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Welcome From The Chair

UC San Diego

The University of California, San Diego (UC San Diego) was officially established in 1960 around the nucleus of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. UC San Diego has since become one of the major research universities in the world. Over the first decade, the campus built its academic backbone by establishing first-rate departments in the natural sciences. UC San Diego started its instructional role with graduate students in the 1960, followed in 1964 with undergraduate students.


In 1965 the Psychology Department was established with the appointment of George Mandler as founding chair and with the addition of the other two members of the initial Department - William J. McGill and Norman H. Anderson. The view of these founders was that psychology was displayed at its best as an empirical or lab science. Within 5 years the Department had grown to some 18 faculty and was listed as one of the premier experimental psychology departments in the country, a distinction it has maintained according to various surveys. We currently have approximately 2,800 undergraduate psychology majors and 70 graduate students.

Research Areas

With a focus on experimental psychology, our 32 full-time faculty members cover 4 broad areas:

Our success is based in part on the strong tradition of interdisciplinary research at UCSD, and many faculty maintain collaborative relationships with campus units including Neuroscience, Cognitive Science, UCSD's Medical School, Rady School of Management, and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. Our forward-looking perspective and rich collaborative environment offers a unique opportunity for cutting-edge research that is changing the face of modern psychology.

The Department looks forward to further expansion both in its faculty and in its graduate student population.

John Serences
Professor and Department Chair