Explore the world of the mind and behavior

The Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at St. Edward’s engages you in the fascinating study of thinking, actions, and emotions.

Psychology at St. Edward’s is taught as an experimental science. You’ll delve into the rigorous analysis of the mind and behavior — from the basic functions of the brain to memory and reasoning to personality and mental health to sexuality and human development. Over the course of your studies as a Psychology major, you will …

  • Develop a keen awareness of the human experience and why people think, act, and feel the way they do
  • Design and conduct research studies
  • Apply statistical methods to analyze the results of experiments
  • Evaluate research findings and produce professional-quality independent work
  • Make use of the university’s state-of-the-art observation, biofeedback and human interaction labs
  • Apply classroom learning to professional research opportunities and field internships

The understanding of human behavior and research techniques makes Psychology majors well suited to careers that require critical thinking, good communication skills, and effective interaction with others. This includes work in social services, case management, consumer research, and human resources.

Degree Requirements

Major Requirements: The BA in Psychology requires 31–32 hours of major courses, which include a combination of introductory and advanced topics. In addition, students choose 9 hours of career-emphasis elective courses that help prepare them for future interests, such as graduate study or their career path in psychology.

Electives: Students are free to complete 26 hours of elective courses in any area of study they choose. These courses do not have to relate to the Psychology degree.

General Education Requirements: The Psychology degree requires 57 hours of general education courses that students complete over four years in addition to their major courses and electives.

View and download the full degree plan for our Psychology major (PDF).

A few examples of the Psychology major courses students take:             

  • Social Psychology – Examines how people interact with and are influenced by others, including topics such as conformity and obedience, nonverbal behavior, person perception, leadership, and attraction.
  • Abnormal Psychology Addresses the causes, consequences, and cures for maladaptive behavior, such as depression, mood disorders, antisocial personality disorder, or schizophrenia.
  • Biopsychology – Delves into the function and anatomy of the nervous system and the role it plays in directing perception, emotion, thought, memory, and motor behavior.

Capstone Project

Our required, semester-long Capstone course examines Topics in Psychology. For this senior project, students will often work with their Research and Field Experience course instructor from the previous semester. This completes a two-semester research/experiential course sequence, which is notable for a smaller liberal arts school. The combination of research and practical learning gives students an opportunity to hone their abilities and develop skills valued by graduate schools and employers.

What’s a Capstone? Find out.

Our Faculty and Student Support Services

Our distinguished faculty members are excellent researchers, educators, and practitioners who get to know their students as individuals. They share their passion for learning and create fun and dynamic experiences that challenge and inspire students to achieve their potential. Meet a few of them ...

Alan Swinkels, professor of psychology, St. Edward's University

“I teach for three reasons. I enjoy it. My students like my style and methods. And I can’t think of another job that is this much fun.”

Alan Swinkels, PhD, professor

Jeannetta Williams, professor of Psychology, St. Edward's University

“I create an environment in which both learning and the learners are highly valued. My classes typically include a mix of lectures, hands-on activities, videos, small and large group discussions, and individual and group assignments. I am consistently amazed by my students’ enthusiasm and diligence. Witnessing their intellectual growth and academic achievements is highly rewarding.”

Jennetta Williams, PhD, professor

Kelly E. Green, assistant professor of psychology, St. Edward's University

“I strive to foster intellectual curiosity and critical thinking, and to promote attitudes of compassion, acceptance and pursuit of social change among my students. Their educational experience becomes more engaging, interactive and personally relevant when I employ collaborative learning that considers alternate perspectives, diversity in individual differences and societal implications.”

Kelly E. Green, PhD, assistant professor

Jessica Boyette-Davis, assistant professor of Psychology and Behavioral Neuroscience, St. Edward's University

“Teaching is an amazing opportunity to share information and participate in the personal and professional development of students. In and out of the classroom, I strive to help students hone their critical thinking, master certain skills and knowledge, and gain a deeper understanding of their potential.”

Jessica Boyette-Davis, PhD, assistant professor

Student Support Services

Along with personal attention and mentorship from your professors, you'll have access to offices and programs outside of the classroom that support your success. We encourage you to take advantage of these resources that help you thrive and excel:

  • Academic counseling and advising
  • Supplemental instruction and tutoring
  • Career preparation and advising 
  • Writing Center consultation
  • Health and wellness counseling
  • Student disability support

Learn more about these services.

Outside the Classroom

Students majoring in Psychology can explore career paths and practical application of their studies through independent or faculty-student research projects, internships and service learning opportunities. These experiences allow them to develop practical skills and test theories and principles they’ve learned about in the classroom. 

Research and Field Experience Course

This required course provides valuable hands-on learning under the supervision of Psychology faculty and professionals in the field. Students can use this course to delve into areas of psychology that pique their interest.

Students choose from these two options and spend 150 hours in the option they choose:

Option 1: Participate in an internship volunteering at a psychology-focused site in the community, and address theoretical issues in an applied setting.

For example: Psychology major Georgia Huston ’16 used her internship with Blue Skies Abilities, which provides therapeutic services for children and teenagers who have behavioral or cognitive challenges, to start a monthly art workshop for at-risk teens. See why her internship was doubly rewarding.

Option 2: Work directly with a faculty member on a research project to conduct an in-depth study in one of the major areas of psychology, such as developmental, personality, or cognitive psychology.

For example: Inspired by his Industrial Psychology course, Cody Antunez ’14 teamed up with Professor Alan Swinkels to research the feasibility of using the Oculus Rift and virtual reality as a safe way to train workers for dangerous occupational environments. See what their research revealed.

Austin Opens Doors to Real-World Learning

Our location in Austin offers a wealth of opportunities for students to land meaningful internships and practical experiences that enrich their education and give back to the community. Psychology majors have interned at the Texas State Capitol and with numerous state agencies, nonprofits and private businesses, including these:

Texas departments of:

  • Affordable Housing
  • Aging and Disability
  • Assistive and Rehabilitative Services
  • Criminal Justice
  • Health and Human Services
  • Juvenile Justice
  • Public Safety

Nonprofits and other organizations:

  • Austin Film Society
  • Central Texas Food Bank
  • Dell Children’s Medical Center
  • Health Alliance for Austin Musicians
  • Johnson’s Backyard Garden
  • River City Youth Foundation
  • Southwest Airlines

Student Organizations

Student clubs facilitate connections to hands-on learning opportunities and create a community students can join with like-minded peers. Some student organizations include Psi Chi the international honor society in psychology, and the Psychological Society, which sponsors educational, social, and volunteer opportunities for the campus community.

Alumni Outcomes

Our BA in Psychology graduates have entered the workforce in a wide range of professional roles. Several have become noted researchers and educators, earning doctorate degrees and academic appointments in psychology and neuroscience. Many make a difference in the lives of others through their work in human services.

Our Psychology graduates are working in:

  • Research design and data analysis for state agencies
  • Pharmaceutical and medical testing companies
  • Mental health agencies
  • K–12 and higher education as teachers, counselors and administrators
  • Careers with children in therapeutic environments
  • Leadership roles in various organizations
  • Behavior analyst positions in government/state and local agencies
  • Human resources departments

For example: As a senior, Psychology major Breanna Correll ’16 was selected for Southwest Airlines’ highly competitive internship program in the Employment/Talent Development department. She now works full time for Southwest in the airline’s People Department as a Coordinator on the Flight Ops/Technology Recruiting Team.

Ready for Graduate School

Psychology students at St. Edward's are well prepared to expand their job possibilities through graduate study at top schools across the nation.

For example: Psychology major Mary Cavaliere ’17 was accepted to The University of Texas at Austin and Saint Louis University graduate programs, both with financial support. She is attending Saint Louis University’s Master of Applied Behavior Analysis program and will participate in a graduate assistantship working on research on gambling and addictive behaviors.

Advanced degress can lead to becoming a licensed psychologist, teaching at the college level, engaging in advanced research or following a specific passion in psychology.

For example: Psychology major Victoria Rodriguez ’11 is working on a doctorate in Developmental Psychology at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education. Her research centers around the academic resilience and identity development of underrepresented minority students.

Read about our successful alumni. See what they have to say about life after St. Edward’s.

About the Minor

The study of psychology enhances our understanding of how people think, feel, and behave. It provides valuable insight for every area of work and life, and aligns with any field of study. Students interested in learning more about how the human mind works and why people do what they do are encouraged to pursue a minor in psychology, which requires 18 hours of coursework

Required Courses:

  • General Psychology
  • Adolescent Psychology OR Child Development
  • Social Psychology
  • 3 electives in psychology

Are you a current student? Contact your advisor for next steps on declaring your major or minor.