Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the Psychology Department main office, and who is the Chair of the department?

The main office for the department is on the 3rd floor of Russell Hall. Some forms and much useful information can be obtained at this office.  The Chair of the department is Dr. Jeff Aspelmeier.

After I fill University & College Core classes and I complete my psychology requirements, what else do I have to do to finish my degree at RU?

You need 120 hours to graduate, so even if all your Core class are done (that's approximately 47 hours) and your psychology is all done (that's 37 hours), and you have completed your B.S. requirements (between 6-8 hours) or your B.A. requirements, you will still have room for 24-30 hours.  If you want to have a minor, that's fine, but you don't have to.  All the courses that fall outside the category of major, University/College Core, or B.S./B.A. requirements are called ELECTIVES.

When can I get advised for registration?

Usually the schedule for the next semester is released about 4-6 weeks prior to spring break or the middle of the semester.  And Personal Identification Numbers (PIN) are sent to your advisor, along with your advisement time, about two weeks before the actual registration period of Phase I.  So you need to see your advisor shortly after you get an email notice about advising or soon after you hear people talking about next semester's courses.  If you delay seeing your advisor and getting your PIN ticket, you may miss Phase I, and that will seriously limit your choice of courses.

How do I get advisement?

First, find out who your advisor is. There is a list posted on the bulletin board outside of the department’s main office.

Next, find out your advisor's office hours.  You can then either show up during office hours or email the professor to make an appointment. Sometimes, during the pre-registration period, there will be a sign-up sheet posted on your advisors door.  It is your responsibility to get to your advisor and be advised.

Finally, be sure to show up for your appointment! And bring any relevant papers, schedules, etc. with you, just in case they are needed.   

Is it better to have a B.A. or a B.S. for graduate school admission?

It doesn't seem to really matter very much, as the degrees mean different things to each school.  It's really much more important to have good grades!  If you want to take a language, that's what you would do for a B.A. degree.  If you want to take some additional math or science (beyond the Gen. Ed. requirements), go for the B.S.

Does a "D" grade count if it's in a required course for the major?

Yes a D counts in most psychology courses.  You have to have at least a 2.0 average in your major (psychology) to graduate. If you get a D, as long as you have other grades that can pull your overall average up to a 2.0, you can count that course. There are two exceptions to this. In PSYC 301 adn 302 you must earn a C- or higher for the grade to count. If you earn lower than a C-, then you will have to retake the course before you can graduate.

Is it important to have a minor?

It is helpful to have a minor if you are interested in another area.  For example, if you are thinking you would like to get a job as a manager for a retail store, it might be helpful to have a marketing or business minor to combine with your psychology major. Or, if you are thinking you would like to work as a residential counselor at a group home for adolescents, it might be helpful to have a minor in criminal justice or social work.  A minor makes your experience in college a little more focused and directed, but you should only do it if you really enjoy the other area, because otherwise it can become kind of a burden, rather than a great learning experience.

What can a graduate with a psychology B.S. or B.A. do for employment after graduation?

There are lots of jobs which look for a well-rounded liberal arts graduate (the psychology major is part of that category!). If you want to be a practicing psychologist, you will have to go to graduate school, but lots of entry level jobs are looking for people who are people-savvy, or who understand the principles of behavior and learning. Check out some of the newsletters to see what kinds of jobs there are. Or go to the following website to get some ideas:

Are there any clubs or associations which are related to my major?

There is a psychology club, and they have speakers and meetings about topics of interest to psychology majors. Dr. Jeff Willner is the faculty advisor for that club. There is also PSI CHI, which is the honor fraternity for psychology majors. You can find out the exact requirements for membership in PSI CHI from Dr. Riding-Malon who is the faculty advisor. Also visit their information boards on the 4th floor of Russell Hall, right by the elevator.

Is an internship required for psychology majors? What are the requirements for an internship (and why would I want to do one if it's not required)?

The internship opportunity is not a required class. We recommend internships for stiudents who meet the requirements and are either planning not to go to graduate school or are planning on going to graduate school so they can work in an aplied area such I/O psychology, School Psychology, Ocupational Therapy, or an area of mental health (Clincial Psychology, Counseling Psychology, Conselor Education/Community Mental Health, Social Work, or Mariage and Family Theorap). You qualify to do an internship if you have had at least 75 hours of college level work, 18 hours in psychology, and have a 3.2 gpa in psychology. Only a limited number of people do an internship each semester, and if you are interested in doing one, you will need to be very pro-active in finding a place you would like to intern at and interviewing for a position. Internships can be anywhere from 1-12 hours, and are usually unpaid, but there is quite a bit of variability in internships. Besides the regular school year semesters, the summer is a good time to do one. Contact the psychology department to get in touch with the internship coordinator for any given semester.

What is an Independent Study (PSYC 498) and should I do one?

Independent Studies are typically meant to give students an opportunity to work with faculty on a research project. Anyone who is considering going to graduate school should consider doing one or two independent study projects. The experiences can be a good way to get strong letters of recommendation for graduate school. These credit hours can count as psychology elective hours. Many faculty have ongoing research projects for which they recruit psychology majors to help conduct research. A list of faculty who are typically willing to do Independent studies can be found here. To register for an independent study, you must arrange the project with a faculty member and complete the Independent Study Proposal form and obtain the appropriate signatures.