Psychology Major

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 includes a minimum of 120 credits 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 areas1:

  1. Diversity, Globalization or Non-western Area Studies,
  2. Ethics Intensive
  3. Writing Intensive, and
  4. Diversity

Overlay requirements are part of the 120 credit requirements

General Education Signature Courses

See this page about Signature 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

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 201Biological Bases of Behavior3
PSY 212Multicultural Psychology3
PSY 231Developmental Psychology3
PSY 123-139 or PSY 170 or PSY 220-269: Any Psychology Elective
PSY 220-229 or PSY 260-269: Advanced Natural Science-Based Psychology Elective
PSY 230-239 or PSY 250-259: Advanced Social Science-Based Psychology Elective
PSY 220-269: Advanced Any Psychology Elective
Select one from the following for Advanced Special Psychology Elective:

Psychology Research Sequence

PSY 210Research Methods3
PSY 211Stats for the Social Sciences4
One of the following Capstone Research Seminars:
Research Seminar: Nat Sci I
Research Seminar: Nat Sci II
Research Seminar: Soc Sci I
Research Seminar: Soc Sci 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 390Internship I3
or PSY 391 Internship II
PSY 374Independent Study I3
or PSY 375 Independent Study II
PSY 392Independent Research I3
or PSY 393 Independent Research II
Any Service Learning course
Any Study Abroad/Tour program/course

Independent Study

PSY 374Independent Study I3
or PSY 375 Independent Study II

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 392Independent Research I3
or PSY 393 Independent Research II

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


PSY 390Internship I3
or PSY 391 Internship II

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.

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.  Of these six courses, up to and no more than 3 may also count toward the Psychology major requirements.

PSY 231Developmental Psychology3
PSY 232Adv. Psychological Disorders (prerequisite for PSY 300 and PSY 301)3
PSY 200, PSY 236, or PSY 237 Clinical Concentration Elective3
PSY 300Clinical Psychology3
PSY 301Psychological Assessment3
PSY 390Internship I3

Requirements For Departmental Honors

Faculty of the Psychology Department encourage students to participate in the Honors program. Students may take any psychology course for Honors credit with the permission of the instructor. A contract is negotiated between student and faculty member on what additional work is to be done for Honors credit.

Students who seek Departmental Honors must complete one set of the following two research-intensive sequences of courses and earn a minimum grade of ‘B’ in each course:  

  1. Complete a two-semester Honors thesis. Students attempting this option need to identify a member of the Psychology faculty who would be willing to serve as a mentor and oversee the independent project for two semesters, in advance of registering for the associated courses (PSY 392 and PSY 393)..

  2. Upgrade two research seminar courses (PSY 491- 494) and complete an individual research project in each course.

Students in the 5-year BS/MS program seeking Departmental Honors may choose one of the following two options:

  1. Upgrade both Graduate Directed Studies I and II (PSY 591 and 592) to include an Honors thesis as well as work on a master’s thesis.

  2. Conduct an individual, independent, in-depth project in one of the Department’s four Research Seminar courses (PSY 491-494), followed by an upgraded project completed in either Graduate Directed Studies I or II (PSY 591 or PSY 592).

Requirements for University Honors and University Scholar may be found on the Saint Joseph’s web pages for 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.