Explore Thought and Behavior, One Individualized Project at a Time
You are unique, with an interest in what motivates people’s thoughts and behavior and how this applies to everyday interactions. Come explore your ideas firsthand in Arcadia’s Psychology program, where professors’ doors are always open and where compelling theories about human thought and behavior come alive through hands-on research. And at Arcadia, you can customize your program of study according to your goals and interests.
Arcadia's Psychology program centers on “evidence-based” (or research-based) practice, the recognized standard in psychology and other health-care professions, providing:
Unmatched opportunities to collect and evaluate your own evidence.
Exciting possibilities to present and even publish your findings.
And well-grounded people skills that will distinguish you in any career.
What to Expect
“Evidence-based” (or research-based) teaching
A supportive, close-knit academic community
Comprehensive yet flexible core curriculum that combines well with other majors/minors
Extensive research, real-world internships and fieldwork that culminate in your Senior Capstone research project
Opportunities to conduct and publish research with faculty
Accelerated degree, study tracks, and other program options available
Opportunities to study abroad at some of the top universities around the world
With Arcadia's study tracks, you can define your goals and focus on your future. Psychology students go on to pursue a wide range of career pursuits.
Core Liberal Arts: Outcomes include jobs in marketing, healthcare, communications, or business
Pre-Professional: Positions in art or music therapy, school psychology or guidance counseling, and psychiatric social work
Ph.D.: A foundation for teaching, research and other professional careers in psychology
What Do We Teach in Our Psychology Major?
The Psychology Department at Arcadia is committed to the idea of evidence-based psychology. We teach our majors first and foremost that ideas in psychology cannot be judged by their intuitive appeal or by the status of the person proposing them. Instead, as in all the natural sciences, ideas in psychology need to be judged based on the weight of the research evidence.
Consequently, we stress critical thinking about theories and research throughout our major. Students in our major are taught to think quantitatively, analytically, and independently about psychological concepts. We do not want students to blindly repeat ideas from class; we want to teach them the tools to critically evaluate those ideas on their own. Ultimately, we hope that those skills will be used in realworld thinking about consumer and medical decisions, media reports, etc.
What Makes the Arcadia Psychology Major Special?
First, our requirement that all students complete at least four semesters of original data-gathering research is virtually unique among undergraduate psychology majors. Most programs allow some students to complete a single project in an honors track or as a senior project. Graduate programs in psychology and counseling pay much attention to research experience in their admissions decisions. Many of our undergraduates who have gone to graduate school report that their research experience was a decisive factor in their admissions. They also say that they feel better prepared than their peers (including peers from Ivy League schools) in critically evaluating research and designing studies in graduate school.
Second, for students entering the workplace, our major provides practical skills valued by employers. Our majors are taught to design, execute, and trouble-shoot independent projects; to collect and manipulate quantitative information; to make use of statistical software; and to write concise, clear reports of their findings. Undergraduate research projects are typically carried out collaboratively, so students learn to work with diverse groups toward a common goal. Our students also are trained to make formal oral presentations of their work as well as to create informative and visually expressive graphic presentations. All of these skills are highly valued in the business world.
Third, senior internship placements allow students to make informed judgments about potential career paths. They also potentially lead to full-time paid jobs at the internship site; in fact, many of our students continue working after graduation at the location of their senior internship.
Study Tracks: The Flexibility of Arcadia's B.A. in Psychology
Since only two courses per year are required for the major in Psychology (four courses during the sophomore year), the major is sufficiently open in requirements, allowing you to easily integrate it with other programs. Add relevant coursework in other disciplines to create one of three tracks. With your interests and career goals in mind, you may select one of the following options:
Core Liberal Arts Track
Core Liberal Arts Track
A basic foundation in psychology and a broad preparation in the liberal arts, this track will prepare you for for graduate study in psychology, as well as for careers open to liberal arts graduates without specific pre-professional preparation. Since only two courses per year are required for the major in Psychology (four courses during the sophomore year), you can use this track to easily combine your B.A. in Psychology with other majors or minors. Students who choose this track might have careers in marketing, healthcare, communications, or business.
Designed for students who want to pursue a specialized profession in fields such as school psychology, art therapy, music therapy, psychiatric social work, and school counseling or guidance. You can major in Psychology, supplement with courses in a pre-professional specialization, and graduate prepared to pursue a master’s degree at a post-graduate professional school. There are five options within this track:
The B.A. in Psychology is a useful foundation for post-graduate study in physical therapy, medicine, health education, nursing, public health, health administration, or veterinary medicine. Coursework in Biology, Chemistry, or Computer Science combine with the major to provide an appropriate background for further study. (See separate listings for these pre-health programs.)
If you are seeking certification for secondary teaching in Social Studies in addition to your B.A. in Psychology, you must notify your adviser and the Director of Secondary Education. State certification requirements are very specific, so the earlier you plan for this option, the easier it is to develop the appropriate program for you.
Psychology and Business
If you are interested in human resources management, you can combine the major in Psychology with a minor in Business. This track will prepare you for graduate study in psychology or business administration.
Combine Psychology and Art Therapy courses in preparation for your graduate study. (See Art Therapy Emphasis.) Choose from the following program options:
B.A. in Psychology with an Art Therapy emphasis
B.A. in Art and Design with an Art Therapy Emphasis, plus coursework in Psychology
Earn both a B.A. in Art and Design and a B.A. in Psychology with an Art Therapy Emphasis as a double major
If you are interested in school psychology, psychiatric social work, working with children, counseling and guidance in schools, music therapy, or psychometrics, you must plan to continue their education at the master’s level. Prepare for your intended path by selecting appropriate undergraduate-level courses in consultation with the Department adviser.
The Ph.D. track is specifically geared to prepare you for entrance into Ph.D. programs for post-secondary teaching, clinical or counseling psychology, research, or other specialized areas of psychology. Your undergraduate psychology coursework will be supplemented with cognate courses relevant to your particular interests, selected in consultation with the Department Chair or adviser. You should also consider courses aimed at increasing the following related skills:
Ph.D. programs do not require any specific set of such courses but may give weight to students who have such training.
High academic ability students may be eligible to complete Psychology degree in 3 years. The three-year format lightens the financial burden for students seeking to reduce college costs. Each student’s program is individualized based on numerous factors including AP, IB or dual enrollment credits earned during high school. Accelerated degree students work closely with two academic advisors to produce a program of study that fits their needs and interests.
Arcadia's flexible Psychology program offers multiple ways to tailor the program to suit your professional and educational goals. In addition to the study tracks and accelerated degree, you may also consider the Art Therapy Emphasis, a Secondary Education Certification, and preferential admission into Arcadia's Master of Arts in Counseling Program.
Psychology majors who meet the admission criteria for Arcadia's graduate program in Counseling will be given preferential consideration for admission.
This degree will allow you to sit for the NCE and to apply for Pennsylvania licensure once mandated supervised work experience is acquired.
Pathways to Study Abroad in Psychology
Psychology majors are encouraged to study abroad. The Department works with students to devise the best combination of international coursework to complement their studies. You may study abroad during the summer or during your sophomore or junior years. Study abroad is not permitted during the senior year because of the required yearlong Psychology internship.
Study abroad can be coordinated with required major courses in one of two ways. You may be able to find replacement courses for major courses overseas. Alternatively, in many cases, space can be cleared in a given semester so that no overseas psychology courses are necessary. To create the best study abroad plan, consult with your adviser as soon as possible and contact the Office of Global Engagement.