Psychology major

Student studying in William Philip HallPsychology is the scientific study of the psychological, biological and contextual determinants of human behavior. The Psychology major at UW Tacoma is shaped by the concept that psychology is a liberal art as well as a rigorous social science. As a program, we value the philosophical, historical and cultural traditions that inform psychology, including feminism, existentialism, hermeneutics, psychoanalysis and critical theory. We are also firmly committed to interdisciplinarity, meaning that students should be able to synthesize material across disciplines. The curriculum is designed for students who plan to work as professional psychologists and thus need a sound preparation for graduate study; for students who plan a career in any field dealing primarily with people, such as nursing, teaching, social work, guidance and human resources; or for those who desire a well-rounded education and thus need a basic knowledge and understanding of human experience and behavior.

The Psychology curriculum builds on a foundation of the basic understanding of the discipline gained in lower-division studies. Courses integrate advanced instruction in the core concepts and methodologies of the traditional psychology education with applied topics that emphasize the importance of intersections of Psychology with different disciplinary approaches to understanding and working with social problems. Students gain a breadth of understanding in core areas, such as abnormal/personality and developmental psychology. Advanced courses help students think about the applications of psychology and its intersections with other disciplinary approaches. Placing human behavior as well as the study of psychology itself into its social and historical contexts is considered. Most courses emphasize human diversity and/or focus on contemporary cultural issues.

Career options

Psychology prepares students to pursue careers in psychology, human services, community service and human resources or advanced studies in psychology, counseling and social work.

Psychology Web Resources wrote an article on what you can do with a bachelor's degree in psychology.

The Psychology Club at UW Tacoma offers students an opportunity to get involved in research, community service and professional opportunities related to psychology.

Student learning outcomes

Upon completion of your degree, students in the Psychology major should:

  • Be familiar with the major theoretical approaches and historical trends in psychology.
  • Understand the core concepts and methodologies of psychology, including what scientific psychology is, the contributions and limitations of different methods of empirical research and be able to apply research methods, including design, data analysis and interpretation.
  • Be able to read and interpret verbally and in writing psychological research.
  • Understand that human behavior may have some common determinants and also great diversity including individual differences and variations based on differences such as culture, ethnicity, social class, gender and sexual orientation. Maintain awareness and sensitivity to diverse populations.
  • Be able to synthesize theories and methodologies across disciplines in the humanities and social sciences.
  • Understand the application of psychological principles to the understanding of social issues.