Psychology Advising

What is an advisor?
Your psychology advisor is meant to be a resource for you to help you navigate the major, and to help you think about what you might do after graduation.  Typically, advisors can help you:

  • Select classes
  • Identify careers that would be interesting
  • Provide you with information for how to apply to graduate school
  • Provide advice for dealing with difficult classes

Your psychology advisor will not:

  • Provide you with advice on meeting your general education requirements.  If you need help with this, you can visit Advising U in Armstrong Hall 114.  
  • Provide advising forms, such as applications for graduation.  You can find the links for commonly requested forms here.  
  • Help you write your resume or conduct mock interviews.  The Career Development Center provides these services, and has a number of helpful resources and tools that will help you through this process.


How do I get an advisor?
You can visit our main office in Armstrong 103 to request an advisor once you have declared a major.  You can change your advisor at any time.

What should I do to prepare for a meeting with my advisor?

  • Make an appointment with your advisor.  Scheduling an appointment with your advisor ensures they will have the time to meet with you, and that they can prepare for the meeting.
  • Print an up-to-date copy of your DARS report (which you can download from eServices on the Registrar's website.)  
  • Write down any questions you have that you would like to ask your advisor.  Make sure to check the undergraduate bulletin and the registrar's website first!
  • If you are visiting your advisor because of academic problems (e.g. academic probation) have a clear plan for how you will improve your performance and be more successful next semester
  • Make sure to show up on time for your meeting!


Common Questions

  • How do I find my transcript? This video will walk you through how you can get an unofficial transcript.
  • How do I find my DARS report, and how do I use it? This video will help you understand how to find your DARS report. The DARS report is helpful for understanding how you are doing on general education requirements, for seeing your progress on your major and minor requirements, and your graduation requirements. It is also a great tool to use when you meet with your advisor.
  • How do prerequisites work? This video explains what prerequisites are, and how you should use them to help you select classes.
  • How do I register for classes? This video will walk you through the process for registering for classes. Make sure to check your DARS report to ensure you don't have any holds that will prevent you from registering.
  • How do my credits transfer from other institutions? It depends on where you take your classes, and what you have taken. Transferology.com is once resource (see this video for instructions on how to use it). You can also meet with the staff at Advising U or the department chair if you have specific questions.
  • I'm almost ready to graduate. What do I do?  You will need to fill out an application for graduation one year in advance.  This gives you time to correct any problems or take any classes you have overlooked.

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Graduate Options

Many psychology majors are interested in going on to earn a master's degree, a Psy.D., or a Ph.D.  We have created this website to provide you with some general resources and advice on how to select a program.  If you have additional questions, your major advisor can provide you with additional information.

Don't know what area of psychology you want to study?  Take this quiz -- it is not very scientific, but it might give you an idea of some areas of psychology that might be a good fit for you. The APA website also has some useful resources.

Want to know more about licensure? Many positions (e.g. marriage therapist, counselor) requires a license. This guide tells you about the different types of licenses and their requirements. Look out-- some types of licenses do not get reimbursed by insurance companies, which makes it harder to find clients.

Ready to apply to graduate schools?  Below, we have some websites and handouts that can get you started.

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Specialties
Most people who continue to graduate school after earning their psychology degree decide to specialize in a particular area.  Below, we have listed some of the areas in which our own faculty have expertise, as well as some other areas of psychology you can explore.

Biological Psychology
Biological psychology is the study of physiological bases of behavior in animals and humans.  Biopsychologists typically work in research settings, and may use technologies such as CT scans, CAT scans, or EEG to measure brain activity.  Biopsychologists are often interested in neurochemistry, brain structures and their relationship to cognitions and behaviors, and hormonal influences.  If you are interested in learning more about biological psychology, you can contact Dr. Arsznov, Dr. Langley, or Dr. Steiner for more information.

Clinical Psychology
Clinical psychology is the study of how psychological disorders are assessed, diagnosed, caused, and treated.  Some clinical psychologists work in research setting in universities and hospitals, where they might conduct research investigating the causes of disorders such as schizophrenia, depression, Alzheimers, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.  Other clinical psychologists work in applied settings, where they may assess, diagnose, and treat individuals with mental disorders.  If you are interested in learning more about clinical psychology, you can contact Dr. Buchanan, Dr. Sprankle, or Dr. Houlihan.

Cognitive Psychology
Cognitive psychology is the study of mental processes such as remembering, thinking, and decision-making.  Cognitive psychologists primarily work as researchers at universities.  Cognitive psychologists study topics such as attention, memory, perception, language use, metacognition, problem-solving, and intelligence.  If you are interested in this topic, you can contact Dr. Langley or Dr. Lassonde for more information.

Developmental Psychology
Developmental psychology is the study of cognitive and behavioral changes that occur throughout the lifespan.  Developmental psychologists typically work as researchers and consultants for a variety of organizations and educational institutions.  They address issues such as motor skills, problem-solving skills, language acquisition, moral reasoning, identity formation, and parenting behaviors.  If you are interested in this topic, you can contact Dr. Krawczyk for more information.

Industrial/Organizational Psychology
Industrial/Organizational (I-O) psychology is the study of human behavior in organizations.  I-O psychologists typically help organizations select and train employees.  They also address issues such as leadership, workplace stress, motivation, and organizational development. This short video also explains what I-O psychologists do.  If you are interested in these topics, you can contact Dr. Campana, Dr. Lassiter, Dr. Perez, or Dr. Sachau for more information.

School Psychology
School psychologists work with teachers, parents, and children to address students' behavioral, emotional, and learning difficulties.  Some school psychologists work in research or university settings.  Most work in applied settings, where they assess students' problems and develop intervention programs to address these problems.  If you are interested in learning more about school psychology, you can contact Dr. Brown,. Dr. Petersen-Brown, Dr. Filter, or Dr. Panahon.

Social Psychology
Social psychology is the scientific study of how our behaviors, thoughts and emotions are influenced by social situations.  Social psychologists typically do research and consulting for universities, businesses, and government institutions.  They address issues such as persuasion, stereotypes and prejudice, helping behaviors, aggression, decision-making, as well as many other topics.  If you are interested in this topic, you can contact Dr. Stark for more information.

Sport Psychology
Sport psychology is the scientific study of how psychological factors affect performance, and how participation in sports and exercise affect psychological and physical factors.  Sport psychologists conduct research and work in university settings.  Many also work as applied psychologists, who interact with athletes, coaches, and parents.  They address topics such as motivation, visualization, coping with injuries, and other similar issues.  At Minnesota State University, Mankato, the sport psychology department is housed in the College of Allied Health and Nursing-- you should visit their website for more information about their program.

Other Types of Psychology

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Courses for the Psychology Major

The psychology major provides students with a broad background in several areas of psychology.  These courses are suitable as preparation for graduate study.  These courses also provide a varied skill set for students who do not plan on becoming professional psychologists.

You must take either MATH112 (College Algebra) or STAT154 to get into PSYC201. These math courses do notcount toward the 40-credit required psychology credits.  PSYC101 also does not count toward your 40-credit requirement.

PSYC201 is a prerequisite for PSYC211W.  You cannot take these courses concurrently.

Students must have a GPA of at least 2.7 in order to register for Psyc211W. Students who do not meet this requirement can apply for an override using this form. A student is eligible for an override if they meet one or more of the following requirements:

  • In their final semester before graduation
  • Earned a grade of B or above in Psyc201
  • Has previously taken Psyc211W
  • has completed all general education courses and courses for the minor

PSYC201 and PSYC211W are prerequisites for several core courses, and thus should be taken early in the major.  For other course prerequisites, please check the psychology department course bulletin prior to registering for classes.

Required Courses (Credits)

  • 101 Introduction to Psychological Science (4)
  • 201 Statistics for Psychology (4)
  • 211W Research Methods and Design (4)
  • 409 History & Systems (4)

Select at least one from each core area below

Biological

  • 321 Brain & Behavior (4)
  • 413 Sensation & Perception (4)
  • 420 Psychopharmacology (4)
  • 421 Behavior Neuroscience (4)
  • 425W Behavior Genetics (4)

Cognition

  • 325 Introduction to Cognitive Psychology (4)
  • 414 Learning (4)
  • 415 Human Memory (4)
  • 423 Cognitive Neuroscience (4)

Developmental

  • 343 Introduction to Developmental Psychology (4)
  • 433 Child Psychology (4)
  • 436 Adolescent Psychology (4)
  • 466 Psychology of Aging (4)

Personality/Social

  • 340 Social Psychology (4)
  • 356 Personality Psychology (3)
  • 358 Cultural Psychology (4)
  • 455 Abnormal Psychology (4)

…plus electives to complete 40 credits in Psychology

If you are planning on going to graduate school, and you know what area you would like to specialize in, we recommend you visit your advisor to determine which core classes and electives would best fit your plans.

Choosing a Minor    
If you know what area of psychology you want to pursue in graduate school, it is best to select a minor that will prepare you for that field.  For example, students interested in neuroscience should minor in biology or chemistry; students interested in industrial-organizational psychology should minor in HR management or business.

If you choose not to go to graduate school we recommend taking a minor that will make you attractive to employers, such as Technical Communication, Human Resource Management, or Marketing.  What tends to be most important, however, is that you do well in your minor, so it is best to choose something you enjoy.

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