Undergraduate Major & Minor Social Sciences
Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science
5 reasons to study Psychology at PLU Transcription[video: Alisha Nkwonta sits in a large lecture hall with a vaulted ceiling and wood-paneled walls.]
Alisha Nkwonta ‘23, Psychology Major: Hi, my name is Alisha. I’m a Psychology major. I’m a sophomore[video: screen slides to white, title appears in black and yellow: “Reasons YOU should study Psychology at PLU”]
Alisha: and here are the reasons why you should study psychology at PLU.[video: screen remains white, black text reads: “You can choose from a: Bachelor of Arts OR a Bachelor of Science.”]
Alisha: One of the distinctive qualities of our psychology department is that we offer both a bachelor in science and a bachelor of arts which is pretty unique for a school our size.[video: screen wipes back to Alisha in the hall.]
Alisha: I personally am taking a BS because I’m on the pre-med track and these extra courses will help me advance in my academic graduate career as well as my graduate studies. If you’re interested in taking a bachelor of arts this allows for more flexible curriculum and is best suited for psychology students who are thinking about exploring their disciplines the careers you can take they vary so that can be from law to journalism to education and even business[video: screen returns to white, text reads: “You are able to work on research projects alongside faculty.”]
[video: screen slides to Kriszha Sheehy sitting in the same lecture hall.]
Kriszha Sheehy ‘21, Psychology Major: Another reason you should study psychology at PLU is for research experience as an undergrad i’ve worked closely with psychology professors and examined social and sexual attitudes[video: screen slides to Dr. Jon Grahe sitting in a white-walled office with a plant in the background.]
Dr. Jon Grahe, Department Chair of Psychology: Pacific Lutheran University psychology department has a very active research program that includes undergraduates working directly with faculty. Just two days ago a former student submitted her second revision of a paper to a journal for research that she did over her senior year. This is very common for students at Pacific Lutheran University to submit their research either to a conference such as Western Psychological Association, which is very frequent or to a peer-reviewed journal like this student did[video: screen wipes to white, text reads: “You will gain critical thinking skills valuable in ANY career you choose.]
[video: Return to Dr. Grahe in the office.]
Dr. Grahe: Our major curriculum helps you learn critical thinking and communication skills. These are not necessarily things you’d normally think of that a psychologist would need and yet only 30 percent of students go on to get a graduate degree the other 70 percent immediately enter the workforce these people may or may not do jobs that are typically considered psychology work. We want to develop skills that will work for you throughout your career not just in a psychology related field[video: White screen slides in. Text reads: “Through PLU’s required experiential learning you will get hands-on instruction.]
[video: Dr. Corey Cook sits in a classroom. Posters hang on the walls and wood cabinets are behind him.]
Dr. Corey Cook, Assistant Professor of Psychology: the experiential learning requirement for our undergrads allows you to work one-on-one with a psychology faculty member there are different options.You can work as a research assistant or you can work as a teaching assistant or you can even design your own internship that will help you get the career that you want after finishing your degree.[video: White screen slides in. Text reads: “You can join the Psychology Club and make new friends!”]
[video: Ricky Haneda sits in a modern building, with metal and glass structures behind him.]
Ricky Haneda ‘22, Psychology Major: I am the president of Psi Chi, which is the psychology honors club at PLU and we just started the psychology club and what that means is that basically we have created a club that’s inclusive of all people who are interested in psychology rather whether they are a psychology major or not and we talk about psychology how it’s relevant right now as well as resources that can help people such as going to conferences and presenting or doing research and just creating a community for people to bond with[video: Screen wipes to show Dr. Grahe in the office.]
Dr. Grahe: Those are five reasons why we think you should come to PLU to study psychology. I hope to see you in a class in the future.
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. As a PLU psychology major, you’ll experience a meaningful and rigorous education that balances science with application. Whether you pursue a Bachelor of Arts or the more research-centered Bachelor of Science, you’ll have opportunities to explore advanced topics in scientific and professional psychology, conduct psychological research, and gain exposure to the practice of psychology in community settings.
You’ll build important relationships with your professors, who will discuss career plans and provide assistance in a variety of ways throughout your college career and beyond. PLU psychology graduates have gone on to further training in psychology, as well as to medical school, law school, seminary, graduate programs in counseling, social work, occupational therapy, physical therapy, business, education and more
Graduates from the last 5 years: Their jobs
- Psychiatric Child Care Counselor, Child Study and Treatment Center
- Child and Family Therapist, Catholic Community Services
- Case Manager, Greater Lakes Mental Health
- Social Specialist, Department of Social and Health Services
- Behavior Technician, Center For Autism and Related Disorders
- Recreation Athletic and Activity Specialist, Child Study and Treatment Center
- Coach, Corporation for National and Community Service
- Teacher, Miami-Dade County Public Schools
- Mental Health Research Coordinator- VA (Washington)
Graduates from the last last 5 years: Their graduate programs
- Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology, West Virginia University
- Master’s in Quantitative Methods, Vanderbilt University
- Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology, The University of Auckland
- Master’s in Mental Health Counseling, Central Washington University
- Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy, Pacific Lutheran University
- Master’s in Educational Policy, University of Washington
- Master’s in Public Health, Tulane University
- Ph.D. in Linguistics, University of South Carolina
- Ph.D in Clinical psychology, Arizona State University
Working on all of our projects, like the NICE COVID-19 study, really adds to your ‘researcher toolbox’ because you aren’t assigned busy work—you are assigned meaningful work. It’s a very exciting experience to play a role in the research process as an undergraduate student.
— Kriszha Sheehy ‘21
Did you know?
100% of Psychology students participate in hands-on learning through research, internships, or teaching assistantships.
Did you know?
PLU Psychology students regularly present their research at professional meetings, such as the Western Psychological Association, Association for Psychological Sciences, Society of Research in Child Development, Cognitive Science Society, and Penn Linguistics Colloquium.
Did you know?
PLU Psychology students often work in research labs with faculty and assist in authoring manuscripts for publication. For example, several PLU graduates are co-authors on a study that is currently in press in the peer-reviewed journal "Language and Cognition."
Did you know?
Want to study away? Psychology students have spent semesters studying in Trinidad & Tobago, Scotland, New Zealand, Austria, and have taken January Term study away courses (taught by PLU Psychology professors) in London, the Czech Republic and Poland.
Did you know?
Psychology students have interned with organizations such as residential treatment facilities, local elementary schools, a juvenile detention center, an equine-assisted therapy ranch, a therapy clinic, and human resources departments.
Did you know?
Ready to get even more involved? Join PLU’s chapter of Psi Chi (the International Honor Society in Psychology), the Psychology Club, PLU Active Minds, and/or live in the Wellness House learning community on-campus.