Pathways Through Psychology

Elementary school teacher reading a book to kids seated on carpet

A flexible, elective-heavy degree

What comes to mind when you think of psychology? A lot of people think therapist, psychiatrist or social worker. However, psychology is a diverse science as well as a helping profession. Because psychology is such a broad topic, the psychology major at PSU allows you to explore psychology broadly and to focus on specific areas of psychology that interest you. Having a broad education in psychology is important no matter what field of psychology you plan to work in and the major at PSU aims to offer that diversity in the curriculum.

In pursuing elective coursework, you can choose among different Pathways Through Psychology that focus your studies on specific areas and applications of psychology, including Community Psychology, Education, Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Research Methods, Neuropsychology/Neuroscience, and Social Psychology.

Jump to:

Community Psychology

Community psychology focuses on relationships between individuals and their society and communities. Community psychologists aim to understand and appreciate the attitudes of individuals and their quality of life through their relationship with the community. PSU offers classes that are specific to this branch of psychology as well as classes that overlap.

Completion of the Community Psychology Undergraduate Certificate Program requires requires students to take a community psychology survey course and a two-term senior capstone course focused on applying community psychology principles in field-based settings. In addition to these required courses, students have some flexibility to select two additional courses from four community psychology-related course clusters (Individual Psychology, Social and Group Dynamics, Developmental Processes, and Human Diversity). Alternatively, they may complete additional community psychology research or fieldwork supervised by program faculty to fulfill the remaining credit hours.
Back to Top


For students interested in teaching in preschool or elementary school, a major in psychology is typically sufficient. For students interested in teaching at the middle/high school level, you will need a major in the area of specialization in which you want to teach in (a minor in psychology helps with prerequisites), or enough credits to justify that specific department’s requirements. After completing the bachelor’s, a specific licensure program would be completed through the Graduate School of Education.

Common psychology course requirements for becoming a teacher:

  • PSY 311: Human Development
  • Courses that target specific age ranges, depending on the grade you're interested in: 
    • PSY 459: Infant Development
    • PSY 460: Child Psychology
    • PSY 461: Psychology of Adolescence and Early Maturity
    • PSY 462: Psychology of Adult Development and Aging

Note: Actual requirements depend on the specific teaching program you are applying to

For advising in psychology, you can schedule an appointment with an academic advisor. Many of the Developmental faculty in the department are also well acquainted with the GSE process and may be of help during their respective advising office hours.

The GSE also offers graduate training in Counseling. To become prepared for licensure as a counselor, students with a bachelor’s degree in psychology can choose a specific counseling specialization offered in the Graduate School of Education.

Back to Top

Industrial/Organizational Psychology

Industrial/Organizational (I/O) Psychology applies psychological principles and research methods to the workplace in the interest of improving productivity and the quality of work life. It includes topics such as employee motivation, leadership, stress and well-being, personnel selection, workplace diversity, and training. The concentration in I/O Psychology may be particularly attractive to students interested in jobs related to human resource management, are interested in going on to graduate training in I/O Psychology – or who simply want to understand more about the workplace.

Many persons with sufficient training in I/O psychology – typically a Masters or Ph.D. – help organizations with staffing, training, and employee development. Others work as management consultants in a variety of areas such as strategic planning, quality management, and coping with organizational change.

Course Requirements for a Concentration

Students will choose a total of 4 courses (16 credits) from the following list of classes to satisfy the undergraduate concentration in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. PSY361 and PSY362 are both required. Two additional 400-level classes would then be selected based on course availability and the student’s interests.

Required classes (8 credits): 

  • PSY 361: Introduction to Industrial Psychology
  • PSY 362: Introduction to Organizational Psychology

Elective classes (Choose two - 8 credits):

  • PSY 410: Diversity in the Workplace
  • PSY 410: Professional Safety
  • PSY 410: Positive Psychology in the Workplace
  • PSY 410: Work, Stress & Health
  • PSY 445: Employee Development
  • PSY 448: Psychology of Work Motivation
  • PSY 478: Leadership and Group Effectiveness

Back to Top


Neuropsychology/Neuroscience explores the relationship between the brain and behavior. Memory, attention, perception, language, feeling, and decision making in social contexts all depend on brain structure and function. People in this field examine how the underlying physiology of the nervous system relates to individuals’ psychological and behavioral processes.

Individuals with training in neuropsychology/neuroscience can go on to have a variety of careers in this field. Many individuals, particularly with graduate training in this field, may go on to pursue research in both laboratory and clinical settings, and work in academic, business, healthcare, art, and political environments.

Recommended Courses

For a concentration in Neuropsychology/Neuroscience, there is no set number of required courses. Individuals interested in this area are encouraged to take as many of these courses as they would like. If you are interested in pursuing a graduate degree, you are encouraged to consult the websites of those graduate programs to determine whether there are specific prerequisites for those programs.

  • PSY 200: Psychology as Natural Science
  • PSY 451: Introduction to Neurophysiological Psychology
  • PSY 410: Advanced Neurophysiological Psychology
  • PSY 410: Psychopharmacology
  • PSY 346: Learning
  • PSY 347: Perception
  • PSY 348: Cognition
  • PSY 399: Neuroscience and Behavior
  • PSY 410: Cognitive Neuroscience
  • PSY 410: Cognitive Neuroscience of Memory
  • PSY 410: Neuroscience Outreach (The Brain in Real Life)
  • Bio 301: Human Anatomy and Physiology
  • Bio 336: Cell Biology
  • Bio 341: Introduction to Genetics
  • Bio 412/512: Animal Behavior
  • Bio 462/562: Neurophysiology
  • Bio 463/563: Sensory Physiology
  • Bio 428: Human Genetics
  • UNST FRINQ: Science of Creativity & Learning
  • SPHR 461: Neurology of Speech & Hearing
  • PH: 337: Physics in Biomedicine

Back to Top

Research Methods

Research methods is an important area of psychology as it deals with how to answer research questions and test hypotheses through the application of rigorous and appropriate research design and data analysis.   

Individuals with training in research methods can go on to have a variety of careers, as an understanding of conducting research is a large part of jobs in many fields. These fields are not limited to just psychology. They include areas such as marketing, public health, program evaluation, business, and technology, for example. Additionally, for those interested in pursuing graduate degrees in psychology or careers in research labs, a strong background in research methods is essential.

Recommended Courses  

For a concentration in research methods, there is no set number of required courses. Individuals interested in this area are encouraged to take as many of these courses as they would like. If you are interested in pursuing a graduate degree, you are encouraged to consult the websites of those graduate programs to determine whether there are specific prerequisites for those programs.

  • Stat 243/Stat 244: Introduction to Probability and Statistics I and II
  • PSY 321: Research Methods in Psychology
  • PSY 399: Computer Applications in Statistics
  • PSY 433: Introduction to Psychological Testing
  • PSY 454: Experimental Psychology
  • PSY 495: Psychological Measurement
  • PSY 497/597: Applied Survey Research
  • PSY 498/598: Field Observation Methods

Back to Top

Social Psychology

Social Psychology is a field that focuses on how individuals’ thoughts, feelings, and behavior are interacted by an individual’s environment and interactions with others. Social psychologists focus on studying behavior in relation to one’s social environment. This environment includes one’s perceptions of their actual social context as well as the imagined or implied social context. Additionally, social psychology includes the studies of interactions among individuals and how social expectations and norms can influence behavior.

Individuals with a background in social psychology can go onto a variety of careers. With a graduate degree, individuals can pursue positions as researchers or faculty members at academic institutions. However, a graduate degree is not necessary to use one’s knowledge of social psychology. A variety of careers in educational institutions, non-profit organizations, and government, for example, provide opportunities to apply expertise in social psychology.

Recommended Courses

For a concentration in social psychology, there is no set number of required courses. Individuals interested in this area are encouraged to take as many of these courses as they would like. If you are interested in pursuing a graduate degree in social psychology, you are encouraged to consult the websites of those graduate programs to determine whether there are specific prerequisites for those programs

  • PSY 310: Psychology of Women
  • PSY 342: Self, Attitudes, and Social Influence
  • PSY 343: Social Relationships and Groups
  • PSY 410: The Psychology of Race and Gender in Sport
  • PSY 410: The Psychology of Addictive Behaviors
  • PSY 431: Psychology of Men and Masculinities
  • PSY 432: Personality
  • PSY 440: Group Process
  • PSY 454: Experimental Psychology
  • PSY 471: Health Psychology
  • PSY 497: Applied Survey Research

Back to Top