• Psychology major Jennifer Johnson is an Honors student and editor of Collage
  • MTSU Psychology students put on a health literacy fair at Barfield Elementary
  • Dr. Paul Foster, who specializes in neuropsychology, goes over data with students

Psychology

How do children form attachments to their parents, and what happens when these attachments fail? Can personality type contribute to the development of certain diseases, such as heart disease or cancer? Psychology studies behavior and mental processes. It's a science that seeks to answer basic questions about thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, while exploring connections to other areas of study such as medicine, philosophy, chemistry, biology, and the social sciences. Psychology reaches into multiple areas of human activity, from the workplace to schools, research hospitals to forensic investigation, as those trained in the field strive to understand and serve human needs.

Reaching out to the community

The Department of Psychology's Center for Organizational and Human Resource Effectiveness, or COHRE, is working with United Way of Rutherford County and the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce on the “Community Assessment Project.” The comprehensive project, which aims to pinpoint the most pressing needs and concerns of the community surrounding MTSU, will gather input from various sectors of the county's population. COHRE, the Chamber, and the United Way can then use that information to guide county leaders in targeting areas for specific improvements in residents' quality of life.

Celebrating life with service learning

Every December 1 is a busy one for some MTSU psychology students. On eacb World AIDS Day, students in PSY 4600, Psychosexual Adjustment, implement a full marketing plan to encourage every student on campus to be tested for HIV. The psychology students have partnered with Nashville CARES, the Nashville-based HIV/AIDS education and service organization, since 2008 to raise awareness about the disease with prevention and treatment options and information. The free, non-invasive, 20-minute HIV testing is a big draw for at-risk students while it provides service-learning opportunities for the psychology students.

The skills a student possesses at graduation are critical to a successful career, and an undergraduate degree in Psychology can strengthen skills in human relations, communication, research, and creativity. That foundation can lead to a plethora of diverse and satisfying careers, including entry-level positions as

  • Advertising agent
  • Affirmative Action officer
  • Alumni relations director
  • Behavior analyst
  • Case worker
  • Child protection worker
  • College admissions counselor
  • College fundraising director
  • Community recreation worker
  • Community relations officer
  • Congressional aide
  • Corrections officer
  • Customer relations
  • Day care center supervisor
  • Drug/substance abuse counselor
  • Employee counselor
  • Group home coordinator
  • Hospital patient-services representative
  • Job analyst
  • Marketing researcher
  • Mental retardation unit manager
  • Occupational analyst
  • Parks and recreation director
  • Probation/parole officer
  • Public information officer
  • Public relations
  • Reporter
  • Residential youth counselor
  • Staff training and development
  • Statistical assistant
  • Technical writer
  • Veteran's advisor
  • Volunteer services director

Employers of MTSU alumni include

  • AdvanceMed Corporation
  • Clinical Research Associates
  • Discovery Communications
  • Elk Valley Home Health
  • Healthways
  • Holland Psychological Services
  • International Antiviral Society-USA
  • Mental Health Cooperative
  • Metro Nashville Public Schools
  • Metropolitan Transit Authority of Davidson County (Tenn.)
  • Premier Systems Integrators Inc.
  • SpecialtyCare Inc.
  • Square D Company
  • Tennessee Supreme Court

For a more in-depth look at career options—General Education Option, Graduate School Option, and Applied Options, click here.

For students intrigued by the workings of the mind, MTSU offers three programs leading to a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree. Psychology is the most popular major for students with a variety of career goals and interests, followed by Pre-Graduate Psychology, a concentration designed for students who plan to pursue graduate education in psychology doctoral programs or research-intensive masters programs. The third program is Industrial/Organizational Psychology. The department also offers an online psychology degree in conjunction with the University College.

For complete curriculum details, click on the REQUIREMENTS tab above.

All new psychology students (freshman, transfer, change of major) must apply for candidacy before being fully accepted into a major.

Psychology (B.S.) 

For students who are primarily interested in a liberal arts education or in a background for other professions, the core program will, in most cases, be sufficient for a major in psychology. Electives in psychology and additional courses in the arts, sciences, humanities, and pre-professional curricula should be chosen to correspond with interests and career goals. The undergraduate major in psychology is a 38-hour program, consisting of 24 hours of required coursework and 12 hours of electives.  A minimum grade of C- is required for all core required coursework.  Effective academic year 2013 - 2014, a minimum of 9 upper division hours from the core set of required courses and a minimum of 6 other psychology hours must be taken at MTSU.

Note that two 15-hour minors are required for this major. Although not required, students may choose a specialty minor in psychology as one of their two minors. At least one of the two minors, however, must be non-psychology. 

Pre-Graduate Psychology

For students who are interested in pursuing a graduate education in psychology, and in particular the Ph.D. in psychology, the department offers the 41-hour Pre-Graduate concentration.  Students must formally apply for this program in order to complete this major. Because G.P.A. is an important consideration for admission to a graduate program, students who apply to the Pre-Graduate Psychology concentration should be competitive applicants for either Ph.D. or selective master's programs and have a minimum of a 3.25 overall G.P.A., a 3.50 for the last 30 hours, and 3.50 major G.P.A. A subcommittee of Psychology faculty will screen students applying for this program. It is recommended that students apply between the completion of 45 and 60 credit hours; transfer students should have completed a minimum of one semester at MTSU before applying. Students should not self-select this concentration on the university admissions forms or on change of major forms. Effective academic year 2013 - 2014, a minimum of 9 upper division hours from the core set of required courses and a minimum of 6 other psychology hours must be taken at MTSU.  A minimum grade of C- is required for all core required courses in this program, with the exception of PSY3020, PSY3070/1, and PSY4070, for which a grade of B- or better is required.  Students who are interested in finding out more about this major should consult with the program's faculty program advisor early in their course of study.

Note that one 15-hour non-psychology minor is required.

The department also offers Master of Arts (M.A.) degrees in five graduate programs: Clinical Psychology, Experimental Psychology, Quantitative Psychology, Industrial/Organizational Psychology, and a Pre-Specialist in Education: School Psychology. An Education Specialist (Ed.S) degree is offered in School Psychology.

Undergraduates can earn a minor in one of five psychology fields: Psychology, Lifespan Development, Mental Health Services, Industrial/Organizational, and Neuroscience. The department participates in an interdisciplinary minor in Behavioral Research.

Psychology Psychology Pre-Graduate School   


Psychology, B.S.

Department of Psychology 
615-898-5451
Michelle Boyer-Pennington, program coordinator
Michelle.Boyer-Pennington@mtsu.edu

The curriculum is arranged to provide familiarity with scientific bases of psychology for students preparing for careers in a variety of professions; the knowledge and skills necessary for graduate work in psychology; and the academic preparation and technical skills for students who plan to work in health-related, business and/or research settings after completing their undergraduate work.

Two minors are required. Students may choose a specialty minor offered by the department, but this is not required. At least one minor, however, must be from outside the department. The specific interests and career goals of each student determine the remainder of the program. A minimum of 9 psychology upper-division hours from the set of "Required Core Classes" and a minimum of 6 other psychology hours must be taken at MTSU.

Admission to Candidacy

All students are required to be admitted to candidacy for the Psychology major. To apply for candidacy, a student must have

  1. completed at least 30 hours of coursework (not to include learning support courses);
  2. completed the following General Education requirements: ENGL 1010; ENGL 1020; MATH 1530, MATH 1710, MATH 1730, or higher; and a science course (preferably a biology course) with a minimum 2.00 GPA;
  3. completed the following psychology courses: PSY 1410, PSY 2000, and PSY 2210 or PSY 2300 with a minimum 2.00 GPA. (A grade of C- or better is required in PSY 1410, PSY 2210, and PSY 2300.)

Candidacy will be granted three times per year-after the end of the Fall and Spring semesters and after the end of the Summer term. Students will have required advising every semester until they have successfully completed admission to candidacy.

The application for admission to candidacy is an online application. Applications should be submitted by students the semester after they have completed the above requirements.

NOTE: Students should follow the recommended sequence of courses for the freshman year on the academic map.

Academic Map

Following is a printable, suggested four-year schedule of courses:

Psychology, B.S., Academic Map  

Degree Requirements

General Education (41 hours)

General Education requirements include Communication, History, Humanities and/or Fine Arts, Mathematics, Natural Sciences, and Social/Behavioral Sciences categories.

The following General Education courses are required for this major:

  • PSY 1410 (Soc/Beh Sci)
  • MATH 1530, MATH 1710,  MATH 1730 or higher (Math)

Major Requirements (38 hours)

A grade of C- or above is required for all major core coursework.

  • PSY 1410 - General Psychology  3 credit hours  (3 credit hours may be counted in General Education) 

    PSY 1410 - General Psychology

    3 credit hours

    Prescribed prerequisite: READ 1000. Introductory survey course. Includes biological foundations, perception, principles of learning, intelligence, motivation, emotion, human development, personality, social psychology, behavior disorders, and psychotherapy.

  • PSY 2000 - Seminar on Careers in Psychology  1 credit hour credit hours  

    PSY 2000 - Seminar on Careers in Psychology

    1 credit hour credit hours

    Prerequisite: PSY 1410. Required for Psychology majors in the first 10 hours of psychology courses. Requirements needed for success in jobs or graduate school. Interest exploration and development of a career timeline and a resume/vita. Students who choose to complete assessment inventories will pay Testing Services an assessment fee of approximately $20. Pass/Fail.

  • PSY 2210 - Psychology of Social Behavior

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: PSY 1410 recommended but not required. Systematic study of social behavior. Includes interaction between people, perception of others, interpersonal attraction, aggression, altruism, conformity, attitudes, and group behavior.

  • PSY 2300 - Developmental Psychology

    3 credit hours

    Broad survey of the biological and environmental factors influencing physical, cognitive, and social development from conception until death. Emphasis on current research and theory. Will not substitute for SOC 3151 or CDFS 3340.

  • PSY 3020 - Basic Statistics for Behavioral Science

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: 3 credit hours of college-level mathematics. PSY 3030 may be required. (See online schedule.) Elementary descriptive and inferential statistics and their applications.

  • PSY 3070 - Research Methods  3 credit hours  AND 

    PSY 3070 - Research Methods

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: PSY 3020. Corequisite: PSY 3071. Analysis of methodological issues in psychological research. Designed to teach skills in the formulation, execution, interpretation, and presentation of psychological investigations.

  • PSY 3230 - Abnormal Psychology  3 credit hours  OR 

    PSY 3230 - Abnormal Psychology

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: PSY 1410. Patterns of maladaptive behavior, including anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, and antisocial behavior.

  • PSY 3590 - Personality  3 credit hours  

    PSY 3590 - Personality

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: PSY 1410. Historical and contemporary personality theory and research, including the trait, cognitive, and motivational approaches. Topics include personality development, the unconscious, the self, goals, emotions, coping, disorders, and personality change.

  • PSY 4030 - Psychology of Sensation and Perception

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: PSY 1410 or permission of instructor. Perceptual and physiological (sensory) mechanisms involved in vision, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. Perceptual consequences of central nervous system events. Historical perspectives.

  • PSY 4240 - Behavioral Neuroscience

    3 credit hours

    The role of the brain in those areas which are typically considered by psychology, such as sensory and motor functions, motivation, higher mental functions, and mental disorders.

  • PSY 4040 - Introduction to Cognitive Psychology

    3 credit hours

    Information processing approach to the study of cognitive processes: attention, perception, memory, language, reasoning, problem solving, and decision making.

  • PSY 4480 - Learning Theories  3 credit hours  

    PSY 4480 - Learning Theories

    3 credit hours

    Survey of research and major theories of learning with emphasis on classical and instrumental conditioning and related topics.

  • Upper-division PSY electives 9 credit hours
  • PSY elective 3 credit hours

Minor 1 (15-18 hours)

Minor 2 (15-18 hours)

Electives (8-14 hours)

Total Hours in Program: 120

 

Curriculum: Psychology

Curricular listings include General Education requirements in Communication, History, Humanities and/or Fine Arts, Mathematics, Natural Sciences, and Social/Behavioral Sciences categories.

Freshman

 

First Semester

 

  • ENGL 1010 - Expository Writing  3 credit hours  (Comm) 

    ENGL 1010 - Expository Writing

    3 credit hours

    The first General Education English course. Emphasis on learning to adapt composing processes to a variety of expository and analytic writing assignments. Minimum grade of C- required for credit.

  • Natural Sciences 4 credit hours

 

  • MATH 1530 - Applied Statistics  3 credit hours  (Math)  OR 

    MATH 1530 - Applied Statistics

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisites: Two years of high school algebra and a Math Enhanced ACT 19 or greater or equivalent. Descriptive statistics, probability, and statistical inference. The inference unit covers means, proportions, and variances for one and two samples, and topics from one-way ANOVA, regression and correlation analysis, chi-square analysis, and nonparametrics.

  • MATH 1710 - College Algebra  3 credit hours  (Math)  OR 

    MATH 1710 - College Algebra

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: DSPM 0850 or two years of high school algebra; a Math Enhanced ACT 19 or greater or COMPASS placement. Course satisfies the General Education Mathematics requirement. Topics include functions--linear, quadratic, exponential, and logarithmic; analysis of graphs; linear systems; inequalities; counting principles; and probability. Graphing calculator required. Course may be taken by correspondence. Not open to those who have had MATH 1730.

  • MATH 1730 - Pre-Calculus  4 credit hours  (Math)  OR 

    MATH 1730 - Pre-Calculus

    4 credit hours

    Prerequisite: MATH 1710 or successful completion of high school precalculus course. An integrated and rigorous study of the algebra and trigonometry needed to successfully attempt calculus. Emphasis on functions, their analysis and their applications. Level of algebraic sophistication developed above that found in MATH 1710. Topics include exponentials and logarithms, analysis of graphs, and word problems. Graphing calculator required.

  • Math course higher than MATH 1730 (Math)
  • PSY 1410 - General Psychology  3 credit hours  (Soc/Beh Sci) 

    PSY 1410 - General Psychology

    3 credit hours

    Prescribed prerequisite: READ 1000. Introductory survey course. Includes biological foundations, perception, principles of learning, intelligence, motivation, emotion, human development, personality, social psychology, behavior disorders, and psychotherapy.

  • Humanities and/or Fine Arts 3 credit hours

Subtotal: 16 Hours

 

Second Semester

 

  • ENGL 1020 - Research and Argumentative Writing

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: ENGL 1010. The second General Education English course. Emphasis on analytic and argumentative writing and on locating, organizing, and using library resource materials in the writing. Minimum grade of C- required for credit.

  • Humanities and/or Fine Arts 3 credit hours
  • PSY 2000 - Seminar on Careers in Psychology  1 credit hour credit hours  

    PSY 2000 - Seminar on Careers in Psychology

    1 credit hour credit hours

    Prerequisite: PSY 1410. Required for Psychology majors in the first 10 hours of psychology courses. Requirements needed for success in jobs or graduate school. Interest exploration and development of a career timeline and a resume/vita. Students who choose to complete assessment inventories will pay Testing Services an assessment fee of approximately $20. Pass/Fail.

  • PSY 2210 - Psychology of Social Behavior

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: PSY 1410 recommended but not required. Systematic study of social behavior. Includes interaction between people, perception of others, interpersonal attraction, aggression, altruism, conformity, attitudes, and group behavior.

  • PSY 2300 - Developmental Psychology

    3 credit hours

    Broad survey of the biological and environmental factors influencing physical, cognitive, and social development from conception until death. Emphasis on current research and theory. Will not substitute for SOC 3151 or CDFS 3340.

  • HIST 2010 - Survey of United States History I

    3 credit hours

    Survey of the political, economic, social, cultural, and diplomatic phases of American life in its regional, national, and international aspects. HIST 2010 discusses the era from the beginning to 1877. HIST 2020 discusses the era from 1877 to the present. These courses are prerequisite for all advanced courses in American history and satisfy the General Education History requirement. HIST 2010 is NOT a prerequisite for HIST 2020.

  • HIST 2020 - Survey of United States History II

    3 credit hours

    Survey of the political, economic, social, cultural, and diplomatic phases of American life in its regional, national, and international aspects. HIST 2010 discusses the era from the beginning to 1877. HIST 2020 discusses the era from 1877 to the present. These courses are prerequisite for all advanced courses in American history and satisfy the General Education History requirement. HIST 2010 is NOT a prerequisite for HIST 2020.

  • HIST 2030 - Tennessee History

    3 credit hours

    The role of the state in the development of the nation. May be used to satisfy one part of the General Education History requirement.

Subtotal: 16 Hours

 

Sophomore Year

 

  • COMM 2200 - Fundamentals of Communication  3 credit hours  (Comm) 

    COMM 2200 - Fundamentals of Communication

    3 credit hours

    Principles and processes of effective public oral communication including researching, critical thinking, organizing, presenting, listening, and using appropriate language. Emphasis on informative, persuasive, special occasion, and extemporaneous (impromptu) speaking. Counts as part of the General Education Communication requirement.

  • Natural Sciences 4 credit hours

 

  • ENGL 2020 - Themes in Literature and Culture  3 credit hours  (Hum/FA) OR 

    ENGL 2020 - Themes in Literature and Culture

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisites: ENGL 1010 and ENGL 1020. Traces a specific theme or idea through a number of literary texts that reflect different historical and cultural contexts. Subject will vary.

  • ENGL 2030 - The Experience of Literature  3 credit hours  (Hum/FA) OR 

    ENGL 2030 - The Experience of Literature

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisites: ENGL 1010 and ENGL 1020. The reading of a variety of literary types which illuminate themes and experiences common to human existence.

  • HUM 2610 - Foreign Literature in Translation  3 credit hours  (Hum/FA) 

    HUM 2610 - Foreign Literature in Translation

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisites: ENGL 1010 and ENGL 1020. Representative works of French, German, and Hispanic authors in English translation. No foreign-language proficiency required. Carries General Education credit.

 

  • Social/Behavioral Sciences 3 credit hours
  • Minor 6 credit hours
  • PSY 3020 - Basic Statistics for Behavioral Science

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: 3 credit hours of college-level mathematics. PSY 3030 may be required. (See online schedule.) Elementary descriptive and inferential statistics and their applications.

 

  • PSY 3070 - Research Methods  3 credit hours  AND 

    PSY 3070 - Research Methods

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: PSY 3020. Corequisite: PSY 3071. Analysis of methodological issues in psychological research. Designed to teach skills in the formulation, execution, interpretation, and presentation of psychological investigations.

  • HIST 2010 - Survey of United States History I

    3 credit hours

    Survey of the political, economic, social, cultural, and diplomatic phases of American life in its regional, national, and international aspects. HIST 2010 discusses the era from the beginning to 1877. HIST 2020 discusses the era from 1877 to the present. These courses are prerequisite for all advanced courses in American history and satisfy the General Education History requirement. HIST 2010 is NOT a prerequisite for HIST 2020.

  • HIST 2020 - Survey of United States History II

    3 credit hours

    Survey of the political, economic, social, cultural, and diplomatic phases of American life in its regional, national, and international aspects. HIST 2010 discusses the era from the beginning to 1877. HIST 2020 discusses the era from 1877 to the present. These courses are prerequisite for all advanced courses in American history and satisfy the General Education History requirement. HIST 2010 is NOT a prerequisite for HIST 2020.

  • HIST 2030 - Tennessee History

    3 credit hours

    The role of the state in the development of the nation. May be used to satisfy one part of the General Education History requirement.

  • PSY required core elective 3 credit hours

Subtotal: 32 Hours

 

Junior Year

  • Psychology required core course 3 credit hours
  • Psychology elective courses 6 credit hours
  • Minor courses 15 credit hours
  • General elective hours 2-6 credit hours

Subtotal: 26-30 Hours

 

Senior Year

  • Psychology required core course 3 credit hours
  • Psychology elective courses 6 credit hours
  • Minor courses 9 credit hours
  • General electives 7-12 hours

Subtotal: 25-30 Hours