Dr. Zimbardo has been teaching for 57 years across the globe. He is now Professor Emeritus at Stanford University and continues to teach both formally and informally.


Since 1968, Zimbardo taught large lectures in Introductory Psychology, one of the most popular courses in the University, to about 300 students typically, but has taught this course to as many as 1000 students, and as few as 10 students in a special seminar format with computerized daily interaction on written assignments, in addition to lectures. (For several years, Zimbardo taught about 600 students in a Unit Mastery System with Personalized Instruction; this included taking individual testing on each chapter of the text, and oral exams on an additional reading. Proctors, 200 of them, administered all testing in their dorms separately to each of their 3 students, and met weekly with Zimbardo to discuss issues relevant to this form of teaching. About 50 other undergraduate teaching assistants worked in pairs to lead their weekly discussion section component of the course.)

Practicum in Teaching is a seminar Zimbardo designed to train graduate and undergraduate teaching assistants to become effective teachers, first by helping them to develop engaging weekly sections that are coordinated with his lecture course, Introductory Psychology, but also to prepare them more generally for careers in teaching.

Palo Alto University, Psy.D. Consortium program with Stanford – 2006 – 2014

Senior Fellow, Monterey Naval Postgraduate School, 2002-2011

Columbia University (1967-68; Klingenstein Professor of Race Relations)

Assistant Professor, New York University, 1960-1967

Instructor/Assistant Professor, Yale University, 1957-1960


Introduction to Psychology

The Psychology of Mind Control

Social Psychology (taught solo and also as a co-teacher)

Social Psychology In Action

Social Alienation

The Nature of Madness

The Psychology of Hypnosis

Sex Roles in the U.S. and Italy (During Florence teaching term)

Cross-Cultural Psychology (During Florence teaching term)

Psychology and Drama (Co-taught with Patricia Ryan, Drama Department)


The Psychology of Imprisonment (Co-taught with Carlo Prescott, ex convict)

The Dynamics of Shyness

Practicum in Teaching (graduate and undergraduate)

Collective Violence (co-taught with Bob Zajoc)

The Psychology of Time Perspective (Sophomore Seminars)

On Becoming a Professional Psychologist (for advanced graduate students)

Effective Teaching (Co-taught with David Rosenhan)

Research Methods in Social Psychology (Graduate Course)

Research Issues in Social-Cognitive Pathology (Graduate Course)

Graduate Pro-seminar in Social Psychology (Weekly Area Meetings, Faculty and Graduate Students)

The Dynamics of Shyness (Freshman Seminars)

Senior Psychology Majors’ Proseminar


Notes: The year 2007 marked my golden anniversary of 50 years as an educator, having completed five decades of teaching Introductory Psychology. I began teaching in 1957 as a part-time instructor at Yale, in charge of a class of 25 freshmen in Introductory Psychology, and continued this wonderful experience for several more years until my first full-time appointment as assistant professor at New York University, Heights Campus in the Bronx. That was teaching in the raw: 12 semester courses a year, including summer school, all lecture courses, including 3 large Introductory Psychology courses per year. Living in New York on semi-starvation wages forced me to add a 13th course for several years, moonlighting up at Yale, teaching the Psychology of Learning to master’s level students in the Education School, and another year teaching Social Psychology at Barnard College. Some years I taught summer school at Stanford, in Louvain, Belgium, Lugano, Switzerland, and Vienna, Austria.

I love to teach large lecture classes where I am on the “performing center,” doing demonstrations, class experiments, and integrating novel AV materials, but it is even more challenging and rewarding to be intimately connected to students in seminars where I learn from our interaction. In addition to this in-class teaching, I have always mentored students in individual study, undergraduate honors research, and thesis research of masters and doctoral students.

Another dimension of teaching for me has been to develop teaching materials, and course supplements that make teaching both more effective and easier. To this end, I have not only written many basic texts and primers in Introductory and Social Psychology, but pioneered the new breed of Instructor’s Manual that helps teachers with every aspect of course preparation and curriculum design.

I have also developed Student Guides and Workbooks, and a variety of demonstrations and AV resources for teachers. Among the later are: the “Discovering Psychology” PBS – video series of 26 programs covering all of general psychology, “Candid Camera Classics,” one for Introductory and another for Social Psychology courses (with teacher’s manuals for each), “Quiet Rage,” the video documentary of the Stanford Prison Experiment, and a public website slide show of my experiment (www.PrisonExp.org/). In the ten years since its launch by Scott Plous on Social Psychology Network, it has received more than 100 million page views of its content.

Since its inception in 1989 to 2008, more than half a million people in Tele-Courses have received full credit for Introductory Psychology by passing a standard test based on the “Discovering Psychology: video series and a basic textbook. For me, that represents an ideal in “outreach teaching.”

Another dimension of teaching in my career has been training teachers also to discover the joys of teaching by helping them to do their job really well. I regularly give workshops on teaching throughout the country, at professional meetings (APA, APS, WPA, National Conference on Teaching, and others); in many universities and colleges; organize my own workshops at Stanford (for local area teachers at all levels of psychology education), and have given many teaching workshops internationally as well. I also contribute to teaching by training my own teaching associates to become experts through working closely with them in an intensive Practicum in Teaching course, that I innovated in 1960 at NYU, and have developed over the years into a training program that includes undergraduate TAs as well as graduate students. Many of these students have gone on to become distinguished, prize-winning teachers in colleges across the country and in national competitions.

BEYOND STANFORD TEACHING: I have helped to develop and teach a course on The Psychology of Terrorism with colleagues (Jim Breckenridge and Fathali Moghaddam) from our terrorist center (CIPERT) at Monterey’s Naval Postgraduate School. Our students are enrolled in a Masters level program within the Department of Homeland Security and represent local city and state governments, the military, police, fire and emergency responder agencies, and others. Over the eight years we have taught the course, it has been one of the most highly rated in the curriculum.

My newest teaching is in advanced social psychology directed to clinical graduate students in the Psy.D. program at Palo Alto University (formerly PGSP), where I have been hired as a core faculty member to teach Explorations in Human Nature. I have taught the course to each new incoming cohort of students since 2006 and completed my final year of teaching to fully enjoy retirement Winter term 2014.