Curious about human behavior and how the mind works? Want to know why stress triggers physical or emotional responses? St. Kate's psychology major is steeped in scientific inquiry and provides an outstanding foundation for a range of careers. We combine challenging coursework and excellent teaching with in-depth mentoring, unique internship opportunities and collaborative research experiences.
In a recent department survey, 95 percent of our alumnae reported that their psychology major was relevant to their current work — and many had found rewarding professions in areas such as human services, sales, public relations, marketing and advertising, as well as in consulting, teaching and research. Others had earned coveted spots at prestigious graduate programs in counseling, clinical, school or experimental psychology.
Our curriculum spans disciplines, including humanities and the social and natural sciences — so you learn how psychology applies to work, life and play. We offer core courses in literature, biology and philosophy and required classes in "Statistical Methods in Psychology" and "History and Systems." Your choice of electives include "Psychology of Gender," "Lifespan Development," "Socialization Processes," "Memory and Cognition" and "Industrial/Organizational Psychology."
A national model
"General Psychology," our nationally recognized introductory psychology course, includes a lab component that teaches you how psychologists conduct research. The course has been featured in Teaching of Psychology journal for "improving students' knowledge and comfort level with scientific approaches and concepts, sustaining interest in psychology and increasing critical thinking skills about psychological research."
— Art Sesma, assistant professor of psychology
Psychology majors at St. Kate's must engage in 20 hours of community-service experience in two required seminar courses: "Psychology Engages the World" and "Current Issues in Psychology." In addition to interacting and networking with professionals in the community, you learn firsthand how to apply classroom knowledge, skills and abilities to the career you want.
Our program offers many opportunities to lead and influence, and increase your competitiveness for future job openings and graduate school, through paid, professional positions such as lab instructors, scientific writing tutors and statistics tutors.
You also learn how to mentor and work as a team member via our faculty's "ladder" approach to research projects. Advanced students are hired to take on substantial research tasks and mentor peers who are newer to the project. When the student graduates, one of her trainees moves up the ladder — ready for greater responsibilities and mentoring the fresh recruits.
Our students frequently partner with professors on original research projects that are presented at regional and national conferences and published in peer-reviewed journals. Student Stephanie Burrows is studying families in homeless shelters with Assistant Professor Art Sesma. Alumna Carol Goulet worked on three body image studies with Associate Professor Lynda Szymanski. These experiences provide valuable professional skills to jumpstart your career or help you succeed in grad school.
Our professors are on a first-name basis with students. They’re enthusiastic teachers and diligent researchers who will challenge you intellectually and help you understand all aspects of psychology. They specialize in many areas, including media influence, body image, program evaluation and memory enhancement. Professors Andrea Olson and Jamie Peterson, for example, are also studying how female students learn scientific concepts to better develop curricula in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
Honor societies and colloquia
St. Kate's psychology majors are routinely recognized in our department newsletter for their scholarly achievements as members of Phi Beta Kappa, Psi Chi and other honor societies.
Many students also attend our colloquia series — comprising four to six presentations each semester — on a variety of topics, including career advice or new developments in psychology. Speakers include St. Kate’s psychology majors and faculty, as well as guest scholars, researchers and practicioners.