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Students in conversation sitting near outdoor chairs.


Why are you like that!?” If you’ve ever blurted that question at a friend, family member, or romantic partner, a degree in Psychology would be your best bet for coming up with an answer that made sense. How we behave, and what causes us to behave that way, are at the heart of this fascinating major.

Degree Types
Major , Minor
Distinctive Requirements
Research Facilities
2 animal labs

Psychology is the scientific study of behavior and mental processes. At McDaniel, you will examine the questions of human and animal behavior using psychological theories and scientific methods. You will work closely with faculty and other students on research projects (all laboratory facilities are designed to be used by students) and may even present your own research at a regional or national conference. In addition, you will have the opportunity to use your developing skills by working with clients and organizations in the community.

Distinctive Courses

PSY 1106 - Introduction to Psychology

An introductory course designed to develop an understanding of the basic principles governing behavior, with emphasis on the scientific method of studying behavior. Intelligence, motivation, emotion, perception, learning, personality, workplace issues, and social factors that influence the individual will be considered.

PSY 2215 - Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive Laboratory

This course will introduce students to theory and research in cognitive psychology: how the human brain and mind give rise to our perceptions, thoughts, and feelings. Topics discussed will include perception, attention, memory, language, emotion, reasoning and judgment, conscious and unconscious mental processing and cognitive models.

PSY 2214 - Behavioral Neuroscience

Behavioral Neuroscience investigates the relationship between the brain and behavior.  The first part of the course is designed to provide students with a solid background in the fundamentals of neuroanatomy, nervous conduction and psychopharmacology; this will allow students to actively participate in classroom discussions in the second part, when major issues in behavioral neuroscience such as learning, memory, emotions, sleep, biological rhythms, and stress are investigated.

PSY 2209 - Developmental Psychology

The study of developmental changes from the prenatal period through adolescence, with particular emphasis on how physical, cognitive, and social-emotional development interact in forming the whole person. Special attention will be given to theoretical perspectives, the contexts within which development operates (home/school), and the application of research to current topics.

Senior Capstone Research: The culmination of four years of Psychology Training

Psychology major Lexi Andrea talks about her senior capstone — her study on the relationship between disability identity and psychological well-being as the culmination of her Psychology training at McDaniel. "After I graduate from McDaniel, I'm going to attend University of Maryland for their master's program in clinical psychological science."

Baby in a classroom full of Developmental Psychology students.

Babies steal the show in Developmental Psychology class

It’s “Baby Day” in Psychology professor Stephanie Madsen’s class. In addition to the mostly Psychology, Education, Sports Coaching and Pre-Med majors taking the class, McDaniel faculty and staff moms are attending with their babies, age 2 to 10 months. “Part of this really is about having a little fun while connecting students with community members,” says Madsen. “They also discover that theories and research findings can be translated into real life.”

McDaniel Psychology professor Wendy Morris (left) with students Matt Allen, Max Seigel and Katie Keegan at the Association for Psychological Science conference in Boston.

Psychology student presents groundbreaking research at national conference

During Katie Keegan’s senior year, the Psychology major’s curiosity sparked an Honors research study about perceptions of mass murder committed by Muslims versus Christians and landed her a presentation spot at a national conference. “It was an amazing opportunity to showcase to a wide variety of people my research about perceptions of terrorism, and students and professors alike were interested to hear how I landed upon the topic I did and my next steps in my career and schooling,” says Keegan of Hadley, Mass. “My conference section featured research that was related to the study of fear and many of us utilized similar background research about terror and terrorism.

The McDaniel Commitment in Action

The McDaniel Commitment—a series of opportunities guaranteed to all students—provides enhanced mentoring and coaching, and ensures every undergraduate student completes at least two meaningful experiential learning opportunities.

Professor holding pigeon in the pigeon lab speaking with students.

On Campus Animal Lab McDaniel College Pigeon Lab Research & Training

Many students worry that by attending a small college, they won't have access to cutting-edge labs or animal research studies that are hallmarks of large research universities. At McDaniel, you'll have the chance to engage in high-level animal research, including on-campus at our pigeon lab, where choice and decision-making are researched through a study of pigeon behavior.

“If you would have told me when I was graduating from McDaniel that I’d start my own nonprofit, I would have said, ‘No way, that’s a lot...But we just built from where we were and all of a sudden, it just makes sense.” Read Britt's story.

Britt Burr '11, Psychology and Theatre Arts Double Major

Future Career Paths

Graduates from our program are primed for success. Many decide to continue their studies in Psychology in graduate school and we've been successful in placing our students in leading programs. Other graduates go on to get jobs in the fields of education, business, counseling, and many others.

Recent graduates of our program now have job titles like:

  • Behavior Specialist
  • Director of Suicide Prevention
  • Workplace Violence Threat Assessor
  • Sexual Health Educator
  • Mental Health Counselor/Therapist
  • Clinical Research Program Coordinator
  • Psychiatric Rehabilitation Counselor

My Career: Where Will The Hill Lead You?

With the one-on-one guidance of your faculty mentors and advisors, you’ll focus on the practical knowledge and career skills that will prepare you to succeed in a professional environment. And as you build your step-by-step plan for life after the Hill, you’ll have everything you need to become who you’ve always wanted to be.

Explore the Center for Experience and Opportunity
Brittany Sears holding books standing next to daughter.

Student Spotlight Brittany Sears Psychology, 2019

“Psychology professor Maggie McDevitt most influenced who I have become. She is the epitome of what a professor should be. She provided me with opportunities outside the classroom that were invaluable. I was a tutor, lab technician, and researcher for her Psychology of Learning class. All of those experiences were wonderful, but we connected on another level. We talked sometimes and both of us would sit there in tears (happy tears, of course) while we had very heartfelt discussions. I think she knew the apprehensions I had about myself and about being a non-traditional student. She knew me better than I knew myself. I know I have Dr. McDevitt on my team for the rest of my life and that is one of the most important things I will take away from McDaniel.”

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