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Kären Petersen, Ph.D.
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kpeterse@css.edu

B.A. Psychology

Fast Facts: Psychology Major and Minor

  • More than 20 courses taught by award-winning faculty
  • Pairs well with other majors such as secondary education or management and also prepare students for post-graduate studies
  • Strong emphasis on conducting and evaluating research
  • Provides many opportunities for students to focus on individual interests within the field of psychology with close mentoring by faculty
  • Scope and sequence of coursework is well planned and interrelated, with emphasis in the Scientific Method
  • Students strongly encouraged to take part in a variety of co-curricular activities that lead to success beyond the classroom
  • Students develop critical thinking and writing skills, which are crucial for psychology professionals
  • St. Scholastica was named on the list of Top 200 schools for Native Americans pursuing degrees in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) by Winds of Change magazine
  • Psychology students may choose to pursue a health humanities double major or minor, which provides an interdisciplinary approach to investigating and understanding the profound effects of disease and illness on patients, on health professionals and on the social worlds in which they live and work

Program requirements

Major: 42 credits
Minor: 20 credits

Research or internships

Psychology majors at St. Scholastica have the option to take the Directed Applied Project in Psychology (DAPP) during their junior or senior year, an internship where students apply their theoretical knowledge to actual experiences in the field. Students in the program have worked with mental health patients, children in residential treatment programs, with probation officers or completed research.

Careers

Many graduates of the psychology program enter the workplace immediately upon graduation in residential treatment and correctional facilities. Others have gone on to pursue graduate studies in counseling or clinical psychology, or in occupational or physical therapy programs, or medicine. Psychology is a fast-growing career field; the projected growth rate for psychologists is 22% between 2010-2020 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Pair with a language

Boost your brain power and give yourself a competitive edge in our global economy by pairing your major with a language. St. Scholastica offers programs and courses in American Sign Language, French, German, Latin, Ojibwe, Russian and Spanish.

Study abroad

Is happiness determined by your genes or by the events in your life? Is it possible to learn techniques to alter your level of happiness? Psychology majors and minors can find answers to these questions by completing an elective course in the science of happiness, which is rooted in the field of positive psychology. Students review recent research on happiness and well-being and study how happiness levels vary around the world. The semester long course culminates in a trip to Denmark to study the people consistently ranked among the happiest by the World Health Organization.

Sample curriculum

Here are some classes you could take as part of this major or minor. Please note that you would not necessarily need all of these courses to fulfill a major or minor. This list doesn't include general education courses. Be sure to create your course plan in consultation with your advisor.

Course Creation Center

Expand and Collapse Coursework

Expand and Collapse BIO 1102 - Human Biology and Heredity

Studies the structure, function and heredity of the human body, primarily for students with minimal science background. The content includes cellular structure and function, organ systems of the body, problems in development and function, basic principles of heredity, nature of gene function, inheritance of some human traits, and mechanisms of evolution. This course is not counted toward the biology major.

Expand and Collapse PSY 1105 - General Psychology

Designed to provide an overview of concepts, methods, and applications of psychology. Topics include psychology as a science, research methods, perspectives of psychology, sub disciplines of psychology, biological foundations of behavior, developmental psychology, sensation and perception, learning, memory, thinking, language development, intelligence testing, personality, psychological disorders, psychological and biomedical therapies for psychological disorders and social psychology.

Expand and Collapse PSY 2208 - Lifespan Developmental PSY

Cognitive, personality/social, and physical development from conception to death. Within a life span developmental perspective, the course examines research methods, developmental theories, and application of research findings to selected problems in the major periods of the life span: the prenatal period, infancy, early/middle/late childhood, adolescence, and young/middle/late adulthood. The developmental perspective provides an important foundation for understanding normal children and adults, while also providing the essential knowledge base for the modern view of psychological disturbances as "normal development gone awry." This approach has practical implications for individuals with interests in parenting, caregiving, education, social services, and health sciences with both normal and exceptional populations. Prerequisite: none, but sophomore standing recommended.

Expand and Collapse PSY 3216 - Personality

Origins, explanations, assessment and modification of personality as described by major theories of personality, with attention to ethical practices. This course includes a focus on applications to coping and adjustment of the healthy personality, as well as applications for helping individuals recover normal functioning. Emphasis is on the interaction of the individual's personality traits with specific situations as the individual attempts to adapt to the environment. Active learning components include theory-based problem-solving and responding to a variety of personality instruments. Prerequisite: one course in general or developmental psychology.

Expand and Collapse PSY 3222 - Cognitive Psychology

Examines principles of human cognition and practical applications of these principles. Topics include perception, memory, mental imagery, general knowledge, language, problem-solving, creativity, deductive reasoning, decision-making, and individual/gender/cultural differences. Prerequisite: one course in general or developmental psychology.

Expand and Collapse PSY 3320 - Biological Psychology

Provides an overview of the biological bases of behavior. Topics include basic structure and processes of the nervous system, methods and ethics in psychobiological research, sensation and perception, thirst and hunger, sexual behavior, sleep and dreaming, memory, recovery from brain damage, psychopathology and genetics. Prerequisites: BIO 1102 or equivalent and one course in general or developmental psychology.

Expand and Collapse PSY 3327 - Social Psychology

Explores the history, content, methods, and applications of social psychology as a scientific discipline. Topics include social psychological research methods, the importance of the person and the environment in predicting social behavior, errors in social judgments and decision making, attribution theories, obedience to authority, conformity, group processes, prejudice and discrimination, aggression, altruism, interpersonal attraction and sexuality, and conflict and peacemaking. The most current applications of social psychology to law, the health professions, the clinic, business, and politics are discussed, with special emphasis on connections to students' own lives. Prerequisite: one course in general or developmental psychology.

Expand and Collapse PSY 3330 - Research Methods

Overview of research process designed for upper-division students interested in reading and/or conducting research. Topics include logic of scientific research, types of research, phases of a research study, designing experimental and correlational studies, sampling, quantitative and qualitative methods for collecting data, evaluation and writing of research reports, and ethical issues.

Expand and Collapse PSY 3331 - Statistics

Covers basic statistical concepts and methods useful in conducting research and evaluating results of studies done by others. Topics include frequency distributions and graphs, measures of central tendency and variability, transformed scores, correlations, multiple regression, hypothesis testing (t test, analysis of variance, and chi square), selection of appropriate statistics, calculation with MS Excel spreadsheets and SPSS, interpretation of the "results" sections of journal articles, and numeracy (understanding and using numbers in decision-making). Prerequisite: competence in arithmetic.

Expand and Collapse PSY 4000 - Learning Outcomes Assessment

For purposes of program assessment, Psychology majors take a non-credit, non-graded comprehensive examination in psychology and a scientific-thinking examination near the end of their last semester preceding graduation. Prerequisite: Completion or current semester completion of all requirements for the Psychology major.

Expand and Collapse PSY 4334 - Empirical Research Proposal

The PSY 4334/4335 course sequence constitutes one of three capstone experiences for the major in psychology (see also PSY 4435 and PSY 4555). Each student conducts an independent research study requiring in-depth synthesis of prior learning of research methods, statistics and report writing. In PSY 4334, students (a) conceptualize their research questions and design and (b) plan and organize the study. In PSY 4335, students (a) collect and analyze data, (b) write a research report and present the results in two department colloquia (one oral, one poster). Prerequisites for PSY 4334: Junior standing; a general psychology course and PSY 3330 (Research Methods) and PSY 3331 (Statistics); and two other 300-level PSY courses. Prerequisite for PSY 4335: Completion of PSY 4334 with a grade of C or higher.

Expand and Collapse PSY 4435 - History and Systems of Psychology

Traces development of early and modern psychology and integrates diverse materials and approaches to which upper-division students have been exposed in psychology courses. Topics include philosophical foundations of psychology, early scientific psychology, structuralism, functionalism, psychoanalytic theory, behaviorism, Gestalt psychology, and recent developments in psychology. Race and gender issues are incorporated throughout the course. Prerequisites: two of the following courses (or equivalents), including their general or developmental psychology prerequisites - PSY 3216, PSY 3327, PSY 3328, PSY 3423; junior status minimum, senior status preferable.

Expand and Collapse PSY 4555 - Directed Applied Project in Psychology

Off-campus practicum to provide valuable experience for psychology majors. No later than the middle of the semester before the DAPP placement is to begin, students must complete three tasks: (a) choose a DAPP advisor (must be Psychology faculty, usually the academic advisor), (b) submit a written proposal to the DAPP advisor indicating their objectives and how they plan to achieve them, and (c) submit an interagency agreement form. The DAPP site is selected by the student in consultation with the DAPP advisor. (Some restrictions on counseling placements apply.) Upon completion of the DAPP, the student submits a written report (DAPP thesis), then schedules a DAPP review meeting with the DAPP advisor, at least one other faculty member and, when possible, the supervisor from host agency. Six credits of PSY 4555 are required. Students may choose to do all six in one semester or distributed over two semesters. PSY 4555 may be coordinated with GER 4555 for psychology majors working toward a gerontology minor. See the Gerontology Program coordinator. Psychology majors who have a double major that requires a field internship in which they have experiences appropriate for a DAPP thesis, may petition the department chair for waiver of the PSY 4555 credits and sign up for PSY 4556 instead. Prerequisites: seven psychology courses and consent of academic advisor and DAPP advisor.

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  • "I studied psychology because of its versatility. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do for a living. I was considering human resources and I felt that psychology would be a good stepping stone, regardless of which direction I ultimately chose."

    – Alison Lambert, '13