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Home » Areas of Specialization » Historical, Theoretical, and Critical Studies of Psychology

Historical, Theoretical, and Critical Studies of Psychology

The Historical, Theoretical, and Critical Studies of Psychology Program is one of only a few graduate psychology programs in Canada and internationally available to students wishing to conduct specialized research on historical topics in psychology, in psychological theory and metatheory, and in critical psychology.

Graphic representing Historical, Theoretical, and Critical Studies of Psychology

Students in the program employ a wide range of research methods, including the interpretation of primary texts, the collection and interpretation of archival material, the conduct and use of oral history, discourse analysis, thematic analysis, and digital history methods such as network analysis.

Primary and adjunct faculty members with interests in a wide range of areas including: psychologies of race/ethnicity and gender, sexuality, cognitive psychology, behavioral psychology, developmental psychology, clinical psychology, digital history, statistics and methodology, and philosophical psychology are available to act as supervisors and committee members.

Faculty members in the program are actively engaged in grant-funded research and serve in leadership roles across a number of national and international organizations devoted to the history and theory of the social and behavioral sciences. A monthly colloquium series draws on the rich array of expertise in history/theory/critique of psychology, science and technology studies, and history and philosophy of science available in the York University community, the greater Toronto area, and internationally.

Applicants should have a solid grounding in psychology (usually a BA or BSc in Psychology), as well as some experience in the conduct of psychological research. As part of their program of study, students are strongly encouraged to take advantage of opportunities to train in teaching and pedagogy through the Teaching Commons, and to establish competence in the content area of psychology that is complementary to their historical/ theoretical/critical interests. Our graduates have successfully procured postdoctoral fellowships and tenure-track academic appointments in Canada, the United States, and Europe.

Faculty members in the Historical, Theoretical, and Critical Studies of Psychology stand in solidarity with the protests against anti-Blackness, systematic racism, and police brutality. We are committed to examining and changing our own practices in light of psychology's historic and current role in perpetuating anti-black racism and racist science. We are working to ensure that the HTC program curriculum (course syllabi, reading lists, etc.), at both undergraduate and graduate levels, incorporates anti-racist and decolonial scholarship and critically interrogates the racist and colonial foundations on which institutional Psychology is based. As a small start, we are building bibliographies of relevant history of psychology literature that can be drawn on to facilitate these goals. A draft of the first bibliography, on race and racism in the history of psychology, is available here. Work on these resources is ongoing. We welcome suggestions.

For questions about the program, please contact the Area Coordinator Dr. Christopher Green. For admissions queries, please e-mail

To apply online, please visit How to Apply.

Additional Program Information

Faculty Member

  • Brown, Donald
  • Green, Christopher
  • Hynie, Michaela
  • Pettit, Michael
  • Teo, Thomas

Faculty Member

  • Bay-Cheng, Laina
  • Brown, Donald
  • Green, Christopher
  • Hynie, Michaela
  • Pettit, Michael
  • Rutherford, Alexandra
  • Teo, Thomas

The program runs a monthly colloquium series in which graduate students workshop their projects and local and international speakers are invited to present. Please visit HT Talks for more information.

Given annually to an outstanding graduate student in the program, this award was established by one of the program’s founders, Dr. Raymond E. Fancher, and includes a prize of $1000. For more information including how to donate, please visit Raymond E. Fancher Award.

Past Winners

  • Tal Davidson – 2020
  • Shayna Lee Fox – 2019
  • Ian J. Davidson – 2018
  • Zhipeng Gao – 2017

The program has hosted a variety of international visiting scholars who enrich the intellectual life of the program and often become collaborators. Here is a partial list of current and recent visitors:

  • Bo Wang – Nanjing University, China
  • Nora Ruck – Sigmund Freud University, Vienna
  • Gisele Toassa – Universidade Federal de Goiás, Brazil
  • Adriana Kaulino – Diego Portales University of Santiago-Chile
  • Neelam Kumar – National Institute of Science, Technology & Development Studies, New Delhi
  • Verena Lehmbrock – Universitat Erfurt, Germany
  • Carlos Lopes – Universidade Estadual de Maringá, Brazil
  • Carolina Laurenti – Universidade Estadual de Maringá, Brazil

Learn More

The Graduate Program in Psychology at York is an exciting environment to pursue innovative, socially engaging, career-ready education. Contact our Graduate Program Assistant to learn more.