Spotlight on Undergraduate Education

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Given that now is the time of year when students are declaring majors and choosing courses for Spring term, we want to highlight some of the people crucial to the Psychology Major. Pictured above, from left to right are Dr. Angie Vieth (Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies and Visiting Assistant Professor), Dr. Rick Hoyle (Director of Undergraduate Studies and Professor of Psychology), and Ms. Natalia Silva Harwood (Assistant to the Director of Undergraduate Studies).

Advice for Students Considering the Major. Psychology is a broad discipline; as Dr. Hoyle notes, it is a field that explores "causes and consequences of behavior that range from single neurons to people interacting in groups." The major is a flexible one, which Dr. Vieth points out is “a good thing, considering the many directions our students can (and do) go following graduation! This flexibility allows our students to carefully tailor their programs of study to whatever they’re planning next.” Some Psychology majors go on to medicine, law, or policy schools; many take jobs in education, communication, marketing, and treatment that involve applications of psychology.    

Advice for Current Majors. When thinking about the skills Psychology majors develop, Dr. Hoyle emphasizes the value of moving outside the classroom and engaging in research. The breadth of the field is reflected in the many research interests of our faculty, including but not limited to obesity, memory, neuroeconomics, motivation and self-regulation, global mental health, and HIV prevention. Psychology majors can earn course credit for their research, and research is the way majors get hands-on training in skills that appeal to employers – including but not limited to survey design, data collection, data management, and the communication and application of research findings. 

Finally: a piece of practical advice for majors: take Research Methods and Statistics before senior year, as these courses provide the foundation for many of the skills employers seek!