The psychology major emphasizes how individuals think, feel, and behave within personal, social, cultural and societal contexts. The psychology curriculum is anchored in a liberal arts approach to education with the goal of helping students apply critical thinking skills to social and psychological questions. Students learn intervention techniques and counseling skills appropriate for helping individuals and changing social conditions. They learn how functional and dysfunctional behavior patterns develop, and about the interplay between an individuals' neurobiological, interpersonal, cultural, community, and societal processes. Research and statistics courses familiarize students with basic concepts in experimental design and analysis. Equally important, courses in the major emphasize humane and ethical practice through a curriculum designed to increase appreciation of diversity and develop sensitivity to the dynamics of social oppression and the consequences of social change.
Through application of Lasell's Connected Learning philosophy, psychology majors have ongoing opportunities to connect concepts discussed in the classroom with practical application gained by working directly in the field through service learning. In their first year, all students take an introductory course in human service theory and participate in at least one service-learning or social justice project. During their first one-semester internship, students work in a community agency that provides services or a therapeutic environment for its clients. A concurrent seminar provides the academic groundwork for this internship, and a required course in basic counseling skills gives students an introduction to valuable interviewing and intervention techniques. Finally, as the culminating capstone experience in their senior year, students are engaged in a two-semester, intensive internship placement, also accompanied by concurrent seminars each semester. Through their internship experiences and their academic course work, students develop and practice professional skills and master the writing styles needed for careers in counseling or social services or for graduate school.
The skills taught in the major prepare students to seek employment in a wide variety of social service or therapeutic settings in administration, education, child welfare settings, research and human service agencies in positions such as a counselor, personnel interviewer, case manager, market researcher, test administrator, research assistant, or rehabilitation worker. The undergraduate psychology major prepares the capable student for graduate programs in areas such as clinical or counseling psychology, school psychology, organizational psychology, social work, hospital administration, public health and criminal justice.
By planning early in consultation with an academic advisor, students may be able to reduce the time it takes to complete a bachelor’s degree in Psychology to 3 or 3½ years.