Presentation

Establishment and development

The Department of Psychology of the University of Milano-Bicocca is privileged to be both young and the heir to a great tradition: established in 1999 as part of a newly-instituted university, its roots lie in the Institute of Psychology of the Faculty of Letters and Philosophy of the University of Milan, which institute was founded after World War I by Cesare L. Musatti.

The institute was later directed for many years by Giuseppe Mosconi, who founded the Faculty of Psychology in 1998 and the Department of Psychology the following year, merging the Institute’s multiple lines of research into a single, unified scientific project.

This project successfully combined basic, clinical, and applied research, building on effective interactions between various disciplines which all contribute – from a variety of perspectives – to knowledge of the mind. Re-instituted on 1 October 2012 subsequent to the approval of the University’s new Statute, over its fifteen years of activity the Department grew in both scientific and quantitative terms, and is now one of Italy’s most prestigious departments of psychology.

Numerically, it went from 17 initial members to the current 79, in addition to dozens of scholarship holders and doctoral students; it is now Italy’s largest department of psychology. Among the Department’s many activities is the Honorary Degree granted to the renowned jazz musician Paolo Fresu, who dedicated his artistic career to promoting the culture of the communities and peoples of his native land. 

Research

The Department of Psychology is a national and international research promotion and coordination centre in a variety of fields encompassing general psychology, neuropsychology and cognitive neuroscience, the study of quantitative and qualitative methods and of formal models in psychology, developmental psychology, social psychology, economic and organizational psychology, and dynamic and clinical psychology. It thus encompasses a broad spectrum of research areas, all falling within the M-PSI disciplines M-PSI (from MPSI/01 to M-PSI/08) with contributions from psycholinguistics (L-LIN/01), history of science (MSTO/05), and other disciplines (philosophy, information science, sociology, social statistics, design).

The research groups working in these macro-areas participate actively in national and international scientific activities through an extensive network of collaborations comprising individual researchers, groups, and research agencies both in Italy and abroad.

The Department hosts over 20 research laboratories and two laboratory technicians to support the productivity of its various scientific disciplines.

The Department’s scientific output is highly respected in the national and international scientific communities, as documented by the excellent results achieved in the VQR assessment of research quality for the period 2011-14, in which the Department was ranked first in Psychology (together with four other departments) in the ANVUR ranking of Italy’s best university departments.

Teaching

The Department provides a wide variety of courses, comprising two three-year undergraduate courses and four master’s degree courses.

More specifically, the undergraduate degree courses include Psychological Science and Techniques (STP), with planned first-year enrolment of 500 students, and Psychosocial Communication Science (SPC), with enrolment of 120.

The master’s degree courses are Clinical Psychology and Lifespan Neuropsychology (PCN), with planned first-year enrolment of 240 students; Psychology of Social and Decision-making Processes and of Economic Behaviour (PPSDCE), with planned enrolment of 120; Psychology of Development and of Educational Processes (PSPE), with planned enrolment of 120; and Applied Experimental Psychological Sciences (AEPS), with planned enrolment of 60. The latter is a new course whose distinguishing characteristics are its innovative nature and the fact that it is held entirely in English.

The Department also contributes to the master’s degree course in Communication Theory and Technology (TTC), organized jointly with the Department of Information Science, Systems Science, and Communications, which offers the course. At the post-graduate level, the Department has a doctoral programme (Psychology, Linguistics, and Cognitive Neuroscience) and two advanced specialization schools (Neuropsychology and Lifespan Psychology).

Third Mission

Finally, the Department is very active in the so-called Third Mission of promoting research, especially through activities on behalf of third parties (research and teaching) and through public engagement, for the broader purpose of establishing closer relations with society at the local level. Activities include publications and educational activities concerning psychological issues of public interest (e.g.  Meet Me Tonight), the organization of open study days focusing on topics of  research and intervention, the key role played in the University’s orientation services network, participation in radio and television programmes and in ‘science cafés’, an active presence in the local, national, and international media as experts and opinion makers, and collaboration with public authorities, including the Municipality of Milan, the Lombardy regional government, and the Professional Order of Psychologists in Lombardy in preparing useful guidelines for the drafting of public policies.