best in the nation. More than 120 graduate schools in the U.S. offer a specialty in social psychology.
The social psychology ranking resulted from the magazine’s survey of scholars at 105 U.S. schools that offer sociology degrees. The survey also ranked the WSU Department of Sociology 35th among the top 53 schools mentioned.
According to WSU sociology professor Peter Burke, the social psychology specialty’s excellent reputation is due to the work of the five faculty in the area, all of whom have published important articles in the leading journals in the field and have been leaders in professional organizations.
Professor Viktor Gecas was chair of the Social Psychology section of the American Sociological Association, associate professor Jan Stets is newsletter editor for the ASA and Burke is nominee for chair of the Social-Psychology section of the ASA. In addition, two of the major theories in the field were developed by WSU faculty. The “satisfaction-balance model” was developed by professor Louis Gray and professor emeritus Irving Tallman; and the “identity theory” was developed by Stets and Burke.
Social psychology is an area of study concerned with the relationship between the individual and society. It focuses on the nature of the individual within society, the influence of society on the individual, as well as the influence of the person on society. In addition, it studies the nature of social interaction among persons.

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