Doug Bernstein was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on December 27, 1942. He attended public schools there before completing his bachelor's degree in psychology at the University of Pittsburgh in 1964. He earned his masters and Ph.D. degrees in clinical psychology at Northwestern University in 1966 and 1968, respectively. From 1968 to 1998, he was on the psychology faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he taught graduate and undergraduate classes ranging from 15 to 750 students, and served both as Associate Department Head and Director of Introductory Psychology. From 2006 to 2008 he was Visiting Professor of Psychology and Education Advisor to the School of Psychology at Southampton University, and in January, 2009 was Visiting Professor and Education Consultant at l’Institut du Psychologie at the University of Paris Descartes. He is currently Professor Emeritus at Illinois and Courtesy Professor of Psychology at the University of South Florida, and a teaching consultant at Ecole de Psychologues Praticiens in Paris.
Doug founded the APS Preconference Institute on the Teaching of Psychology in 1994, as well as the APS Preconference Institute on the Teaching of Integrative Psychological Science at the first APS International Convention of Psychological Science in 2015. He was also the founding chairman of the Steering Committee for the APS Fund for the Teaching and Public Understanding of Psychological Science. In 2013, he stepped down after 30 years as chairman of the National Institute on the Teaching of Psychology. His teaching awards include the University of Illinois Psychology Graduate Student Association Teaching Award, the University of Illinois Psi Chi award for excellence in undergraduate teaching, the Illinois Psychology Department's Mabel Kirkpatrick Hohenboken Teaching Award, and the APA Distinguished Teaching in Psychology Award. He is a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, and he has co-authored textbooks in Introductory Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Clinical Psychology, Criminal Behavior, and Progressive Relaxation Training and co-edited books in Applied and Developmental Psychology. He has also contributed chapters to Teaching introductory psychology: Theory and practice (edited by Robert J. Sternberg, 1997), The teaching of psychology: Essays in honor of Wilbert J. McKeachie and Charles L. Brewer (edited by William Buskist and Stephen Davis, 2002), and (with Sandra Goss Lucas) The compleat academic: A career guide, (edited by Henry Roediger, John Darley, & Mark Zanna, 2002). With Sandra Goss Lucas, he wrote Teaching Psychology: A Step by Step Guide, which will soon appear in a third edition with co-authors Sue Frantz and Stephen Chew. He occasionally offers workshops on teaching techniques and on textbook-writing for prospective authors, and as a hobby he collects student excuses.