Program Goals and Values
The Stanislaus State Psychology program strives to provide a balanced curriculum that exposes students to the rich theoretical perspectives used by psychologists and teaches them to approach problems in human behavior from a scientific perspective. The undergraduate major provides the understanding and skills needed by students who plan careers that require an understanding of people and the ability to analyze behavior problems. It also prepares students who intend to pursue graduate study in Psychology at the masters or doctoral level.
Undergraduate Psychology courses at Stanislaus State take an active approach to learning. Faculty and students work together to analyze and research problems in behavior using both theoretical and empirical tools. Teaching strategies based on scientific principles of learning allow students to continually assess their progress and refine their understanding of the material. Advanced students, working as teaching assistants, augment the efforts of faculty to provide support and assistance throughout the learning process. Through their experiences in the undergraduate program, psychology students also develop skills in written and oral communication and the use of technology in the research process.
Structure of the Major
The Stanislaus State undergraduate curriculum is designed to provide a firm foundation in basic principles of human behavior, a working knowledge of the methods psychologists use to study behavior, and an understanding of how scientific principles are used in a variety of applied areas within the domain of psychology.
The major begins with an introductory course that explores a variety of topics within psychology, providing students with a first understanding of the basic principles and theories used to explain behavior. Psychology majors also study the principles of psychological research in a lower-division research methods course.
Upper division study in psychology combines a deeper exploration of research with courses that instill a strong understanding of psychology as a natural science, a social science, and an applied science. Students select a variety of survey and specialized courses that provide a knowledge base about psychology as a discipline. An upper-division experimental design course and a 3000 level research seminar provide training in research techniques and first-hand experience in the research process.
The Psychology program allows seniors to explore the field at a deeper level through a 4000 level research seminar that requires intensive study of a single research question. Students develop stronger critical thinking skills and an appreciation of the role of Psychology in society.
The undergraduate Psychology program has a strong research emphasis. Students complete a lower-division course in Psychological Methods and an upper-division class in Experimental Methods and Design that incorporates a lab. Upper division research seminars provide students with hands-on experience in psychological research and build a clear understanding of how psychologists use empirical methods to answer questions about human behavior.
Collaborative research between faculty and undergraduate students is common at CSU Stanislaus. Some Psychology faculty members have teams of undergraduate students working on ongoing research projects and others invite student participation in their own and graduate student research.
The highlight of the undergraduate research program is the bi-annual research conference. Students from the undergraduate research seminars and those involved in ongoing research projects present their work to faculty and other students in a poster session format.