Develop basic skills in critical Psychology and obtain an education that enhances the quality of personal and professional life.
About the Major
The Department of Psychology offers both a Bachelor of Arts and the Bachelor of Science. Students develop their basic skills in critical thinking, writing, speaking, computer use, and research. Both tracks offer students the opportunity to work with practicing psychiatrists, conduct laboratory investigations, develop research findings, write article critiques, and complete an empirical project. Many courses have laboratory components as a part of their requirements. The Bachelor of Arts degree provides a broad liberal arts background and establishes a strong foundation in empirical, theoretical, and philosophical aspects of the field. The Bachelor of Science degree emphasizes a strong natural science foundation, as well as a solid liberal arts background in scientific psychology. Students are prepared to continue their education at the graduate (masters and doctoral) level.
The Bachelor of Arts in Psychology consists of at least 28 hours with additional courses required for the Bachelor of Science degree. Majors must complete an additional research requirement of either an empirical project or an additional laboratory elective. All majors must complete a seminar course.
The Bachelor of Science in Psychology consists of 34 hours. Majors must complete:
- An empirical project
- History and Systems of Psychology
- Precalculus, Calculus for the Social Sciences, or Calculus I
- General Chemistry
- Introduction to Biology
About the Minor
A minor in Psychology consists of 15 hours and has two goals: to provide students with an overview of some of the areas within psychology, and to teach students how to critically analyze behavioral research through a basic knowledge of statistics in the field of psychology.
Majors may attain Departmental Honors in psychology by fulfilling the following requirements:
- Maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.50 in all psychology courses and a 3.0 overall grade point average
- File an application for attempting honors with the chair, and in order to be eligible to apply:
a) Achieve a grade point average of 3.50 in all psychology courses attempted and an overall grade point average of 3.0
b) Complete at least three courses in psychology, which must include Behavioral Statistics
- Complete the Honors Project in Psychology that includes the development, implementation, and presentation of an empirical project
The Psychology Department also recognizes outstanding students in leadership and academics:
- Jean Hendricks Award for Outstanding Student in Psychology: Given to the student selected by the faculty who has demonstrated excellence in the areas of academics, service and research.
- Richard Metzger Award: Given for the best empirical paper in Psychology
Empirical papers describe original research conducted by the student. Papers are evaluated in terms of quality of the project as well as the writing. Students may submit or be invited to submit a manuscript.
- Otis Dewey Knight Award: Given for the best theoretical paper in Psychology
Outreach and Engaged Learning
Advanced students have opportunities to gain hands-on experience in applied areas by participating in field placements in the community. Field placements are opportunities to apply what students have learned in classes and are available in a variety of settings.
The Psychology Department has a variety of research groups for students interested in research opportunities. A state-of-the-art animal research facility provides students with laboratory experiences in animal behavior. Other laboratory facilities include a computer-mediated communications lab, a social research lab, various recording and viewing rooms, and opportunities for developmental research conducted off-site. Students have access to a 12-station microcomputer laboratory equipped with tutorial, statistical, word processing and graphics software, as well as Internet connection. Most recently, the department has added a state-of-the-art media center that is used to develop testing and research materials.
Students have the option of completing an independent, original research project as part of the curricular requirements. A faculty advisor works closely with each student to plan a course of study to enable the student to take advantage of current opportunities and prepare for the future.
Faculty Interface and Class Size
Our department is characterized by attention to the individual student. The average class size in the major is fewer than 20 students. In keeping with liberal studies, small class sizes and personal interaction with faculty encourage personal and professional development and provide the background experiences necessary to pursue graduate education. In addition, each faculty member has an active research group and students are encouraged to develop their skills by working in this setting.
Undergraduate study in Psychology is excellent preparation for graduate work in Psychology. Mercer is among the top 25 among private, comprehensive universities in the nation with respect to the number of Psychology graduates who hold the Ph.D. It is also beneficial for employment in mental health, casework, research, law enforcement, and other forms of social service. Among the careers of recent graduates are:
- Clinical, business, and corporate settings at jobs ranging from direct patient contact at medical and mental health centers
- Research associates at pharmaceutical firms, medical centers, and universities