Psychology program

Undergrad major Undergrad minor

Are you interested in human emotion, memory, motivation and personality?

Psychology is an exploration of the mind, mental processes and behaviors of both humans and non-human animals. While some psychology majors continue on to earn advanced degrees and become psychologists, undergraduate study in psychology can be applied in a wide variety of careers or graduate programs in areas from social services to business management to education.

Psychology is one of the most popular majors at UWL with about 750 declared majors and 400 psychology minors. The major provides a strong grounding in both liberal arts and the scientific method. Psychology students are encouraged to pursue fieldwork, internships and research.

Psychology jobs

In order to be a psychologist, an advanced degree is required. However, many careers are available to students with bachelor's degrees. The growth in jobs with a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science in psychology is moderate; it is strong in most fields requiring a graduate degree. Although psychology majors tend to make less money upon graduation than other majors do, their earnings are similar to other liberal arts majors. Additionally, the difference tends to be mainly because many psychology majors work in human service fields that tend to pay less.  Learn more on the Psychology Department career page.

Psychology careers

  • Social worker
  • Community program director
  • Volunteer coordinator
  • Employee development and training
  • Residential care for elderly or other groups
  • Banking
  • Customer service and sales
  • Public relations
  • Student affairs
  • Alumni development
  • Corrections officer
  • Juvenile intake worker
  • Parole officer
  • Child care worker
  • Peace Corps
  • Teacher’s aide
  • Marketing research
  • Opinion survey research

Further education

Graduate study in psychology can include school psychology, social work, marriage and family counseling, community psychology, and industrial/organizational psychology. Psychology is also a good background (when combined with other coursework) for a variety of other graduate programs:

  • Sociology
  • Counseling and guidance
  • Educational psychology
  • Law
  • Medicine
  • Occupational therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Education

What distinguishes UWL's Psychology program?

Faculty come from diverse fields

The Psychology Department has 26 full-time instructors, and 23 hold doctoral degrees. The faculty represent a variety of psychology-related fields including experimental, educational, developmental, social, school, cross-cultural, clinical and counseling.

Research and other hands-on experiences available

Psychology students are encouraged to pursue fieldwork, internships and research experience. Faculty are highly encouraged to involve undergraduates in their research. Every year, a select number of advanced students present independent research projects at regional conferences.

Experimental laboratory and research spaces

The Psychology Department has access to facilities including an experimental laboratory, research and testing rooms and a computer laboratory with statistical software available.

Student involvement opportunities

Two student clubs are active, the Psychology Club, which is open to all interested students, and Psi Chi, an honors association for psychology majors. Also, the two primary professional organizations related to psychology offer student memberships. They are the American Psychological Association and the Association for Psychological Science

Choose your path

The Psychology Department offers both a bachelor of arts and a bachelor of science major in psychology. Minors are also available in psychology, as well as a variety of related minors: Psychology Education Minor, Neuroscience Interdisciplinary Minor, At-Risk Child & Youth Care Minor and a Gerontology Emphasis. View Psychology Department majors and minors.

Students are encouraged to explore diverse disciplines

The department encourages students to take courses in other departments and/or pursue minors or emphases. Popular programs to combine with psychology include:

  • Sociology (including the minor in criminal justice)
  • Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Communication Studies
  • Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies
  • Environmental Studies
  • Ethnic and Racial Studies
  • At-Risk Child and Youth Care
  • Neuroscience
  • Professional Writing
  • Spanish.
  • Interdisciplinary "make-your-own-minor," or CASSH program option

Sample courses

PSY 100 General Psychology A comprehensive introduction to contemporary basic principles and theories of behavior and related processes along with supporting scientific evidence and applications. Topics include sensory processes, perception, learning, memory, motivation, emotion, developmental change, measurement, social interaction and abnormal behavior. Offered Fall, Spring, Summer.

PSY 204 Abnormal Psychology This course introduces students to various clinical presentations of psychopathology that may occur throughout human development from a trauma-informed perspective. It provides an overview of specific psychological disorders as well as disorder-specific etiological considerations, associated clinical features, defining characteristics, and diagnostic criteria. The course also includes overviews of current treatments for the major disorders, and ethical considerations in mental health care. Prerequisite: PSY 100 or PSY 212; sophomore standing. Offered Fall, Spring, Summer.

NEU 200 Introductory Neuroscience This course will introduce the student to the interdisciplinary study of neuroscience through an investigation of the contributions made by biology, philosophy, and psychology. In so doing, the student will come to see the unique methodological and theoretical approaches each discipline brings to the discussion, and why it is that these different perspectives matter. The course will address the relevant introductory concepts associated with these discussions and engage a number of pertinent topics including learning, memory, attention, and perception, and the interrelationship between these processes. Prerequisite: grades of "C" or better in BIO 105 and PSY 100. Offered Annually.

PSY 241 Social Psychology This course provides a comprehensive overview of theories and research in social psychology - the scientific study of how our thoughts, feelings, and behavior are influenced by our social context. Topics may include social cognition, social perception, the self, attitudes and persuasion, prejudice and discrimination, conformity and obedience, aggression, helping behavior, and interpersonal relationships. Students are encouraged to think about how social-psychological theories and research can be applied to understand current events as well as everyday social experiences. Prerequisite: PSY 100 or SOC 110. Students may only earn credit in SOC 330 or PSY 241. Offered Fall, Spring, Summer.

PSY 308 Research Apprenticeship This course offers research experience under the supervision of a faculty member. Students assist a faculty member in any phase of the research process including literature searches, formulation of instruments, pilot studies, data collection, data coding, data analysis, and presentation of research findings. Repeatable for credit - maximum six. Prerequisite: PSY 331; psychology major; junior standing. Consent of department. Offered Fall, Spring.

PSY 315 Behavior Modification This course will examine the theory and techniques of systematic behavior management and behavior control. Applied social learning theory, reinforcement, shaping, modeling, cognitive and rational techniques, extinction, aversive procedures, and token economies will be covered. Course will include the planning, execution, and evaluation of a personal behavior self-modification program, and several other opportunities to apply behavioral principles to everyday experiences. Prerequisite: PSY 100; PSY 204; PSY 212. Offered Annually.

PSY 320 Human Motivation This course examines contemporary and historical psychological conceptions, principles, and theories of human motivation. Concern is given to physiological, cognitive, emotional, and social factors that influence human's desires, aspirations, and behaviors. Practical applications to multiple areas including education, industry, health, and everyday situations will be considered. Prerequisite: PSY 212. Offered Occasionally.

PSY 331 Research Methods: Lecture and Laboratory This course provides an introduction to experimental and other research methods as used in psychology. The emphasis is on the scientific method, techniques of data collection, and the principles and theories employed in the study of behavior and mental processes. The laboratory portion develops skills in observation, formulating research ideas and hypotheses, designing and conducting research, data analysis, and scientific report writing. Lect. 2, Lab 4. Prerequisite: "C" or better in PSY 100 & STAT 145; complete ENG 110 or ENG 112, & CST 110; combined GPA of at least 2.25 in these four courses; completion of 30 cr.; three other credits in PSY. Open to psychology majors only. Offered Fall, Spring.

PSY 360 Cross Cultural Human Development This course represents a blend of cross-cultural concepts and human development (across the lifespan) and will seek to explore the influence of culture on various aspects of human development. More specific topics include the role of culture on: socialization, physical growth, cognition, self and personality, sex and gender, social behavior, family relations, and health. Prerequisite: PSY 212. Offered Occasionally.

PSY 435 Cognitive Processes This course examines theories, models, and related experimental research concerning human mental processes. Topics include acquisition of information, memory, decision-making, problem solving, and language. Prerequisite: PSY 100; PSY 321 or PSY 331; junior standing. Offered Occasionally.