Psychology is the study of human behavior and mental processes. Students receive a foundation in psychology while being challenged to examine human nature from scientific, religious, philosophical, physiological and socio-cultural perspectives. Psychological knowledge is a great benefit in many careers, and the major is flexible and can be tailored to meet student goals. For example, a student can round out a strong liberal arts education by taking more traditional (core) psychology courses, or focus on more directed offerings to prepare for graduate studies or for a career soon after graduation.
- Flexible program which can be tailored to meet student goals
- Both clinical and experimental research emphases
- Opportunities for applied practicum experiences as well as research
FPU's psychology major emphasizes mastery of scientific methodology. Faculty recognize many students elect to become psychology majors because it sounds interesting and perhaps less so because of its research opportunities. Graduates, however, find they appreciate having learned how to think as much as the material they learned. This is reflected in FPU's emphasis on critical thinking and reasoning, even in subject areas that might not lend themselves to these approaches.
Our program also differs from others in that it is decidedly non-territorial. Faculty encourage students to double major or minor in other subjects in hopes of sparking a more integrative, cross-disciplinary education. Psychology majors maintain active interests in athletics, ministry, public service, campus clubs and student governance. The aim is for students to not isolate themselves in the psychological world, but to learn how to see the world in which they already live psychologically. The program provides students a different lens to help them increase in their awareness of the world around them.
Careers for psychology majors range from work requiring graduate education (academia/professorships, clinical psychology, school psychology, marriage and family therapy, industrial psychology) to positions where a bachelor's degree may provide helpful training (law enforcement, criminology, ministry, human resources, consultation, education, business, public relations, marketing). Students interested in medicine (particularly neurology, psychiatry, family practice or pediatrics) are strongly encouraged to consider a double major in psychology as psychological health is becoming an increasingly crucial aspect of overall health.
The psychology program has both clinical (scientist/practitioner) and experimental research emphases, with faculty in both areas. Consequently, students have opportunities to engage in traditional psychological research projects and to work in off-campus (applied) settings.
Students are strongly encouraged to participate in one of several practicums. The psychological practicum provides students with an opportunity to earn 1-3 units in an applied setting, often while also serving at-risk or underserved populations in the greater Fresno community. In the practicum and the Psychology Research Project, students engage in independent research. Projects include (but are not limited to:
- Working at Link Care Center, a Christian psychological center providing the Fresno community with outpatient psychological services and specializing in treatment for missionaries, clergy and their families, or
- Individualized research projects coordinated and supervised by FPU faculty.
Three units minimum of practicum experience are required for the experience to count as a full-course credit.
Psychology faculty have experience in doing what they teach.
- Elizabeth Lake brings experience from the front lines of educational systems. She is a first-rate researcher and has a heart for seeing families in the Fresno community flourish.
- Jay Pope, Ph,D., comes from a clinical background and has worked with diverse populations, patients with neurological and other learning disorders and people in full-time ministry and missions. His theology background also brings an understanding of social and religious aspects of human behavior.
- Sherry Walling, Ph.D.
Required Courses (41-44 Units)
Foundation Courses (22-23 Units)
Foundations of Psychology
- PSY-120/120H Introduction to Psychology (3-4)
- PSY-375 Physiological Psychology (4)
- PSY-450 History and Systems of Psychology (4)
Foundations of Research
- PSY-300 Statistics (4)
- PSY-310 Introduction to Social Science Research (3)
- PSY-320 Experimental Psychology (4)
Breadth Courses (13-15 Units)
Students must take a minimum of four breadth courses: at least one each from the developmental, clinical and sociocultural categories.
- PSY-350 Child Development (3)
- PSY-355 Adolescent Development (3)
- PSY-360 Lifespan Development (3)
- PSY-365 Gerontology (3)
- PSY-410 Abnormal Psychology (4)
- PSY-420 Childhood Disabilities and Psychopathology (4)
- PSY-440 Counseling (4)
- PSY-395 Social Psychology (3)
- PSY-397 Community Psychology (4)
- PSY-400 Psychology of Personality (3)
- PSY-460 Psychology of Religion (3)
- PSY-471 Cross-Cultural Psychology (4)
Applied Research in Psychology
- PSY-340 Psychological Assessment (4)
- PSY-370 Cognitive Psychology (4)
- PSY-377 Sports and Exercise Psychology (3)
- PSY-380 Psychology of Learning (3)
- PSY-488 Advanced Statistics (3)
Synthesis Courses (6 Units)
Select Select at least one of the following. If either PSY-397 or PSY- 471 is chosen above, then another course must be used from the following list:
- PSY-397 Community Psychology (4)
- PSY-471 Cross-cultural Psychology (4)
- PSY-485 Integration Symposium (3)
Select at least one of the following:
- PSY-482 Psychology Practicum (2-4)
- PSY-495 Psychology Research Project (1-4)
- PSY-496 Psychology Research Practicum (1-4)
How can I prepare for this major?
Students are encouraged to bring a well-rounded academic experience from high school. Taking an introduction to psychology course in high school may help, but should not come at the expense of an above-average background in mathematics, sciences (especially chemistry and biology) and writing skills, as well as opportunities to engage in public speaking or performance.
Once in college, Introduction to Psychology is required and it is recommended that students take this course during their first or second year. As psychologists engage in scientific research, Statistics is also required.