College of Arts & Sciences

Emphasis Areas

In addition to a BA or BS in Psychology, students may choose to complete an interdisciplinary Emphasis area. The Psychology Major, along with an Emphasis Area, will be noted on the student's transcript. The following are descriptions of what each Emphasis Area prepares students to do following graduation. A list of courses to choose from, in order to complete the requirements for an Emphasis, may be obtained from your Psychology Adviser. You are encouraged to do a Co-op (field experience for credit) related to your emphasis area.

Download Emphasis Advising Forms

Family & Child Development Applications

This emphasis allows psychology students to obtain a broader and deeper understanding of interpersonal relationships particularly as they apply to marriage, family and child rearing. Students may find this emphasis useful in their personal lives or in obtaining employment as preschool teachers, in social service or educational agencies, or recreational programs. It may also enhance their preparation for graduate studies in Marriage and Family Counseling, Child Development, or Child Psychology.

Clinical/Behavior Application

The emphasis in Clinical/Behavioral Applications prepares students to enter graduate programs in clinical, counseling or school psychology. Students are also prepared to work in institutional settings with children, developmentally disabled, the seriously mentally ill and geriatric populations.

Law & Criminal Behavior Application

The mentally ill all too frequently are swept up into the criminal justice system. Furthermore, certain types of psychopathology may lead to anti-social behavior in the community. Knowledge of law and criminal behavior from a psychology perspective may lead to employment in probation, social services for mentally ill offenders, or as victim advocates. This emphasis may also help prepare students for graduate study in Social Work, Law, Community Psychology, Social Psychology or criminology.

Business/Organizational Applications

Large organizations have continuing needs in the organizational behavioral area of management. Furthermore, employees must respond to changes both within and outside the organization. Employment opportunities in this area might include: performance evaluation specialists, personnel selection and placement, and training and development specialists, program evaluation, or human resource management. This emphasis also better prepares students who are interested in pursuing a graduate degree in Organizational Development, Human Resource Management, or Human Factors.


Psychobiology emphasis allows students 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 Ph.D. programs in areas such as neuropsychology and experimental psychology.

Health and Wellness Applications

The Health and wellness emphasis prepares students for graduate work in the rapidly growing field of health psychology and behavioral medicine. It addresses the intersection of psychological/behavioral changes with the prevention and treatment of physical disease. This emphasis would also be of interest to students going into medically related fields or who want to apply it to themselves, their families or through community service.

Sports Psychology Applications

The Sports Psychology emphasis allows students to broaden their experience in psychology to the field of sports and exercise sciences. This can be useful in preparation for graduate work in this popular area, or to enhance athletic pursuits or coach others.

Contact your advisor if you would like to graduate with an emphasis area.