Paul Y. Chang completed his undergraduate career at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he double majored in psychology and religious studies. During his undergraduate training, he was a research assistant for Professor Litze Hu working in the field of experimental social psychology. Paul worked on issues of social identity theory, ethnic affiliation, and group processes. For his honors senior thesis, Paul looked at the impact of involvement with an issue and how that influences information processing. He also completed an undergraduate thesis in religious studies that looked at the secular theology movement originating in Germany and spreading to the United States.
Upon graduating from UC Santa Cruz, Paul matriculated in the Masters in Theological Studies program at Harvard Divinity School (HDS). He studied contemporary theologies with an emphasis on Korean liberation theology. He explored Korean minjung theology and its impact on Korea's democracy movement.
After graduating from Harvard, Paul began his Ph.D. work at UCLA where he further researched South Korea's democracy movement focusing on the most authoritarian period (1972-1979). He then transferred to Stanford University's Sociology department. Currently he is working on his dissertation that utilizes a novel quantitative dataset that captures protest and repression events throughout the 70s in order to explicate the dialectical interplay between state repression and movement development.