It is not necessary to take a high school psychology course in order to become a psychology major in college. The best preparation for becoming a psychology major, whether you are currently a student in high school, at a community college, or at EIU, is to take courses that emphasize writing and critical thinking skills, math, and science.
To become a psychology major, students must complete MAT 1271: Algebra II (college algebra or equivalent) or a higher level math course, and PSY 1879 (Introductory Psychology or equivalent), both with a grade of C or better. Once these prerequisites are completed, students selecting psychology as a major will be assigned a psychology faculty member who will serve as their advisor. The advisor will help plan their curriculum and explore their career goals.
The psychology curriculum emphasizes psychological science and places this knowledge in the context of a liberal arts orientation. In addition to learning the subject matter of psychology, students also develop analytical and communication skills. Students fulfill their departmental graduation requirements by taking the required core courses, including statistics and research methods, choosing courses from several fundamental domains in psychology, and selecting from a broad range of elective courses. All of our courses are described in the Undergraduate Catalog. Although there are no specializations within psychology at the undergraduate level, students have the option to pursue specific areas of interest through elective courses, independent studies, and undergraduate internships. At the core of the curriculum is a set of carefully selected, required courses that enable students to master basic psychological principles, theories, and methods.
Numerous opportunities exist for psychology students to earn credit towards the major and graduation by assisting faculty members in various phases of research including library research, data collection, data entry, and data analyses. Advanced students are encouraged to conduct their own research project under the direction of a psychology faculty member.
Although not required, undergraduate internships provide an excellent opportunity for psychology majors to apply the knowledge and skills they've acquired in psychology courses to real-life settings in the community (e.g., mental health agency, school). These activities are supervised by a psychology faculty member in collaboration with an onsite supervisor.
The curriculum in the Psychology Department is designed to prepare students for careers, for graduate school, and for lifelong learning. At EIU, psychology is taught from both the scientific and applied perspectives. With the background gained from their studies, graduates are prepared either to pursue advanced training in psychology and related fields, or to begin work in occupations requiring an understanding of human behavior. Graduates pursue careers in such diverse areas as business, law, health services, community mental health, and human resources. Because professional psychology often requires advanced degrees, many students go on to graduate school in such programs as clinical psychology, school psychology, counseling, and industrial/organizational psychology.
The Psychology Department has an active and scholarly faculty whose educational backgrounds and research interests reflect the full spectrum of current psychological thought. Virtually all members of the department hold doctoral degrees from distinguished graduate programs throughout the country. The faculty are dedicated to undergraduate teaching; every psychology class is taught by a member of the faculty.
The Psychology Department is an active participant in the University Honors Program and offers a B.A. degree with honors in psychology.
For more information about the major, please see the advising resources page.