Shippensburg University Psychology Department
Psychology is the science of behavior and mental processes, as well as the application of knowledge gained through that science.
Psychology at Ship
Psychology attempts to develop theories on the basis of careful description and experimentation, and then to apply that scientific information in useful ways. Its domain is wonderfully diverse, including everything from rats learning mazes to athletes using mental imagery, from pathological conditions to healthy development, from the physiology of hunger to the dynamics of organizational behavior, from intelligence testing to relaxation techniques, and much more.
Shippensburg University has energetic psychology faculty with a reputation for excellence in teaching and research. The department offers high-quality research, internship, and service-learning opportunities. It has a broad selection of courses and keeps classroom sizes small, especially in advanced classes and classes for majors. The department offers quality and small-school personalized attention.
Psychology majors may choose to complete their department degree requirements with an honors designation. This is an excellent opportunity for good students to gain valuable expertise. Completion of Honors in Psychology demonstrates to graduate program admissions committees and future employers that a student has special experience, motivation, and ability to succeed in the field of psychology. Qualified and dedicated students of psychology are strongly encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity.
Admission and Degree Requirements
The psychology department structures its courses into three goal categories: knowledge base, skills/careers, and social awareness. Students are required to take courses from each category along with courses to satisfy psychology electives and free electives, which they may select from the full range of offerings. 39 credits in psychology are required, but most majors take more. Students must also satisfy the university’s general education requirements.
A faculty advisor works closely with students to find the courses that meet their particular needs. Shippensburg psychology majors can choose an advisor based on the faculty member’s areas of interest.
All of the professors in the department have doctoral degrees and are trained researchers. A number have also worked in applied settings. Our faculty’s areas of expertise include:
- Social Psychology
- Personality Psychology
- Developmental Psychology
- Behavioral Neuroscience
- Cognitive Psychology
- Industrial/Organizational Psychology
- Clinical Psychology
- Behavioral Psychology
- Health Psychology
- Multicultural Psychology
Careers in Psychology
Many employers respect a bachelor’s degree in psychology because it says the graduate has studied human behavior in ways that other degrees may not offer. The bachelor’s degree also qualifies graduates for many entry-level positions in mental health services. It is also true, though, that when individuals go on to earn postgraduate degrees they typically increase their earning power.
Persons with degrees in psychology are employed in a wide variety of roles, including the following:
- Clinicians, counselors and human service workers
- School psychologists research and academic psychologists
- Industrial and organizational psychologists
- Human factors engineers
- Forensic psychologists
Our department’s research interests are diverse. Students have unique access to these research opportunities through our student/faculty research program. Our faculty's areas of research interest include:
- Sports fans
- Emotion regulation in relationships
- Risk-taking behaviors
- Power and privilege
- Personality and the workplace
- Divorce and remarriage
- Autism and development disabilities
- Higher order cognitive processes
Students may earn academic credits by getting involved in research, and a number of our students present their work at national and international meetings each year. These opportunities are especially valuable for those interested in pursuing doctoral degrees in psychology or related fields. Most schools offering traditional doctoral degrees are research-intensive places and are highly competitive. There may be 400 applicants for just a few positions.
The department has an active internship program that allows students to earn three to six credits outside the university setting. The student finds a position with an agency that provides supervised experience in an area related to psychology. Then, under the guidance of a faculty advisor, he or she writes an academic paper concerning the experience. Internship experience can be a very valuable addition to a student’s resume or graduate school application. Our graduates often comment that their internship was their most useful and most enjoyable college experience.
Some courses have Service Learning Project components that have students working on problem-solving initiatives in the community.
Within the department, students have organized a Psychology Club where the new major can find the best and brightest of his or her peers. The Psychology Club welcomes and appreciates new students becoming involved. Many interesting activities are offered by the club, including travel to conferences, speeches by well-known psychologists, visits to other campuses, and social events. Membership in the local chapter of Psi Chi, the national psychology honor society, is also available to students meeting the necessary GPA requirements.