This article is adapted from "Ghana National Tour" prepared by S. A. Danguah & J. Y. Opok, 2008, which appeared in Wedding, D., & Stevens, M. J. (Eds). (2009). Psychology: IUPsyS Global Resource (Edition 2009) [CD-ROM]. International Journal of Psychology, 44 (Suppl. 1).
The Department of Psychology at the University of Ghana, Legon, was established in 1967. It was the first fully-fledged department of psychology to be established in an Anglophone West African university. With an initial student population of only four at the time of its establishment, the Department has rapidly expanded, with psychology being one of the most popular courses at the University of Ghana. The current student population is 1,116, with an academic staff strength of ten, including part-time lecturers. The Department has produced over 600 graduates since its establishment, including forty postgraduate students in the areas of clinical, developmental, industrial and organizational, and social psychology. There is a departmental library stocked with fairly current books and journals and some laboratory equipment (including two PCs) for practical classes. A departmental bulletin The Legon Bulletin of Psychology came out in 1996. Owing to financial difficulties, it has not been possible to sustain the anticipated yearly publication of the bulletin.
An association of psychologists, known as the Ghana Psychological Association was established in July 2000. The Ghana Psychological Association has, through the Ghana Ministry of Education, submitted a draft proposal to Parliament for the enactment of the Ghana Psychologists Act. The Psychologists Act incorporates a formal code of ethics of Psychologists in Ghana
Major current research programs are on issues in social, developmental, and industrial and organizational psychology that are relevant to the needs of a developing country like Ghana. Another research area is information processing among bilinguals in developing countries. Several papers by the principal investigator in this area, Dr. J.Y. Opoku, have emanated from this research and are published in several international journals or as chapters in books. A current research interest of the Department of Psychology at the University of Ghana, Legon involves the attitudes of Ghanaians towards condom use as a means of prevention against the sexual transmission of HIV. Other individual interests include social and psychological problems facing refugees in Africa.
The Department offers a three-year (six semester) bachelors degree program at the undergraduate level and a two-year (four semester) master of philosophy (M.Phil.) program. A one-calendar-year master's program is also available in selected areas.
At the undergraduate level, students who intend to major in psychology are required to offer at least twelve units (four courses, each course carrying three units) in psychology during their first year. Experimental psychology, statistics, research methods in psychology, developmental psychology, and psychology of personality, and abnormal behavior are core courses in year two for students majoring in psychology. Other courses offered during the undergraduate training include measurement and evaluation, social psychology, comparative and physiological psychology, and applied psychology (clinical, educational, environmental, industrial and organizational, guidance and counseling, and psychometrics). In addition, all majoring students conduct and write research projects that cover a period of two semesters in the third year. Laboratory practicals constitute an essential part of experimental psychology, which is taught every year over the three-year period. Students are given a firm theoretical foundation in general psychology at the undergraduate level with a strong emphasis on empirical investigations of psychological problems peculiar to the Ghanaian environment. Courses offered at the graduate level are mainly in the applied areas of psychology. The rationale behind this approach is to ensure that the graduate students we produce find it easy to obtain employment in a rather restrictive and competitive labor market. The most widely subscribed graduate courses are in the areas of clinical psychology and industrial and organizational psychology. In these two applied areas, there are well trained staff and facilities existing in industries, organizations, and hospitals for much needed practical training (practicum). Students who intend to pursue graduate training in theoretical areas of psychology are normally encouraged to train outside Ghana and such students are normally absorbed back into the Department of Psychology at the University of Ghana, Legon as lecturers upon successful completion of their Ph.D. programs.