for the degree of Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts & Sciences Major in Psychology
Students choose from the following concentrations:
- Behavioral Neuroscience
- Clinical/Community Psychology
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental Psychology
- Diversity Science
- Intradisciplinary Psychology
- Organizational Psychology
- Personality Psychology
- Social Psychology
The Psychology major is a broad-based curriculum within a research-focused department. The program is designed both for students interested in a liberal arts education with psychology as a focal area and for students who plan to attend graduate or professional school either in psychology or in a different field such as medicine, law, social work, business administration, counseling, labor relations and many others.
The Psychology major provides both depth and breadth of knowledge in Psychology. The major consists of an introductory course, a statistics course, a breadth of knowledge or foundation in the different areas of psychology that comes from a set of core courses, a research methods course, and elective courses that give students a depth of knowledge. Each concentration, except for intradisciplinary psychology, has a core course specific to that area of psychology with a research methods course designed for that concentration. In formulating their Plan of Study, students can decide either to undertake a concentration in Intradisciplinary Psychology and select courses that focus on their own unique interests or to specialize in a particular area of Psychology by fulfilling the requirements for one of the other concentrations listed below. As undergraduate students fulfill the requirements, they also have the opportunity to participate in current research projects by working in labs. Students should contact our Undergraduate Advising Office for help in creating a plan of study and research that best meets their goals and interests.
The Department of Psychology also offers a BSLAS in Brain & Cognitive Science.
The Psychology Undergraduate Advising Office is open to help students choose patterns of courses relevant to their interests, as well as to help students explore graduate school, professional school, and career options. Advising is done by an award-winning staff of academic professionals along with mentoring by faculty for students with research interests. Peer registration assistants are also available to help with the registration process.
Areas of Interest
Psychology is the scientific investigation of human and animal behavior. Psychologists study behavior in systems ranging from single cells to the individual person, from small groups of people to communities. Psychologists strive to describe behavior and to understand its underlying biological and social mechanisms. This enterprise, designed to better understand the human condition, accumulates knowledge that can help solve problems faced by individuals and by communities. Students that graduate with a major in psychology acquire a wide range of knowledge and useful skills that allows them to find employment in many different areas.
Areas of interest in psychology, and many of these are reflected in the similarly-titled concentrations that are available within the major:
- Behavioral Neuroscience is the study of the biological mechanisms underlying behavior. Biological psychologists generally are interested in the brain and the nervous system, in the endocrine system, and in other organismic processes.
- Clinical psychology is the study of problems encountered by individuals, groups, and families — especially problems involving psychopathology. Clinical psychologists are interested in the application of psychological knowledge and techniques for the alleviation of these problems.
- Community psychology is the study of the social processes and problems of groups, organizations, and neighborhoods, and the development and evaluation of progress for social change and social policy based on psychological understanding.
- Cognitive neuroscience is concerned with understanding the neuroscientific bases of cognition. Various methods are employed to assess the roles of different brain systems in psychological functions such as memory, attention, language, executive control, decision making, response processing, and emotion.
- Cognitive psychology is the study of basic behavioral and cognitive processes, including learning, memory, problem-solving, motivation, and language.
- Developmental psychology is the study of intellectual development, emerging personality, and the acquisition of language, as well as psychophysiological and social development processes as individuals develop from birth through old age.
- Engineering psychology is the study of human behavior in the context of interactions between humans and machines.
- Organizational psychology is the application of techniques of assessment, prediction, and intervention to areas of human resources in organizations, including, but not limited to, standard personnel selection and training, attitude assessments and interventions, and program evaluations.
- Personality psychology focuses on individual behavior. It is the study of ways to understand and describe an individual's behavior and to predict an individual's future behavior.
- Quantitative psychology specialists develop mathematical models of psychological processes and devise methods for quantitative representation and analysis of data about behavior. These are used in the study of differences between individuals in ability, personality, preferences, and other psychological phenomena.
- Social psychology is the study of attitudes, social perception and cognition, interpersonal relations, interpersonal interactions, and social and cultural factors affecting human behavior.
- Visual cognition and human performance is the study of attention, visual perception, visual memory, and human performance. Visual cognition research uses tools drawn from cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience to better understand how visual information is perceived and remembered.
The states of Illinois, New Mexico and Louisiana now allow appropriately qualified psychologists to write prescriptions for psychotropic medications, if they have the necessary training. There are many other states that currently have pending prescriptive authority legislative initiatives. One component of becoming a prescribing psychologist is completion of the following undergraduate courses:
• 2-semester course sequence in chemistry or biochemistry with lab
• 1 semester microbiology with lab
• 1 semester general biology for science majors
• 1 semester physiology
• 1 semester human anatomy
• 1 semester physiology and anatomy
• Medical terminology (class or proficiency)
For more information on becoming a prescribing psychologist and a detailed list of which courses meet these requirements, please consult with one of the academic advisors in psychology.
for the degree of Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts & Sciences Major in Psychology
The student learning outcomes are adapted from the American Psychological Association’s (APA) “Guidelines for the Undergraduate Psychology Major” (2013). These guidelines consist of general learning outcomes along with specific indicators that can be assessed. Two sets of indicators are provided by the APA depending on whether a student has completed just the foundational courses (100‐ and 200‐ level classes) or is finishing the elective courses (300‐ and 400‐ level classes) necessary for each concentration within the Psychology major. The four learning outcomes that we will be evaluating are:
- Students will demonstrate fundamental knowledge and comprehension of the major concepts, theoretical perspectives, historical trends, and empirical findings to discuss how psychological principles apply to behavioral phenomena. This includes 1.1) describing key concepts, principles and overarching themes, 1.2) developing a working knowledge of the different content or program areas in psychology, and 1.3) describing the application of psychology to everyday life.
- Students will develop scientific reasoning and problem solving skills, including effective research methods. This includes 2.1) using scientific reasoning to interpret psychological phenomena; 2.2) demonstrating psychology information literacy; 2.3) engaging in innovative and integrative thinking and problem solving; 2.4) interpreting, designing, and conducting basic psychological research; and 2.5) incorporating sociocultural factors in scientific inquiry when appropriate.
- Students will develop ethically and socially responsible behaviors for professional and personal settings in a landscape that involves increasing diversity. This goal encompasses 3.1) applying ethical standards to evaluate psychological science and practice; 3.2) building and enhancing interpersonal relationships; and 3.3) adopting values that build community at local, national, and global levels.
- Students will be prepared to apply psychology‐specific content and skills, effective self-reflection, project‐management skills, teamwork skills, and career preparation to optimize their competitiveness for securing places in a graduate school, professional school, or in the workforce. For example, students should be able to 4.1) apply psychological content and skills to career goals; 4.2) demonstrate project‐management skills and teamwork capacity; and 4.3) develop meaningful professional direction for life after graduation.