Majoring in Psychology

Which courses make up the Psychology major?

The usual package is Introductory (201 and 202) followed by Statistics (301) and Experimental (302), one advanced laboratory course (410-422) and six or more electives from the other 300 and 400 level courses. The required 35 credits fit readily into most schedules, even with a late change of major. Most concentrators take one or two additional courses for a total of 38 or 41 credits in psychology.

What courses does the Psychology Department offer?

One of the attractions of Psychology is that the field is very broad. Available courses border on biology (physiological and comparative), education (developmental), sociology (social) and business (organizational). The more clinically oriented courses, such as abnormal, personality and behavior modification, attract many students.

What sorts of jobs would a degree with a Psychology major be good for?

A Psychology major is a liberal arts degree as good as any for most jobs, including starting in business world with management training. It is particularly suitable for positions dealing with people such as industrial relations and social work, as well as positions in many human service government agencies. Psychology is also a good background for teaching at the secondary level (with the necessary education courses).

What about getting a Ph.D. in Psychology?

There is a larger choice of programs than generally appreciated. Most people know of Clinical psychology (psychotherapy). Many nonclinical areas (with less competitive admissions) might better match your interests -- for example, Social, Personality, Industrial/Organizational, Developmental, Educational, Community, Experimental and Physiological.

Are there other graduate programs that a Psychology major is good for?

Psychology is an excellent foundation for MBA or Law programs and for graduate work in Education or Sociology as well as Social Work or Counseling.

As a Psychology major, could I get some practical or applied experience?

Certainly, the Psychology Department provides many choices. Several courses, including Exceptional Children and Community Psychology, have students working in schools and community agencies. Many supervised volunteer positions involve working children and adolescents (and their families) in local mental health agencies or with psychiatric patients at Eastern State Hospital.  

This outside work provides excellent experience (and a source of letters of recommendation) which can be a great help when job hunting or applying to graduate schools. Applied experience will help you decide which area of Psychology is the one in which you are really interested. There also are many opportunities to help with faculty research projects or to do your own independent research. You should also check with the Psychology Club and the Psychology Honor Society (Psi Chi) and with Career Services about their internship programs.