Female student presents in front of white board with yellow sticky notes on it

Psychology Major

Bethany’s timeless perspective into the makeup of individuals is that each person is a complex composite of intellect and emotion, frailties and strengths, body and soul.

Based on this understanding, our psychology students gain insight into their own behavior. This translates into a better comprehension of others. Students choose to focus on general psychology, counseling, or industrial and organizational psychology.

Preparing Our Graduates

To put it simply, we care very much about what our students do after graduation. For this reason, our program places an emphasis on personal growth and development. By working closely together, we ensure that our students establish goals that lead to fulfilling lives of purpose.

  • Site visits
  • Conferences
  • Research
  • Supervised Study

Potential Careers

  • Behavioral health
  • Child psych
  • Clinical psych
  • Counseling
  • Educational psych
  • Research
  • Industrial/organizational
  • Criminal justice
  • Social services
  • Sport psych

Psychology Student Stories

Contact for more information

Psychology Faculty

These faculty members teach many of the courses that comprise the Psychology major. See the Psychology Department for more information.

Common Questions About Psychology Studies

Is graduate school necessary?

Psychology is a broad discipline. The American Psychological Association (APA) entails 56 separate divisions. These divisions are like clubs for professional psychologists. The members share common interests within the field, ranging from ethnic minority issues, addiction, trauma, aging, military psychology, and media to name but a few. While known for counseling, psychologists do much more than that!

For many positions, further education may be necessary, but certainly not all work requires an advanced degree. Our graduates have found employment in a variety of human service agencies, where their knowledge and skills in psychology have gained them employment serving a range of populations. These include those who are developmentally delayed, those suffering with addictions, the elderly, and young children.

Is choosing a minor necessary?

Although choosing a minor is not required, it can be very beneficial, particularly if you choose not to pursue further education. Several students have chosen to combine the psychology major with a minor that complements their unique talents and career goals (e.g., business, graphic design, biology).
Can I graduate in four years?

All Bethany majors can be completed in four years. As incoming freshmen, you will be assigned a faculty advisor who will make it a priority to help you find the classes that will set your studies on the right path. Throughout your education, you will continue to meet regularly with your advisor to ensure that you fulfill your major and general education requirements. Take a look at our psychology sample curriculum for an example of how to successfully structure your psychology courses.

What should psychology majors do to prepare for success after college?

Get involved in research. In psychology, participating in the research process helps you hone skills that will enable you to understand and interact more effectively with others. Most of the research we do in the Psychology department is a team effort and entails on the job training. Previous student research topics include:

  • Manipulating the conditions under which people mimic the behavior of others
  • Examining rates of viewing pornography on campus
  • The use of public postings to increase public prayer behavior
  • Decreasing canine barking at the local Humane Society

Research is an exciting and dynamic process. Writing research papers and/or creating a research poster are great ways to get started. There is something for everyone. Come join us!

A student who is successful following graduation will demonstrate:

  • Competence using APA style
  • The ability to locate and understand pertinent scholarly articles
  • Efforts to establish professional connections and stay current in the field through psychology conferences
  • Confidence and competence presenting in front of an audience

Research Posters

PSYC420 is an upper division course that provides an understanding of tests and behavioral measurement techniques. The course concludes with a formal poster presentation, wherein students present to the campus the findings of their research. Creating and presenting a research poster is a great way to gain valuable experience that employers are looking for.

Examples of past research topics include:

  • New Experiences (Neophilia)
  • Measuring Trust in Female College Students
  • Driving Anger Scale
  • Automatic Thoughts
  • How Controlling are You?
  • Learning Style
  • Modeling Control in Relationships
  • Success Changing People for the Worse
  • The Satisfaction with Life Scale
  • Role Ambiguity
  • Social Connectedness and Assurance
  • Sensation Seeking

In this course, you will become familiar with intelligence, personality, and industrial, psychological measures. The basic principles of behavior are introduced and students learn to design and implement observation assessments.

Social conformity is everywhere. The clothes we wear. The rules we follow. The social roles we play. “Conformity is all around us,” said Jennifer Wosmek, a psychology instructor at Bethany Lutheran College. “But it’s hard to get at systematically.”

But Wosmek’s students found a way — and they used an elevator. Read the article.

Psychology Major Requirements

Mission Statement

The psychology major at Bethany is designed to introduce the student to the science of mental processes and behavior at the individual and group level, thus providing the framework for understanding the greatest work of God’s creation – human beings. The psychology major is focused on an integrative view of human functioning and experience, based on the foundations of the Christian faith and rigorous scholarship within the fields of psychology. The goal is to equip students to understand human beings in all of their complexities so that they may apply that knowledge to glorify God and love our neighbors as ourselves.

Program Learning Outcomes

Program objectives reflect the unique mission of Bethany’s Psychology program and are based on the American Psychological Association’s Guidelines for the Undergraduate Psychology Major. Upon graduation, every student majoring in psychology will be able to meet the following learning objectives:

  1. Knowledge Base: Students will be able to demonstrate fundamental knowledge and comprehension of the major concepts, theoretical perspectives, historical trends, and empirical findings in psychology. Students will also be able to discuss how psychological principles, connected to the Christian faith, apply to behavioral and mental problems.
  2. Scientific Inquiry and Critical Thinking: Students will be able to critically evaluate information to interpret and draw conclusions about psychological phenomena. Students will also be able to demonstrate scientific reasoning and problem-solving, including effective research methods, to investigate psychological phenomena.
  3. Ethical and Social Responsibility and Respect for Diversity: Students will be able to demonstrate in professional and personal settings ethical and socially responsible behaviors, grounded in the Christian faith. Students will also be able to demonstrate awareness of how multicultural and global concerns impact their understanding of psychology.
  4. Communication and Professional Development: Students will be able to demonstrate competence in writing and in oral and interpersonal communication skills for different purposes within the psychology discipline. Students will also be able to apply psychology-specific content and skills to personal, academic, and career development.

Entry into the Major

The following qualifications will be necessary for acceptance into the major:

Core Requirements

A major in psychology requires a minimum of 39 credits: 33 core credit requirements and a minimum of 6 additional elective credits. Psychology majors must pass all major courses listed below with at least a 1.7 GPA (C-), while maintaining an overall 2.0 GPA, “C” requirement in the major.

Core Psychology Courses
Objective 1: Knowledge Base 
Objective 2: Scientific Inquiry and Critical Thinking 
Objective 3: Ethical and Social Responsibility and Respect for Diversity
Objective 4: Communication and Professional Development 
Recommended (especially if planning on graduate school):

The minor in psychology requires: 

To view the most recent course list and requirements for the elementary education major, please consult the Academic Catalog.

Supervised Study

Are you concerned about making the correct career choice? A course developed by Dr. Jennifer Wosmek helps to alleviate some of the uncertainty for psychology students at Bethany Lutheran College. At the broadest level, the goal of Wosmek’s supervised study course is to help students identify where they are going and how they are going to get there.

‘This unique course was designed to avoid the “deer in the headlights” feeling some students (and their parents) fear they will experience upon graduation.’

This course even comes with its own dress code. Students are required to come to each of the group meetings in professional attire. To keep this simple and equitable, Wosmek has defined this as “black and white clothing, formal, and no frills.”

The course requirements are arranged to provide students with experiences that will improve the likelihood that their plans will become a reality. Students meet weekly as a group to network with each other regarding weekly tasks and progress. They also meet privately with the instructor to develop and discuss individual weekly tasks. To make such individualized instruction possible, the enrollment for this course is purposely kept under ten students.

“Supervised study gave me the chance to sharpen my time management skills. We often had five to ten tasks due for the week on top of the homework from all our other classes. I had to learn various strategies in order to complete everything on time,” said student Sarah Doebbeling. “Supervised study was definitely the most challenging course of my college career, but also one of the most valuable.”

Supervised study in psychology offers an opportunity for first-hand learning experience within an area of interest. Designed specifically for psychology students, the course consists of both individual and group work. Students first become familiar with the range of career options available in psychology and, based on their talents, go on to develop areas of interest. Students engage in professional development within psychology, establish contacts within their areas of interest, and gain hands-on experiences in applied settings.

In addition to their individualized career development, the class also entails a spiritual component. As a group, the students learn about the doctrine of Christian vocation, as described by Gene Veith in his book God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life. This book stresses the concept of doing everything for God’s glory in all aspects of life; personal and professional.

“Of course everything in the class was of importance, but the most important aspect (which helped all of us survive the mental and emotional intensity of the class) was Veith’s book God at Work, which essentially emphasizes the recognition of the importance of our various vocations throughout life and ultimately serving God through everything we are and do,” said student Abigail Lecy.

Through the experiences provided in this course, students emerge prepared and confident in their ability to tackle current and future career challenges. Christa Redmann said of the class, “Many people will say the class was extremely hard and time-consuming and yes, it probably was. However, I was pushed to my very limits and for that I will be forever grateful.” She added, “In the end, this class challenged me physically, emotionally, and spiritually all for the better.”

The semester concludes with “journey presentations” wherein students present a review of their “journey” through the semester to friends, family, and faculty. This provides students with the opportunity to reflect on the experiences they have had and celebrate how far they have come.

Michah Teisberg offered her summary of the class, “Through taking this course, I feel more self confident that I am able to accomplish what I set out to do, and have the tools to succeed in my field of psychology and in my personal life in general. Though it was challenging at times, when you finish this class you feel like you can accomplish anything, and it is so rewarding to finish something that many students don’t even want to attempt to do. The greatest part of the class was our final presentations, because through these you really saw how far you and everyone in the class had come.”

Check out The Well Mind Podcast with Dr. Benjamin Kohls

The primary focus of this podcast is to engage people in discussions about a broad range of topics related to wellness, with a special emphasis on mental wellness. Dr. Kohls is the Director of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program at Bethany Lutheran College.

Next Steps

Interested in studying at Bethany? Scheduling a campus visit is a great way to see what we have to offer. You can meet professors or sit in on a class too! Contact our admissions office to learn more.