Psychology majors at Saint Mary’s study human behavior firsthand through outstanding collaborative research with faculty mentors as well as through exciting internships at such real-world settings as the Mayo Clinic.
Fascinated by human behavior? The psychology major at Saint Mary’s may be your perfect fit. Studying human behavior is what we do. And as a psychology student here, you’ll discover numerous opportunities to observe, understand, and analyze why the human mind functions the way it does…even before you graduate. After all, it’s a fundamental component of our approach to the teaching and learning of psychology—integrating theoretical learning in the classroom with a variety of diverse hands-on research and laboratory experiences.
Collaborative research laboratories, exciting internships, memorable study abroad trips…SMU psychology majors enjoy uncommon access to a wealth of experiential learning opportunities. Whether it is in our Aggression Lab, our Body Image Lab, our Alcohol Research Lab; through an extraordinary internship experience with the Mayo Clinic; or through volunteer opportunities and field trips, you’ll work closely with professors, peers, and distinguished psychologists to discuss, plan, analyze, and present high-quality research and strive to find real solutions to real behavioral issues.
You also will take advantage of activities beyond the classroom…through our required international component, our own chapter of Psi Chi (the national honor society in psychology) or our active, student-led Psychology Club. And graduate not only well-versed in the theoretical aspects of the field, but with a tested, true understanding of how thinking, personality, learning, and motivation impact human attitudes.
Observing our faculty in action can be as much of a learning experience for you at Saint Mary’s as what you learn from them. From award-winning teachers, to published authors, to recipients of grants from the National Science Foundation, to active professionals and members of such organizations as the American Psychological Society and the International Council of Psychologists, your professors will offer you the benefits of their extensive experience as well as extraordinary depth and breadth of knowledge in the field. Not only do our faculty members have substantial professional experience as psychologists, they also spend every summer participating in research within their specific areas.
But they’re impossible to ignore within the classroom as well. At Saint Mary’s, you’ll learn from scholars who have a real passion for teaching and a real commitment to the success of every individual student. Thanks to our small class sizes, you’ll quickly come to depend on them as inspiring role models and generous collaborators who include you in their own research. And whether you’re passionate about clinical psychology, counseling, school and education, health psychology, community psychology, law, criminal justice, pastoral ministry, industrial-organizational psychology, sport psychology, social work, or program evaluation, you’ll find your professors eager to share their professional experience and connections to help you succeed.
Engage with a curriculum that’s challenging, yet flexible. As a psychology major at SMU, you can expect your academic journey to be rigorous. You will study basic psychological principles and processes involved in key areas including social, learning, developmental, cross-cultural, biopsychology, cognition, psychopathology, counseling, and personality. Explore different methods of inquiry and apply them in your experimental, testing, statistics, and clinical courses. And approach psychological principles, processes, and methods through various historical and current lenses, including behavioral, cognitive, psychodynamic, humanistic, socio-cultural, and biological perspectives. But you’ll also discover many different options to individualize your major through a wide selection of electives, collaborative research labs, field explorations, internships, and/or a thesis.
The curriculum is designed primarily for three types of students:
But regardless of your goal, as a psychology major at SMU, you can expect to graduate with a comprehensive understanding of basic principles and processes; the application of psychological methods; fluency in applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating a specific issue or topic related to your specific area of interest; and with well-developed communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills.
Psychology can open the door to a number of rewarding careers…from social service (through such careers as youth counselor, substance abuse counselor, child protection worker, crisis intervention counselor, and corrections officer, among others), to business (customer relations, personnel, management and more), to careers in education and academia (in positions ranging from laboratory or research assistant, to child care worker, to data manager). Thanks to the combination of theoretical learning, collaborative research, hands-on learning experiences, and a range of electives offered by Saint Mary’s, you’ll graduate well-prepared to pursue any one of these various professional avenues, depending on your individual interests.
Not surprisingly, our graduates have shaped rewarding, exciting, and ethical careers for themselves in any number of these areas. You’ll find recent SMU psychology graduates pursuing graduate study in such areas as clinical psychology, counseling, industrial/organizational psychology, experimental psychology, social work, law, and education. You’ll also find them serving communities across the nation through their expertise and competence within such areas as medical psychology, corrections, criminal justice, developmental disabilities, crisis intervention, youth and family work, human resources, international business, computer applications, research, sport psychology, and more.
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