We aim to help students develop as full an understanding as possible of the nature, variety, and causes of behavior in humans and other animals.
A broad and deep understanding of psychology also provides insights about oneself, and a sense of the ways in which individuals differ from one another. The department provides students not only with a level of understanding, but with the ability to articulate their understanding – such that they are prepared to study and apply psychology beyond college.
The department also supplies critical developmental experiences for students who wish to pursue graduate-level work in psychology or a related field (such counseling, medicine, education, and business). Faculty and students within the department engage in this enterprise through course work, independent study, and collaborative empirical research (basic and applied).
Breadth is acquired through required "fundamentals" courses that expose students to the range of subdisciplines comprising the field of psychology and that foster examinations of intra- and inter-disciplinary themes. Required courses in research methods and statistics provide the foundation for understanding topics within psychology. All students must develop general research skills as part of the major, but advanced students - particularly those wishing to pursue a career in psychology - have various opportunities to gain focused research experience (including PSYC 395), including independent research projects (PSYC 497 & 499). Additionally, practicum (PSYC 498) provide students with applied psychological experience in real-world settings.
Depth of understanding is acquired when students take additional "fundamentals" courses within a particular area of psychology, as well as advanced-level courses and special topic seminars. This depth is evaluated via Requirements for the Major, including a writing portfolio and a comprehensive exam.
Students interested in the biological basis for psychology and related careers may select the Neuroscience Emphasis. This option allows students to complete a specifc plan of study (instead of the general track) that integrates training in related scientific fields (i.e., biology, cognitive science, & kinesiology), along with an empirical research project (PSYC 497).