Department ofPsychology

Tracks

Two sets of tracks diverging on a beach

Here we list possible tracks you can take in psychology. For each track, we list 1) the classes you should take 2) some 'beyond the classroom' activities/internships/experiences you should pursue and 3) careers that might emerge for you.

Essential Courses

P144: Psychology of Assessment (for survey construction)
P150: Social Psychology
P131: Cognitive Psychology
P120: Perception
P157: I/O Psychology (for insights into business world)
P130: Learning
P197, 198, 199: Research and/or Internship Experiences

Suggested Advanced Topics Classes: Social, Personality, or Culture and Emotion

Take as many Research Methods and Statistics classes as you can and try to excel in them! R can be downloaded for free, and there are also many free online resources and tutorials (e.g., DataCamp, R for Data Science).

Further consideration

Something to help "understand the user", so at least one of the following:

P160: Personality Psych
P162: Cultural Psych
P187: Psych of Gender
P114: Ethics 

From other departments:

CSCI 10: Computer Science
Courses focused on design (e.g., graphic design, web design, principles of design)
Courses focused on management
Qualitative Research Methods

Beyond the classroom:

Get experience using data analysis tools (e.g., Excel,  R, and SPSS)

Look for internship/research assistant opportunities with these keywords: data analysis, research analyst, research assistant, user experience (UX) research, market research

Faculty go-to person: Katy Bruchmann, Gabe Young

Here is an example of a recent alum on this track.

Essential courses

NEUR 1: Introduction to Neuroscience
NEUR 10: Explorations in Neuroscience
NEUR 150: Neuroscience Seminar
P65: Behavioral Neuroscience lab
P138: Memory
P131: Cognitive Psychology
P165: Behavioral Neuroscience
P166: Human Neuropsychology
P167: Psychopharmacology
P169: Cognitive Neuroscience

Suggested Advanced Topics Classes: Neuroscience, Learning, or Cognitive

Take as many Research Methods and Statistics classes as you can and try to excel in them! R can be downloaded for free, and there are also many free online resources and tutorials (e.g., DataCamp, R for Data Science).

Further consideration
If you are particularly interested in language, take P137: Psycholinguistics, Comm 176A: The biology of communication.

If you are particularly interested in clinical applications, take P117: Abnormal Psychology, P130: Learning, P167: Psychopharmacology, PHIL32: Neuroethics, P196: Psychology of Aging.

If you are considering graduate school, take P165: Behavioral Neuroscience, P169: Cognitive Neuroscience, NEUR 150: Neuroscience seminar, MATH 35, CSCI 10.

If you’re considering medical school, take MATH 35, PHYS 11, 12, 13, BIOL 1A, B, C, CHEM 11, 12, 13, 31, 32, 33.

Beyond the classroom:

Get experience using data analysis tools (e.g., Excel, R, SPSS, Matlab)

Look for internship/research assistant opportunities with these keywords: behavioral neuroscience, cognitive neuroscience, psychology, neuropsychology, gerontology.

Faculty go-to person: Patti Simone, Lindsay Halladay, Kristen Scherrer

Here is an example of a current student on this track.

Essential courses

Psyc 115: Abnormal Psychology
Psyc 144: Psychological Assessment
Psyc 114: Ethics in Psychology
Psyc 198: Internship

Suggested Advanced Topics Classes: Health, Culture and Emotion, Abnormal Psychology, or Motivation

Further consideration

For work in general behavioral health, hospitals, public health
Psyc 117: Health Psychology

For work with couples and families
Psyc 153: Psychology of Relationships

For cultural competence in working with clients
Psyc 159: Psychology of Religion and Spirituality
Psyc 162: Cultural Psychology
Psyc 182: Psychology of Gender

For work with clients with substance use disorders
Psyc 163: Substance Abuse and Addiction

For work with psychiatric patients
Psyc 167: Psychopharmacology

For work with children and adolescents
Psyc 185: Child Development
Psyc 172: Adolescent Development
Psyc 134: Psychology of Education
Psyc 137: Psycholinguistics 

Beyond the classroom:

Take an ELSJ class as well as an Internship Practicum (Psyc 198). 

Get experience working with your population of interest (e.g., volunteering for crisis hotlines, work with social workers, work at community service organizations)

Look for internship/research assistant opportunities with these keywords: social work, therapist, counselor, licensing, trainee

Faculty go-to person: Tom Plante, Kieran Sullivan, Gabe Young

 

Essential Courses

P157: Industrial/Organizational Psychology
P102: Writing in Psychology
P144: Psychological Assessment
P114: Ethics in Psychology
P150: Social Psychology
P198: Internship

Suggested Advanced Topics Classes: Motivation, Social Psychology

Take as many Research Methods and Statistics classes as you can and try to excel in them! R can be downloaded for free, and there are also many free online resources and tutorials (e.g., DataCamp, R for Data Science).

For Further Consideration

For deeper knowledge on relevant Psychology topics:
P160 - Personality and Affective Science

For broader understanding of how other disciplines approach the same or related topics:
SOC 1 - Principles of Sociology
SOC 119 - Sociological Theory
ECON 1 - Principles of Microeconomics

Beyond the classroom:

There are two primary routes you can take as an I/O Psychologist, academic (e.g., professor) and industry (e.g., consultant, HR analyst). The below recommendations will help prepare you for either, though you may want to more strongly pursue certain areas if you know which route you are interested in (e.g., if academic, pursue more research assistantships).

Obtain one (or more) research assistantships, working alongside a professor to get more hands-on experience with the I/O literature, research design, data analysis, and academic writing.

Learn more about (or join) SIOP, the I/O membership organization.

Look for internship opportunities with these keywords: research, human resources, organizational development, consulting, people (or talent) analytics. Learn more about the different types of internships on SIOP’s Internships page.

Faculty go to person: Morgan Krannitz

Essential courses

Take as many Research Methods and Statistics classes as you can and try to excel in them! R can be downloaded for free, and there are also many free online resources and tutorials (e.g., DataCamp, R for Data Science).

For other essential courses, talk to a faculty member, who conducts research and teaches upper division courses in an area closest to your interests.

Beyond the classroom:

Academic research positions are extremely competitive and require acceptance to research-based PhD programs. The Psychology Honors program can help students prepare for the rigor of this kind of training and demonstrate a record of high achievement. 

Prepare to take the GRE.

Get experience conducting research projects first hand using research tools specific to your subfield of interest (e.g., survey design in Qualtrics, eye-tracking, EEG) and data analysis tools (e.g., SPSS and R). A great way to conduct research is to work with SCU Psychology faculty in one of our labs.

Look for internship/research assistant opportunities with these keywords: research assistant, lab manager, data analysis

Faculty go to person: The faculty member that is closest to your interest

Here is an example of a recent alum on this track.

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