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History of the department


Download a PDF of the Timeline

In 2011, we celebrated 113 Years of Psychology at Oxford. The first Oxford University post with an explicit link with Psychology came in 1898 with the foundation of the Wilde Readership in Mental Philosophy, a post first held by G.F. Stout. An Institute of Experimental Psychology was established in 1936 following a gift from Mrs Hugh Watts to the University, based around a modest laboratory at 34 Banbury Road (the site of the present Engineering Building), and a small teaching programme was created, leading to a Diploma. After World War II, undergraduate teaching in Psychology was introduced. The Final Honour School of Psychology, Philosophy and Physiology was established in 1947, and the first Professor of Psychology, George Humphrey, was appointed. The Institute moved in 1957 to 1 South Parks Road, where it occupied a Victorian house and an increasing number of temporary garden huts. Finally, in 1971, it moved into its present site in the Tinbergen Building on South Parks Road, which was specially planned for the multifarious activities of a large and flourishing Department of Experimental Psychology, with a range of well-equipped laboratories and teaching facilities occupying some 50,000 sq. feet. Detailed information about the history of the department can be found on the Psychology Library page, edited by the Librarian Karine Barker: