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Psychology Frequently Asked Questions



The general major is a highly flexible major and provides students with the opportunity to customize their program of study. An array of Psychology coursework is available in such areas as: Stress, Learning and Memory, Studies in Personality, Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Social Psychology, Childhood and Adolescent, and Developmental Psychology.

No, to be considered a psychologist, you typically have to complete a doctoral graduate program. State licensure boards also participate in defining who can call themselves psychologists (often restricting this designation for licensed Ph.D. clinical psychologists).

A degree in psychology can lead in many different directions, even though the counseling end of psychology may be most well known. Students with a psychology major go into business settings, academics, research careers, law, health-related careers and counseling, to name a few. For example, psychology is an excellent undergraduate pre-professional major that helps prepare students to enter allied health fields (such as occupational therapy and physical therapy) where people skills and research skills are necessary. Some of these careers, such as law and health professions, require additional training.

Psychology is both a science and an applied field. Because the various areas of psychology share roots in science, the core required classes focus on statistics and research methods courses.

  1. PSY 211 - Psychological Statistics: This course is recommended in the second semester of freshmen year or in your sophomore year. A grade of "C" or better is required to take PSY 285 (see below).
  2. PSY 285 - Research Methods: This lecture and lab course introduces you to many of the concepts related to scientific research in the field of psychology. A grade of "C" or better is required in 285 to take PSY 385 (see below). It is recommended that you take this course in your sophomore or first semester junior year.
  3. PSY 385 - Applied Research Methods: This lecture and lab course builds upon the principles introduced in PSY 285. It is designed to be a 'capstone' experience for psychology majors and you will conduct your own research study as part of the course. It is recommended that you take this course in your junior or senior year.

Since the core courses provide a broad interdisciplinary background of skills and knowledge, the elective portion of the program will provide you with the opportunity to specialize in target populations or methods of intervention.

The Psychology Department sponsors Psi Chi and American Psychological Society Student Caucus (APSSC) organizations. You are strongly encouraged to get involved in these organizations. Psi Chi is part of the national psychology honorary organization associated with American Psychological Association. You must have completed 3 semesters and 9 credits in Psychology major with at least a 3.00 GPA in Psychology. Leadership in Psi Chi is very valuable. Psi Chi works to sponsor various events and speakers, helps sponsor community events and departmental activities. Additional information about Psi Chi can be found at their web site,, and can be reached via e-mail at APSSC is part of the American Psychological Society's student caucuses. Some of the caucus activities include (1) a student research competition, (2) travel funds for attending the APS annual convention, (3) a local conference matching-funds program, (4) chapter recruitment, (5) an e-mail system for students (APSSCnet), and (6) a mentorship program. APSSC is a service organization founded to act as a forum for graduate and undergraduate student issues, as a voice for students in APS policy decisions, and as a national networking and information resource. The society’s local chapter maintains a website, and can be reached via e-mail at Leadership here is also very valuable.

CMU has a number of graduate programs you can check out to get a better idea about curriculum and training, job opportunities, and admission requirements. We offer graduate programs in School Psychology, Clinical Psychology, Experimental Psychology, and Industrial/Organizational Psychology. Visit CMU's Psychology Department Website for more information.