The Psychology Program

The Psychology Program's goal is designed to prepare students for both advanced and applied work in the professional and scientific areas of psychology and related fields including health, business, law, education and human services. Students receive broad training in the science and application of psychological methods and principles, as well as opportunities to gain knowledge and hands-on experience in specialized areas.

What Can I Do With a Major in Psychology?

Many people believe Psychology is a field that requires students to get an advanced degree in order to pursue a career related to the field.  Although advanced degrees are required for direct Counseling and Clinical practice, the knowledge of human behavior and the skills that Psychology graduates possess are applicable to a diverse array of jobs.

Individuals with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology often pursue jobs as case workers, technicians or counselors in health and human service agencies, including non-profit, government and independent agencies.  These graduates provide clients with mental, emotional and physical support in the form of recreational activities, social skills training and group therapy while working under the supervision of a specialist.  Clients may include people of all ages who are experiencing mental health issues ranging from behavioral and emotional disorders to physical complications.  These graduates work in the clients’ personal homes, group homes, mental health centers, drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers and hospitals where they use their knowledge of human nature and behavior to assist people in need.  Others assist in educational settings, helping children as Academic Advisers, Daycare Teacher’s Aides or Therapeutic Support Staff.

Some of our students also pursue jobs in Industrial/Organizational fields.  Retailers, Businesses and Corporations are in constant need of Marketing and Advertising personnel, Research Assistants, Human Resource staff, Recruiters and Public Relations Officers.  For example, managers often have a degree in Psychology, and they use their knowledge to interact with customers and to foster a healthy and efficient work environment for the employees they supervise.

Other Psychology Majors wish to pursue a career in Justice Administration.  These individuals (who often also pursue a Political Science, Criminology or Sociology Minor) become Corrections Officers, Parole Officers and Law Enforcement Officers.  They are hired by Law Enforcement Agencies at all levels, but they may also serve in social services as Child Protection Workers and in similar roles.

The opportunities for students of Psychology are quite diverse (also see the jobs listed below).  Even a Psychology Minor may demonstrate to potential employers that you have an enhanced understanding of human interaction and behavior.  If you have questions about these or other job opportunities, stop by the Psychological Sciences Department: We have several informational resource packets, and our faculty are always willing to help and advise in any way they can.

Human Services: 
Possible Jobs: Alcohol/Drug Abuse Counselor, Family Services Worker, Rehabilitation Advisor, Mental Health Technician, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, Youth Counselor
Who’s Hiring?: Federal and State Governments (Departments of Health and Human Services, Justice, Veterans’ Administration), Mental Health Centers, Senior Citizens’ Centers, Hospitals, Non-profit Organizations (United Way, YMCA, Religiously Affiliated Service Organizations)

Justice Administration: 
Possible Jobs: Corrections Officer, Parole Officer, Law Enforcement Officer, Child Protection Worker
Who’s Hiring?: Federal, State, and Local Law Enforcement Agencies, Group Homes, Social Services

Community Relations: 
Example Jobs: Director of Volunteer Services, Urban Planning Assistant, Community Outreach Worker, Public Affairs Coordinator, Public Information Specialist
Who’s Hiring?: Federal, State, and Local Government Agencies, Non-profit Organizations (United Way, YMCA, Religiously Affiliated Service Organizations)

Research: 
Possible Jobs: Behavior Analyst, Statistical Assistant, Historical Research Assistant
Who’s Hiring?: National Institute of Education, Federal Government (Department of Health and Human Services), Non-profit Organizations

Industrial/Organizational: 
Possible Jobs: Administrator, Human Resources Recruiter, Director of Fundraising, Occupational Analyst, Public Relations, Advertising Agent, Marketing Representative/Researcher, Managers
Who’s Hiring?: Human Resources Departments of Companies, Government Personnel Agencies, Marketing Firms, Corporations, Retailers

Education: 
Possible Jobs: Academic Adviser, Daycare Teacher’s Aide
Who’s Hiring?: Daycare Centers, Schools

Resultspsychology-results
Results
  • Our recent graduates have been successful in gaining admittance to a variety of Ph.D. programs in various fields of Psychology including Clinical, Counseling, Health, Industrial/Organizational, School, Cognitive, Social, Biological and Developmental.  Most of these students have been awarded full tuition scholarships to attend graduate school and also receive a generous stipend to pay for their living expenses.

  • In addition, our majors have also successfully gained admittance to Medical School as well as masters programs in Occupational Therapy, Speech Pathology, Social Work and Counseling.
     
  • Students can combine the major with a variety of certificates and minors including the Psychology Scholars Program, the Addictions Specialist Certificate and the Children’s Studies Minor.

  • Students are active researchers, with 15 junior and senior psychology majors presenting research at the 2016 Eastern Psychological Association conference in New York City.  We have also traveled with students to conferences in Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Denver.

  • Students complete exciting internships that provide valuable experience.  Recent internship sites include Allegheny General Hospital, The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh, Adelphoi Village, the Latrobe Police Department, Lifeway Pregnancy Center, 84 Lumber Company and NHS Human Services, among others.

  • Three of our students were recently published in the North American Journal of Psychology.  This continues our very successful record of students getting published in scholarly journals as undergraduates.  Over the past six years, 19 of our undergraduates have published a total of 8 articles in scholarly journals.  This experience has been instrumental in many of these students moving on to doctoral programs in Psychology.
Curriculumpsychology-curriculum
Requirements for a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology (students entering in 2019 or later)

Major Requirements (35 credits)

The required courses and internship within the major provide for a breadth of knowledge about the various fields of psychology. The courses also provide a background in scientific research methodology as applied in psychology.

The required course work for the Psychology Major is as follows:
PY 100 Introduction to Psychological Science - 3 credits*
PY 203 Statistics I - 3 credits*
PY 204 Statistics II - 3 credits
PY 212 Child Development - 3 credits
PY 243 Abnormal Psychology - 3 credits
PY 260 Social Psychology - 3 credits
PY 308 Cognitive Psychology - 3 credits
PY 309 Learning - 3 credits
PY 331 Biological Psychology - 3 credits
PY 341 Research Methods in Psychology and Lab - 4 credits
PY 550 Psychology Internship- 1-3 credits
One of the following two courses: 
PY 401 Capstone: Research Review and Analysis - 3 credits
PY 405 Capstone: Research Thesis I - 3 credits**

*Introduction to Psychology and Statistics I are three-credit courses that count toward fulfilling the Social Sciences Core requirements. 
**PY 405 requires a minimum 3.5 grade point average in all courses taken in the Psychological Sciences Department and students who register for PY 405 should do so with the expectation that they will complete PY 406 (Capstone: Research Thesis II).

In addition to these required courses, students in the Psychology Major are encouraged to take additional elective courses within psychology as well as to choose Core Curriculum courses that will best prepare them for their future careers.

Mental Health Concentration (24 credits):

The Concentration in Mental Health is an optional add-on available only to those completing a psychology major.  It provides students with an academic background in a variety of areas related to mental health, including mental disorders, family dynamics, counseling, assessment, and ethical issues, among others.

Required:
PY 219 Introduction to Counseling
PY 230 Positive Psychology
PY 243 Abnormal Psychology
PY 251 Family Systems
PY 343 Abnormal Psychology II
PY 370 Ethical Issues in Psychology
One of the following two courses:
PY 320 Forensic Psychology
PY 382 Psychological Assessment
One of the following two courses:
PY 250 Chemical Dependency
PY 322 Health Psychology

Requirements for Psychology Minor (18 credits):

All students desiring a minor in psychology must complete 18 credits within the department.  The requirements are as follows:

Required:
PY 100 Introduction to Psychology - 3 credits*
Two of the following three courses:
PY 212 Child Development - 3 credits
PY 243 Abnormal Psychology - 3 credits
PY 260 Social Psychology - 3 credits
One of the following four courses:
PY 308 Cognitive Psychology - 3 credits
PY 309 Learning - 3 credits
PY 322 Health Psychology - 3 credits
PY 331 Biological Psychology - 3 credits
Any two additional three-credit courses offered by the department 

Student Work and Researchpsychology-student-work

Students in the Psychological Sciences Department at Saint Vincent College are encouraged to be active participants in the research of psychological science.  Our students have the opportunities to collaborate with our faculty on research projects at many levels of the scientific process.  Advanced students may also design and conduct their own research under the supervision of the faculty, completing one of their program requirements through our Thesis option.  Most of these projects are presented as posters at national conferences, and many have been recognized for excellence.  Some collaborative and student projects are published in peer-reviewed journals.

Internships and Careers

The following are only some of the agencies/institutions where Saint Vincent College Psychology Majors have recently completed internships:

  • Allegheny General Hospital
  • Catholic Charities
  • Progressive Health
  • Lifeway Pregnancy Center
  • American Red Cross
  • Adelphoi Village
  • Green Meadows Assisted Living
  • Social Security Administration
  • Latrobe Police Department
  • Children's Institute of Pittsburgh
  • Western Psychiatric Institute
  • Student Learning Outcomes
    • Students will:

      • demonstrate understanding of content, principles, concepts and applications in psychology.
      • demonstrate understanding of scientific inquiry and engage in critical thinking.
      • apply ethical standards to psychological science and practice.
      • communicate effectively in writing and speaking.
      • demonstrate successful professional development.