Why do people behave and think the way they do? Although the ancient Greeks pondered this question, the discipline of psychology gives it exclusive attention. For more than 125 years, psychologists have attempted, often with much success, to provide scientifically sound responses to an array of questions about human behavior and cognition. Since the first experimental psychology laboratory was created in 1879, the discipline has become increasingly specialized. Well-developed sub-fields permit more focused inquiries. These sub-fields include behavioral neuroscience/biopsychology, clinical psychology, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, experimental psychology, industrial/organizational psychology, and social psychology.
Students who elect to obtain a psychology degree in our department must complete 35 credit hours and have the opportunity to enroll in courses that critically explore each sub-field. For example, some courses offered in our department include abnormal psychology, biopsychology, human sexuality, the psychology of law, and social psychology. All students complete an internship at an approved site, which is designed to ensure that they better understand policies and the relationship between theory and practice.
Students pursuing a degree in psychology also complete a series of classes endorsed by the National Science Foundation and referred to as the Scientific Core. This series of courses helps students understand and use science as a problem-solving and critical thinking tool. The Scientific Core culminates in a team-based research project under the supervision of a faculty mentor. Upon completion of these projects, many of our students present their research findings at regional and national conferences.
During their senior year, all psychology majors complete a standardized exit examination. We are pleased to report that the 30-40 students who complete this test annually do very well. For example, the 2006 composite score places our psychology majors in the top 81 st percentile nationally.