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Psychology (B.A.)

Website: School of Social Science and Human Services

About the Major

Psychology seeks to understand human cognition, emotion, experience, and behavior. The Psychology Program at Ramapo College educates students in both the science and profession of psychology. It teaches psychology in a liberal arts context that makes clear the interconnections between psychology and other disciplines and promotes critical reasoning skills.

The program nurtures learning by immersing students in a variety of theoretical orientations, research methodologies, and human diversity issues. Students also gain hands-on experience in the practice of psychology through fieldwork or through an independent research project. Students are trained to appropriately apply their psychological knowledge to issues in the world and to become discriminating readers of social and behavioral research. Students who are interested in graduate school are encouraged to participate in independent research under the guidance of a faculty member.

To attain these goals, the program requires that students complete three basic courses: Introduction to Psychology, Research Methods in Psychology, and Data Analysis in Psychology. The remaining requirements are structured around a number of courses that are grouped into eight categories. Students are required to take at least one course from each of these categories. This structure allows some flexibility and choice, yet insures that each student will be exposed to content in the areas of social, developmental, cognitive/neuroscience, and personality/abnormal and socio-cultural psychology. Majors also take an elective course in psychology.

Students gain hands-on, applied experience in psychology through a fieldwork course or an independent research course. In fieldwork courses students generally work in a mental health or educational agency in the community such as a school for special children. In the fieldwork setting, students are required to act in a professional manner and abide by ethical guidelines, while in the classroom, they are guided in the development of their abilities to apply psychological concepts, research and theory to their field experiences; in the independent research course students design and implement a piece of original research under the close guidance of a faculty member in psychology. The final psychology requirement is a 400-level seminar in the senior year: Advanced Topics in Psychology. Examples of these include “Black Issues in Psychology,” “Eye Witness Memory,” “Child Abuse,” and “Cults”.

Psychology is an appropriate major for a student seeking a career in any one of the human-service professions and for a student planning graduate work in psychology. Graduates may find opportunities for employment in a variety of settings such as community mental health centers, counseling services, substance-abuse programs, geriatric facilities, hospitals, probation services, and schools.  Other opportunities lie in the fields of advertising, consulting, consumer research, criminal justice, education, environmental policy, evaluation research, human factors engineering, marketing, personnel, and product planning.

The psychology major is offered by the School of Social Science and Human Services leading to a B.A. degree. A psychology minor is available.

Outcomes for the Major

Goal 1: Students should demonstrate fundamental knowledge and comprehension of the major concepts, theoretical perspectives, historical trends, and empirical findings to discuss how psychological principles apply to behavioral problems. Students completing Foundation courses should demonstrate breadth of their knowledge and application of psychological ideas to simple problems; students completing a baccalaureate degree should show depth in their knowledge and application of psychological concepts and frameworks to problems of greater complexity. 

Outcome 1: Describe key concepts, principles, and overarching themes in psychology. 

Outcome 2: Develop a working knowledge of psychology’s content domains. 

Outcome 3: Demonstrate the ability to effectively apply psychological concepts & theories. 

Goal 2: The skills in this domain involve the development of scientific reasoning and problem solving, including effective research methods. Students completing Foundation courses should learn basic skills and concepts in interpreting behavior, studying research, and applying research design principles to drawing conclusions about psychological phenomena; students completing a baccalaureate degree should focus on theory use as well as designing and executing research plans and should demonstrate the ability to think critically about multiple paradigms. 

Outcome 1: Demonstrate an understanding of the different research methods used by psychologists. 

Outcome 2: Use scientific reasoning to interpret psychological phenomena. 

Outcome 3: Demonstrate psychology information literacy. 

Outcome 4: Interpret, design, and conduct basic psychological research. 

Outcome 5: Exhibit quantitative literacy. 

Outcome 6: Demonstrate a basic understanding of the limitations of research methodology. 

Goal 3: The skills in this domain involve the development of ethically and socially responsible behaviors for professional and personal settings in a landscape that involves increasing diversity. Students completing Foundation courses should become familiar with the formal regulations that govern professional ethics in psychology and begin to embrace the values that will contribute to positive outcomes in work settings and in building a society responsive to multicultural and global concerns. Students completing a baccalaureate degree should have more direct opportunities to demonstrate adherence to professional values that will help them optimize their contributions and work effectively, even with those who don’t share their heritage and traditions. This domain also promotes the adoption of personal and professional values that can strengthen community relationships and contributions. 

Outcome 1: Apply ethical standards to evaluate psychological science and practice. 

Outcome 2: Demonstrate an understanding of the ways individual differences and sociocultural contexts influence behavior. 

Goal 4: Students should demonstrate competence in writing, oral, and interpersonal communication skills. Students completing Foundation courses should write a cogent scientific argument, present information using a scientific approach, engage in discussion of psychological concepts, explain the ideas of others, and express their own ideas with clarity. Students completing a baccalaureate degree should produce a research study or other psychological project, explain scientific results, and present information to a professional audience. They should also develop flexible interpersonal approaches that optimize information exchange and relationship development. 

Outcome 1: Demonstrate effective writing for different purposes within psychology. 

Outcome 2: Exhibit effective presentation skills for different purposes within psychology.

Requirements of the Major
  1. Transfer students who have 48 or more credits accepted at the time of transfer are waived from the courses marked with a (W) below.  Waivers do not apply to Major Requirements.
  2. Double counting between General Education, School Core, and Major may be possible.  Check with your advisor to see if any apply.
  3. Writing Intensive Requirement (five courses):  two writing intensive courses in the general education curriculum are required: Critical Reading and Writing and Studies in the Arts and Humanities; the other three courses are taken in the major.
  4. Not all courses are offered each semester.  Please check the current Schedule of classes for semester course offerings.
  5. The Career Pathways Program requirements must be completed prior to graduation.  Visit the Cahill Career Center.

Note: A 2.0 GPA in the major is required for graduation.

Requirements of the Minor
  1. At least 1/2 of the courses fulfilling a minor must be distinct from the student’s major. That is, three of the five courses required for a minor cannot be used towards fulfillment of major requirements. A school core does not need to be completed for a minor. Minors are open to students regardless of school affiliation.
  • Subject & Course # – Title & Course Description
  • Three Psychology courses (each selected from a different category)**
  • One additional course selected from any psychology categories or psychology electives**
  • **Categories and electives are listed under Requirements of the Major

In accordance with College Policy, at least 50% of courses in a major or minor must be completed at Ramapo.