Psychology at Wilson is a STEM program and adopts a rigorous, scientific approach to understanding behavior—a method that provides the solid foundation necessary for admission to graduate programs or for immediate employment in a myriad of service-based careers. In addition to providing courses that introduce students to primary theoretical perspectives in psychology, the major also requires skills-based courses in statistics and research methods. Students are also trained in the use of statistical analysis software, developing skills that help them master the basics of designing empirical research studies. There are many additional opportunities for students to collaborate with faculty on research projects. All psychology majors are required to conduct their own research as part of their senior capstone project. This is, in part, because human behavior often can be studied best outside of the classroom and because research studies, internships, service learning projects and other types of practical experiences are important preparation for graduate school and careers in the behavioral sciences.

The major in psychology focuses primarily on understanding principles of human behaviors from a variety of perspectives: neurological, cognitive, social, developmental, clinical and evolutionary. However, the interdisciplinary approach to learning and development also requires students to take courses in biology and sociology, resulting in a complex interaction of the individual with interpersonal, intrapersonal and contextual forces that are critically examined.

The psychology program at Wilson College is unique in that, as a STEM program, it introduces students to the scientific method and the APA (American Psychological Association) style of writing early in their academic careers to prepare them to begin working on their three-semester capstone project. Students also have opportunities to conduct collaborative research with faculty, complete internships and engage in service-learning projects. Students have completed service learning projects or internships at places such as Brook Lane Mental Health Services, Manito Alternative Education and Early Head Start. These opportunities, combined with the individualized attention afforded by small class sizes, prepare students for graduate work or careers in service-related fields.

Students are introduced to research in a 200-level lab that is associated with social psychology. Students then take a 300-level “Experimental Methods” class in the spring of their junior year, which is followed by a year-long senior thesis. At the conclusion of their research, students present their findings at Wilson’s annual Student Research Day. Students are also required to take a statistics course and will have access to statistical analysis software.

As practical as it is popular, a major in psychology readily translates into careers in teaching, counseling, research, social work, health sciences, advertising, marketing, personnel management, conflict mediation, forensics and more. Some careers require only the bachelor’s degree, while others require graduate or professional training. In both, Wilson students are well-prepared for obtaining placements.