Intellectual Challenge and Personal Growth
Students who choose the psychology major at Muhlenberg can expect to be challenged. In every course, our students are presented with difficult concepts, theories and skills, and are expected to think about, discuss, and analyze that material from multiple perspectives. Each student takes a sequence of courses that gives them a solid foundation in the methods, content, and skills used to understand behavior. The major is designed to ensure students understand the breadth of the field of psychology, but is also flexible enough to give students the ability to choose courses aligned with their interests. The major is structured such that students progress through introductory, intermediate, and advanced coursework with each level supporting increasingly sophisticated and in-depth knowledge and skill development. Our curriculum is closely aligned with national standards and the principles of quality undergraduate programs in psychology (see http://www.apa.org/education/undergrad/principles.aspx). Our alumni consistently emphasize how well prepared they were for their jobs and/or graduate study.
Some examples of what our students do in the major:
Many of our courses include service-learning or other outreach projects. For example: students in Multicultural Psychology are asked to create a campus-wide proposal to improve some aspect of multicultural awareness on campus; in Health Psychology, students worked with the College Health Center to organize a campus-wide health fair and developed the PHAM program (Peer Health Advocates at Muhlenberg).
Inside the classroom, students are challenged in creative ways including sharing what they're learning in a public blog for Contemporary Racism, or critiquing a popular movie from a neuroscience perspective for Biopsychology. Social Psychology students address "real-world" issues including problems of homelessness, cyber-bullying and interestingly, the problems associated with attending a small-liberal arts college (i.e. living in the "Muhlenberg Bubble"). Students in Sensation & Perception learn about visual adaptation by wearing goggles that turn the world upside down, and in one Child Development lesson, students sit or kneel on the floor to truly understand the perspective of a child's world. Students collect and analyze their own data in courses like Cognitive Psychology, Research Methods, and Advanced Research.
Over the past few years, our majors have studied in a variety of other countries including South Africa, Italy, and Australia.
Every student in the major makes at least 2 formal research presentations (1 poster, 1 oral presentation) at our Psychology Day event, held at the end of every semester.
In the past 5 years, approximately 20 students have been co-authors on peer-reviewed publications and more than 90 have presented research at regional or national professional conferences. Our students also routinely present at the regional undergraduate psychology conference held each year by the Lehigh Valley Association of Independent Colleges.
Our central mission is to provide a high quality and rigorous education in psychology. Consistent with the liberal arts tradition, however, we also have broader goals for students who take our classes. We want students to see how psychology connects with other disciplines. We help students learn to appropriately balance autonomy, interdependence, and social responsibility. We foster their abilities to think analytically, and communicate effectively. We encourage them to develop intellectual curiosity and a willingness to wrestle with difficult issues. We emphasize the importance of interpersonal skills, ethical behavior, and understanding cultural and individual differences and commonalities (e.g., class, gender, gender identity, religion, race, ethnicity, disability)
Peruse our website to learn more about the psychology major, and be sure to check out our Facebook page for the latest news. Don't hesitate to e-mail or call any professor with questions.