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Psychology is the systematic and scientific study of human functioning. Human psychology is the result of biological, developmental, emotional, cognitive and social processes.

Psychologists study these processes through the application of the scientific method and apply their findings to better understand human behavior.

Combine theory and observation

Our program is designed to expose you to the theoretical and empirical foundations of psychology, as well as the applications of established principles to behavior change. You will apply the major research methods used in psychology to answer questions and be able to interpret and evaluate the results and conclusions derived through these methods. Our faculty encourages students to become actively engaged in the learning process.

Engage in the mental health field

We offer four junior and senior capstone courses (Clinical Practicum, Applied Psychology, Introduction to Counseling & Psychotherapy and Research Practicum) that involve you directly in the mental health field. This can help you apply theory and concepts, and address ethical and practical concerns.

Choose your preferred degree path

By majoring in psychology, you will have the option to either pursue a bachelor of arts degree or a bachelor of science degree. Students targeting work in community service centers, social work, clinics and business usually pursue the bachelor of arts degree, whereas those who are considering careers in the clinical and research arena typically seek the bachelor of science degree.

At a Glance

Degree Type

Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Science




College of Arts and Sciences

Next Steps

Interested in this major? Here's what you can do next:

The Curriculum

With challenging and relevant courses, outstanding faculty, small class sizes, and an emphasis on hands-on learning, the psychology program will position you to succeed in your chosen career.

Program Details

Find out what it takes to earn a degree in psychology and explore the courses.

Emphasis Areas

Customize this major to your interests by taking courses in an area of focus:

Clinical and Behavioral Applications

Be prepared to enter graduate programs in clinical, counseling or school psychology, or work in institutional settings with children, developmentally disabled, the seriously mentally ill and geriatric populations.

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Business/Organizational Applications

Large organizations have continuing needs in the organizational behavioral area of management. Employment opportunities in this area include performance evaluation specialists, personnel selection and placement, training and development specialists, program evaluation, or human resource management. This emphasis also prepares you to pursue a graduate degree in Organizational Development, Human Resource Management, or Human Factors.

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Family and Child Development Applications

Obtain a broader and deeper understanding of interpersonal relationships, particularly as they apply to marriage, family and child rearing. You may find this emphasis useful in your personal life or in obtaining employment as a preschool teacher, in social service or educational agencies, or recreational programs. It also prepares you for graduate studies in Marriage and Family Counseling, Child Development, or Child Psychology.

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Health and Wellness Applications

Be prepared for graduate work in the rapidly growing field of health psychology and behavioral medicine by understanding the intersection of psychological/behavioral changes with the prevention and treatment of physical disease. You'll also be better prepared to enter medically related fields.

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Law and Criminal Behavior Applications

Individuals with mental illnesses are too frequently swept up into the criminal justice system. Certain types of psychopathology may also lead to anti-social behavior in the community. Knowledge of law and criminal behavior from a psychology perspective can lead to employment in probation, social services for mentally ill offenders, or as victim advocates. You'll also be prepared for graduate study in social work, law, community psychology, social psychology or criminology.

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Psychobiology Applications

The Psychobiology emphasis allows you to gain basic training in this relatively new field. Psychobiology combines training in biology and psychology to enable students to learn not only how, but why people and animals behave as they do. It is good preparation for PhD programs in areas such as neuropsychology and experimental psychology.

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Sports Psychology Applications

The Sports Psychology emphasis allows you to broaden your experience in psychology to the field of sports, either in preparation for graduate work in this popular area, or to enhance your own athletic pursuits or coach others.

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Highlighted Courses

Get familiar with some of the courses you might take in this major.

PSYC 203: Understanding Emotion

This course provides an introduction to the study of emotions. Themes covered include the biological basis of emotions, individual differences in emotionality, emotions in social relationships, cultural understanding of emotions, emotions and psychopathology, and Ganzheitspsychologie. Emphasis on research methodology and ethics is also covered.

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PSYC 215: The Psychology of Sex and Gender

An exploration of research and issues surrounding gender from a psychosocial perspective, with an emphasis on the interaction between biological and social theories. The implications of social roles, status, and gender-related traits on relationships and health that are central to students' daily lives are emphasized throughout. Methodological flaws that may impact the observance of sex differences are also examined.

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PSYC 325: Theories of Personality

The analysis of the theories of personality in terms of structure, dynamics and development. Biological, social and cultural determination of personality are considered, as well as characteristic research and research methods.

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PSYC 345: Health Psychology

Examines the use of behavior therapy procedures in relation to the prevention and treatment of various disorders such as chronic pain, cancer, hypertension, alcoholism, smoking and eating disorders. The use of psychological issues and treatment procedures as they relate to etiology and maintenance of these disorders is emphasized and specialized areas such as clinical behavioral pediatrics, type A behavior and terminal illness are discussed.

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PSYC 417: Cultural Psychology

This course provides a systematic overview of knowledge about cultural organization of human psychological functions, and how psychology as a research discipline can study these functions. Strong theoretical and methodological orientation is included.

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PSYC 422: Child Psychopathology

This course is designed to give students an introduction to abnormal child psychology. We will study the major disorders typically diagnosed in childhood, including the DSM-IV-TR diagnostic criteria, the current information on the etiology of the disorders, as well as the current research on the most effective assessment and treatment for these disorders.

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Recommended Minors

Want to add even more value to your degree? Consider one of these minors to gain a unique combination of skills and perspectives.

The Experience

We offer hands-on opportunities that give you the freedom to explore your passion through real-world work and prepare for a fulfilling career.

  • Honor Society

    Qualified students may join the Cal Lutheran chapter of Psi Chi, the international honor society in psychology, which hosts a number of events each semester and provides excellent networking opportunities. Each year, several students receive support to present the findings of their research projects at undergraduate, regional, and even national conferences.

  • Research Opportunities

    As a psychology student, your course requirements encourage you to participate in a number of research studies. Doing this will provide you an opportunity to observe the empirical process of psychological inquiry from the inside. Your participation will also assist professors and other student researchers in forwarding the understanding of human behavior and experience – the main goal of psychology as a science!

  • Student Clubs

    The Psychology Club hosts meetings and events where students can discuss mental health issues, various psychological concepts, and interact with others in the field of psychology and/or studying psychology. Opportunities are provided for those interested in psychology to connect with like-minded others through engaging discussions, activities, and events.

Student photo

Psychology offers a very broad educational experience where you can find many specific avenues of interest. Taking Adult Development and Aging (PSYC 305) helped me narrow down my future career. I hope to be a neuropsychologist conducting research on Alzheimer’s and dementia as I have many older adult friends. I find it very important to dedicate myself to showing them and younger generations that they can make the most out of their later years.

Maia Sable
Psychology Major

Career Paths

Your degree will be excellent preparation for graduate work in psychology, law and business. With a bachelor’s degree, you will find employment opportunities in psychiatric rehabilitation programs, as research assistants, and in the business world. If you choose to pursue a master’s or doctorate degree through our Graduate School of Psychology, you can further develop your career to work in clinics and institutions, teach at a two-year college, or work as a school psychologist or counselor.

Potential Careers

Psychiatric Technicians

Care for individuals with mental or emotional conditions or disabilities, following the instructions of physicians or other health practitioners. Monitor patients' physical and emotional well-being and report to medical staff. May participate in rehabilitation and treatment programs, help with personal hygiene, and administer oral or injectable medications.

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Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors

Counsel and advise individuals with alcohol, tobacco, drug, or other problems, such as gambling and eating disorders. May counsel individuals, families, or groups or engage in prevention programs.

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Educational, Guidance, and Career Counselors and Advisors

Advise and assist students and provide educational and vocational guidance services.

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Marriage and Family Therapists

Diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders, whether cognitive, affective, or behavioral, within the context of marriage and family systems. Apply psychotherapeutic and family systems theories and techniques in the delivery of services to individuals, couples, and families for the purpose of treating such diagnosed nervous and mental disorders.

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Rehabilitation Counselors

Counsel individuals to maximize the independence and employability of persons coping with personal, social, and vocational difficulties that result from birth defects, illness, disease, accidents, aging, or the stress of daily life. Coordinate activities for residents of care and treatment facilities. Assess client needs and design and implement rehabilitation programs that may include personal and vocational counseling, training, and job placement.

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Industrial-Organizational Psychologists

Apply principles of psychology to human resources, administration, management, sales, and marketing problems. Activities may include policy planning; employee testing and selection, training, and development; and organizational development and analysis. May work with management to organize the work setting to improve worker productivity.

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Clinical and Counseling Psychologists

Assess, diagnose, and treat mental and emotional disorders of individuals through observation, interview, and psychological tests. Help individuals with distress or maladjustment understand their problems through their knowledge of case history, interviews with patients, and theory. Provide individual or group counseling services to assist individuals in achieving more effective personal, social, educational, and vocational development and adjustment. May design behavior modification programs and consult with medical personnel regarding the best treatment for patients.

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School Psychologists

Diagnose and implement individual or schoolwide interventions or strategies to address educational, behavioral, or developmental issues that adversely impact educational functioning in a school. May address student learning and behavioral problems and counsel students or families. May design and implement performance plans, and evaluate performance. May consult with other school-based personnel.

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Looking for more career paths? Search these related areas to discover more options.


Graduates from this major have gone to work at:

  • AmeriCorps
  • Applied Behavior Consultants
  • Aspen Center for Autism
  • Behavior Therapy & Family Counseling Clinic
  • Casa Pacifica
  • California Psych Care
  • Children’s Hospital
  • Denver Health Medical Center
  • Institute for Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Interface Children Family Services
  • Peace Corps

Graduate Schools

Our alumni have pursued advanced degrees at:

  • Azusa Pacific
  • Boston University
  • California Lutheran University
  • Chapman University
  • Chicago School of Professional Psychology
  • John Hopkins University
  • New York University
  • Pepperdine University School of Law
  • Purdue University
  • UCLA
  • University of Hawaii
  • University of Southern California
  • University of Washington


The counseling and psychotherapy course in the psychology program taught me the skills I now use everyday as a clinical director. Working with the substance abuse population is very different from traditional marriage and family private practice. So when I started working with my first set of clients, all of the tips and tricks I learned from the program started to come back to me and I was able to put to practice the principles I had learned.

Bailey Borup
Psychology, Law and Criminal Behavior Applications Emphasis Major
Clinical Director, Altitude Recovery Community

This page includes information from O*NET OnLine by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license. Some occupations listed above may require a related graduate degree.

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