Erratum: Miranda Pratt became chair of the department in 1999.
Created by The History and Systems of Psychology Class, Spring 2010.
Psychology is the scientific study of behavior, an inquiry into the how and why of what people and other animals do. Psychologists explore diverse issues such as the influence of brain processes on behavior, the role of biology and environment in development, the nature of thinking and learning, the processes of sensing and perceiving, social influences on thought and behavior, emotions, memory, the course of typical and atypical personal growth, and the causes, assessment and treatment of mental and emotional problems.
PSYCHOLOGY AT MERCER
The Psychology Department at Mercer has several goals. Through the curriculum we ensure that students have a strong background in the empirical, theoretical, and philosophical aspects of the field. We have designed the curriculum such that students are able to enhance their basic skills in critical thinking, writing, speaking, computer use, and research. We emphasize the role of a liberal arts education in enhancing the quality of personal and professional life. Finally, students who complete the curriculum are prepared to continue their education at the graduate (masters and doctoral) level.
Mercer offers a unique opportunity for students to learn about psychology directly. Our curriculum is focused on the development of new knowledge in the field. This is accomplished by providing students with experiential opportunities based on their own research. For example, students have the option of completing an independent, original research project as part of the curricular requirements. In addition, each faculty member has an active research group and students are encouraged to develop their skills by working in this setting. The average class size in the major is fewer than 20 students, and many courses have laboratory components as a part of their requirements. Advanced students have opportunities to gain hands-on experience in applied areas by participating in field placements in the community. Our department is characterized by attention to the individual student. A faculty advisor works closely with each student to plan a course of study to enable the student to take advantage of current opportunities and prepare for the future.
Undergraduate study in psychology can contribute significantly to a number of career goals. First, it is an excellent preparation for graduate work in psychology. Advanced training is usually required for working in the field, and Mercer is in the top 25 among private, comprehensive universities in the nation with respect to the number of Psychology graduates who hold the Ph.D. Second, an undergraduate psychology major is beneficial for employment in mental health, casework, research, law enforcement and other forms of social service. Our students also find that their backgrounds and skills are excellent for entry into the business community. Recent graduates are working in clinical, business, and corporate settings at jobs ranging from direct patient contact at medical and mental health centers to research associates at pharmaceutical firms, medical centers, and universities. Third, a major in psychology taken in conjunction with other appropriate courses is a valuable background for professional training in law, medicine, or the ministry.