Psychology is the scientific study of behavior and mental processes, and is a part of everyday life, influencing individual, work, family, social, and community interactions. Psychology is a rigorous academic degree, providing critical thinking skills and reasoning, developing research skills, understanding of human and brain behavior, health promotion, statistical analysis, and so much more.

Students pursuing a psychology degree learn to apply the principles and methods of science to a broad range of topics, including memory, sensation, perception, learning, thought, motivation, emotion, human development, language, personality, abnormal behavior, psychotherapy and social psychology.

Our department has faculty who are world-renowned and conduct cutting-edge research with real-world implications for helping people across the lifespan and within various communities, including educational, medical, veteran/military, court system, and athletic settings. We are deeply committed to research and science that fosters understanding of the full range of human experiences, including how psychological principles interface with environmental, social and cultural systems to influence health and well-being across individuals and their communities.

Sandra Morissette, Ph.D.


Sandra Morissette, Ph.D.

Department Chair, Professor


10 Great Reasons to Earn a Psychology Degree

Psychology degrees have emerged as one of the most popular options at colleges and universities throughout the world. In addition to offering a tremendous opportunity for personal growth, majoring in psychology opens up a huge range of career opportunities. If you are still wondering if earning a psychology degree is the right choice for you, then be sure to check out some of these great reasons to major in psychology.

Psychology is certainly not a one-size-fits-all career choice. In fact, one of the greatest strengths of a psychology degree is the enormous variety of career paths that are available to graduates. Students can tailor their education and degree to focus on specialty areas that appeal to their interests. Some of these potential professions include:

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Sports Psychology
  • Forensic Psychology
  • Health Psychology
  • Industrial-Organizational Psychology
  • Human Factors Psychology

Have you ever wondered why people behave in certain ways? Or maybe you’ve always wanted to learn more about your own mind, emotions or actions? Earning a degree in psychology is an excellent way to gain a greater understanding of people. In additional to satisfying your own interest in human nature, having a solid understanding of what makes people do certain things can be a very marketable skill in a wide variety of job settings, including social services, advertising, marketing, education, health care and politics.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of psychologists is expected to grow at a rate of about 33% percent through the next decade - above average growth. The demand for psychological services in schools, hospitals, substance abuse treatment centers and social services agencies is expected to fuel the demand for trained professionals. Three job areas expected to be in high demand are in clinical psychology, school psychology and industrial-organizational psychology.

If you love solving practical or theoretical problems, then earning a psychology degree might be a great choice for you. Some psychologists focus on helping people resolve complex emotional issues or development solutions for real-work problems. Others delve deeper into our understanding of the human mind and behavior by conducting research and adding to the body of scientific knowledge. No matter which area interests you, psychology presents unique challenges that can also be deeply rewarding.

If you’ve ever dreamed of making a real difference on other people’s lives, earning a psychology degree can be a great way to achieve that goal. Psychologists, counselors, therapists and community services workers devote their time and energy to helping people overcome adversity, increase their well-being, and realize their full potential. While this type of work can be emotionally demanding and stressful at times, it can also be very fulfilling.

Psychology students spend a great deal of time learning about research methods and statistics. Even if you don’t particularly love the research process, learning more about how to gather, organize, analyze and interpret data can be an important skill in a wide variety of careers. For example, educations, administrators, scientists, marketers and advertisers often perform such tasks in order to make decisions, evaluate progress, and complete projects.

An undergraduate degree in psychology can be an excellent starting point for further graduate student. Many students choose to earn a graduate degree in psychology, while others opt to switch to a related field such as counseling, education or social work. Having a background in human psychology can also lead to further study in areas such as law, medicine or the life sciences.

Let’s imagine that in addition to your strong interest in psychology, you also love sports and physical fitness. While the two subjects might seem only distantly related at first, they actually make up a major specialty area known as sports psychology. One great benefit of earning a psychology degree is that you can pursue a career path that is well-aligned to your passions and interests. A student who enjoys working with young children can specialize in developmental psychology with a focus on early childhood development, while another student who is fascinated by the aging process could earn a degree in the same subject with a focus on geriatrics.

Earning a degree in psychology can be a great way to prepare for a range of different professions. The skills that you acquire during your study of psychology such as analyzing data, communicating complex information and understanding human behavior are all abilities that are highly prized by employers. According to Complete Psychology by Graham Davey (2007), only about 15 to 20 percent of psychology majors go on to become professional psychologists or counselors. So what do the estimated three-quarters of psychology majors end up doing with their degrees? Many put their knowledge of psychology to work in various professions including marketing, business, advertising, criminal justice, education, sales, public affairs, health services, human resources and numerous other areas.

The best possible reason to earn a degree in psychology is simply a love for the subject matter. If you look forward to going to your psychology courses, enjoy discussing psychology topics, spend your free time browsing psychology websites and love learning new facts about psychology, then chances are really good that earning a psychology degree is a good choice for you.

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Subfields of Psychology

Psychologists specialize in a host of different areas within the field and identify themselves by many different labels. A sampling of these areas is presented below to give you an idea of the breadth of psychology’s content as well as the many different settings in which it is found. Psychologists also teach psychology in academic institutions from high schools to university graduate programs.

The field of psychology encompasses both research, through which we learn fundamental things about human and animal behavior, and practice, through which that knowledge is applied in helping to solve problems and promote healthy human development. In each of the subfields there are psychologists who work primarily as researchers, others who work primarily as practitioners and many who do both (scientist-practitioners). Indeed, one of psychology’s most unique and important characteristics is its coupling of science and practice, which stimulates continual advancement of both.

Clinical psychologists assess, treat, and prevent mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders. These range from short-term crises to more severe, long-term stressors and trauma. Some clinical psychologists treat specific problems exclusively, such as anxiety disorders, traumatic stress disorders, depression, sleep disorders, and addictive behaviors. Others focus on specific populations: youth, racial and ethnic minority groups, LGBTQ+, co-occurring medical conditions, and the elderly, for instance.

Cognitive and Perceptual psychologists study human perception, thinking, and memory. Cognitive psychologists are interested in questions such as, how does the mind represent reality? How do people learn? How do people understand and produce language? Cognitive psychologists also study reasoning, judgment, and decision making. Cognitive and perceptual psychologists often collaborate with behavioral neuroscientists to understand the biological bases of perception or cognition or with researchers in other areas of psychology to better understand the cognitive biases in the thinking of people with depression, for example.

Developmental psychologists study the psychological development of the human being that takes place throughout life. Until recently, the primary focus was on childhood and adolescence, the most formative years. But as life expectancy in this country approaches 80 years, developmental psychologists are becoming increasingly interested in aging, especially in researching and developing ways to help elderly people stay as independent as possible.

Experimental psychologists are interested in a wide range of psychological phenomena, including cognitive processes, comparative psychology (cross-species comparisons), learning and conditioning, and psychophysics (the relationship between the physical brightness of a light and how bright the light is perceived to be, for example). Experimental psychologists study both human and nonhuman animals with respect to their abilities to detect what is happening in a particular environment and to acquire and maintain responses to what is happening.

Health psychologists specialize in how biological, psychological, and social factors affect health and illness. They study how patients handle illness; why some people don’t follow medical advice; and the most effective ways to control pain or to change poor health habits. They also develop health care strategies that foster emotional and physical well-being.Psychologists team up with medical personnel in private practice and in hospitals to provide patients with complete health care. They educate medical staff about psychological problems that arise from the pain and stress of illness and about symptoms that may seem to be physical in origin but actually have psychological causes. Health psychologists also investigate issues that affect a large segment of society, and develop and implement programs to deal with these problems. Examples are teenage pregnancy, substance abuse, risky sexual behaviors, smoking, lack of exercise, and poor diet.

Industrial/Organizational psychologists apply psychological principles and research methods to the work place in the interest of improving productivity and the quality of work life. Many serve as human resources specialists, helping organizations with staffing, training, and employee development. And others work as management consultants in such areas as strategic planning, quality management, and coping with organizational change.

Behavioral neuropsychologists explore the relationships between brain systems and behavior. For example, behavioral neuropsychologists may study the way the brain creates and stores memories, or how various diseases and injuries of the brain affect emotion, perception, and behavior. They often conduct neuropsychologist tests (e.g., intelligence, memory, attention) and design tasks to study normal and abnormal brain functions. They may also evaluate brain functioning imaging techniques, such as positron emission tomography (PET), single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Clinical neuropsychologists also assess and treat people. And with the dramatic increase in the number of survivors of traumatic brain injury over the past 30 years, neuropsychologists are working with health teams to help brain-injured people resume productive lives.

Quantitative and Measurement psychologists focus on methods and techniques for designing experiments and analyzing psychological data. Some develop new methods for performing analysis; others create research strategies to assess the effect of social and educational programs and psychological treatment. They develop and evaluate mathematical models for psychological tests. They also propose methods for evaluating the quality and fairness of the tests.

Social psychologists study how people interact with one another and how they are affected by their social environments. These psychologists frequently try to identify the attributions, attitudes, beliefs, and social norms that often influence a variety of interpersonal behaviors. This research can include the study of individuals as well as groups, and may involve either the observation of observable behaviors or assessment of private thoughts. Social psychologists can be found in academic settings, advertising agencies, corporations, hospitals, and testing or survey firms.

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We appreciate your interest in the Department of Psychology and extend our warmest welcome to you from the Department.