1 JMU Online Orientation Text This file contains the text of the JMU Online Psychology Orientation program, which you completed when you applied to become a fully admitted psychology major at JMU. NOTE: If you have NOT already completed the online psychology orientation program, you MUST do so in order to apply to the major. Go to the JMU Psychology Department webpage, click on Interested in Becoming a Psychology Major? and complete the online orientation program if you have not already done so. Introduction You are most likely completing this orientation because you are interested in applying to be a fully admitted psychology major at JMU. This program is designed to: Provide a short introduction to psychology as a discipline Help you decide whether psychology is the right major for you, given your academic interests and your potential career plans Give you some information about the psychology major at JMU, including Admissions requirements Required courses Research and practicum opportunities Student organizations Help you begin thinking about careers in psychology and graduate school opportunities After you complete this online orientation program we hope you will know a bit more about the discipline of psychology, and what you need to do to be successful as a psychology major at JMU. What is Psychology? Psychology is the scientific study of behavior and cognitive processes. Psychology is a broad field that includes the study of the biological bases of behavior; cognitive processes such as reasoning, memory, and decision-making; the development of behavior across the lifespan; social factors that influence behavior; and many other aspects of behavior. As a psychology major you will begin to understand psychological principles and learn how to apply them to a wide range of problems. You will be able to critically evaluate theories and information about human and animal behavior. You will begin to think like a psychologist about behavior. The study of abnormal behavior and treatment of behavioral disorders is an important part of psychology but psychology consists of many sub-disciplines, including cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, biological psychology, social psychology, and many others. Research in psychology takes place across multiple levels from the cellular (such as the study of what takes place at neural synapses), to the individual (cognitive psychology, perception, personality), to the social and cultural (the behavior of groups; the influences of culture on behavior).
2 Is Psychology the Right Major for You? Are you interested in how researchers use scientific methods to understand behavior, and cognitive processes? If so, then psychology is the right major for you. Are you interested in a liberal arts major that will help you develop skills in writing and critical thinking, as well as quantitative skills? If so, then psychology is a good major for you. Are you interested in becoming a counselor? If so, then it is important to be aware that: Counselors are licensed professionals. Most states require you to complete a graduate degree in order to become licensed. While you may be able to work with clients with a bachelor s degree, you will NOT be able to get a job as a counselor after graduating with only a bachelor s degree in psychology. As a psychology major you will be able to take one or two courses in counseling or clinical psychology but this experience will be inadequate for you to obtain employment as a counselor. Psychology is a good major for students who would like to go to graduate school in counseling psychology; however, graduate programs in counseling psychology typically do NOT REQUIRE a psychology major. You should look at admissions requirements for specific graduate programs to see what coursework is required. What can I do with a major in psychology? You may be wondering, If I can t become a counselor after studying psychology for four years, then what will an undergraduate psychology degree prepare me to do in the workforce? Psychology, like many majors at JMU, is a liberal arts discipline. Political Science, Anthropology, Sociology, History, Economics, English, Kinesiology, Justice Studies, and many others majors have liberal arts goals. They all help students how to think in an orderly and independent way. They help you understand what is known and how to incorporate additional knowledge as you encounter it throughout your life. They help you develop quantitative, communication, and critical thinking skills. Liberal arts majors do not prepare you for a specific job, but they do prepare you for a wide range of positions that require a bachelor s degree, and they help you prepare for and enjoy life. Liberal Arts majors like psychology are unlike majors in applied fields such as accounting, nursing, or education, in which students receive specialized training to enter a specific field when they graduate. If you are interested in a major that will provide you with training to begin a specific career when you graduate, then psychology is NOT the major for you. You should consider other majors. Some typical jobs that our recent graduates have obtained with their Bachelor s degree are: Human Capital Analyst for Deloitte Consulting Teach for America special education teacher Instructional Technologist for JMU
3 Human Capital Administrator for an IT consulting firm Africa Family Coordinator for an international adoption agency Americorps Drug Abuse Treatment Specialist for the Federal Bureau of Prisons Community Rehabilitation Specialist for ServiceSource VCU Neuropsychology research assistant Big Brothers Big Sisters of America tutoring program assistant Research support specialist for Center for Children and Families Development Associate for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Washington, DC. The Role of a Liberal Arts Education Research shows that during your lifespan you will probably have about eight different jobs that may span three different professions or occupations (Chen, 2004). Since college graduates are likely to frequently change professions, your first post-graduation job is not likely to be your life-long career. Completion of a liberal arts education will provide you with skills that will be useful across a wide variety of careers and work settings. One of the major characteristics of a liberal or liberal arts education is that it is not focused on a specific career, but aims instead to provide an environment both within the curriculum and outside it that helps students to learn how to think, how to be creative, how to be flexible, how to get on with others and how to go on learning for the rest of their lives (Chen,2004, p.2) All universities have as their primary goal to produce better educated citizens who are capable of using higher order critical thinking skills. Liberal Arts Programs meet the core objective that is embodied in JMU s mission statement: We are a community committed to preparing students to be educated and enlightened citizens who lead productive and meaningful lives. Before you decide to major in Psychology... There are many other excellent majors at JMU that you might want to consider. Make sure you have explored your options. Students who are interested in an applied major that will lead directly to a career in human services might want to consider majoring in Social Work. This major prepares students for careers working directly with people to help solve problems. Sociology, Anthropology, and Geographic Science are other fields that explore human behavior and culture and human interactions with the environment. Communication Studies, Media Arts and Design, Foreign Language and Literature, Writing Rhetoric and Technical Communication majors focus on human communication, persuasion, conflict, and conflict resolution. Justice Studies, Political Science, and Public Administration majors study human well-being and the legal and political systems. You may also wish to explore these fields as potential majors. JMU's Career and Academic Planning Office has multiple resources to assist you in making the decision about what to major in.
4 Psychology at JMU: An Overview Once you have decided to major in psychology, your first step should be to familiarize yourself with the required courses, and to begin thinking about how to get the most out of your major. Let s get started! This checklist shows the required courses for the major, and also serves as a roadmap of the curriculum. We ll walk through it step-by-step, starting on the next screen. You can pick up a copy of this checklist in the Psychology Department main office (Miller Hall 1120), or on our website under "Curriculum". You can also pick one up in the Peer Advising Office (Miller 1106). The Peer Advisors, as well as your faculty advisor, can discuss major requirements with you. Psychology major curriculum design: What courses will you take? And why are we asking you to take them? (Part 1) We believe that it is important that students who study psychology do more than simply complete a list of courses; it is important that you understand WHY you are studying certain things, and how each course and learning experience contributes to the development of your knowledge and skills. The psychology faculty at JMU have designed the psychology major so that students will have a good foundation in the methods that are used by psychologists, and so that students will be exposed to the breadth of content in the discipline of psychology. We want you to study some topics in depth, learn how psychological principles can be applied, and we want to help you develop key skills. Our major has been designed to be consistent with recommendations from the American Psychological Association (APA). Psychology major curriculum design: What courses will you take? And why are we asking you to take them? (Part 2) What do you think psychology majors should learn? What skills should they have when they graduate? The APA developed a set of 10 guidelines for the undergraduate psychology major. The JMU psychology major was designed with these goals in mind. These include the following 10 learning goals: 1. Knowledge base of psychology 2. Research methods 3. Critical thinking 4. Application of psychology 5. Values in psychology 6. Information and technological literacy 7. Communication skills 8. Sociocultural and international awareness
5 9. Personal development 10. Career planning and development Note that learning about the content area of psychology is the first goal listed, but it is only one of our goals. Many JMU psychology faculty are involved in assessing how well we are doing to help students achieve these learning goals. The bottom line is, we care about what we are teaching, and we care about what you are learning! JMU Psychology Major Curriculum: Step 1 Foundational Courses When you examine the checklist of courses required for the psychology major you ll see that, before taking any other psychology courses, students who wish to major in psychology must first successfully complete two courses that serve as the foundation for the rest of the major: GPSYC 101 A 200-level Math (Math 220 Statistics is recommended) You must earn a C- or better in these classes in order to be fully admitted to the Psychology major. If you have transfer credit or Advanced Placement credit for any of these courses, you do not have to take them at JMU. However, if this is the case for you, you MUST make sure that these courses show up on your JMU transcript. The Psychology Department does accept certain courses that focus on statistics in addition to Math 220. If you have already completed one or more statistics courses that did not transfer as Math 220, please ask a psychology academic advisor or check with the Psychology Office in Miller 1120 to determine if these courses can satisfy psychology major admission requirements. How do you check your JMU transcript? Go to MyMadison and navigate to your unofficial transcript to check to see if you have credit for these courses. While completing Step 1: Apply to become a Fully admitted Psychology Major You can apply to become a Fully Admitted psychology major at any time. If you have completed GPsyc 101 and a 200-level Math course, or you have transfer credit or AP credit for these courses, or if you are currently enrolled in these courses, your application will be considered at the end of the current semester. After you complete this online orientation, you ll be prompted to submit your application. In order to be admitted to the Psychology major you must complete the following requirements: Complete the prerequisite courses with a grade of C- or higher: GPSYC 101 General Psychology MATH 220 Math Statistics (or another acceptable math course) Complete this online application. Satisfy any ONE of the following conditions: a) Earn a grade of B or better in Gpsyc 101 completed at JMU.
6 b) Complete any Gpsyc courses at JMU (Gpsyc 101, 122, or 160) and earn an average GPA in these courses of 3.0 or better. c) Complete at least 15 credits at JMU and earn an overall cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better. d) At the time of admission to JMU, be a student who is transferring at least 30 credits including the prerequisite courses (General Psychology and 200-level Math) or General Psychology and either Psychological Statistics or Research Methods in Psychology. Becoming fully-admitted is an important step. You MUST be a Fully Admitted Psychology major in order to progress further in the major. More students apply to the Psychology major than can be immediately accommodated in our classes. Depending on the number of students who apply to the major, you may need to wait a semester before beginning classes in the major. Students with fewer credit hours are more likely to experience delays in beginning the major. Step 2: Methodology Core After you are admitted to the major, the first courses you will take will be: Either: Option A: Psyc 210 (Statistics) and Psyc 211 (Research Methods) OR Option B: Psyc 212 (Research Design and Analysis I) and Psyc 213 (Research Design and Analysis II) These courses will introduce you to the methods and techniques psychologists use to study behavior, and will serve as a foundation for all of the upper-level courses in the major. The difference between these two options: Both Option A (Psyc 210 & 211) and Option B (Psyc 212 &213) cover the same material. However, the courses are organized differently. Option A: You will take a semester of statistics, followed by a semester of research methods. With these two courses you will have an intense quantitative experience during one semester as you take the first course, and an intense writing experience during the second. Option B: covers the same material, but does it in an integrated fashion across the two semesters. This option allows you to more evenly spread your experiences with statistics and writing across two semesters. Both options take 2 semesters to complete. The Psychology department considers both of these options to be equally good preparation for more advanced psychology courses. Psyc 210 and 211 (as well as Psyc 212 and 213) may not be taken during the same semester; In both cases, the second course builds on the first, so these courses must be taken sequentially. We offer Psyc
7 210 and 211 every semester and during the summer. Psyc is a year-long experience that is only offered Fall (Psyc 212) and Spring (Psyc 213). Step 3: Social Science and Natural Science Core Courses After you have completed your methods courses (Psyc 210 & 211 or Psyc 212 & 213), you will be able to take courses from the Social Science and Natural Science Core. Each of these courses is designed to give you an in-depth experience in one of the major subdisciplines of psychology. You must take 3 Social Science courses and 3 Natural Science courses. Completion of these core classes will give you a strong foundation in the breadth of the discipline of psychology. Most psychology programs in the US offer these courses, and most graduate programs and employers expect that psychology majors will complete courses like these. Social Science Core (take 3): Psyc 330, Personality Psyc 335, Abnormal Psychology Psyc 345, Social Psychology Psyc 365, Developmental Psychology Natural Science Core (take 3): Psyc 375, Sensation and Perception Psyc 380, Cognitive Psychology Psyc 385, Biopsychology* Psyc 390, Learning Psyc 395, Comparative Animal Behavior *Note: Psyc 385, Biopsychology, is required for students earning the BS degree. Step 4: Upper-level Courses We want you to study some topics in depth, and learn more about the applications of psychology, so Psychology Majors must take 2 courses at the 400-level. Before taking upper-level classes you must have completed 1 Natural Science and 1 Social Science core class. Upper Level Specialty Content course: One of these 400-level courses must be an Upper Level Specialty Content course. Upper level specialty content courses include the following: Psyc 400, Advanced Topics Psyc 410, Psychology of the Workplace Psyc 415, Forensic Psychology Psyc 420, Advanced Psychological Statistics Psyc 425, School Psychology Psyc 427, Tests & Measurement
8 Psyc 428, Educational Psychology Psyc 430, Clinical Psychology Psyc 435, Community Psychology Psyc 450, Child Abuse & Neglect Psyc 452, Child Psychopathology Psyc 460, Community Psychology in Developing Societies Psyc 475, Psychology of Adulthood Psyc 480, Applied Behavior Analysis 400-level elective: The other 400-level course you take may be ANY course at the 400-level. These include a second course from the above list or: Psyc 401, Peer Advising Psyc 402, Independent Study: Teaching/Practicum/Readings Psyc 403, Independent Study: Research Psyc 499, Honors Thesis These lists of Upper Level Specialty Content courses and 400-level electives are included on the Psychology major checklist; we recommend that you refer to it for lists of these courses. Step 5: Capstone Course You must take one Capstone course. Capstone courses are small group experiences (typically up to 12 students) that are designed to integrate concepts and skills you have learned throughout your psychology major. Capstone courses have extensive reading and writing requirements, as well as oral communication and presentation components. Your capstone class does not have to be the last class you take; however, you must have completed 2 Natural Science and 2 Social Science core classes to take your capstone. Many students complete their capstone course during their senior year; a few students are ready for these during junior year. You have several options for completing the Capstone requirement. These are discussed on the next screen. Step 5: Capstone Course: Options You have several options for completing the Capstone requirement: Psyc 492, History of Psychology This seminar course explores the history of psychology in depth. Psyc 493, Laboratory in Psychology
9 The course consists of an advanced laboratory experience. Permission of the instructor is required. Psyc 495, Field Placement Students in Field Placement gain hands-on experience through working with community agencies. You must apply early for Field Placement. Applications are due early in the semester prior to the semester in which you would be taking this course. Psyc 497, Senior Seminar These seminar classes focus on specific topics chosen by the instructor. Topics change each semester, so be sure to read the course descriptions posted on our departmental web site. Psyc 499A, 499B, and 499C, Honors Completion of an Honor s Thesis under the direction of a Psychology faculty member fulfills the capstone requirement. Students planning to do an Honor s Thesis should consult with their advisor early in the process. Electives In addition to the courses we ve already discussed, you must complete 6 hours of elective credits. These electives may be taken at any level. Additional psychology content area or advanced content courses can be taken as psychology major electives. The following additional courses are also available as electives: Gpsyc 122, Science of Vision and Audition Gpsyc 160, Life Span Development Psyc 180, Intro to Behavior Analysis Psyc 200, Topics in Psychology Psyc 220, Psychology and Culture Psyc 275, Human Intimacy Psyc 285, Drugs and Behavior Psyc 304, Death and Dying Psyc 308, Health Psychology Psyc 310, Women and Gender Psyc 316, Human Development and Crime Psyc 320, Diversity Issues Psyc 325, Counseling Psychology Psyc 328, Psychology of Leadership Psyc 401, Peer Advising Sociocultural awareness requirement It is important that Psychology students recognize, understand and respect the complexity of sociocultural and international diversity.
10 In order to help accomplish this, you must take one course that fulfills the sociocultural awareness requirement. The following courses fulfill this requirement: Psyc 220, Psychology and Culture Psyc 308, Health Psychology Psyc 310, Psychology of Women Psyc 320, Diversity Issues Psyc 325, Counseling Psychology Psyc 410, Psychology of the Workplace Psyc 460, Community Psychology in Developing Societies SOME SECTIONS of the following courses fulfill this requirement: Psyc 200, Topics in Psychology Psyc 400, Advanced Topics in Psychology Psyc 497, Senior Seminar Psyc 402, Independent Study: Teaching/Practicum/Readings Psyc 403, Independent Study: Research In addition, some additional JMU courses and some of our study abroad courses offered by the Psychology Department fulfill this requirement. CHECK before you register to determine if your section fulfills the requirement. The information is available on MyMadison and the Department of Psychology website. NOTE: The course you take to fulfill the Sociocultural Awareness requirement may also fulfill another requirement in the major. For example, if you take Psyc 410, it will fulfill both the Sociocultural Awareness requirement and the Upper-Level Specialty Content requirement. One more decision: BA or BS? Psychology majors may choose to earn either a BA or BS degree. These two options require different courses to be taken along with the courses for your psychology major. Which of these is recommended? Is one degree better than the other? The BA and BS degrees are equally valuable degrees. Neither is any better or worse than the other, and we have no indication that graduate schools or employers prefer one over the other. Your choice of degree should be based on your interests and career plans. BS degree students take more science and math courses, so if you prefer science and math, the BS might be the better option for you. BA degree students must take foreign language (up to the intermediate level; four college semesters of foreign language or demonstration of proficiency at that level) and a philosophy course (that cannot double count as a Gen Ed course; and cannot be GPHIL 120 or 150), so if those courses appeal to you, the BA might be the better option for you. One thing to keep in mind: if you are planning on a career in a
11 human services field (such as counseling), proficiency in a foreign language may be a useful skill to have. This might make the BA degree the best choice for you. I m not a Fully Admitted Psychology major yet. What courses can I take? Most JMU Psychology courses are reserved for fully-admitted psychology majors. You will not be able to take Social Science and Natural Science core classes until you are a Fully Admitted psychology major, and have completed Psyc 210 and 211 (or Psyc 212 and 213). Here are some possible options for courses to take: Lower-level Psychology electives. Some Psychology courses (numbered below 330) do not have methods and statistics courses as prerequisites. You may be able to take some of these once you are admitted to the major. GPsyc Life Span Developmental Psychology and GPsyc The Science of Vision and Audition have no prerequisites, so you may take these courses before you are admitted to the major. General education courses. If you have not yet completed all your GenEd requirements, taking more of those courses is a good option. Degree Requirements - BA or BS courses. Taking courses to fulfill BA or BS degree requirements is another good option. Minor courses. If you have a minor (we ll talk more about that below) taking courses to fulfill requirements in your minor is a good idea. Electives. You may also take elective courses. What are you interested in? Find a course that allows you to explore areas of interest to you. Remember, you need 120 credit hours to graduate. Completing your GenEd requirements, BA or BS degree requirements, and Psychology major requirements is not enough to graduate. You will need to complete a total of 120 hours. Some of these hours will probably be elective courses that do not fulfill any specific requirements. Your academic advisor can help you choose appropriate courses. What about a minor? Should I have one? In addition to their major, many JMU psychology majors choose to minor in another field. Psychology majors are NOT required to have a minor, so whether you choose to pursue a minor or not is up to you. Most students are interested in more than one topic. A minor is a way to allow you to pursue your other interests. Pursuing a minor can also broaden the skills you will have when you graduate. A minor is also a way to organize the credits required for graduation that are additional to what is required for general education, your major and degree requirements. What minors do psychology majors choose? Some students choose a minor that will complement their psychology major by providing them with additional skills or content knowledge that is relevant to psychology. Some potential minors in this category might include Family Studies, Criminal Justice, Biology, Statistics, Human Resources, Foreign Language, or Writing Rhetoric and Technical Communication..
12 Some students choose a minor that allows them to explore a secondary area of interest, even if it is not closely related to their psychology major. Psychology majors pursue minors in virtually every option available at JMU. What if you decide not to earn a minor? As we stated above, you are not required to earn a minor. If you choose not to, then you can select electives from a variety of disciplines that will allow you to learn and practice skills that will be important for you in the future, and to pursue areas that are interesting to you. You re only in college once! (At least, that s the case for most people.) You can use this opportunity to pursue your intellectual interests, and build a foundation for life-long learning. Remember you need to complete 120 credit hours to graduate. You are required to complete 44 credits of psychology courses but it is NOT recommended that you take additional credits of psychology courses in order to complete graduation requirements. It would be much better for you to take more courses in other disciplines as an undergraduate, and then if you want to take more psychology courses, attend graduate school in psychology. Getting the Most Out of Your Major: Research Opportunities Now that you know the basics of the psychology major, let s talk about some ways to get the most out of your major. To be a competitive graduate of a psychology major program you need to do more than just complete the required courses with good grades. Many JMU psych majors take advantage of the opportunity to participate in psychological research. Why get involved in research? Students have many reasons for becoming involved in research in psychology. Here are some: It s fun and interesting. Participating in research is a way of getting hands-on with our major. It s a great learning experience. You learn not just facts, but how psychologists go about discovering new information about behavior. You are able to apply the skills you developed in methods courses to behavioral issues you may have learned about in other courses. It provides the opportunity to interact with faculty and other students in a small-group setting. It is a type of experience that is appreciated by graduate programs and by employers who value applicants who have project-based experiences, have demonstrated effective teamwork, acceptance of responsibility, initiative and creativity. How do you learn about research opportunities? JMU psychology faculty are active researchers. The faculty members in the psychology department are engaged in research across a wide range of psychology. As you take more psychology classes, you will find out more about the research of different faculty members. The research interests of our faculty are described on their profile on the department of psychology website. We also list research opportunities on our website and in our Newsletter sent to all psychology majors. Getting involved in research: How? There are several different ways you can get involved in research in the Psychology Department: Register for Psyc 203, Directed Studies in Psychology: Research. Registering for Psyc 203 is one way of getting research experience. Students in Psyc 203 typically work with a faculty member on a research
13 project. These experiences are designed for students who are new to the psychology major, or new to research, or students who are just interested in getting their feet wet by working with a faculty member on research. Psyc 203 does not count toward the psychology major, but does count as general electives towards graduation. Register for Psyc 403, Independent Study in Psychology: Research. Students in Psyc 403 often work directly with a faculty member on research, often as part of a faculty member s research team. Psyc 403 credit counts toward the Psyc major, and can be used to fulfill a 400-level elective credit. Complete an Honor s Thesis under the direction of a Psychology faculty member. Students who are involved in the Honor s program complete an Honor s Thesis project. Getting the Most Out of Your Major: Practicum or Teaching Experiences Some students choose to enhance their major by getting hands-on practical experience that is relevant to psychology. Students may work in a community service agency, or work with a faculty member as a teaching assistant. Options for earning credit include: Practicum Register for Psyc 202, Directed Studies in Psychology: Practicum. Registering for Psyc 202 is one way of getting some hands-on practicum experience. Students in Psyc 202 typically work with a faculty member on a specific practicum project. Register for Psyc 402, Independent Study in Psychology: Practicum. Students in Psyc 402 pursue advanced-level practicum experiences under the supervision of a faculty member. Teaching Register for Psyc 202, Directed Studies in Psychology: Teaching. Registering for Psyc 202 is one way of getting some hands-on experience by assisting a faculty member. Students in Psyc 202 typically work with a faculty member on a specific projects related to a class they are teaching. Register for Psyc 402, Independent Study in Psychology: Teaching. Students in Psyc 402 pursue advanced-level experiences under the supervision of a faculty member. Students may participate in a variety of activities, including assisting with designing course activities, tutoring, or helping with class presentations. Psyc 202 experiences are designed for students who are new to the psychology major or students who are just interested in some beginning-level experiences. Psyc 202 does not count toward the psychology major, but does count as general electives towards graduation. Psyc 402 credit counts toward the Psyc major, and can be used to fulfill a 400-level elective credit. Interested in these options? Talk to faculty members that you would like to work with. Getting the Most Out of Your Major: Student Organizations Another way to get more out of your major is to get involved in student organizations. Your involvement in these groups can help you learn more about psychology as an academic field and as a
14 profession, and can also help you develop your leadership skills. Campus organizations related to psychology include: Psychology Club. Psychology Club is open to all interested students. They sponsor a variety of activities, such as invited speakers, and participate in service and social events. Psychology Service Organization. The Psychology Service Organization exists to make a positive difference as they aim to meet the needs of the JMU community, Harrisonburg community, and the world. They participate in and sponsor various service projects throughout the year. Active Minds. Active Minds is a peer outreach organization that promotes mental health awareness and education and works to reduce the stigma that surrounds mental illness. Membership is open to all students. Psi Chi. Psi Chi is the national honor society in psychology. Its purpose is to encourage, stimulate, and maintain scholarship in psychology and to promote scientific advancement in the field. Psi Chi is open to students who meet eligibility requirements for the honor society. After Graduation: Applying for Jobs with a Bachelor's Degree Psychology Majors are equipped with a rich and diverse portfolio, which lends them a variety of forms of expertise. This variety is found in few other disciplines and prepares psychology majors to undertake many different types of work. Psychology integrates areas of knowledge that span fields of communication, social science and natural science. In the process it provides students with a liberal education, as well as a particularly wide range of practical and professional skills. Overall Job Outlook for Jobs in the field of Psychology According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, job growth in the field of psychology is expected to increase at an average rate over the next decade. Jobs are expected to grow by about 12 percent through the year 2018, which is the average growth rate predicted for all occupations. The increased demand for psychological services in hospitals, schools, social service agencies, mental health centers, substance abuse treatment clinics and private companies is expected to drive the need for more trained psychologists. The Occupational Information Network (O-net OnLine) (http://onetcenter.org) provides in-depth job description information, including required knowledge and skills, job duties, wages, and projected growth for thousands of different careers, including many in psychology and psychology-related fields. Take some time to explore this site you will learn so much about options! Be alert to interesting positions even before you are ready to look for a job. For example, we post position announcements on the Department Web site, in the news and on our Facebook page. You can browse the job databases available through Recruit a Duke. You might not be ready to search for the specific job you want apply for, but it would be helpful for you to know the kinds of jobs that interest you. You can look at the qualifications required and try to get appropriate experiences during your college years to prepare you to be a good applicant. Take advantage of services provided by Career and Academic Planning. They provide career fairs, resume preparation workshops, mock interviews, and other opportunities for you to discover
15 opportunities and prepare for career searches. Don t wait until it is time to apply for a job knowing what kind of position you might seek can help shape what you do during college to prepare for those opportunities. Applying for Admission to Graduate School While many employers value the skills developed by students who earn a bachelor s degree with a psychology major, a graduate degree is required to become a professional psychologist or counselor, or to enter other related professions. The JMU Psychology program is designed to provide the basic coursework required for admission to these graduate programs, however, to be a competitive candidate for graduate program admission, students should develop their graduate school application portfolio which may include courses beyond the basic coursework required for graduation. Although many psychology majors are interested in counseling and clinical fields, we recommend staying open to multiple options for graduate school, depending on your interest in the field of psychology. Graduate programs in developmental psychology, social psychology, educational assessment, animal behavior, industrial-organizational psychology any of these are possible, depending on your interests within the field. Psychology majors also pursue advanced degrees in medicine, health professions, and law. If you are interested in graduate school possibilities, visit your advisor to discuss your interests. The Psychology department website also includes more information about applying to graduate school. By now, you should know a bit more about the field of psychology, and the JMU psychology major, than you did when you started this online orientation. We hope that the information provided in this program will help you make an informed decision about whether to major in psychology. Still not sure? Discuss your interests with your academic advisor. You can also set up a meeting with one of our Assistant Department Heads to discuss your situation. You can to set this up. You can also stop by our Peer Advising Office in Miller Hall, Rm 1106, for more information about the psychology major. Applications will be reviewed at the end of each semester after grades are submitted. The deadline to apply each semester is posted on our website. Keep in mind that depending on the number of students who apply to the major, you may need to wait a semester before beginning classes in the major. Students with fewer credit hours are more likely to experience delays.
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