Our Psychology major has been designed to teach students basic psychological theories, principles, and concepts and how to apply them to everyday life. In completing the major requirements, students receive both depth and breadth of exposure to the field of Psychology. Each student works closely with a faculty advisor to plan a course of study within the major that is in line with the student’s interests and goals. A particular strength of the Psychology department is its faculty. Each has a terminal degree, each is committed to teaching and each works with advisees to offer suggestions, deal with problems and provide direction. In addition to classroom instruction, our majors are offered a broad range of experiential learning opportunities that include internships, counseling practica, and independent studies. Internships opportunities have included, but are not limited to such sites as: Mass Mutual Insurance Company, The Carson Center, area grammar and high schools, Noble Hospital, Disney World, DSS in Springfield, Ludlow County Jail, and the WSU Human Resource Department.
Psychology as a discipline gives students a framework for understanding human behavior and the world around them. Students learn about the biological bases of behavior, about the nature of personality, how people think, how emotions are expressed, how and why people behave differently in groups and about the differences between normal and abnormal behavior.
With a major in Psychology students develop specific tools to prepare them for a real world environment. Students acquire critical thinking skills so they can present and evaluate arguments. Students acquire methodological and quantitative skills so they can learn how to conduct and evaluate research. Students learn how to acquire information from psychology journals, computer data bases, the internet, questionnaires and systematic observations. Students acquire speaking and writing skills so they can effectively communicate. Students learn interpersonal skills to allow them to interact with and function effectively with others.
Upon graduation students are well equipped to pursue a number of opportunities. Psychology as a liberal arts major positions students to pursue a variety of career paths that can in part be influenced by studying a second major or minor. Psychology students can pursue employment in such fields as Business (human resources, marketing, recruiting, management); human services (career counselor, case worker, crisis intervention counselor, mental health worker); education (administration, admissions, teacher, academic advising); Criminal Justice (corrections officer, parole officer, probation officer, law enforcement officer) and others. In addition to entering the workforce many of our students go on to graduate school studying Psychology or related fields. The Department of Psychology offers a Master’s degree in Psychology with programs in Mental Health and Guidance and a Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis. For information about the graduate programs, please consult the Graduate Catalog through CGCE.
Students majoring in Psychology are also required to complete a Capstone Experience. The purpose of the capstone is to provide students with a culminating experience within the Psychology major. The hallmark of a capstone experience is that it is integrative and requires a substantial academic project. In capstone experiences students are expected to apply knowledge from prior, diverse classes to the topic at hand. They require students to synthesize information from a variety of areas within psychology or between psychology and another discipline/area of expertise.
Psychology majors will be required to contribute to departmental assessment of the achievement of Psychology major learning objectives. The Department views program assessment as an integral part of our ongoing effort to improve our curriculum and service to our students. To improve our assessment practices, we have decided to evaluate student learning outcomes, in part, using a pre-post assessment. Pre-test will be a required component of PSYC 0101 . Post-test will be given as PSYC 0395 .
Completion of either BIOL 0104 , BIOL 0106 , or BIOL 0237 is required of all Psychology majors.
Psychology majors must complete a minimum of 21 credits in the Department at Westfield State.