The psychology major emphasizes how individuals think, feel, and behave within personal, social, cultural and societal contexts. The psychology curriculum is anchored in a liberal arts approach to education with the goal of helping students apply critical thinking skills to social and psychological questions. Students learn intervention techniques and counseling skills appropriate for helping individuals and changing social conditions. They learn how functional and dysfunctional behavior patterns develop, and about the interplay between an individuals' neurobiological, interpersonal, cultural, community, and societal processes. Research and statistics courses familiarize students with basic concepts in experimental design and analysis. Equally important, courses in the major emphasize humane and ethical practice through a curriculum designed to increase appreciation of diversity and sensitivity to the dynamics of social oppression and the consequences of social change.

Through application of Lasell's Connected Learning philosophy, psychology majors have ongoing opportunities to connect theoretical concepts discussed in the classroom with practical application gained by working directly in the field through service learning. In their first year, all students take an introductory course in human service theory and participate in at least one service-learning or social justice project. During their first one-semester internship, students work in a community agency that provides services or a therapeutic environment for its clients. A concurrent seminar provides the academic groundwork for this internship, and a required course in basic counseling skills gives students an introduction to valuable interviewing and intervention techniques. Finally, as the culminating capstone experience in their senior year, students are engaged in a two-semester, intensive internship placement, also accompanied by concurrent seminars each semester. Through their internship experiences and their academic course work, students develop and practice professional skills and master the writing styles for the discipline and the profession.

The skills taught in the major prepare students to seek employment in a wide variety of social service or therapeutic settings in administration, education, child welfare settings, research and human service agencies in positions such as a counselor, personnel interviewer, case manager, market researcher, test administrator, research assistant, or rehabilitation worker. The undergraduate psychology major prepares the capable student for graduate programs in areas such as clinical or counseling psychology, school psychology, organizational psychology, social work, hospital administration, public health and the criminal justice system.

By planning early in consultation with an academic advisor, students may be able to reduce the time it takes to complete a bachelor’s degree in Psychology to 3 or 3½ years.

Academic Standards for Psychology Majors

  1. Students must earn a grade of C or above in each of the following courses:
    PSYC 101 Psychological Perspectives
    SOC101 Sociological Imagination
    HS101 Human Services: Systems & Skills
    HS210 Case Management and Counseling
    SOC331 Research methods in the Social Sciences OR 
    PSYC331 Experimental Design in Psychology
  2. Students must receive a grade of C-minus or above in any required Psychology, Sociology, or Human Services course (course with one of these three prefixes) or any course which serves as a substitute or alternative for such a requirement).
  3. The foundation seminar and internship courses (HS215 and HS217) are taken as a unit, and failure to receive at least a C in either of these courses will require the student to repeat both.
  4. The senior level internship courses (HS415 and HS417) and seminar courses (HS425 and 427) form yearlong courses. Failure to receive a minimum grade of C in any one of these courses will result in the student having to repeat the entire sequence, unless there are extenuating circumstances.

The following goals and associated learning outcomes delineate what we strive for students to achieve when they complete the major program of study in Psychology.

Goal 1: Knowledge in the Discipline
Upon completion of the major program of study in Psychology, students will be able to:

  1. Describe key concepts and theories within the field of Psychology
  2. Use Psychological theories to explain human behavior on individual, small group, and societal levels
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of professional codes of ethics

Goal 2: Professional social service experience
Upon completion of the major program of study in Psychology, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate effective skills for interacting with clients
  2. Reflect on the development and practice of their professional roles

Goal 3: Service learning and social justice
Upon completion of the major program of study in Psychology, students will be able to:

  1. Engage in action to address the issues of justice by raising awareness or advocating for change
  2. Reflect on the results of service
  3. Recognize and describe social injustice
  4. Analyze issues that cause social and economic disparities

Goal 4: Scientific reasoning
Upon completion of the major program of study in Psychology, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate facility with research methodology
  2. Demonstrate ability to apply statistics
  3. Develop a substantiated argument

Goal 5: Communication within the discipline
Upon completion of the major program of study in Psychology, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate proficiency in professional Psychological writing style
  2. Write a preliminary grant
  3. Deliver a professional presentation