Psychology, BS

This is the first version of the 2024–25 General Catalog. Please check back regularly for changes. The final edition and the historical PDF will be published during the fall semester.

An undergraduate degree in psychology provides students with skills that are relevant to many career paths. The major in psychology is designed to contribute to students' general liberal arts and sciences education and to provide a foundation for postbaccalaureate training in psychology and closely related disciplines as well as in areas such as business, law, communication, medicine, and the allied health sciences. Students who intend to enter the job market immediately after graduation should complement their psychology major with substantial preparation in another program more closely tied to their area of interest (e.g., education, social work, business, journalism, nursing). Almost all vocational opportunities in psychology require advanced degrees.

The Bachelor of Science (BS) degree is intended for students who plan to pursue advanced work in psychology or in a related discipline. It requires a specific grade-point average for admission and certain courses in experimental psychology, mathematics, and natural science. The program leaves time for students to supplement the psychology major with another program of study.

Students who change to a psychology major after two years of undergraduate work may find they do not have sufficient background for the BS program.

Students begin with a general introductory course, followed by methodology and data analysis courses, and introductory courses in several broad areas: behavioral neuroscience, developmental science, clinical psychology, cognitive psychology, and social psychology. These courses are followed by upper-level psychology courses selected by each student. For additional information regarding the undergraduate major and career information, visit Undergraduate Programs on the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences website.

The department maintains excellent facilities to support teaching and research on human and animal behavior. All faculty members are directly engaged in research, and they bring to their undergraduate teaching the excitement that such activity generates. Many opportunities exist for interested and capable students to participate in current research projects in the department.

The department has an active undergraduate organization, the Iowa Students Psychology Association, which is open to all interested students. The group sponsors speakers, films, career days, and student symposia.

Learning Outcomes

The learning outcomes for students in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences align with several of the learning goals from the American Psychological Association’s guidelines for undergraduate psychology education. These learning outcomes expand and deepen students' foundational knowledge obtained through the GE CLAS Core program.

Psychology majors will:

  • understand psychology as an empirical science;
  • graduate with a knowledge base in psychology, including an understanding of the major principles and theories in the field’s main content areas;
  • have learned how to use scientific reasoning to understand psychological phenomena and how to interpret and conduct psychological research; and
  • be able to apply their knowledge of psychology to real-world situations and recognize the importance of ethical standards and diversity in psychology.