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Psychology

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.

Mortarboard
Degree Types
Major , Minor
Institution
Heart
Distinctive Requirements
Capstone
Document
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 2211 - Abnormal Psychology

The incidence, causes, treatment, and prevention of abnormal behavior of persons; major focus on adult populations.

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.

PSY 3200 - Writing in Psychology

This course is designed as an in-depth foray into writing in the discipline of Psychology. Upon completion of the course, students should be able to write clearly, concisely, and objectively using the format of the American Psychological Association in various formats common in the discipline of Psychology. These objectives will be met with the completion of multiple writing assignments focused on a particular area of Psychology and will require students to read and critically evaluate the primary literature in this area.

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
Kassidee Wright hitting a tennis ball.

Alumni Spotlight Class of 2022: Kassidee Wright

Kassidee Wright is confident in her path after completing two capstone projects for her dual degree in Psychology and Communication — a combination she was glad to find was easy to pursue at a liberal arts college. Determined to have a career as a counselor, she will be completing McDaniel’s master’s program in School Counseling. Having traveled to Paris for Jan Term and interned at the Boys and Girls Club of Westminster, Kassidee gained plenty of professional experience both locally and internationally.

Recent News for Psychology

  • McDaniel faculty awards presented

    To kick off the 2022-23 academic year, various awards were presented to McDaniel College faculty members during the opening faculty meeting.
  • Recent Psychology graduate studies how DIII student-athletes coped with COVID

    Psychology major and women’s soccer player Lauren Murray ’22 conducted research on the coping mechanisms of Division III student-athletes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. She presented her findings at the 36th Annual Association for Applied Sport Psychology Conference and McDaniel's Inaugural Academic Symposium.
  • Psychology major earns Griswold-Zepp Award for mental health awareness and support project

    Sophomore Sydney Hinnant was awarded a Griswold-Zepp award from the college for a mental health awareness and support project. The Center for Experience and Opportunity (CEO) at McDaniel oversees the Griswold-Zepp Award, which can total up to $3,000 for proposed volunteer experiences of McDaniel students, addressing the needs of local, regional, national, or worldwide communities.