Psychology Major

Learning Goals and Objectives

Goal 1: Knowledge Base in Psychology.  Students will develop an understanding of the major concepts, theoretical perspectives, empirical findings, and historical trends in Psychology.

Objective 1.1: Students will demonstrate familiarity with the major concepts, theoretical perspectives, empirical findings, and historical trends in Psychology as a social science.

Objective 1.2: Students will demonstrate familiarity with the major concepts, theoretical perspectives, empirical findings, and historical trends in psychology as a natural science.

Goal 2: Scientific Inquiry and Critical Thinking. Students will develop scientific reasoning and problem solving skills. They will be able to understand and apply basic research methodology in psychology, including research design, data analysis, and interpretation.

Objective 2.1: Students will be able to understand and apply basic research design strategies.

Objective 2.2: Students will be able to understand and apply basic data analysis strategies.

Goal 3: Ethical and Social Responsibility in a Diverse World.  Students will develop an understanding of ethically and socially responsible behaviors in professional and personal settings in a landscape of increasing diversity.

Objective 3.1: Students will understand and apply ethical psychological principles.

Objective 3.2: Students will be able to understand diversity, appreciate ethical behavior, and reflect other values that are the underpinnings of Psychology as a discipline.

Goal 4: Communication. Students will demonstrate competence in written and oral communication skills.

Objective 4.1: Students will demonstrate competence in written communication.

Objective 4.2: Students will demonstrate competence in oral communication.

The traditional undergraduate programs include 40 courses distributed across three components: A General Education component divided into Signature Courses, Variable Courses, and an Integrative Learning requirement; a Major and Divisional component; and Free Electives. In addition to course requirements as specified in each area, students must complete one certified course in each of the following overlay areas:

  1. Diversity, Globalization or Non-western Area Studies,
  2. Ethics Intensive, and
  3. Writing Intensive. Overlay requirements are part of the forty-course requirement.

General Education Signature Courses

See this page about Signature courses. Six courses

General Education Variable Courses

See this page about Variable courses. Six to Nine courses

  • Art, Music/Theatre/Film, or Literature
  • Non-Native Language
  • Philosophical Anthropology
  • Religious Difference
  • Mathematics:
    • Any Math ‘Beauty’ course
  • Natural Science:
    • Two non-lab courses, or one science course with lab to fulfill this requirement.

General Education Overlays

See this page about Overlays.

General Education Integrative Learning Component

See this page about Integrative Learning Component. Three courses

  • A social science course offered by the Department of Sociology, Political Science or Economics.
  • Any two courses selected from the College of Arts and Sciences Day Division course offerings.

GEP Electives

Psychology majors will take between 10 and 14 free electives depending upon whether a student enters the University with AP credit.

Major Requirements

Major Concentration

Thirteen courses are required, including an experiential course. Eleven courses are required if students use an acceptable Psychology special elective to fulfill their experiential requirement, or if they use a study abroad course or a service-learning course to fulfill their experiential requirement. The experiential course does not have to be a course offered by the Psychology Department.

Psychology Breadth Requirement

PSY 100Introductory Psychology3
or PSY 101 Intro Psychology Seminar
PSY 200Personality Psychology3
or PSY 231 Developmental Psychology
PSY 201Biological Bases of Behavior3
PSY 212Multicultural Psychology3
PSY 220-227: Natural Science-Based Psychology Elective
PSY 230-239: Social Science-Based Psych Elective
PSY 220-239: Any Psychology Elective
Select one from the following for Special Psychology Elective:

Psychology Research Sequence

PSY 210Research Methods4
PSY 211Stats for the Social Sciences4
PSY 350Experimental Psych Laboratory3
One of the following Captsone Research Seminars:
Rsrch Sem: Nat Sci, Psych I
Research Sem:Nat Sci, Psych II
Research Sem: Soc Sci, Psych I
Research Sem:Soc Sci, Psych II

Experiential Requirement

Psychology majors must satisfy an experiential course requirement. This requirement can be satisfied in a number of ways, and with either a Psychology course or a course offered by another academic department.  Students must complete one of the following:

PSY 390/391Internship I3
PSY 374/375Independent Study I3
PSY 392/393Independent Research I3
Any Service Learning course
Any Study Abroad/Tour program/course
PSY 591Directed Studies I 14

Independent Study

PSY 374/375Independent Study I3

The content of the Independent Study is negotiated between student and faculty mentor. The content cannot be that of an existing course in the curriculum unless that course will not be offered during the time that the student completes his or her program of study.

Independent Research

PSY 392/393Independent Research I3

Students are responsible for designing and conducting an original research project under the direction of a faculty mentor.


PSY 390/391Internship I3

Internship entails spending eight hours each week in a supervised field experience.  Settings include clinical, clinical research, counseling, hospital, educational research, special education, correctional, and industrial facilities. Site locations of recent internships have included the following:

  • Fox Chase Cancer Center
  • Women Organized Against Rape
  • North Light Community Center
  • Center for the Treatment of Anxiety
  • Delaware County DA Office Inglis House
  • Overbrook School for the Blind, Elwyn
  • Children's Hospital of Pennsylvania
  • Center for Autistic Children
  • Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy
  • Saunders House
  • Comcast-Spectator HERS Foundation

Dr. Phyllis Anastasio (Post Hall 221, oversees the internship course for the Psychology Department.


Service Learning courses combine traditional academic coursework with community-based service experience, consistent with the Jesuit tradition and mission of SJU. Students spend three hours per week in service at specified sites relevant to coursework. Over 15 departments/programs offer periodic service-learning courses, including psychology. These courses are highlighted in the course schedules prepared by the Registrar.

Study Tours

Study Tours are designed to provide students with a brief immersion experience relevant to coursework. These courses are highlighted in course schedules.

Study Abroad

Study Abroad opportunities are made available through the Center for International Programs. Currently, SJU students have opportunities to study at 24 locations in 13 countries. For more information, see or contact the study abroad office at, or ext. 1835.

Free Electives

Psychology majors have seven to ten free electives (depending upon how Foreign Language, Social Sciences, and Experiential requirements are met). There are no restrictions on these elective courses other than ordinary prerequisites. Students may elect to take additional Psychology courses, or may use these electives to fulfill the requirements of a minor in another related discipline.

Clinical Psychology Concentration

The Department of Psychology offers a clinical concentration of courses in support of those Saint Joseph’s Psychology majors who are interested in pursuing careers in clinical psychology, counseling psychology, and related mental health fields. Psychology majors are eligible to take an additional sequencing of courses to gain greater understanding of the field of clinical psychology. The goals of the clinical concentration are:

  • To ensure that students take additional courses required by graduate programs in clinical psychology (e.g., Developmental Psychology and Abnormal Psychology).
  • To help students better understand the field of clinical psychology and to make informed choices on fit with various types of graduate programs (e.g., social work vs. clinical psychology vs. health psychology) and the type of theoretical orientation the various types of programs provide (e.g., psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, socio-cultural).
  • To encourage students to gain some exposure to the clinical psychology profession (e.g., to the tasks clinicians perform and/or to special populations with whom they work).

Completion of all six courses listed below is required to earn the designation of ‘Clinical Concentration’ on a student’s transcript.

PSY 200Personality Psychology 13
PSY 231Developmental Psychology 13
PSY 232Advanced Abnormal Psychology (prerequisite for PSY 300 and PSY 301)3
PSY 300Clinical Psychology3
PSY 301Psychological Assessment3
PSY 390Internship I 13

The Five-Year Combined B.S./M.S. in Psychology Option

Saint Joseph’s University combined B.S./M.S. program in Psychology offers students a general curriculum of study emphasizing experimental psychology. The program, which is designed to complement the strengths and interests of the present Psychology faculty, also reflects the current state of the discipline of psychology. The program offers a traditional and academically oriented forty-eight credit curriculum and requires a qualifying comprehensive examination and an empirical thesis project. This unique program is designed for successful completion over five academic years.

Undergraduate psychology majors at Saint Joseph’s apply for the five-year combined B.S./M.S. program following the completion of the first semester of the junior year. All applicants will be asked to submit:

  • A completed Saint Joseph's University graduate application.
  • Official sealed transcript(s) of undergraduate/graduate coursework. If you are an SJU graduate the Office of Graduate Operations will obtain your SJU transcripts for you.
  • A current résumé or curriculum vitae.
  • Two letters of recommendation from at least two faculty appraising the candidate’s promise and capacity for graduate study, reflecting, from a professional’s point of view, the candidate’s ability to pursue a rigorous, independent course of study at the graduate level.
  • The Psychology graduate application insert.

All application materials are due by March 1st. Acceptance into the five-year program will not affect the GEP requirements. For more information, contact the Graduate Arts and Sciences Office or the Department of Psychology or Dr. Jodi Mindell, Director of Psychology’s Graduate Programs. Dr. Mindell may be reached at 610.660.1806 or at

Requirements For General Honors

Faculty of the Psychology Department encourage students to participate in the Honors program.

A student seeking General Honors will need to complete an individual, independent, in-depth project in each of two of the Department’s four Research Seminar capstone courses [PSY 491, PSY 492, 493, and 494], instead of the group project that is required of other students in each course. A minimum grade of ‘B’ is required in each of these two courses for General Honors.

Alternatively, a student seeking General Honors will need to complete two semesters of supervised research by enrolling in PSY 392 [Independent Research I] and PSY 393 [Independent Research II].  For this option, the student will need to identify a member of the Psychology faculty who would be willing to serve as a mentor and oversee the project for two semesters, in advance of registering for the courses.  A minimum grade of ‘B’ is required in each of these two courses for General Honors.

Requirements for departmental honors are found under Honors Program and in the brochure published annually by the Director of the Honors Program

Requirements for Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology

Saint Joseph’s University maintains an active chapter of Psi Chi (ΨΧ), the International Honor Society in Psychology. The purpose of Psi Chi is to encourage, stimulate, and maintain excellence in scholarship, and to advance the science of Psychology. Membership in Psi Chi is open to all students who meet the following minimum qualifications:

  • Registration for major or minor standing in Psychology.
  • A rank in the upper 35% of their graduating class in general scholarship.
  • Completion of the following courses:
    • Introductory Psychology (either PSY 100 or PSY 101)
    • Research Methods (PSY 210)
    • Statistics for the Social Sciences (PSY 211)
    • At least one other Psychology course
  • A cumulative GPA not lower than 3.2 in all Psychology classes, as well as in overall cumulative grades.
  • Two-thirds affirmative vote of those members present at a regular meeting of the chapter.
  • High standards of personal behavior.
  • Approval of the International Psi Chi office.

This course will focus on a different topic in psychology from the perspective of the natural sciences each semester that it is scheduled. The semester’s topic will be treated in depth in a seminar format. Students will become familiar with research and theory in the area under study using primary source material. Students may also become involved in research projects in the area under study.