Why Major in Psychology?
Psychology is the major to consider if you want to study the area of science that explores how people and animals think, feel, and act. Psychology Majors complete coursework that explores behavior, emotions, and cognitive processes, and the factors that influence them, from a variety of perspectives. Psychologists study behavior at both a cellular level (e.g. examining the role of the brain and the nervous system) and at a more global level (e.g. examining the influences of culture). As a Psychology Major, you will enhance your problem-solving, critical thinking, writing and oral expression skills as you learn to use the tools available to behavioral scientists.
Students choose to major in psychology for many reasons. Psychology can be your primary area of interest within a liberal arts education that will lead to many professional opportunities that require a bachelor's degree. Your Psychology Major can also be a pre-professional program that will lead to a profession after you complete several additional years of graduate school.
Regardless of your reason for choosing the Psychology Major, think about this major as more than a collection of required classes. Whether you plan to seek employment with your bachelor's degree or go on to graduate school, you should be thinking about developing knowledge and skills through all of your college experiences. By the time you graduate, you should have developed a résumé that is rich with listings of your accomplishments both inside and outside of the classroom. This section of our website is designed to explain how Psychology fits into the overall bachelor's degree curriculum at JMU, what's required within Psychology, and how to get involved with the special opportunities that Psychology offers that will give you the experiences you need to be successful.
As you pursue activities at JMU that will help to build your resume, keep in mind special course offerings within the department such as special topics courses, Peer Advising, independent study, Field Placement , Honors Thesis, and capstone experiences. Many Psychology Majors elect to compete a second major, minor, or preprofessional program as part of their overall academic program. You are not required to declare a second major, pre-professional program, or minor to graduate with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology; however, we do recommend that you develop your knowledge and skills by taking courses that are of interest to you, outside of Psychology. Your faculty advisor can be a good source of information about coursework that is relevant to your interests and post-graduation plans.
To learn more about the JMU Psychology Major we recommend that you watch a series of 10 videos that describe our program. An excellent pamphlet regarding the field of psychology is available from the American Psychological Association.