School of Health Sciences & Education

Psychological Science, B.S.

Introduction

Earn your B.S. degree in Psychological Science from Saint Francis University

A bachelor of science degree in psychological science from Saint Francis University prepares students for their futures as responsible global citizens. Our students have the flexibility to tailor their studies to best fit their future goals. As a psychology major, you will have opportunities to learn about the field through fundamental coursework in a variety of sub-disciplines while gaining valuable practical experience through an integrated research component of the psychology curriculum.

 

Offered: On-Campus

hands-on labs and clinical research experiences in neuroscience, animal behavior, human psychology, and more

student and faculty-student collaborative research projects

 

psychology in action through community-engaged experiences and research

 

The SFU Learning Experience

Psychology the Saint Francis Way

Our students have plenty of opportunities to gain psychology experience through their coursework and through hands-on activities beyond the traditional classroom format including labs, community engaged projects, clubs, self-study, and more. Our faculty’s commitment to academic excellence, our student-centered approach to learning, and our focus on undergraduate research allow students to develop an understanding of not just theories and concepts, but the application of psychology in our daily lives.

 

Study (and grow) the mind!

Where your mind can take you is all up to you! Graduates of the psychology program are well-prepared for entry-level employment in the field and for advanced study in graduate or professional schools.

 

Hands-on Learning: Our majors thrive on experiential learning. That may include applying behavioral analysis in training rescue dogs alongside the local Humane Society. Or they may work through a simulated scenario in our new state-of-the-art Experiential Learning Lab. Others analyze data to provide real-world value for community partners. 

 

Research: A two-semester research sequence allows students to understand research methodology by designing and completing their own research project.  Students are encouraged to publish their course research which is a unique opportunity for undergrads.  

 

Internships: Apply your knowledge and skills through internship opportunities in a variety of professional settings including inpatient or outpatient clinics, residences for teenagers, agencies for older adults, child development centers, after-school programs, equine therapy programs, and human resources.

 

Experiences: Join the psychology club, and expand your academic experience through field trips and other out-of-the-classroom activities — visit the zoo, organize fundraisers, host psychology movie nights, and lead discussions on topics of the mind.

 

 

CURRICULUM & COURSES

What You’ll Learn in the Psychology Program

Students in the undergraduate psychology program at Saint Francis are introduced to natural and social scientific investigations of behavior and mental processes. The curriculum engages students in research and scholarly activity, while also encouraging them to apply coursework in internships, study abroad, and/or community service.

 

Within a liberal arts and sciences tradition, students have the option to earn a bachelor's degree, and are required to add either a double major or a minor or concentration to their studies, providing them with the versatility they need to find success!  

  • Degree Paths
  • Learning Objectives
  • Psychology Paths to match your future plans:

    Detailed curriculum paths are below. Your faculty advisor is here to help you navigate the options.


    Bachelor of Science in Psychological Science (4 options)

    Degree Description Curriculum 

    Psychological Science, B.S.

     

    requires students to choose a minor or a second major if pursuing this psychology degree without a concentration

    Course Catalog


    Plan of Study

    Pre-Medicine Concentration

     

    prepares students to attend medical school, perhaps to study psychiatry or neurology          

     

                

    Course Catalog


    Plan of Study

    Neuroscience Concentration

     

    double major required in Psychological Science & Biology

    for students who enjoy making connections across fields of science and social science, and who are curious about the structure and function of our brain, sensory systems, and neuromuscular systems

    Course Catalog


    Plan of Study

    (4+3) leading to a Doctor of Physical Therapy

    for students who enjoy making connections across fields of science and social science, and who are curious about the structure and function of our brain, sensory systems, and neuromuscular systems

    Course Catalog


    Plan of Study

     

  • Psychology Learning Objectives 

    The psychology department follows the learning objectives established by the American Psychological Association (APA) for an undergraduate psychology curriculum. Student learning outcomes center around five foundational areas. 

     

    1. Knowledge of Psychology 

    • Students will be able to describe key concepts, principles, and overarching themes in psychology. 

    • Students will develop a working knowledge of psychology’s various content domains. 

    • Students will be able to describe applications of psychology. 

    1. Scientific inquiry and critical thinking 

    • Students will be able to use scientific reasoning to interpret psychological phenomena. 

    • Students will be able to demonstrate psychological information literacy. 

    • Students will engage in innovative and integrative thinking and problem solving. 

    • Students will be able to interpret, design, and conduct basic psychological research. 

    • Students will be able to incorporate sociocultural factors within their scientific inquiries. 

    1. Ethical and social responsibility in a diverse world 

    • Students will be able to apply ethical standards to evaluate psychological science and practice. 

    • Students will build and enhance interpersonal relationships. 

    • Students will be able to adopt values that build community at local, national, and global levels. 

    1. Communication 

    • Students will demonstrate effective writing for different purposes. 

    • Students will exhibit effective presentation skills for different purposes. 

    • Students will interact effectively with others. 

    1. Professional development 

    • Students will apply psychological content and skills to career goals. 

    • Students will exhibit self-efficacy and self-regulation. 

    • Students will refine project management skills. 

    • Students will enhance teamwork capacity. 

    • Students will develop a meaningful professional direction for life after graduation. 

Great Minds to Teach the Mind

Our faculty have expertise in developmental psychology, research methods, gerontology, health psychology, clinical and counseling psychology, neuroscience, and memory and cognition. Their commitment to academic excellence is incomparable, and their dedication to their students goes above and beyond.

 

Program Lead:  Dr. Marnie Moist, mmoist@francis.edu, 814-472-2887

Career Outlook in Psychology

The study of psychology offers endless possibilities. Thanks to the solid foundation of our curriculum and the versatility of our psychology degree, graduates find themselves well-prepared for entry-level positions, graduate school, or professional school. Possible career choices include advertising agent/manager, affirmative action representative, alcohol/drug abuse counselor, behavior analyst, caseworker, corrections or parole officer, guidance counselor, marriage counselor, mental health worker, psychiatrist, psychologist, rehabilitation counselor,  and so much more.


Watch an interview with Dr. Erin Reifsteck as she discusses how her time at Saint Francis University prepared her for an exciting career in Sports Psychology.

 

FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions About Psychology and Saint Francis University

  • What can I do with a degree in psychology?

    A degree in psychology provides so much opportunity for diverse career paths — from psychiatrist to career counselor to gerontologist — that graduates can tailor their studies to their goals. You can attend graduate school, conduct research, become a guidance counselor or academic advisor, work as a case manager or child welfare worker, become a bank manager or customer service manager, and so much more!

     

  • What is the Canine Learning and Behavior course?

    The Psychology department’s Canine Learning and Behavior course is a semester-long class that studies and trains rescue dogs in order to analyze events and consequences that contribute to their specific behaviors.

     

    In this popular course:

    • Students gain hands-on learning as they apply concepts of conditioning, reinforcement and behavioral analysis.
    • Dogs get a second chance at life through a partnership with the  Central PA Humane Society.
    • Students train their dogs to receive their  American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen Certification.
    • As the dogs successfully complete the class, they receive a diploma and SFU graduate collar tag at a special graduation ceremony in their honor.
    • Happy endings! After Puppy Graduation, the dogs are adopted to vetted, "furever" families.

     

    Watch a news clip on one of our "puppy graduation" ceremonies:

    https://wjactv.com/news/local/puppy-graduation-at-saint-francis-univ

     

     

  • What types of research can I do as a Psychology major?

    As a psychology student, you will undertake a 2-semester research sequence that allows you to understand research methodology by designing and completing your own research project. There is even a live rat lab where you can learn to train your own rat. Recent projects have focused on: 

    • personality type and school major
    • gender, self-esteem, and Facebook “likes”
    • effect of socially awkward context on mobile phone reliance
    • physical fitness and GPA
    • parent-child fear connections
    • the female athlete triad
    • gender difference in online dating advertisements
    • birth order and motivation
    • personality type and Wii bowling performance
    • Music and comprehension

    Psychology majors are encouraged to conduct research or participate in ongoing research projects. Students may join a faculty-sponsored research team, or they may design their own project. Independently designed projects require faculty sponsors.

  • What are examples of published research?

    Recent Research

    • Shoemaker, A., Bargielski, R., Nedrow, A., Maglet, B. & Yahner, T. (2016). Can rats learn to paint, fetch, or play basketball? The application of learning theories to the lab rat. 19th Annual Laurel Highlands Undergraduate Psychology Conference. Greensburg, Pa.
    • Olek, L. & Flaisher-Grinberg, S. (2016). The behavioral effects of chronic exposure to stress in mice models of autism spectrum disorders. 19th Annual Laurel Highlands Undergraduate Psychology Conference. Greensburg, Pa.
    • Herman, B., Hollen, M., Loper, K., Mennett, A., Reed, P., Townsend, G., Roos, K. & Banks, L. (2014). The Relationship between Most Common Stress Coping Strategies, Campus Attitudes Toward the SFU Alcohol Policy, and Efforts to Educate Students who Violate Policy. 4th Annual Saint Francis Research Day. Loretto, Pa.
    • Lasinsky, E., Sepich, E., Baker, S.H., & Shaffer, B. A. (2010). An examination of Gender Difference in online dating advertisements. Eastern Psychological Association. New York, NY.
    • Scheib, K., Gorlaski, A., Sandrick, C., Shaffer, B. A., & Baker, S. H. (2010). The effect of birth order on achievement motivation. Eastern Psychological Association. New York, NY.
    • Esposito, A., Ganassi, J., & Moist, M. (2009) The Effect of Wii Playing Constraints and Personality Type on Total Bowling Points. 12th Annual Laurel Highlands Undergraduate Psychology Conference.
    • Lasinsky, E., Sepich, E., Baker, S.H., & Shaffer, B. A. (2010). An examination of Gender Difference in online dating advertisements. Eastern Psychological Association. New York, NY.
    • Scheib, K., Gorlaski, A., Sandrick, C., Shaffer, B. A., & Baker, S. H. (2010). The effect of birth order on achievement motivation. Eastern Psychological Association. New York, NY.
    • Esposito, A., Briley, E., & Bargdill, R. W. (2009). A Phenomenological Inquiry into School Spirit. The Society for Humanistic Psychology Conference. Sponsored by APA Division 32, University of the Rockies, Colorado Springs, CO.
    • Albanes, B., Kowalski, J., & Moist, M. (2009). Does Background Music influence Comprehension? 12th Annual Laurel Highlands Undergraduate Psychology Conference.
    • Chappell, J. & Moist, M. (2009). Reiki Effects on Stress Relaxation and the Role of open-mindedness. 12th Annual Laurel highlands Undergraduate Psychology Conference.
    • Dice, A., West, J., Moist, M. (2009). Effect of Type of Seating Arrangement and Type of Recall on Recall. 12th Annual Laurel Highlands Undergraduate Psychology Conference.
    • Bargdill, R.W. & Marcasco, B.A (2008). The Phenomenology of Meaningful Events in the Lives of Undergraduates. The Society for Humanistic Psychology Conference. Sponsored by APA Division32, Boston, MA.
    • Sandu, A. & Moist, M. (2008) Effect of Gender on Recall of Overt vs. Relational Aggressive Acts. 11th 12th Annual Laurel Highlands Undergraduate Psychology Conference.
  • What clubs and honor societies can I join?

    Psychology Club

    We have an active psychology club where you can expand your academic experience through field trips and other out-of-the-classroom activities. Here are some examples of past activities:  

    • Pittsburgh Zoo trip to observe how operant conditioning is used with the animals
    • volunteering and fundraising for the charity Autumn's Angels
    • psychology movie nights
    • discussions on topics such as the cancer experience and flash mobs with connections to current pop culture examples

    Psi Chi

    You may want to join honor societies such as Psi Chi Psi Chi  is an International Honor Society in Psychology, founded in 1929 for the purposes of encouraging, stimulating, and maintaining excellence in scholarship, and advancing the science of psychology.  

     

  • What internships and professional networking opportunities are available?

    As a student, you may participate in professional activities including attending and presenting in professional conferences as you learn new things and are ready to share your research. There are also many internship opportunities where you may apply and integrate the skills, knowledge, and values derived from coursework in psychology and in your general education.