Social, Personality, and Affective Science Psychology Graduate Program

The Social, Personality, and Affective Science Graduate Program (currently listed as the "Social Psychology" Graduate Program) at San Francisco State University prepares students for professional careers in research, teaching, and practical applications of social psychology at the Master of Arts level, while at the same time offering a foundation of education and experience appropriate for students who intend to proceed to doctoral study. The program is committed to academic excellence, to research and professional service in the public interest, and to expanding the diversity of backgrounds and perspectives in our discipline - the study of how individual thoughts, feelings, and actions influence and are influenced by individual differences, ideologies, other individuals, groups and institutions, and social contexts.

The Program emphasizes familiarizing students with the literature and methods of social/personality psychology and affective science training in advanced written and oral communication, and professional experience in both research and applications. Program requirements include 34 semester units of coursework culminating with a thesis. Classes and non-class activities are coordinated to promote integration of learning through academic study, original research, and supervised experience in field and laboratory settings. Courses are sequenced for completion of the degree in two years, with an attempt to partially fund students via graduate teaching assistantships. (Funding is not guaranteed.)

Career opportunities: Graduates have been accepted by doctoral programs at respected institutions including, among others, Stanford, UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, UC Santa Cruz, UC Davis, Arizona State University, Yale University, the University of British Columbia, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At the Master's level, former students work in such diverse occupations as survey research, evaluation of social programs, environmental education, market research, conflict mediation, and community college teaching.

Admission criteria: The applicant should have a strong background in psychology, including social psychology, research methods, and statistics. Research experience is desirable, and people in mid-career are encouraged to apply. Applications are due by February 1 for the following fall semester. (Late applications may be accepted if space is available).

Research Laboratories


Charlotte Tate

Charlotte Tate, Ph.D. (University of Oregon, 2006)

Concentration Coordinator

Gender, sexual orientation, U.S. ethnic identities, attitudes, prejudice and discrimination, personality.

Office: EP 310
Office Hours
Phone: (415) 338-2267

I am the director of the Social Perception, Attitudes, Mental Simulation Lab.

Recent Publications:
Clark, K. D., Yovanoff, P., & Tate, C. U. (2017). Development and validation of a child racial attitudes index (RAI). Behavior Research Methods, 49, 2044-2060.

Tate, C. U. (2015). On the overuse and misuse of mediation analysis: It may be a matter of timing. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 37, 235-246.

Tate, C. C., Bettergarcia, J. N.*, & Brent, L. M.* (2015). Re-assessing the role of gender-related cognitions for self-esteem: The importance of gender typicality for cisgender adults. Sex Roles, 72, 221-236.

Areas of expertise to supervise research
Social perception; social identity; attitudes; prejudice and discrimination; personality

David Matsumoto

David Matsumoto, Ph.D. (University of California, Berkeley, 1986)

Theoretical and empirical research is focused on relationship between culture and all aspects of emotion and the role of emotion in intercultural adjustment.

Office: EP 328
Office Hours
Phone: (415) 338-1114

I am the director of the Culture and Emotion Research Lab. For inquiries, please contact

Recent Publications:

Matsumoto, D., Hwang, H.C., & Frank, M. G. (2017). Emotion and aggressive cognitions: The ANCODI hypothesis. Aggressive Behavior, 43, 93-107.

Hwang, H.C., Matsumoto, D., Yamanda, H., Kostic, A., & Granskaya, J. V. (2016). Self-reported expression and experience of triumph across four countries. Motivation and Emotion, 40, 731-739.

Matsumoto, D., & Hwang, H. C. (2015). The role of contempt in intercultural cooperation. Cross-Cultural Research, 49, 439-460.

Areas of expertise to supervise research
Emotion regulation, intercultural adjustment; facial expressions; microexpressions; gesture; nonverbal behavior; emotion and deception

Zena R. Mello

Zena R. Mello, Ph.D. (Pennsylvania State University, 2005)

Racial/ethnic identity formation, socioeconomic status, time perspective theory, measurement, and cross-cultural application, and adolescents.

Office: EP 309
Office Hours
Phone: (415) 338-7557

I am the director of the Time Lab.

Recent Publications:

Mello, Z. R., Walker, E. B.*, Finan, L. J., Stiasny, A., Wiggers, I. C., McBroom, K. A., & Worrell, F. C. (2017). Time perspective, psychological well-being, and risky behavior among runaway adolescents. Applied Developmental Science.

Kaur, M.*, & Mello, Z. R. (2016). Positive and negative well-being among adolescents from theological and conventional schools in India. Mental Health, Religion, & Culture, 19, 229-239.

Jaramillo, J.,* Mello, Z. R., Worrell, F. C. (2016). Ethnic identity, stereotype threat, and perceived discrimination among Native American adolescents. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 26, 769-775.

Areas of expertise to supervise research
Racial/ethnic identity, gender, low-income groups, time perspective, and adolescents.

Ryan Howell

Ryan Howell, Ph.D. (University of California, Riverside, 2005)

Personality, happiness, purchasing behavior, motivations, and financial decision-making.

Office: EP 202
Office Hours
Phone: (415) 405-2140

I am the director of the Personality and Well-Being Lab.

Recent Publications:
Howell, R. T., Ksendzova, M.*, Nestingen, E.*, Yerahian, C.*, & Iyer, R. (2017). Your personality on a good day: How trait and state personality predict daily well-being. Journal of Research in Personality, 69, 250-263.

Razavi, P.*, Zhang, Z.W.*, Hekiert, D., Yoo, S. H., & Howell, R. T. (2016). Cross-cultural similarities and differences in the experience of awe. Emotion, 16, 1097-1101.

Guevarra, D.A.*, & Howell, R. T. (2015). To have in order to do: Exploring the effects of consuming experiential products. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 25, 28-41.

Areas of expertise to supervise research
personality; positive psychology; purchasing behavior; financial decision-making.

Contact Us

For information: Information about applying to the program, please visit the Graduate Programs Application page.

If additional information is needed, please contact the Graduate Administrative Assistant, Department of Psychology, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA 94132 at (415) 338-2713.