Disciplinary Major or Minor
(Bachelor of Science)
Professors – Regan A. R. Gurung, Dean VonDras, Julia Wallace
Associate Professors – Denise Bartell, Kathleen Burns, Dennis Lorenz, Ryan Martin (chair), Timothy Sewall, Kristin Vespia, Georjeanna Wilson-Doenges
Assistant Professors – Jennifer Lanter, Deirdre Radosevich, Christine Smith
Psychology is the systematic and scientific study of behavior and experience. It seeks to explain how physiological, personal, social, and environmental conditions influence thought and action. Research with humans aims to understand, predict and influence behavior.
In the past century, psychology has moved from being a branch of philosophy to being both an experimental science and an active helping profession. It has developed several specialized sub-areas with foci spanning from the level of the nerve cell (e.g., the neural basis of memory) to that of society (e.g., the developmental consequences of the Head Start program).
A strong grasp of psychology requires knowledge of the approach and content of each of its sub-areas. Students gain this understanding by completing courses in the four main cores: Physiological/Cognitive, Social/Personality, Developmental, and Clinical. They choose additional courses to meet individual needs with the help of a Psychology adviser. Furthermore, students who major in Psychology learn to evaluate research articles and to design, conduct and report experiments.
The program offers special opportunities for students to strengthen their professional preparation. Psychology faculty frequently work with students on collaborative research projects. Support for advanced student research is enhanced by computers in the social science research suite. Teaching assistantships allow students to master course content and receive valuable training in the teaching of psychology. Internships are available in a variety of community settings.
Psychology helps to deepen understanding of individual and social behavior and provides a strong general background for many careers. Psychology graduates are employed in a variety of positions with social and community service agencies, businesses, research firms, and governmental agencies. Preparation for specialized professional work — such as testing, counseling, university teaching, and many research activities — usually requires a master’s or doctoral degree. Preparation for advanced study should combine a broad program in liberal arts with a sound background in the physical and biological sciences and should emphasize research skills and experiences.
Graduates continue professional training in such psychology sub-disciplines as experimental, developmental, social or clinical/counseling psychology, as well as the related fields of social work, education, medicine, law and business.
Psychology majors must choose an interdisciplinary minor. Such a minor strengthens preparation in Psychology and enables students to prepare for a diversity of careers.