Department of Psychology

The Department of Psychology was first founded in autumn 1926 by leading psychologists Tang Yue, Sun Guohua and Zhou Xiangeng. At that time, it was one of six departments in the College of Science at Tsinghua University. During the disciplinary reorganization campaign in 1952, the Department was consolidated by Peking University. In 2008, the Department of Psychology was re-established, headed by Dr. Kaiping Peng, a tenured professor at UC Berkeley.

The Department historically had contributed immensely in bringing out talents. At the founding stage, scholars such as Tang Yue, Sun Guohua, Shen Lv, and Chen Li were not only pioneers but also founders of Chinese psychology. They trained numerous first-class psychologists and scholars who enjoyed great reputations both at home and abroad. For instance, the pioneer in livestock artificial fertilization technology Zheng Peiliu, class of 1931, was the founding father of IVF (In vitro fertilization). The fellow of the American Academy of Sciences Zhang Minjue (class of 1933) was a leading psychologist in China.

Since its re-establishment in 2008, the department has attracted talents from all over the world and formed a strong scientific research team. The department now has 11 faculty members including seven full professors, three associate professors, and two assistant professors. The faculty conducts cutting-edge research on topics that cover primarily four areas: cognitive neuroscience, cultural and social psychology, management and industrial psychology, and clinical and counseling psychology. Along with its research emphasis, the department has set up a corresponding ERP lab, virtual reality lab, behavioral experiments labs, and a public teaching room, which provide reliable supports for both research and teaching. Despite being a relatively young department, the faculty has undertaken over a dozen key national research projects, managing research grants of several million dollars.

The Department puts a great emphasis on undergraduate and postgraduate education and provides a vibrant and engaging environment for our students. Since 2009, the Department has admitted over 80 undergraduate students and trained over 40 graduate students, PhDs, and postdoctoral research fellows. The programs are generally interdisciplinary. The Department fosters a supportive environment for students to cultivate and pursue their interests and encourages creativity and innovation among all students.

The Department cares about the academic and psychological development of each student. It is one of the first departments in China to implement a mentoring system for undergraduates. Every freshman student is assigned a mentor, who helps the student adjust to college life and advises them on academic and daily issues. Taking advantage of the faculty’s rich international experience and connections, summer study-abroad programs are established for undergraduate students. This effort, rarely existent in other places in China, is greatly appreciated by the students.

Besides offering courses to psychology majors, the faculty also offers several courses on general psychology to students from other disciplines at Tsinghua University. These courses are very well received in that they not only broaden their understanding of the human mind and behavior but also offer new perspectives for their personal growth. Bearing the mission that psychology should serve society, the Department takes this responsibility seriously. Our faculty provides psychological counseling to primary schools, earthquake areas in times of need, and offers regular consultation to enterprises and national organizations. Our faculty travels far and wide to meet these needs, and their consultation is always gratefully received.

The Department has developed and maintained a platform for international cooperation and exchange. It invites scholars to visit and give talks and lectures on a regular basis. In May 2008, the Department signed an agreement with the psychology department in the University of California at Berkeley, and established the "Tsinghua -Berkeley Psychology Research Center". The Center fosters academic exchange and cooperation on many levels. In July 2008, the “Li Jiajie foundation for valuing lives” begins formal cooperation with the Department. This joint program aims to improve the well-being and mental health of Chinese citizens. Since 2009, the Department has set up a joint psychoanalysis program with UC-Berkeley Tang Mental health Center. Similarly, Tsinghua University and Hong Kong University jointly established "Tsinghua - Hong Kong University Psychology Consultation Center". Since 2010, the Department has successfully organized and held the International Conference on Positive Psychology for two consecutive years. This conference plays a significant role in promoting communication and discussion among scholars on positive psychology and the science of happiness.

From establishment in 1926, 1952 adjustment, to the 2008 reestablishment, the Department has traveled through decades of endeavors, trials and hardship. Now, bridging the East and West, liberal arts and sciences, all faculty and students of the Department are doing their best to explore a path of technical innovation in scientific research.