Psychology BA Major
Psychology is the scientific study of behavior and mental processes, basically everything we perceive, think, feel, and do. Psychology students learn about all the influences, both internal and external, that contribute to human thought and behavior, ranging from basic neuroscience and genetics, through social and cultural influences. Psychology majors receive a strong foundation in research skills, which allows them to conduct their own research projects and think critically about behavior. We also stress the application of psychological knowledge to help others.
Psychology is a strongly interdisciplinary field, and psychology majors are broadly curious people. The education our psychology majors receive provides them with a strong foundation for whatever career path they choose, whether it be in advanced psychological study, or professional fields such as law or medicine, or in any career field that deals with people.
I can't express how much I appreciate you and all of the teachers in the psych department for preparing me for grad school. All of you held us to a high standard - whether regarding research, presentation, and/or quality of papers - and it allowed me to transition in grad school with ease.
Objectives & Goals
For our majors, the success of the Psychology program can be measured using these seven outcomes. A psychology major will:
- have a solid foundation of psychological knowledge in terms of both breadth and depth which will form the basis for advanced study in psychology and/or promote personal and professional growth and achievement in whatever endeavors the student might choose.
- be able to understand and analyze behavior from multiple perspectives.
- understand and appreciate the complexity of causation which underlies thought and behavior.
- understand the distinction between popular and scientific explanations of behavior.
- be able to identify a problem in psychology, to design and conduct research to address that problem, to make the appropriate conclusions based on the research, and to communicate the findings in a professional manner in both written and oral form.
- be able to evaluate social and behavioral research in a critical and sophisticated manner, including the moral and ethical dimensions of the research and its implications.
- use and apply psychological knowledge appropriately to real world situations for the betterment of the human condition.
Is This Program for Me?
Psychology majors are fascinated by the people’s behavior. They typically enjoy observing people and how they act, and trying to understand the actions. They see behavior as complex and dynamic, and they enjoy learning about all the factors that affect it. Psychology majors are open to new experiences and different ways of thinking. They are reflective and often question conventions and norms. In other personality traits, psychology majors run the gamut; they may be shy or outgoing, oriented toward research or human service, for example.
The nurturing and challenging environment was the perfect setting for me to excel academically.
What Makes Us Different?
First, in Samford’s psychology program, students take an active role in shaping their educational experience. The program is set up to be flexible to allow majors to develop their own interests, explore career options, and prepare for whatever they choose. Second, we are a strongly research oriented program, and many of our students present their research at regional and national psychology meetings. Third, faculty work closely with students all along the way. All students are advised by faculty, not staff members. Faculty mentor students in both research and career preparation. The quality of the undergraduates we produce is well known, and we have an excellent record of placing students in top graduate and professional programs.
I've talked to several psych majors from other (I won't mention names, but BIG schools) this summer and Samford's psyc dept leaves all of their programs in the dust.
All psychology majors learn statistical analysis and research skills that are much in demand by employers. Students learn how to read, analyze and synthesize complex ideas and research. They learn how to construct and critically evaluate arguments based on evidence. Students understand the diversity of human personality and all the influences upon it. Finally, students develop both written and oral communication skills in multiple courses.
Clinical or counseling psychologist; school psychologist; forensic psychologist; sport psychologist; industrial and organizational psychologist; gerontologist; human factors or industrial engineer; educational testing specialist; psychometrist; industrial relations; human resources, marketing; personnel manager; nurse; physician; minister; lawyer; teacher; research scientist.
Blankenship & Seay Consulting Group; Impact Family Counseling; Family Drug Court; Lifeline Children’s Services; Magnolia Creek Treatment Center for Eating Disorders; Mitchell’s Place
Accolades, Alumni & Faculty
Our majors take diverse paths. There are multiple career tracks open to psychology majors. Many enter human service as clinical or counseling psychologists, licensed professional counselors, or social workers. Some enter health fields as physicians, nurses, physician assistants, occupationa or physical therapists. Some go into academic careers in research and teaching. Some go into professions such as law, education, business, and ministry.
- Dr. Todd Smitherman, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Mississippi
- Dr. Lee Titsworth, MD/PhD/MPH, Department of Neurosurgery, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
- Dr. Sharon Tsay, MD, Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Mr. Patrick Millsaps, JD, CEO of Londonderry Entertainment Production Company
- Dr. Nathan Brewster, PhD, Manager of Human Resources Decision Support, FedEx Corporation
- Dr. Amy Cheek Fineburg, PhD, Advanced Programs Specialist at Jefferson County Schools
Dr. Stephen L. Chew
- Outstanding Master’s Universities and Colleges U.S. Professor of the Year, Council for Advancement and Support of Education and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, 2011.
- Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Award from the Society for the Teaching of Psychology, National Institute for the Teaching of Psychology (NITOP), 2010.
- Fellow of the American Psychological Association in Division 2 Society for the Teaching of Psychology and Division 1 General Psychology.
- Robert S. Daniel Excellence in Teaching Award. Society for the Teaching of Psychology, Division 2 of the American Psychological Association, 2005.
Dr. Jack Berry
- 2013: Frank Costin Memorial Award for Excellence. National Institute for the Teaching of Psychology (NITOP).
Dr. Sandra Willis
- Mentor Award – Southeastern Psychological Association (SEPA), 2009
Dr. Amanda Howard
- Internationally known authority on foster parenting and attachment