Major in Psychology

By providing students with a solid understanding of psychological science in both laboratory and experiential environments, psychology majors are able to tailor their coursework to areas that include abnormal psychology, social psychology, cognition, personality or many other areas.

With classes that provide practical knowledge in statistics and research methods, psychology majors are prepared to entire the workforce as clinicians, teachers or continue on to graduate school.

Learning is active and personal. Classes are small: between eight and 30 students. Students engage in classroom projects and presentations that apply psychological theory to describe, explain, predict and modify behavior. They participate in field work, pursue their own research interests, and work closely with Elmhurst’s dynamic faculty.

Major in Psychology Requirements

Ten courses are required for a major in psychology. A grade of C or better is necessary to satisfy major, minor and prerequisite requirements. All students must take one 400-level capstone option at Elmhurst University. All 400-level capstone options require that the student has already completed Statistics and Research Methods in Psychology.

Required Courses

  • PSY 210 Introduction to Psychological Science
  • PSY 355 Statistics for Scientific Research (or MTH 345 or MTH 346)
  • PSY 356 Research Methods in Psychology

Core Psychological Perspectives

Four Courses: One from each of the Perspectives in Group I
and one from the Perspectives in Group II

Choose one course from each of the areas below.

Cognitive and Biological Perspectives
  • BID 300 Neuroethics
  • PSY 313 Cognitive Neuroscience
  • PSY 314 Psychopharmacology
  • PSY 324 Physiological Psychology
  • PSY 330 Cognitive Psychology
  • PSY 423 Sensation and Perception
Developmental Perspectives
  • PSY 315* Lifespan Development
  • PSY 317 Child Development
  • PSY 318 Adolescent Development
  • PSY 319 Adult Development and Aging

*Note: PSY 315 does not count toward ANY major requirements if any PSY 317, PSY 318 or PSY 319 are taken. Psychology majors are therefore encouraged to take PSY 317, PSY 318 or PSY 319. Psychology/Nursing double majors are encouraged to take PSY 315.

Sociocultural Perspectives
  • PSY 303 Social Psychology
  • PSY 325 Psychology and Culture
  • PSY 333 Psychology of Human Sexuality

Choose one course from either area below.

Adaptive and Maladaptive Perspectives
  • PSY 312 Personality Theory and Research
  • PSY 327 Psychopathology
  • PSY 328 Clinical and Counseling Psychology
Applied Perspectives
  • PSY 326 Industrial and Organizational Psychology
  • PSY 348 Health Psychology
  • PSY 422 Psychological Testing

Elective Courses

Students may select any two 1-credit PSY courses at the 300 level or above to take as elective courses. This includes all courses in Core Perspectives Groups I and II with the exception of PSY 315, and all PSY courses in the catalog with the exception of 349, 358, 449, 493, and 495, 497 and 498. Students may also earn PSY elective credit by taking any of the following non-PSY courses:

Non-PSY Elective Courses
  • BID 335 PSY/POL Psychology and Political Philosophy of Gender
  • BIO 411 Behavioral Genetics
  • BIO 444 Neurobiology
  • KIN 323 Sport and Exercise Psychology

Note: Some of these courses may have prerequisites.

Capstone Experience in Psychology

Choose one course. 

Psychology majors must take a senior capstone experience in which they will focus in-depth on a particular topic in Psychology. Any of the following courses meet this requirement, but PSY 496 is the standard option for most students, with others requiring special permission and advance notice.

Standard Capstone Option
  • PSY 496 Senior Capstone Seminar
Alternative Capstone Options
  • PSY 497 Senior Thesis (Thesis/Independent Study options for students with research experience)
  • PSY 498 Senior Capstone Independent Study
  • PSY 495 Honors Independent Research (Simultaneous with PSY 497 Senior Thesis)

Graduate School Preparation

In addition to the courses required for the major in psychology, students who intend to study psychology at the graduate level are encouraged to take courses in one of the following concentrations.

One laboratory course chosen from:

  • PSY 411 Theories of Learning
  • PSY 423 Sensation and Perception
  • PSY 430 Cognitive Processes
  • PSY 313 Cognitive Neuroscience or PSY 424 Physiological Psychology
  • PSY 349 Research Mentorship
  • PHL 106 Reasoning or PHL 220 Logic or PHL 305 Philosophy of Science
  • COM 213 Public Speaking
  • CS 100 Computers in Science and Technology or CS 220 Computer Science I
  • ENG 303 Writing in Professional Fields
  • BIO 107 and BIO 108 Human Anatomy and Physiology I and II
  • CHM 101 General Chemistry

This is the recommended list of courses for psychology majors who intend to pursue careers or graduate programs in business, human resources or management.

Suggested Courses:

  • PSY 303 Social Psychology
  • PSY 312 Personality Theory and Research
  • PSY 319 Adult Development and Aging
  • PSY 326 Industrial and Organization Psychology
  • PSY 422 Psychological Testing
  • COM 213 Public Speaking
  • COM 315 Intercultural Communication
  • COM 319 Business and Professional Communication
  • ENG 303 Writing in Professional Fields
  • BUS 250 Management Theory and Practice
  • BUS 350 Cultural Diversity in Organizations
  • BUS 354 Human Resource Management
  • BUS 453 Organizational Behavior
  • BUS 454 Leadership
  • PHL 310 Ethics and Business

Suggested Courses:

  • PSY 312 Personality: Theory and Research
  • PSY 315 Lifespan Development
  • PSY 327 Psychopathology
  • PSY 328 Clinical and Counseling Psychology
  • PSY 422 Psychological Testing
  • PSY 424 Physiological Psychology
  • PSY 427 Child Psychopathology (if interested in working with children)

Courses outside the major: communications, genetics, anatomy and physiology.

The Minor

A minor in psychology is a valuable asset for careers in a variety of fields, including law, nursing, theology, business and teaching.

Minor Requirements

(Total of five courses)

  • PSY 210 Introduction to Psychological Science
  • PSY 355 Statistics/Scientific Research or MTH 345 Elementary Statistics
  • Three Psychology Elective courses

Transfer students must take three of the five courses required for a minor at Elmhurst University.

Students may not count PSY 315 Lifespan Development and another development course (PSY 317, 318 or 319).

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