- Category: Requirements: Major, Honors Major, Minor
Students graduating with an undergraduate degree in psychology from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, have many different aspirations and follow varied career paths after graduation. Thus, our curriculum allows students flexibility in choosing the trajectory and intensity of the psychological training they will receive. Our aim is two-fold, first to prepare students for graduate professional training in neurobiology, cognitive, social, or clinical psychology or a closely related disciplines, and secondly to equip all of our students with the basic concepts and skills in psychology appropriate to match the ever-changing demands of their fast-paced world.
To accomplish both goals there is a common set of core knowledge and concepts that students must acquire and a common group of skills that all psychology majors should master prior to graduation. In addition to the core knowledge and concepts, students are able to use analytic and quantitative approaches in their research methods, use higher-order cognitive skills to process and apply what is learned, and practice the application of psychological concepts to areas outside the classroom both professionally and for civic engagement. These four learning objectives listed below are consistent with the Rutgers University Learning Goals and the American Psychological Association’s recommendations for undergraduate programs. These are the main goals of the major in psychology
1. Content in Psychology
Students should know the terms, concepts, theoretical perspectives, empirical findings, and historical trends in psychology.
2. Research Methods in Psychology
Students should apply basic research methods in psychology, including research design, data analysis and interpretation, to standard lab problems. Those students pursuing research careers also design new experiments, use a subset of modern laboratory techniques, analyze information and communicate their research effectively in reports that follow American Psychology research report style.
3. Higher-Order Cognitive Skills
Students should be able to use critical thinking, skeptical inquiry, and, when possible, the scientific approach to ask, answer and understand questions related to behavior and mental processes. These skills are tested in different ways in different courses, from conceptual questions on standard tests to critiques of cases to presentation of research or programs or cases.
4. Civic Engagement
Students should have opportunities to apply psychological concepts and content to become engaged citizens. Students may work in an applied setting under the supervision of trained mental health professionals. Here they will integrate academic concepts and ideas with personal observations and provide programmatic and case reports.