Psychologists are concerned with advancing knowledge of behavior and experience. The mission of the Department of Psychological Sciences is to teach you how to think like a psychologist. To accomplish this, we have identified five goals that we focus on throughout our curriculum:

1. Knowledge Base of Psychology: To demonstrate familiarity with the major concepts, theoretical perspectives, empirical findings, interdisciplinary connections, and historical roots of psychology.

2. Research Methods and Resources of Psychology: To understand and apply basic research methods in psychology, including research design, handling subjects, data analysis and interpretation, as well as use the library, computers, and online resources.

3. Critical Thinking and Communication Skills: To develop and use critical and creative thinking skills, including skeptical inquiry, critical reading skills, analysis, synthesis, problem solving, professional writing, oral communication, listening, and collaboration skills.

4. Application of Psychology: To understand and apply psychology to diverse individuals and groups, and social, cultural, and organizational issues.

5. Clarification of Values, Personal Development, and Career Planning: To facilitate clarification of values, including tolerating ambiguity and acting ethically, showing insight into one’s own behavior and mental processes and applying effective strategies for self management and self improvement, and to develop realistic ideas about how to use psychological knowledge, skills, and values in various occupations, and in graduate and professional school.

Our core programs for the major – Writing-Across-the-Curriculum, Research-Across-the-Curriculum, and Diversity-Across-the-Curriculum - prepare our majors and minors for post-graduate study of psychology and related fields as well as careers in social services, the arts, education, business, international relations, law, or specific branches of psychology.

By the time they graduate, our students are able to

  • Apply psychological theories and concepts to analyze behavior;
  • Analyze research reports on psychological issues;
  • Conduct data analyses and interpret the results of their own and others' data analyses on psychological issues;
  • Communicate their own and others' research findings on psychological issues both orally and in writing;
  • Show personal development, including clarifying their personal values, enhancing their self-awareness and understanding of others, and identifying the academic degrees required of professional careers in psychology.

While at Whittier, students get involved in the activities of the department through the Psychology Club and Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology. We encourage students to regularly attend local, regional, and national conventions, and to apply their knowledge in the field through participation in off-campus internships and service learning.

Drop by the office of any Psychological Sciences faculty member to learn more about how you might participate in the psychology program at Whittier College.