In 1961, the psychology department at Tel-Aviv University was the third department to open in Israel. It was established by the late Prof. Hans Kreitler at the university‘s first campus in Abu-Kabir. The department was opened with only 2.5 faculty positions and 30 students, in a room which also served as a lab.
During the first years there was a pioneering atmosphere , along with strong bonds between faculty and students. Among the first faculty members were Prof. Vera Mahler, assistant to Kurt Lewin, who tought theories of personality and developmental psychology; Prof. Menchel, an international specialist in animal behavior and dog training; Prof. Yeshayahu Leibowitz, who came from Jerusalem to teach physiological psychology.
At first, the department’s orientation was towards clinical psychology, based on a European approach, with some influence from American psychology. The teaching methods included in-depth analysis of texts written by the fathers of psychology, along with close guidance by the facutly.
Four years later, the department moved to the university's new campus, next to Seich-Monas in Ramat-Aviv, and settled in the Gilman building. The new home included a lab for psychological research, built with the help of a generous donation from the American Para-psychology society, which became a cornerstone for the department’s focus on research. The staff grew larger, and graduates were slowly added to the founding European-oriented faculty, along with representatives of the American psychology.
In 1967 the M.A. program was opened, first only for clinical and educational psychology programs, and later for social, occupational, cognitive, and psycho-biological programs. In 1978 the department opened its Ph.D. program.
For many years the psychology department was a part of the Humanities faculty, but in the mid-eighties a struggle on its ultimate affiliation began between the Humanities and the Social Sciences faculties. Since 1987 the department is part of the Social Sciences faculty , and two of the faculty teachers, Prof. Arie Nadler and Prof. Ina Weiner have served as deans.
In 2012 the department was transformed to the School of Psychological Sciences. Today the school of psychological sciences in Tel-Aviv University is the biggest of its kind in Israel, in faculty, research, and number of student.