Degree: Bachelor of Science
What makes people behave as they do as individuals and in groups? How does the human mind work? And how can we use this knowledge in today's world?
As a Union College psychology major, you’ll explore such questions as you engage in the scientific study of behavior and mental processes through a broad range of courses. After introductory psychology, students choose from area courses such as clinical psychology, attention and memory, and developmental psychology; lab courses such as behavioral neuroscience and advanced personality and social psychology; and seminars such as love and death, the social psychology of sports, and brain and behavior.
Our classes are small and personal. There are no more than 45 students in the intro course and 20 to 25 students in basic courses. Seminars typically have between eight and 14 students.
Students have ample opportunity to learn outside of the classroom through internships, which provide practical experience in the field. Over the years, students have worked for a variety of organizations, including advertising agencies, centers for autistic children, centers for victims of domestic violence, biofeedback clinics, marketing firms, employee assistance programs and residential facilities for emotionally disturbed children.
Our faculty are active scholars, so students have every opportunity to get involved in cutting-edge research. Students can volunteer in research labs, enroll in practica or supervised-research courses that earn college and departmental credit, and serve as summer research fellows that earn a summer stipend.
The capstone experience – the optional senior thesis – allows students to take on a research topic of their own and work with a faculty member from start to finish, typically culminating with a written project and an oral presentation at the College’s annual Steinmetz research symposium. Many students co-author published papers and present their work at national and regional academic conferences.
About three times each term, distinguished faculty from around the country come to Union to share their scholarship as part of the Psychology Department Speaker Series. They give a presentation to the department and the campus community, and meet over dinner with students enrolled in our honors seminar. Over the years, scholars from institutions such as Cornell University, Duke University, Rochester Institute of Technology and University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign have presented their research on a wide range of fascinating topics, such as the neurobiology of addiction, body checking and anxiety, conspiracy theories and political psychology.
A sampling of topics:
- "Is conformity stronger among conservatives, liberals, or neither?"
- "Simple accuracy nudges can reduce misinformation sharing"
- "Being a responsible scientist: Study design, statistics and communication"
- "The dark side of modernity: Felt obligation in the context of Eurocentric global modernity"
- "Multiple identities: Multiple sources of threat and belonging"
- "Does age affect speech perception from the top-down? Evidence from brain and behavior"
Psychology majors go into a wide variety of fields. Many, either immediately after graduation or within a few years, enter graduate programs. Some of them enroll in professional schools for medicine, dentistry, law, education or nursing; others pursue programs for master’s degrees in business or healthcare administration.
Many majors seek advanced degrees in clinical or counseling psychology or related fields such as social work and speech pathology. Others enter graduate programs leading to the doctorate in various areas of academic psychology.
What some of our graduates are doing:
- Deputy director of training and development, Central Coast Children's Fund
- Master of Philosophy candidate in education, globalization and international development, University of Cambridge
- Program supervisor, C.O.C.O.A. House
- Project assistant, Brigham and Women's Hospital
- Public health associate, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Public relations associate, RF Binder
- Researcher, Mexican Institute for Competitiveness
- U.S. Fulbright Scholar, Athens, Greece