academic catalogue

2023-2024 Catalogue

Applied Psychology

This major is currently exclusive to the online program. Students must be accepted into the online program in order to declare Applied Psychology as a major. Non-majors who are interested in individual courses should consult with their advisor regarding the possibility of taking that course. The Applied Psychology minor is open to all students, but may not be combined with the Applied Psychology or Psychology majors. 

Fifty years ago, the eminent psychologist George Miller honored the long history of psychology as an applied field by reminding those listening to his APA presidential address to “give psychology away.” Our applied psychology major at Wesleyan is designed to equip students with the skills needed to put their knowledge of the science of behavior and mental processes into practice. This begins with a set of core courses that include content courses (social psychology, developmental psychology, psychological disorders, and ethics) that are commonly used to inform application. Additional core courses (statistics and behavioral research and assessment) provide students with the ability to understand and explain complex methodological findings. Courses across multiple areas of applied psychology (psychology of gender, industrial and organizational psychology, forensic psychology, health psychology, and community psychology) demonstrate the multiple ways in which psychological research can be used to inform and improve outcomes across broad swaths of society. Both a course in ethics, along with focused content on ethics, diversity, and culture within the applied courses, encourage students to think critically about the role and impact of applied practice. The capstone senior seminar in psychology provides students with additional experience in proposing an evidence-based solution to a societal need of their choosing.

The goals of the applied psychology major draw from the American Psychological Association’s suggested guidelines for undergraduate majors, with an additional emphasis on applied settings. Across the broad goals shown below, we also include six student learning outcomes (SLOs) that we expect students to be able to meet by the end of their degree. Students who graduate with this major are prepared for professional positions that call for a clear understanding of the role of psychological research in daily life; students who are considering graduate study at the master’s level in applied fields may also find this major and appropriate first step.

Goal 1 - Develop a knowledge base in areas that are frequently relevant to the application of psychology; both breadth and depth of knowledge are important, as is the ability to apply facts, theories, and issues from content areas to real-world problems

SLO 1 - Describe key concepts, principles, and overarching themes in psychology

SLO 2 - Apply psychological principles to relevant situation

Goal 2 - Develop a scientific approach to understanding human behavior, including critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and an aptitude in reading and interpreting research design and analysis

SLO 3 - Demonstrate psychology information literacy

Goal 3 - Develop an understanding of, appreciation for, and sensitivity to issues related to ethics, diversity, and culture as promoted in psychological theory, research, and practice.

SLO 4 - Evaluate psychological science and practice using ethical standards

Goal 4 - Develop the ability to communicate psychological findings in both oral and written formats in ways that promote connection with a variety of audiences.

SLO 5 - Demonstrate effective writing skills

SLO 6 - Exhibit effective presentation skills that appropriately incorporate psychological language and methodology

Goal 5 - Develop the ability to apply psychology-specific content and skills to career goals in order to facilitate meaningful professional direction for life after college

APA recommendations regarding professional development are met through Wesleyan College's Here to Career Professional Development Experience courses. 

The Applied Psychology major requires 39 semester hours.
I. Core Requirements: 24 hours
PSY 101 General Psychology 3 hours
MAT 220 Statistical Methods* 3 hours
PHI 223 Ethics 3 hours
PSY 200 Behavioral Research In Action* 3 hours
PSY 203 Social Psychology 3 hours
PSY 240 Developmental Psychology 3 hours
PSY 325 Psychological Disorders 3 hours
PSY 441 Senior Seminar in Psychology* 3 hours
* Courses denoted with an asterisk should be taken sequentially. See course descriptions in Catalogue. MAT 220 and PSY 200 may be taken concurrently.

II. Applied Areas: 15 hours
PSY 301 Psychology of Gender 3 hours
PSY 312 Industrial and Organizational Psychology 3 hours
PSY 330 Forensic Psychology 3 hours
PSY 343 Health Psychology 3 hours
PSY 365 Community Psychology 3 hours
(Based on content covered, PSY 396 Special Topics in Psychology may substitute for one of Applied Areas courses, with the approval of the Department Chair.)

Integrative Experience. The Integrative Experience requirement is met through PSY 441 Senior Seminar in Psychology. In this course, psychology majors are encouraged to make connections between a specific content/research area within psychology and a focused content/research area in an academic discipline outside of psychology. This seminar allows students to broaden this focus and apply knowledge gained in psychology to other, relevant areas of study within the liberal arts.

Professional Development. Throughout their Wesleyan education students are given opportunities to explore professional and career choices, and to develop and demonstrate the knowledge and skills essential for professional success. Each student will complete PDE 400 Professional Development Experience and PDE 401 Professional Practice Seminar.

Applied psychology majors gain additional professional experience through their senior seminar course, PSY 441. 

Minor in Applied Psychology. The minor in applied psychology incorporates both core content and applied courses in psychology to introduce students to the myriad ways in which psychology can inform and improve societal outcomes. This minor is available to students in both the traditional and online programs; however, it may not be combined with an Applied Psychology or Psychology major. This minor requires 21 hours as follows:

PSY 101 General Psychology
MAT/PSY 220 Statistical Methods

Pick 2 of the following:
PSY 203 Social Psychology
PSY 240 Developmental Psychology
PSY 325 Psychological Disorders

Pick 3 of the following:
PSY 301 Psychology of Gender
PSY 312 Industrial and Organizational Psychology
PSY 330 Forensic Psychology
PSY 343 Health Psychology
PSY 365 Community Psychology
PSY 396 Special Topic in Psychology*
*Content must be approved as relevant to the minor by the Department Chair

Minor in Organizational Behavior. Combining content from business and psychology, the organizational behavior minor provides students with a more focused exploration of the impact of human behavior (both as individuals and in groups) on organizational practices. This minor would be an ideal option for an applied psychology major who plans to apply to related graduate programs. Students who plan on entering the workplace following graduation will benefit from increased knowledge relating to human resources, conflict management, and employer-employee relations in governmental, for-profit, and non-profit organizations in both public and private sectors. See the Organizational Behavior catalog listing for full details.

Postgraduate Opportunities. Students in the applied psychology major are well prepared to enter graduate study at the master’s level in fields with a strong emphasis on the application of psychology. Students who are considering graduate study in psychology at the doctoral level would be better served by the traditional psychology major.

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