Honors in Psychology
An honors option is available to all Psychology majors who have a 3.7 GPA in the major and a 3.5 GPA overall. This GPA determination would be based upon grades in one's second to last semester and is contingent upon the approval of the Director of Undergraduate Education. Students will present their seminal project in a professional forum (e.g., Undergraduate Research and Scholarship Colloquium, Psi Chi Induction, professional conference). Moreover, they need to complete one of three possible two-semester sequences listed below in addition to the GPA requirement to earn honors.
- PY418 & PY419: Research Seminar in Psychology I & II
- PY300 & PY400: Independent Study in Psychology I & II
(wherein an individual research project is completed)
- PY435 & PY436: Field Experience in Psychology I & II
Preparation for the Psychology Competency Exam
Psychology majors are required to take the Psychology Competence Exam (PCE) three semesters prior to graduation (typically during the spring of their junior year) or latest of the semester before they graduate (typically the fall of their senior year). Students are encouraged to prepare well in advance for the test in order to successfully complete the exam. Beyond fulfilling this requirement for their major, students should utilize the PCE as an opportunity to supplement their GPA and transcript by showcasing what they know and have achieved in psychological knowledge. In so doing, high performances overall or in particular subject tests can be showcased by students as they apply for jobs and graduate admission. The top performing student in a given class year is awarded the Senior medal in psychology.
Though the PCE is designed to assess knowledge learned in the 10 areas of concentration and taking courses in the above areas should be adequate, students may want to review material in the above areas. This is particularly true if students have either 1) not taken a course in a given area, or 2) the courses were taken during the first or second years. Students are encouraged to participate in a departmentally-sponsored review session a few weeks before the exam. Additionally, students should individually prepare by reviewing an Introduction to Psychology textbook, and/or review a study guide for the Psychology portion of the Graduate Record Examination. The 10 areas on this ACAT exam are the following : Psychopathology (PY202), Developmental (Group IV courses), Experimental Design (PY291-PY292), History and Systems (PY415), Human Learning/Cognition (Group III courses), Personality (PY203), Physiological (PY331 & PY332), Sensation and Perception (PY333), Social (PY201), and Statistics (ST110, ST210, or ST265).
Field Experiences in Psychology
The Psychology Department currently offers a 3-credit course called Field Experience in Psychology I (PY435). This course is only available to psychology majors, requires junior or senior status, and may only be taken once. PY435 is currently one of several courses that majors can choose from within Group VI (Clinical/Applied courses for those in the Class of 2011-2014) or Group I (Advanced Topics for those in the Class of 2015 and beyond) to fulfill our major requirements.
Beginning Fall 2011, students who have completed PY435 can register for PY436, Field Experience in Psychology II. This course involves the same careful planning that PY435 currently requires. Although this course does count towards your GPA, this course does not count towards 40-course, 120-credit hour requirement for graduation, but can be taken and earned for credit. Thus, this course will not fulfill any needed PY or free elective as denoted in your audit form. Thus, students who are ahead in their courses (e.g., due to advanced credit or are summer courses) may find room in their schedule to take PY436. Students would be required to take PY435 and PY436 in different semesters so as to have a cumulative field experience at a single or at different sites. For Fall 2011, only existing sites are available, but come Spring 2012 field placements at new sites will be considered.
Planning for Field Experience
PY435 and PY436 are designed to ensure that students engage in careful planning for this experience. Specifically, students start a full semester in advance to choose and secure an appropriate placement while receiving ongoing guidance from the Director of Field Education in Psychology. After a meeting that overviews the process of obtaining a field placement led by the Director, students research appropriate sites tailored to their potential career interests based upon an approved list of sites. Placement sites are ones where psychologists typically work and are designed to provide the student with both observational and "hands-on" experiences, even though placements have worked with a range of professionals from psychologists to professional counselors, social works, lawyers, doctors and allied health professionals, and business professionals to develop students’ Industrial/ Organizational Psychology interests. Thereafter, students apply and interview at the sites they are most interested in, and engage in discernment as to which site to pursue if they are given more than one offer. Only after students have secured written notification of their selection from their chosen site can students register for PY435 or PY436.
Students who are planning to study abroad can register for either field experience course if they undergo the process described in the previous paragraph during the semester before they depart for study abroad. Thus, they need to plan early and try to solicit a site early before leaving, if and only if the site is willing to do secure the student that far in advance; some sites have been willing, while others have not. For instance, a student who is a junior studying abroad in the spring would need to plan, interview, and solidify a placement for PY435 or PY436 during the fall of their junior year to then take either that field placement course in the fall of their senior year. There is actually no guarantee that all sites are willing to secure a student a full year in advance. In the event that PY436 students are wishing to continue at same placement in the same position they did for PY435, arrangements should be during the semester they take PY435 to ensure that PY436 could be taken upon their return from abroad. In the event that students do not wish to plan the two semesters in advance to take PY435 or PY436 upon their immediate return from study abroad, students are certainly able and encouraged to follow through with the process upon their return and pursue taking a field experience two semesters after studying abroad (i.e., junior who studies abroad in spring could return in fall of senior year and interview at sites and then take PY435 in spring of senior year).
Course Requirements for PY435 & PY436
Over the course of the semester, PY435 students complete a minimum of 120 hours (roughly 10 hours per week) at an approved placement site to be completed over the course of the term. In addition, enrolled students attend 3 monthly small group meetings lasting 90-minutes each led by the Director of Field Education (currently, Dr. Deborah Haskins). These meetings ordinarily consist of approximately 6-8 students per group, and adhere to a combination of supervision and seminar format. Students are assigned readings and expected to come to each meeting prepared to discuss them, as well as issues that arise at their placement. Students are also required to keep a journal, with a minimum of weekly entries, which are turned in and reviewed by the Director of Field Education who provides guidance and feedback to the students on a regular basis. Monthly class meetings would group PY435 and 436 students together and will be arranged prior to the start of the semester based upon students' schedules. Despite having joint class times, PY436 students would develop a portfolio (reflections on field experiences, written reports or other materials created at PY436, CV) to be compiled in place of the journal required of PY435 students. Different readings will be required for PY436 students than what is used for PY435 students to reflect their more advanced professional experience and development.
For students who are not able to complete PY435 or PY436, they may wish to pursue field experiences during the summer months. Please note that PY435 and PY436 are not offered for credit during the summer. However, non-credit opportunities which will enhance their portfolio are available. Learn more about summer opportunities.
Career Exploration in Psychology
What can you do with a degree in psychology? Consider this website for some answers to that question: https://inside.loyola.edu/academics/psychology/undergraduate/careers/index.html
Consider also registering for PY200: Professional Development in Psychology, a 1-credit course that seeks to answer those questions. Specifically, this course exposes students to the variety of options and careers that people with an undergraduate degree in psychology may pursue. In addition to describing the professions and a typical day in the life of assorted types of psychologists and other psychology-related professionals, time is spent talking about academic preparation for specific professional paths and the application process for admission to graduate school. Given the myriad of career options, this course also seeks to promote students’ own discernment of their strengths and interests, so they can further clarify their goal and seek out opportunities to position themselves appropriately to achieve them. Class will involve lecture, readings, discussion, activities, videos, and guest speakers. It is expected that students will complete readings and assignments and participate in class discussions in a thoughtful manner.
To assist undergraduate students' preparation for careers and/or graduate school in psychology, the Psychology faculty has compiled a list of recommended courses broken into two possible tracks: the Practitioner Track and the Research Track. See links for recommended course information for either track.
Recommendations for Courses to Pursue Careers and/or Graduate Study in Specific Subfields of Psychology
- For Clinical and Counseling Psychology, PY201: Social Psychology, and Group VI courses especially PY202: Psychopathology & PY323: Introduction to Counseling
- For Industrial/Organizational Psychology, PY262: I/O Psych or MG201: Organizational Behavior
- For Forensic Psychology, PY420: in Forensic Psychology, PY418 & PY419: in Forensic Psychology and courses in other departments such as SC332: The Sociology of Crime and Criminals , BL110: Introduction to Forensic Science
- For Developmental Psychology, Group IV classes
- For Cognitive Psychology, Group II classes
- For Social Psychology, Group V classes
- For Neuroscience, BL118, BL119, BL121 & BL126 (in lieu of BL105), Group III classes, consider taking BL403: Neurobiology with lab, BL452/453: General and Human Physiology and BL401: Endocrinology. For additional coursework, interested students should consider biology courses at Johns Hopkins (advanced neurobiology courses) that can be taken through the Baltimore Student Exchange Program for Loyola credit.
- For Social Work, Group V classes and courses in Sociology (SC214 Introduction to Social Work, SC 309 Child Welfare, as well as SC402 Social Work Practicum and Seminar)
- For students interested in Ph.D. programs, taking additional statistics courses, such as ST365, ST465, ST466, and ST472. Certainly pursuing a minor in statistics or mathematical sciences would be a wonderful addition as well.
Find more information on research opportunities.
Funding opportunities to support your professional development.
Career opportunities for Biopsychology majors and others interested in pursuing careers in health: http://explorehealthcareers.org/en/home