Undergraduate

Psychology Major Wins Theta Alpha Kappa Award

Dalia Gutierrez ’14 won an Undergraduate Achievement Award from Theta Alpha Kappa, the National Honors Society for Religious and Theological Studies.

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Psychology

The Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at St. Edward’s trains you to study and understand the brain and behavior while developing essential communication skills. Our Psychology program — the most popular major on campus — encourages experiential learning through professional research opportunities and field internships.

Faculty and students benefit from new state-of-the-art research facilities that feature high-tech observation, biofeedback and behavioral labs. Our well-equipped psychology labs give you more complex research opportunities than do most undergraduate programs. What’s more, you’ll learn from professors who are experts in their fields and have earned numerous national, regional and local awards for teaching and research excellence.

Psychology majors have the option to pursue a concentration in behavioral neuroscience — a frontier that is exploding with important discoveries in how the brain influences human behavior. New and better treatment approaches for mental illness, and neurobiological conditions such as autism and Parkinson’s disease, are the result of groundbreaking research in the field of behavioral neuroscience.

Bachelor of Arts in Psychology

Overview:

BA in Psychology majors are exposed to the rigorous scientific study of behavior — both in individuals functioning alone and as members of a society. You’ll receive training in research design, methods and data analysis. You’ll complete a course sequence that includes statistics, experimental psychology, and research and field experience. And you’ll gain the skills to effectively understand research findings and to produce professional-quality independent work.

Students also develop a broad understanding of the human mind and behavior. This makes them well-suited to careers that require good communication skills and interaction with others — including social services, case management, consumer research and human resources.

Our BA in Psychology graduates enjoy a wide range of professional employment. Several have become noted researchers and educators, earning doctorate degrees and academic appointments in psychology and neuroscience. Others work in industry, performing research design and data analysis for state agencies (Texas Education Agency), medical testing companies (Merck), and consulting firms (Ernst & Young). And many make a daily difference in the lives of others through their work in mental health agencies. A psychology degree can also lead to careers with children in therapeutic environments, leadership roles in various organizations, or behavior analyst positions in government agencies or prison settings.

Many students expand their job possibilities through graduate study in related disciplines. Advanced degrees are required to become a licensed psychologist or teach at the college level. Close interaction with faculty members at St. Edward’s — and time spent in classes, advising sessions, research and fieldwork — allows you to learn more about options for careers and graduate work.

Course Preview:

In addition to the general education courses required of all majors, BA in Psychology majors take courses from these groups:

CORE COURSES
Students who major in psychology complete core courses, which include General Psychology, Adolescent Psychology or Child Development, Statistics, Theories of Personality, Social Psychology, Experimental Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Behavioral Neuroscience or Learning and Cognition, Research and Field Experience in Psychology, and History and Systems of Psychology.

ELECTIVE COURSES
Students choose career emphasis elective courses that prepare them for graduate school or careers in psychology. Included are courses in forensic psychology, counseling, chemical dependency and industrial/organizational psychology.

SERVICE LEARNING COURSES
Psychology majors can explore their vocation through fieldwork in service learning courses. Students work in settings such as mental health, social services and child development as part of their required Research and Field Experience course.

CAPSTONE PROJECT
The culmination of the Psychology program at St. Edward’s is a senior Capstone project, which examines a controversial social issue. Psychology majors enter Capstone with an informed perspective — a direct result of their Research and Field Experience coursework. Students gain a solid, experiential foundation in psychology through extensive scientific research or a substantial internship in the community.

View the Degree Plan (PDF) for sample course information for the Bachelor of Arts in Psychology.

Behavioral Neuroscience Concentration

Overview:

As a BA in Psychology major with a Behavioral Neuroscience concentration, you’ll explore brain circuitry and systems that underlie what we feel, how we reason and who or what we remember. You’ll study neurobiology — including genetic influences, molecular structures and neural processes — and learn how these functions connect to human behaviors, both normal and abnormal. You’ll examine the profound impact that brain function can have on such behaviors as addictions, obsessive tendencies and other psychopathologies.

Rigorous coursework in the natural sciences, with a heavy focus on lab and research experience, is the hallmark of the Behavioral Neuroscience concentration. You’ll conduct collaborative biobehavioral studies in multiple disciplines and work side-by-side with acclaimed faculty members in the field. In addition to your core psychology curriculum, you’ll take classes in molecular biology, genetics, physiology and neuroscience. You’ll also explore such issues as chemical dependency, animal behavior, and learning and cognition.

Career opportunities are abundant in the rapidly growing field of behavioral neuroscience. Graduates may serve on a research team for a teaching university or pharmaceutical company, although advanced degrees are typically required to lead research initiatives. Other career options include working in veterinary medicine or animal science, conducting research for a health department or government agency, or joining the health and medical professions, particularly in neurology or psychiatry. To increase employment opportunities, graduates may pursue advanced degrees in neuroscience. Close interaction with faculty at St. Edward’s — and time spent in classes, labs, advising sessions and field work — allows you to learn more about options for careers and graduate studies.

Course Preview:

In addition to the general education courses required of psychology majors, students with the Behavioral Neuroscience concentration take courses from these groups:

CORE COURSES
BA in Psychology majors with a Behavioral Neuroscience concentration complete core courses, which include General Psychology, Adolescent Psychology or Child Development, Statistics, Theories of Personality, Social Psychology, Experimental Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Research and Field Experience in Psychology, and History and Systems of Psychology.

PSYCHOLOGY CONCENTRATION COURSES
BA in Psychology majors with a Behavioral Neuroscience concentration complete additional psychology courses, which include Chemical Dependency Issues, Behavioral Neuroscience, Learning and Cognition, and Animal Behavior.

NATURAL SCIENCES CONCENTRATION COURSES
BA in Psychology majors with a Behavioral Neuroscience concentration complete courses in the natural sciences, which include General Biology: Cells, Genetics and Organ Systems; General Biology: Organism and Populations; General Chemistry; Molecular Biology; Physiology; and Neuroscience or Neuroscience and Mental Illness.

SERVICE LEARNING COURSES
As part of their required Research and Field Experience course, Psychology majors can explore their vocation and serve the community through fieldwork. Students will collaborate with a faculty member on a research project related to their volunteer work in a psychology-related setting, such as mental health, social services or child development.

CAPSTONE PROJECT
The culmination of the Psychology program at St. Edward’s is a senior Capstone project, which examines a controversial social issue. Psychology majors enter Capstone with an informed perspective — a direct result of their Research and Field Experience in Psychology coursework. Students gain a solid, experiential foundation in psychology through extensive scientific research or a substantial internship in the community.

View the Degree Plan (PDF) for sample course information for the Behavioral Neuroscience Concentration.

Internships

Psychology majors complete internships each year with prominent mental health organizations, school districts, businesses and nonprofits — locally and throughout the United States. Internships are excellent opportunities to learn new skills, explore your passions, and collaborate and network with professionals.  An internship experience is an outstanding addition to your résumé and can give you a distinct advantage for graduate school or your career path in psychology.

Students have gained on-the-job training at organizations such as these:

  • Any Baby Can
  • Austin Film Society
  • Austin Independent School District
  • Austin Travis County Integral Care (formerly MHMR)
  • Capitol Area Food Bank
  • Child Protective Services
  • For the Love of Christi (grief support)
  • Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office
  • Travis County Sheriff’s Office
  • Various law firms, early education centers and neuroscience laboratories

Research

At St. Edward’s, you’ll have multiple opportunities to conduct professional-level psychology research typically reserved for graduate students at larger universities. Performing scientific research will enhance your résumé, build your confidence and skills, and prepare you for graduate studies and your chosen profession.
 

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