Why Study Psychology at Illinois

A Brief History

Psychology at the University of Illinois has had a long and distinguished history. The first record of a professor of psychology on campus is in 1890. There was no separate Psychology Department at that time, but Dr. Charles De Garmo taught educational psychology and mental science under the Department of Philosophy and Pedagogy. A Psychological Laboratory was first established on campus in 1892 by Professor William O. Krohn. The following year the Psychology Department was established as a separate department from Philosophy with Professor Krohn in charge. The Department quickly grew in both size and stature. 

Today, the Department of Psychology is considered to be among the premier psychology departments for undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate training. Approximately 100 people with the rank of instructor or above are affiliated with the Department. Permanent full time faculty number about 60 people. The faculty maintains a worldwide reputation for excellence and for being at the "cutting edge" of knowledge in their fields. Faculty members serve as editors of professional journals, officers of professional societies, advisors and consultants to political leaders, governments, major corporations, and non-profit organizations. The tradition that has been established in the department's history is one of excellence: excellence in facilities, programs, faculty, and students.

World-Renowned Faculty

Over the 100 year history of the department, our faculty members have made significant contributions both to the profession and to the development of individual students. Our faculty maintains an international reputation of cutting-edge research and outstanding scholarship in their respective fields.  They are well respected and well published, and they assertively pursue grants for their research, all of which provide opportunities and support for undergraduate and graduate students.

Click here to visualize the research accomplishments of our faculty in the Illinois Experts Research Portal.

Commitment to Students

Faculty expertise and diversity of knowledge across the discipline, as well as their commitment to students, create a dynamic environment that attracts the highest-caliber graduate students and enhances our reputation as one of the premier psychology departments in the nation. Undergraduate students receive excellent instruction and have many opportunities to engage in research as undergraduate research assistants. For many undergraduate students these research experiences culminate in independent research projects for graduation with Distinction and Honors positioning them well for careers and graduate education.

Click here to meet our award-winning team of undergraduate advisors.

Click here to learn about undergraduate research opportunities.

Click here to read recent news from our graduate programs.

Our Facilities 

From that first laboratory in 1892, the Psychology Department has grown so that it overflows the Psychology Building, an eight story building which houses most of the departmental research facilities. The Psychology Building houses most of the departmental research facilities, including laboratories for research in human learning, animal learning, physiological psychology, animal motivation, human perception, social behavior, and other areas. There are extensive computer facilities, a complete animal colony, and a well-equipped apparatus and instrument shop maintained and staffed by specialists on the design and production of equipment for psychological research. The department operates a Psychological Services Center and other research and training facilities outside its main building. Department faculty contributed to the founding and maintain affiliations with the Illinois Neurobehavioral Assessment Lab (INBAL) and the Center for Social and Behavioral Science (CSBS)

In addition, the Beckman Institute on the University of Illinois campus provides access to a state- of-the-art, research-dedicated MR facility, which includes a 3-T research magnet as well as smaller magnets for animal research. Other research facilities include multiple electrophysiology labs, animal electrophysiology, child development, and behavior labs.  Faculty members also have access to state-of-the-art flight and diving simulators and virtual reality suites (a four-sided Cave and a six-sided Cube) at the Beckman Institute. Extensive computer services for all laboratories are available in the Psychology Department and the Beckman Institute.