Why Psychology?

"I love people, and I found Psychology to be incredibly interesting and helpful in understanding people and relationships. It was an immensely engaging topic and there was never a dull moment in any of the psych courses I took at SMCM. In law school I've found my psychology background to be easily transferable to the legal field. It provides a wonderful background in understanding the reasoning and actions of individuals in the criminal cases for example. And it gives a different perspective and view than my classmates who do not have a social science background."

- Esther Adetunji '08


Overview of the Psychology Major

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The general objective of the psychology major is to enhance understanding of behavior and mental processes and to examine their connections to the fields of biology and the social sciences. This general objective is translated into specific objectives that concern the understanding of

  1. scientific methodology,
  2. the current state of psychological knowledge, and
  3. the application of both methodology and knowledge to real-world problems and events.

The psychology major consists of five components. First, a required core of courses introduces students to the field and to communication skills within the field. This core includes required methodology courses in writing, library research, statistics, and experimental design. Second, a required core of lower-division courses provides students with exposure to the key subdisciplines of psychology. Third is a set of upper-division laboratory courses that represent psychology’s close alliance with both social science and natural-science approaches to the study of behavior. Fourth, psychology majors select an upper-division course from a group of elective offerings. Fifth, every psychology major must complete a senior capstone experience. 

Use the links to the left to explore our degree requirements, courses, and our departmental mission statement. For high school students who may be researching psychology programs at various colleges, we created a page just for you that provides our program highlights. For students interested in transferring to St. Mary's, we created a guide to help you know which courses at your previous institution will help you complete our major requirements.