Learning Goals for Psychology Majors

Professor Allen Hart teaching a first-year seminar
Professor Allen Hart teaching a first-year seminar.

Students who graduate with a Psychology major will develop knowledge, skills, and values consistent with the science and application of psychology. Specifically, they will be able to:

Demonstrate familiarity with the major concepts, theoretical perspectives, empirical findings, and historical trends in psychology.

  • The major is designed to expose students to the breadth of the discipline in Introductory Psychology and the 200-level core courses. Majors are required to complete at least one 200-level course in each of the three main content areas of psychology: Physiological Psychology, Cognitive/Developmental, Social/Personality/Clinical. In each content area, the major concepts and theoretical perspectives are examined in greater depth. 
  • Students are exposed to critical thinking and the scientific approach to psychological questions as defining modes of inquiry for psychologists in Introductory Psychology, and these skills are practiced and refined throughout the major. Upper-level (300-level) courses require majors to not only further develop their understanding of the specific areas but also to integrate theories and empirical findings across content areas.

Understand and apply basic research methods in psychology, including research design, data analysis, and interpretation.

  • Majors are required to take Psychological Statistics (in their first two years) and Research Methods (in their first three years) to provide this foundation. These courses are designed to place majors in the role of researchers as well as consumers of information. Through these classes our majors develop an understanding of the progression from the development of a hypothesis and study design to assess questions of interest, determining the appropriate analyses to test a stated hypothesis, as well as understanding how to interpret statistical analyses.

Respect and use critical and creative thinking, skeptical inquiry, and, when possible, the scientific approach to solve problems related to behavior and mental processes.

Students who graduate with a Psychology major will also develop knowledge, skills, and values that are consistent with a liberal arts education.  Specifically, they will be able to:

  • Use the most advanced technology to independently gather and analyze information from the widest array of resources. Students learn to use technology for the analysis and presentation of data in both Psychological Statistics and Research Methods and use these skills in a variety of upper-level courses throughout the major.
  • Demonstrate effective writing and oral communication skills, exhibit quantitative literacy, and collaborate effectively with others. These skills are emphasized throughout the major, with a particular emphasis on quantitative literacy in Psychological Statistics and Research Methods, and an emphasis on writing and oral presentation in our seminars. 
  • Recognize, understand, and respect the complexity of sociocultural diversity. Many courses in the Psychology curriculum emphasize the relevance of a sociocultural analysis for a thorough understanding of the human experience, including Introduction to Psychology, Social Psychology, Close Relationships, Clinical Psychology, and Psychology and the Law.