Division III Chair: J. Blythe


Program Chair: W. Messer


Faculty: S. Jones, W. Messer, D. Porter, R. Smith, W. Williams, and A. Wyrick




Courses: PSY Courses


Major/Minor Requirements: Psychology B.A.


Psychology is the study of behavior and mental experience. Psychologists may conduct research on the causes of behavior in humans and animals, teach at colleges and universities, help individuals grow in psychological health, or use psychological principles to solve problems in applied settings such as schools, businesses, and other organizations. The Psychology major provides a firm foundation for students who seek graduate training leading to a professional career in psychology and other fields, as well as for students who wish to work upon graduation in psychology-related areas of business and social service.

Psychology is one of the most misunderstood disciplines. Popular portrayals of psychologists in mass media, along with a preponderance of popular self-help books, contribute to a misunderstanding of what students of Psychology actually study. One of the first things a prospective student of Psychology should do is to make sure that he or she really wants to study Psychology. Here are some facts that may help students decide:

  • Psychology is a science. As such, it requires a thorough understanding of the methods of science and how those methods are applied to topics of psychological interest. Students of Psychology are required to take courses in statistics and research methods and to use their knowledge of these methods in other courses in the major.
  • Clinical and Counseling Psychology reflect just one dimension of the breadth of psychological inquiry and work. The other major areas of psychology are Experimental Psychology and Applied Psychology. Experimental Psychology consists of fundamental research on the nature and causes of human and animal behavior (including, but not limited to, abnormal behavior). Applied Psychology includes subdisciplines such as Industrial Organizational and School Psychology in which principles of Experimental Psychology are applied to solve real-world problems in organizational settings. Clinical and Counseling Psychology also draw on techniques, data, and information gleaned from Experimental Psychology and the many subdisciplines of psychology. For example, a counseling psychologist may use behavioral methods that originally were studied with rats in Skinner boxes. The academic pursuit of knowledge in psychology includes course work in areas as diverse as neuroscience, ethology, cognition, and social psychology, as well as course work in personality theory and clinical methods. Students interested in majoring in Psychology should be prepared to take a variety of courses.
  • Nearly all people who are able to refer to themselves as “psychologists” have graduate degrees. A large majority of the Berea College Psychology majors pursue graduate study in psychology, law, or other areas. Because so many of our students pursue graduate study, and because the professional practice of psychology demands graduate training, the Psychology major at Berea emphasizes preparation for graduate study. One does not learn to be a clinician or counselor at Berea. That skill is acquired at the master’s or doctoral levels. However, Berea will prepare students well so that they can succeed as graduate students. If a student is not interested in going to graduate school, a major in psychology can still serve as an excellent preparation for other career pursuits such as business, law, and sales, to name just a few. These careers draw not only on a Psychology major’s “people skills,” but also on his or her understanding of statistics and research methodology.
  • Over the years, many students who have expressed an interest in psychology have indicated that they want to get a doctoral degree in clinical psychology and work with children. There are several points that should be brought to a student’s attention. First of all, a doctoral degree in clinical psychology usually includes a substantial research component, as well as clinical training. Second, because these programs have so many applicants, they are extremely competitive, often admitting only 1 percent to 2 percent of applicants (who are typically highly qualified). Third, students often have misconceptions about what a clinical psychologist does. There are the alternative routes that require only a Master’s degree such as a Masters in Clinical Psychology, Educational Counseling, School Psychology, Marriage and Family Counseling, and even Psychiatric Social Work (with an emphasis in working with children). A student’s interest in children may also be served by careers in education, social work, or social services. A major in Psychology is excellent preparation for any of these pursuits. However, students with an interest in working with children may want to consider majors in other areas in addition to or instead of a major in Psychology.

In addition to supporting students' achievement of the Aims of General Education, the Psychology Program seeks to assist students in meeting the following learning goals and associated learning outcomes:

Learning Goal 1: Students should demonstrate fundamental knowledge and comprehension of the major concepts, theoretical perspectives, historical trends, and empirical findings to discuss how psychological principles apply to behavioral problems. (Knowledge Base of Psychology)

Learning Outcome 1.1: Describe key concepts, principles, and overarching themes in psychology.

Learning Outcome 1.2: Develop a working knowledge of psychology's content domains.

Learning Outcome 1.3: Describe applications of psychology.

Learning Goal 2: Students will develop skills in scientific reasoning and problem solving, including effective research methods.(Research Methods in Psychology)

Learning Outcome 2.1: Use scientific reasoning to interpret psychological phenomena.

Learning Outcome 2.2: Demonstrate psychology information literacy.

Learning Outcome 2.3: Engage in innovative and integrative thinking and problem solving.

Learning Outcome 2.4: Interpret, design, and conduct basic psychological research.

Learning Outcome 2.5: Incorporate sociocultural factors in scientific inquiry.

Learning Goal 3: Students will develop ethically and socially responsible behaviors for professional and personal settings in a landscape that involves increasing diversity. (Ethical and Social Responsibility in a Diverse World)

Learning Outcome 3.1: Apply ethical standards to evaluate psychological science and practice.

Learning Outcome 3.2: Build and enhance interpersonal relationships.

Learning Outcome 3.3: Adopt values that build community at local, national, and global levels.

Learning Goal 4: Students will develop communication skills.

Learning Outcome 4.1: Demonstrate effective writing for different purposes.

Learning Outcome 4.2: Exhibit effective presentation skills for different purposes.

Learning Outcome 4.3: Interact effectively with others.

Learning Goal 5: Students will develop an appreciation for the application of psychology-specific content and skills, effective self-reflection, project-management skills, teamwork skills, and career preparation as important components of their overall professional development. (Professional Development)

Learning Outcome 5.1: Apply psychological content and skills to career goals.

Learning Outcome 5.2: Exhibit self-efficacy and self-regulation.

Learning Outcome 5.3: Refine project-management skills.

Learning Outcome 5.4: Enhance teamwork capacity.

Learning Outcome 5.5: Develop meaningful professional direction for life after graduation.

Psychology Course Sequencing Table:

Please be aware that the table below represents current planning and is subject to change based on faculty availability and student interest.  It is not meant to represent any guarantee to the student that the courses will be offered in the term in which they are currently planned.

CourseFall 14Spr 15Fall 15Spr 16Fall 16Spr 17
PSY 207X     
PSY 208   X X 
PSY 209 X X X
PSY 210 X   X
PSY 211XX   XX
PSY 213      
PSY 214     X 
PSY 215XX    X
PSY 217      
PSY 231      
PSY 321  X   
PSY 323X   X 
PSY 325 X X XX

Courses not scheduled are offered as student interest and faculty availability allow