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Bachelor of Arts

“I want to make a difference in people’s lives. After I obtain my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, I want to become a missionary and travel the world to work with teenagers and youth groups.”

Teresa Ryan '16
Psychology Major
From Shrewsbury, MA

Psychology Major

Students who are interested in working with people, are willing to work with clients often in stressful situations, and making a difference are most drawn to the behavioral sciences.  Potential students of psychology are also potential students of other disciplines within the Justice and Social Science School (JSS). Psychology is often a popular double major with Criminal Justice Majors, and provides well-balanced minor to many other fields.  Students who complete the Psychology program are prepared to take on graduate studies, which is an essential step in the credentialing process of becoming a professional in the field of behavioral sciences

 The Psychology program prepares students for graduate programs as well as for entry level bachelor of arts degree careers in health and human services, human resources, court related position, and work within a variety social service agencies, e.g., Department of Children and Families (DCF). The curriculum includes introductions to the basic concepts utilized in psychology, the evolution of the field, theories of normal and abnormal psychological development, experimental psychology, and an internship in a community setting. 


Learning Outcomes for the Psychology Program

The overarching goals for the Bachelor of Arts in Psychology program are aligned with the American Psychological Association (APA) Guidelines for the undergraduate psychology major. The APA provides details for 10 suggested goals and related learning outcomes for the psychology major, grouped in two major categories:

I. Knowledge, Skills, and Values Consistent With the Science and Application of Psychology

  • This category represents activities that provide hallmarks of psychology education. Responsibility for development in and assessment of these areas rests primarily with the psychology faculty in coursework or psychology advising.

II. Knowledge, Skills, and Values Consistent With Liberal Arts Education That Are Further Developed in Psychology

  • This category includes activities that are usually part of a general education program or liberal education. Responsibility for student development in these areas and assessment of students’ achievements tend to be shared across a broader range of disciplines than just psychology; however, psychology coursework can contribute to and expand upon these general education goals in significant ways. In turn, well-developed liberal education skills can contribute to student achievement within the psychology major.


Program Goals and Educational Objectives/Learning Outcomes

I. Knowledge, Skills, and Values Consistent With the Science and Application of Psychology

  • Knowledge Base - Acquire a strong intellectual foundation in psychological science .
    • Students will be able to identify, describe, and contrast the historical foundations, the major theoretical approaches, the range of questions addressed, the research methods used, and the key research findings in the discipline.
    • Identify various disciplines within the areas of psychology.
  • Research Methods - Understand and apply basic research methods and experimental design principles.
    • Identify and describe different research methods used by psychologists.
    • Design and carry out a research study to test a hypothesis.
    • Research the variety of populations served by the various divisions within APA.
  • Research Methods/ Quantitative Literacy - Use descriptive and inferential statistical methods to describe and evaluate empirical data. Interpret and produce graphical representations of data.
    • Use appropriate statistical analyses to facilitate interpretation of measurements.
    • Choose appropriate information to convey in charts, tables, figures, and graphs.
    • Accurately interpret quantitative visual aids.
  • Critical Thinking - Respect and use critical and creative thinking, skeptical inquiry, and, when possible, the scientific approach to evaluate problems related to behavior and mental processes.
    • Analyze and evaluate arguments, findings, and claims about psychological phenomena in the popular media and in the psychological research literature.
    • Distinguish among assumptions, emotional appeals, speculations, and defensible evidence.
    • Engage in creative thinking by pursuing an original or unusual approach to a problem.
  • Values in Psychology - Act ethically, value empirical evidence, and reflect other values that are underpinnings of psychology as a science.
    • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of relevant ethical issues, and recognize the necessity of ethical behavior, in all aspects of the science and practice of psychology.
    • Follow the APA Code of Ethics (Standard 8: Research and Publication) in the treatment of human and nonhuman participants in the design, data collection, interpretation, and reporting of psychological research.
    • Seek and evaluate scientific evidence for psychological claims.


II. Knowledge, Skills, and Values Consistent With Liberal Arts Education That Are Further Developed in Psychology

  • Application of Psychology - Understand and apply psychological principles to individual, social, and organizational issues to include socio-cultural and international awareness.
    • Apply psychological concepts, theories, and research findings to real world problems.
    • Recognize, understand, and respect the complexity of socio-cultural and international diversity.
  • Communication Skills—Written - Demonstrate effective written communication skills.
    • Write a scientific paper (research report, research proposal, literature review) that clearly communicates theories, hypotheses, research methods, and research findings.
  • Communication Skills—Oral - Demonstrate effective oral communication skills.
    • Give an effective oral presentation (research report, research proposal, article critique) that clearly communicates theories, hypotheses, research methods, and/or research findings.
  • Information and Technological Literacy - Demonstrate information competency.
    • Research a topic for an oral or written report, locating sources from appropriate media and evaluating them for quality and potential bias.
    • Use information and technology ethically, citing sources, avoiding plagiarism and distortion of findings.
  • Personal Development - Develop insight into their own and others’ behavior and mental processes and apply effective strategies for self-management and self-improvement.
    • Emerge from the major with realistic ideas about how to implement their psychological knowledge, skills, and values in occupational pursuits in a variety of settings.
    • Explore resources describing occupational options.