Our Strong Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

The Psychology Graduate Program at the University of California, Davis is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment. We believe that diversity can be exemplified through the variety of personal experiences, values, and world views that arise from differences of culture and circumstance. Such differences may include race, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, language, abilities/disabilities, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, geographic region, first-generation status, and more. Our success as scholars, educators, and citizens relies on learning from and valuing the experiences we all bring. The Psychology Graduate Program has devoted significant financial and institutional resources for programs designed to address systemic disadvantages that graduate students from diverse backgrounds face.

Graduate Student Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee: This 7 member committee advises leadership of the Psychology Graduate Program on policies and initiatives related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. These members receive financial compensation for their contributions, which have had a major impact on our program since 2020.

Mentoring Programs

Diverse Mentoring Initiative: The Initiative seeks to recognize and reward graduate students who are engaged in the sustained mentoring of ethnically and racially diverse undergraduate students. It also supports educational activities that promote diversity and inclusion in psychology. These activities contribute to increasing the presence of underrepresented ethnic and racial groups in the field of psychology.

Faculty-Graduate Student Mentoring Agreement: This agreement sets expectations on mentoring standards for faculty and provides a flexible format for individual labs to formally describe practices and policies.

Peer Mentoring Program: This program matches incoming students with more senior graduate mentors who share similar backgrounds, interests, or obstacles to graduate education.

Financial Support

Summer Supplemental Fellowships: This program ensures that all graduate students receive financial support for the entire summer, even if they are not in labs with funds to support graduate research assistantships over the summer.

Members of the Psychology Department are involved in a variety of activities that promote diversity, inclusion, and social justice both within the department and across the University. Many of our faculty are directly involved with campus programs such as the McNair Scholars ProgramUC LEADS, and MURALS which provide research opportunities for underrepresented undergraduate students. Our department hosts a Diversity Tea in conjunction with Graduate Student Interview Day to showcase resources available to graduate students. In addition, the Psychology Department also maintains a faculty committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. One charge of this committee is to identify and enact policies and practices that promote diversity among the faculty, students, and staff.

A Sampling of Research Centers and Programs Related to Diversity

Many of the research activities of Psychology Department faculty touch on issues of diversity and social justice – race, gender identity, socio-economic status, gender identity, etc. Below is a sampling of some of the research centers and programs in which department faculty are involved. 

California Families Project

The California Families Project is the most in-depth longterm study of Mexican-origin families in the United States.  The project, an interdisciplinary collaboration among multiple UCD faculty, examines the health, development, and well-being of Mexican-origin youth and their parents, with an emphasis on how culture, ethnicity, and economic disadvantage influence socio-emotional and cognitive functioning from childhood to old age.  

Center for Poverty and Inequality Research

The UC Davis Center for Poverty Research mission is to facilitate non-partisan academic research on poverty in the U.S., disseminate this research, and train the next generation of poverty scholars. Our research agenda includes four themed areas of focus: labor markets and poverty, children and intergenerational transmission of poverty, the non-traditional safety net, and immigration.

Donor Conception & Family Building

This lab focuses on the experiences of donor-assisted families to better understand the benefits, challenges and well-being of this new(er) and different way of building a family. Currently we are investigating the experiences and well-being of (i) donor-conceived adults from diverse families (lesbian/bi/queer parent families, families parented by single women and female-male couples), (ii) donors after they leave an open-identity program, and (iii) the outcome of releasing donor identities to adults. This research also provides some of the limited data available for assisted reproductive technology policy deliberations. Our lab collaborates with The Sperm Bank of California in Berkeley - the first organization in the USA and internationally to offer open-identity donation.

Psycholinguistics Lab

In the Ferreira Psycholinguistics Lab we examine how monolinguals and bilinguals use language to communicate ideas, establish identify, and convey social roles. Language both reflects our assumptions about the people around us and provides us with an opportunity to confront and change attitudes related to categories such as race, ethnicity, and gender. We use psycholinguistic methods to investigate these issues.

Social Cognition Lab

Research in the Social Cognition Lab investigates the cognitive processes underlying social psychology and behavior. We are interested in how people perceive themselves, other people, and groups of people. Much of our research focuses on stereotyping and prejudice.

Social Environment & Stress (SES) Lab 

Research focuses on understanding how diverse life experiences, including economic hardship and discrimination, shape child and adolescent stress reactions and health. The long-term vision for this research is to suggest strategies for reducing the impact of chronic stress on developmental outcomes, especially for disadvantaged youth that too often confront several types of stressors in their lives. 

Social Inference Lab

Research in the Social Inference Lab focuses on the following topics: (1) perspective taking, empathy, and mental-state reasoning; (2) cognitive processes underlying social categorization, evaluation, inference, and judgment; and (3) stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination. Primary lines of research include perspective taking and its implications for negotiating socially diverse environments, and the operation of intergroup bias toward people with different combinations of social identities (e.g., age, gender, race).

Campus Resources

UC Davis Diversity Resources

University Office of Equity and Inclusion

Office of Campus Community Relations

UC Davis Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual (LGBTQIA) Resource Center

Student Disability Center


Questions? Please contact Angela Scully.