About Psychology

Psychology is the study of the mental states and processes that give rise to behavior. It seeks to understand the basic mechanisms and functions of perception, cognition, emotion, and attitudes in guiding behavior. Although it focuses on the level of the individual, individual behavior depends on the social relationships and structures in which people are embedded and the biological systems of which we are comprised. Thus, psychological study encompasses a broad set of topics that overlap with a number of disciplines across the social and biological sciences. The requirements of the major are designed to acquaint students with the research methods psychologists use and to provide a foundation of core knowledge covering the major areas of psychology. This broad foundation allows students to pursue a more advanced understanding of subfields related to their own particular interests and goals for the major. The program may serve as preparation for graduate work in psychology or related fields (e.g., neuroscience, education), as well as for students interested in careers in social work, public policy, business, or medicine. Students are encouraged to become actively engaged in research in the department and should consult with the director of undergraduate research about their interests as early as possible.