What can I do with a major in Psychology?
Psychology is the science of behavior and mental processes - and as such is a diverse and fascinating field to study and in which to work.
Some psychologists conduct basic research on the how's and why's of human behavior, thought, and feelings and create new insights about what we are like as individuals. Other psychologists apply their knowledge to help people lead better and more satisfying lives. Still others teach about psychological theories, principles, and scientific methods. Psychologists are employed in many settings such as clinics and universities, institutions such as industry, schools, and government, and in private practice and consulting.
Our psychology major is designed to not only provide an excellent background for a career in psychology, but for any career that values critical thinking skills, scientific objectivity and problem solving, along with the perspectives afforded by a liberal arts education. For a career in psychology, plan on getting advanced training through a graduate program in psychology; talk to a psychology faculty member for more information.
What Topics Will I Learn about and What Skills Will I Develop?
- Scientific methods in psychology, including how to design, conduct, and critically evaluate research studies; analyze and interpret data; and read and produce research reports in the APA-style.
- The biological bases of behavior, including the link between brain and behavior, basic neurochemical and neurophysiological processes, and the influences of genes (nature) and environment (nurture) on individual differences.
- The laws of learning that shape both human and animal behavior, including classical and operant conditioning, and higher-order forms of learning.
- Human development across the life-span from infancy and childhood though old-age, including how abilities, personalities and our other unique qualities emerge over time. The nature and nurture influences that affect these.
- Basic cognitive processes, including sensation and perception, problem solving and decision-making, language development, and human memory.
- The individual within the social context, including the social psychology of attitudes, stereotypes, person perceptions, self-concepts, and interpersonal relations. The influence of the group on individual behaviors.
- Personality, including traits and other individual difference variables, and assessing these through psychological tests and other methods. A survey of theoretical models from Freud to modern formulations, including the five-factor model.
- Emotion and motivation, including the varieties of emotional experiences and basic physiological and learned motives. Topics such as aggression, happiness, hunger, and stress.
- Abnormal psychology, including forms and diagnosis of mental disorders, their causes, and treatments.
- Applications of psychology to improve people's lives, including methods of counseling and interviewing people, and providing psychological services such as psychotherapy and assessment.
What can I do to find out if psychology is for me?
- Speak with a student majoring in psychology or a faculty member in the department.
- Take a psychology course
- Research careers in psychology, including through the web site for the American
- Conduct informational interviews
- Network with professionals working in the field of psychology or mental health.
- Volunteer or work part time in a psychology position
- Join Parkside's Psychology Club
- Join Psi Chi, the national honor society in psychology
- Visit the UW-Parkside Career Center