Psychology BS

Program Purpose

Psychology is a traditional discipline in the liberal arts and sciences and is rooted in the Western intellectual tradition. Since its founding in the late nineteenth century, psychology has distinguished itself primarily as a science with a wide scope of interests in understanding behavior. Many psychologists also provide treatment for a broad range of disorders, and others work to solve pressing social issues. The diverse world community of academic and professional psychologists is devoted to expanding our understanding of individual and collective behavior and applying that understanding toward improving the human condition.

The Department's Purpose: The department joins students and faculty together to make a scientific and applied contribution to the discipline of psychology. Its faculty members and administrators are committed to an educational experience that excites learning and understanding in personal and collaborative settings. At the same time, the department honors the restored gospel as vital for psychological theory, as a guide for professional conduct, and as a source of unique insight. Aware of the history of psychology and as active participants therein, faculty members hold students to high standards of individual and collective performance and understanding. Students are expected to respond to multiple styles of teaching and broad opportunities for engagement in research and application with serious and sustained interest and effort. In this way the department distinguishes itself as a community of scholarship, moral principle, and devotion to the elevation of humankind.

The psychology major is a gateway to professional employment and to advanced study in psychology. Psychologists engage in a variety of academic roles as teachers, researchers, and administrators and also provide counseling, clinical, and consulting services to individuals and organizations. Psychologists are employed by colleges and universities, public and private schools, clinics, and hospitals. They work in private practice and for corporations and government entities. The study of psychology has particular value for family life and for civic and cultural roles generally. The psychology major provides a well-informed perspective for occupations in law enforcement, law, or business.

Most professional positions require a master's or doctoral degree, although a bachelor's degree may suffice to gain employment in mental health care, detention and probation services, auxiliary social work, personnel, or human resources. Further, the psychology major gives students particularly strong background leading to graduate study in business, law, or medicine.

Curricular Structure

A. See Major Academic Program (MAP)

B. See Catalog description

C. Description of co-curricular activities designed to support program goals. The department maintains a resource and tutorial center primarily for students enrolled in Psychology 111 but also available to students in other courses, especially the skill sequence. The center is known as Psych Central and is located in 1150 SWKT. It is open to students from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and is staffed by student volunteers. A faculty adviser and graduate student coordinator train the staff and oversee their schedule of availability at the center. In addition, the department maintains a Psychology Major Advisement Office and an Academic Internship and Tutoring Office, both of which are staffed by graduate students who work directly with the faculty member who serves as Undergraduate Coordinator and with the Director of Student Programs. The former office specializes in academic advisement pertaining to curricular and graduation requirements, career advisement, and graduate application advisement. The latter office serves as a clearinghouse for academic internships and community-based tutoring opportunities. Beginning in Fall 2005, the department began publication of Intuition: The BYU Undergraduate Psychology Journal. An all-student editorial staff works with a faculty adviser to produce the journal, which solicits manuscripts from psychology majors.


Catalog Information

Department Information

Learning Outcomes

The objectives of the department's undergraduate curriculum are closely matched to those advocated by the American Psychological Association, the discipline's primary professional body. (Note: The reference to students in the following statement of goals is to students who graduate from the University with a major in psychology.) Graduates will:

A. Knowledge of the Discipline

Comprehend,apply,and synthesize knowledge of the discipline of psychology. (ContentOutcome)

Courses that Contribute: PSYCH 101 PSYCH 111 PSYCH 306 PSYCH 307 PSYCH 310 PSYCH 311 PSYCH 320 PSYCH 321 PSYCH 322 PSYCH 330 PSYCH 338 PSYCH 341 PSYCH 342 PSYCH 343 PSYCH 348 PSYCH 350 PSYCH 352 PSYCH 353 PSYCH 356 PSYCH 361 PSYCH 370 PSYCH 375 PSYCH 376 PSYCH 381 PSYCH 382 PSYCH 387 PSYCH 388 PSYCH 399R
Linked to BYU Aims: Human knowledge, Competence
B. Effective Research and Writing

Understand and apply basic research methods in psychology including data analysis and interpretation, research design, psychometric methods, and the writing of results in the light of previous findings.  (Competency Outcome)

Courses that Contribute: PSYCH 101 PSYCH 111 PSYCH 306 PSYCH 307 PSYCH 308 PSYCH 309 PSYCH 310 PSYCH 311 PSYCH 321 PSYCH 341 PSYCH 342 PSYCH 350 PSYCH 356 PSYCH 370 PSYCH 375 PSYCH 381 PSYCH 399R PSYCH 430R
Linked to BYU Aims: Communicate effectively, Competence
C. Experiential Learning

Apply the principles of psychology in an internship setting (399R), a teaching (410R) or community service setting (420R), or in a mentored-research setting (430R) before graduation.

Courses that Contribute: PSYCH 309 PSYCH 321 PSYCH 322 PSYCH 330 PSYCH 342 PSYCH 382 PSYCH 399R PSYCH 410R PSYCH 420R PSYCH 430R
Linked to BYU Aims: Communicate effectively, Lifelong service

Evidence of Learning

Assessment Tools

The department has created an extensive Course Matrix Compendium for its undergraduate curriculum. Each course in the curriculum is described by a separate description in which the program level expected learning outcomes listed above are matched against the course expected learning outcomes and requirements, including exams, quizzes, writing assignments, etc. The course descriptions and expected outcomes are reviewed each year by the Undergraduate Coordinator and the department Curriculum Committee and appropriate changes are made. Graduating seniors are administered a five-part Psychology Department Exit Examination in their capstone course, as described in the Psychology BS Alignment Table..

Analysis, Evaluation, and Improvement Process

The department Curriculum Committee's annual review and revision of the Curriculum Matrix draws from the course syllabi and other relevant documents submitted by the faculty. Issues raised in the course of the review are included in the agenda for the annual Pre-Fall Faculty Conference, where they are addressed and resolved.

Historically, the department has periodically reviewed and revised the undergraduate curriculum. A major re-design of the undergraduate program occurred in 2001, with another extensive review and revision in 2011 including the creation of learning outcomes for all undergraduate courses. A major re-design of the graduate program occurred in 2012 and a review and revision of the undergraduate curriculum is anticipated in the next few years.

Direct Measures

  1.     Knowledge of the Discipline: The newly developed Psychology Department Exit Exam (PDEE)
  2.     Effective Research and Writing:   The Psychology Department Exit Exam (PDEE) and Exit Survey 
  3.     Experiential Learning:    Exit Survey

Indirect Measures

  1.       National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE)

Learning and Teaching Assessment and Improvement

Analysis, Evaluation, and Improvement Process

The annual review and revision of the Course Matrix vis-à-vis the Learning Outcomes, coupled with the results of external and internal reviews, focus groups and alumni surveys, constitute the corpus of data from which issues related to program improvement are distilled by the Undergraduate Coordinator. These issues are included in the agenda of the annual faculty retreat, where they are closely considered in the collective attempt to identify the best means to resolve them. The responsibility for resolution lies with the department chair and ad hoc committees.

Under the direction of the Department Chair, a peer evaluation of each faculty member's teaching is conducted as part of the annual faculty stewardship review. Presentations on the teaching of psychology are included in most department faculty meetings and also featured at the annual faculty retreat. The latter may involve an outside expert specially invited to focus on teaching.