Department ofPsychology

Why PLU?

PLU provides the context and the opportunity for hands-on work and thoughtful consideration of psychology in the liberal arts and the sciences. Because of the faculty’s commitment to collaborative work with the students, they know the majors as individuals. Students and faculty work together as colleagues on research projects, community activities and internships.

Why Psychology at PLU?

The psychology department’s mission is to foster a community of scholars committed to the science of psychology, as an epistemology, and as a set of practical tools and ethical obligations.

The psychology program is an integrated whole that encompasses classroom and lab instruction, research and internship experiences for students, collaboration between and among faculty and students on original research projects. We are committed to quality instruction and quality scholarship. Students’ education as psychology majors is more than completing a set of required/recommended courses. Students learn to think like social scientists, like psychologists in particular, encompassing all the variety and depth of experience the label entails. They interact with department faculty and invited guests (for example, job candidates, colloquium speakers) in ways appropriate to the profession. They acquire and use skills relevant to the discipline, and to issues of vocation generally, across contexts – in the classroom, outside of the classroom, in a faculty member’s research lab, while conducting independent research, at a professional conference, while doing an off-campus internship in the community, during graduate school or a first job after graduation.

The program

Psychology is a scientific discipline that seeks to understand human and nonhuman behavior, and a profession that seeks to change behavior for the betterment of humankind. Through its curriculum, research activities and use of community resources, the Department of Psychology provides students with a balanced exposure to psychology as a scientific discipline and profession.

The major in psychology:

  • Introduces students to scientific methods of psychology, to theories and research findings from the core areas of psychology, and to the history of psychology.
  • Provides students with opportunities to explore advanced topics in scientific and professional psychology, conduct psychological research, and gain exposure to the practice of psychology in community settings.
  • Helps prepare students for postgraduate work in psychology or in related professions, such as social work, education, medicine, law and business. The major is an excellent general preparation for employment in a variety of settings.

The psychology program is designed to meet the needs of a variety of students. To this end, two majors are offered: the Bachelor of Arts and the Bachelor of Science. Either degree provides a solid foundation in psychology, and either can serve as preparation for postgraduate study or employment. However, for those students who intend to pursue a doctorate in psychology following graduation from PLU, the Bachelor of Science degree will provide an especially strong preparation. The Bachelor of Science degree is also an excellent pre-professional degree for those students who plan to enter the fields of dentistry, medicine (all branches, including psychiatry), public health or veterinary medicine. Many in business, education, nursing and social work find a double major with psychology to be a valuable addition to their training.

Student success

The PLU psychology program enjoys a positive regional and national reputation, and our students are highly respected by employers. See the department’s website for information about recent graduates.

We have also had success placing students in graduate programs. Most psychology students applying to graduate programs have been accepted for admission. We believe the success is due to a high quality education in psychology and the support students receive at PLU. Faculty form relationships with students, discuss career plans and provide assistance in a variety of ways throughout their college career and beyond.

In addition to further training in psychology, PLU psychology graduates have gone on to medical school, law school, seminary, graduate programs in counseling, social work, occupational therapy, physical therapy, business, education and other areas. In their graduate studies, our students are often recognized for their abilities by receiving fellowships and grants, or by being selected to work as graduate teaching or research assistants.