The Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University is composed of 33 core faculty, 12 allied faculty, and over 40 adjunct faculty members. The department serves nearly 400 undergraduate psychology majors and approximately 150 minors.
The mission of the undergraduate program in psychology at Duke University is to provide students with a dynamic and interactive learning experience that confers a strong background in psychology as a science. Students can pursue training in 5 topic areas: 1) Abnormal/Health, 2) Biological Bases of Behavior, 3) Cognitive Psychology including cognitive neuroscience, 4) Developmental Psychology, and 5) Social Psychology. In the training of students, these topic areas are critically evaluated and real world applications are discussed in lectures, in small group formats, and in one-on-one independent study experiences.
The goals for undergraduate education in psychology at Duke University are consistent with the American Psychological Association Board of Educational Affairs learning goals and outcomes for undergraduate students. Students can earn either a Bachelor or Arts (A.B.) degree or a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree. The B.S. requires additional credits in the natural sciences and calculus beyond the coursework required for the A.B.
Students will develop a strong intellectual foundation in two of the five areas listed above. Students learn about the basic principles, history, and research approaches through foundation courses in two of these core areas.
Students will be exposed to a range of specialized topics and acquire knowledge of a wide range of psychological principles and empirically validated procedures. The application of skills and core knowledge will be developed and honed in advanced seminars and independent study experiences.
Students will develop competence in the operation, interpretation, and evaluation of research in psychological science. All majors will engage in activities that create critical thinking skills about research and that will allow them to be effective consumers of research information; students interested in generating new knowledge themselves will develop the research skills required to do this. These skills are developed in seminars, exposure to online database searching, practice using statistical methods to solve faculty and student generated questions in formal class formats, and independent study courses.
Students will acquire professional communication skills in for form of scientific writing, APA writing style, and use of electronic data bases. Expertise in written communication is developed in courses which have, as a major component, term papers, literature reviews, and comparative analyses. Students demonstrate the ability to utilize technology-based tools using electronic data bases such as PsycINFO, Social Science Index, and ERIC. This training also uses web based sources to develop skills that extend to real world examples of psychological issues.
Students seeking careers in psychology will be prepared in several ways. Those aspiring to graduate education in the field will receive sufficiently broad training in course work and research experience to succeed in gaining admission to outstanding graduate programs in their field of interest. Students seeking entry level research positions in the field will have become sufficiently well versed in the basic principles of conducting research to be competitive for positions in a wide range of labs.