Most simply, psychology is the scientific study of the mind (i.e., mental processes)
and behavior. Topics of investigation include learning principles, personality traits,
social influence, thought, intelligence, perceptual processes, counseling approaches,
emotional development, consciousness, and much more (psychology is a very broad scientific
Psychology is a fascinating area of study because the subject matter involves the human experience. However, an understanding of psychology offers more than answering questions you may have about yourself and others. Very early in psychology's history, it defined itself as not only a science, but an applied science in which the ultimate aim is the "real-world" application of scientific knowledge gained from conducting research.
Today, psychology can be found in a variety of places including counseling, marketing, human resources, leadership, education, engineering, health issues, law, and community studies. In many cases, these areas would not exist without psychology. For example, something as simple as the button layout on a copy machine involves an understanding of human thought and perceptual abilities - assuming it was designed correctly! Students from all of these disciplines (and others) often choose to minor in psychology.
The Ferris State University Psychology program provides students with a solid base of psychological knowledge and its application.
First, it requires that students be exposed to a broad range of topics, including basic principles of psychology and the major theories and concepts. As a result, students are expected to take courses representing core areas of psychology, including the areas mentioned at the top of this page. Outside of these requirements, students are free to take courses that are of special interest to them. Thus, students have a great deal of freedom when determining what psychology courses to take and can tailor their program experiences to suit interests and career aspirations.
Second, it requires that students obtain hands-on exposure to psychology by engaging in research, internships, and/or practicum. For example, students have completed research in the areas of social, developmental and cognitive psychology. Recently, faculty and students have attended and presented research at conferences such as the annual conventions of the Association for Psychological Science (APS) and the Midwestern Psychological Association (MPA). In addition, many students have obtained hands-on research experience in the program's Animal Cognition Lab. Also, students have acquired on-site experiences in settings where human services professionals work (e.g., school psychology, counseling). Such experiences are important for those students wishing to obtain graduate study in applied areas or finding work helping others right out of college.
Both the hands-on and course-related requirements are designed to prepare students for graduate school and ready them for careers as researchers, educators, clinicians, and more. The majority of students who have applied to graduate programs have been accepted to programs across the nation.
Social Sciences Department
Ferris State University
820 Campus Drive, ASC 2108
Big Rapids, MI 49307