The Psychology Department offers a major in psychology (General and Addiction Studies tracks) and minors in psychology and social work. Providing a strong foundation in the study and knowledge of behavior and experience, a bachelor’s degree in psychology develops skills in reading, writing, research, and problem solving valued by employers and needed for graduate school in associated disciplines.
Graduates obtain jobs in a wide range of settings including business and government, hospitals, private agencies that service the residential/vocational needs of those suffering from mental illness and those who are developmentally disabled, and group homes/supported community living agencies. In addition to pursuing graduate study, our graduates also obtain jobs as teachers, researchers, residential counselor trainees, behavioral analysts, probation offices, and assistant mental health workers.
The psychology degree has built-in flexibility that allows many elective courses to be taken or transferred which gives students the freedom to tailor their degree to particular graduate school interests and career goals in areas such as clinical/counseling, brain and behavior, human development and family studies, social work, women’s studies, biology, business administration, communications, and criminal justice.
Recognizing that it is not only what you know but what you can do that matters, the department has a close relationship with local community service agencies, and offers the motivated student numerous opportunities to gain pre-professional experience through internships and service-learning opportunities.
Student Learning Outcomes
Learning outcomes for the undergraduate psychology major conform to the Undergraduate Psychology Major Learning Goals and Outcomes recommended by the American Psychological Association (2013). Students who complete the degree requirements in psychology should be able to:
- Demonstrate understanding of and apply the major content domains, concepts, theoretical perspectives, empirical findings, and historical trends in psychology;
- Apply scientific methodology and information literacy skills to understand psychological concepts, problem solve, and design and conduct research;
- Use critical and creative thinking and the scientific approach to solve problems related to behavior and mental processes;
- Weigh evidence, tolerate ambiguity, act ethically, and reflect values that are the underpinnings of psychology as a discipline;
- Demonstrate technological literacy and the ability to use computers and other technology for many purposes;
- Communicate effectively in a variety of formats;
- Understand and value the complexity of sociocultural and international diversity and a commitment to social justice;
- Develop insight into one’s own and others’ behavior and mental processes and apply effective strategies for self-management and self-improvement, project management and teamwork;
- Demonstrate a commitment to building community at local, national and global levels;
- Implement their psychology knowledge, skills, and values in a variety of occupational settings or in advanced graduate school programs.
Student achievement in the psychology major is assessed in a variety of ways. Assessment includes classroom and course data (objective and essay tests), individually written projects (term papers, lab reports, critiques), oral presentations (student journals, self-critiques), group projects (written and oral), online group activities (discussion board, chat room), satisfaction measures (alumni, seniors, employers), performance reviews, exit interviews, focus groups, transcript analyses, and syllabus audits. In internships, faculty and qualified agency personnel evaluate students’ professional demeanor and practical skills in an applied setting. Students are encouraged to keep a portfolio of their experiences for reflective purposes, as well as to demonstrate their competencies when applying to graduate school and for positions in the field.
Transfer students must complete at least half of the courses in the major/minor at Rivier University. For the major, a minimum of three upper-level courses must be taken at Rivier University.