Psychology as an academic discipline began in the region of Bangladesh in the first quarter of the 20th century when this country was a part of India under the British rule. In 1921, the University of Dhaka established a Psychology Laboratory in the Department of Philosophy headed by Professor G. H. Langley. In fact, it was the first Psychology Laboratory in Bangladesh and the second such laboratory in undivided India. The Psychology Laboratory of the University of Dhaka earned recognition and reputation as one of the oldest as well as best organized Psychology Laboratories in this region. In 1965, the Department of Psychology was established in the University of Dhaka by offering one-year Master’s Degree preceded by one-year Preliminary. Two years later in 1967, a 3-year B. Sc. (Honors) program was started. From the session 1970-1971 one-year Master’s program along with two-year Master’s was programs were offered. From the session 1996-1997 a 4-year BS program is started. Two-year Master’s (including preliminary) abolished from the session 1997-1998.
From the beginning, Psychology was placed under the Faculty of Arts. In 1974, the Department of Psychology was placed under the Faculty of Science as a result of persistent efforts of Dr. Muhammad Raushan Ali, renowned experimental psychologist and the first Chairman (before him it was named Head) of Psychology Department. In addition to his outstanding academic credential, Professor Ali should be credited for the maximum expansion and enrichment of Psychology Laboratory during his tenure as the Chairman of the Department of Psychology, University of Dhaka, for his drive, initiative, and earnest effort. Later on in 1982, Psychology was placed under the Faculty of Biological Sciences.
In 1995, Psychology branched out to offer MS in Clinical Psychology in the Department of Clinical Psychology. Psychology further branched out to offer MS in Educational Psychology and MS in Counseling Psychology in the Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology.
Apart from offering Master of Science in Psychology, the Department has been offering Master of Science in School Psychology and Master of Science in Industrial–Organizational Psychology from the session 2015-2016 as one-year professional program. From the session 2019-2020, these professional programs are currently continuing with the duration of one and half-year and 44 credit hours. The Department has been also offering a two-year MPhil and three-year PhD programs since its inception.
At present 5 professors, 4 associate professors, 13 assistant professors, 2 lecturers, 1 Supernumerary Professor, 2 Honorary Professors, 5 part-time teachers, and 11 staffs are serving the department having a total of about 700 students in BS, MS, MPhil, and PhD programs. There are 2 rooms used for psychology laboratories equipped with modern apparatuses, instruments and 50 desktop computers connected to hi-speed broadband internet. There is a department seminar room which enriched with more than 2000 reference books, several local and foreign journals which facilitates 100 students to read there. Fifteen rooms are furnished for teachers including chairman, 2 rooms for staff, 1 room for photocopy-cum-store, and 3 rooms each for staff, male and female teachers to refresh. There are two classrooms, one for accommodating as many as 70 students and the other for about 30 students. It is noteworthy that the number of students enrolled in 1st year undergraduate program is about 80.
The department organizes monthly invited talks meant mainly for teachers and senior students given by reputed psychologists and other allied professionals of home and abroad under the auspices of Professor Dr. Muhammad Raushan Ali Memorial Lecture Series on Human Resource Development and Management since January 2016. The department publishes annually a journal named the Dhaka University Journal of Psychology since 1972, the 43th volume of which is due to be published by 2022.
The Department is proud to have many eminent psychologists namely Professor Muhammad Raushan Ali, Professor Hamida Akhtar Begum (currently the Pro-Vice Chancellor of the IUBAT), Professor Sultana Sarwart Ara Zaman, Professor Abdul Khaleque, Professor Shamsul Huda Mahmud, Professor Nihar Ranjan Sarkar, and Professor Azizur Rahman. Professor Abdul Kahleque (currently adjunct professor of the University of Connecticut, USA) is the only teacher in the Department who was a fearlessly active freedom fighter during liberation war. Apart from being a part of glorious history of Bangladesh, Dr. Khaleque is an internationally distinguished psychologist, who has so far published well over 125 research articles in international journals. His research works have so far been cited by more than two thousand researchers internationally. He has also published 42 chapters in books edited by distinguished psychologists mostly from Europe and America. Moreover, he has published 15 books in psychology and human development areas. One of his books entitled: Intimate Relationship across the Lifespan, was published in 2018 by the Praeger Publications, Santa Barbara, California, and Denver, Colorado, USA. The book has won two International Awards: 2019. His most recent book entitled: Parenting and Child Development Across Ethnicity and Culture, was also published from the USA in 2021 by the same publisher. These two books are being taught as text books in many world renowned universities internationally, including the USA and Canada.