Santa Clara University

Psychology department

Mission

About the department.

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Psychology is the scientific study of behavior, cognition and emotion.  The Santa Clara psychology department believesactions, thoughts and feelings are best understood as the result of psychological, neurological, developmental, social and cultural influences.  The composition of the faculty reflects this broad approach, with members who specialize in clinical psychology, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, educational psychology, health psychology, industrial/organizational psychology, learning, neuropsychology, and social psychology.

The psychology department places a strong emphasis on empirical methods of inquiry.  All faculty members have active research programs, and we encourage undergraduates to get involved.  Each year a large number of our majors present papers at professional conferences, and many students co-author articles in professional journals.  Permanent laboratories maintained by the department include a health psychology lab, an animal lab, and a sleep lab.

Major requirements are designed to provide students with a strong background in theory, methodology, and the core content areas of contemporary psychology.  Psychology majors take classes in each of five key sub-fields within the discipline.  However, majors also select classes from a wide variety of electives, which allows students to focus on and develop specific areas of interest.

The department also encourages students to apply psychological knowledge in ways that improve the quality of people’s lives and promote the common good.  Many classes include opportunities to work with various populations in need.  And our active internship program assists majors interested in obtaining hands-on experience through extended community placements.  In a recent survey,  graduating seniors identified the department’s strengths as the wide range of courses offered , the diversity of thought represented among the faculty, the passion faculty bring to their teaching, and the excitement they as students felt in learning about what's important and getting to study it empirically.