Psychology is the study of the human mind. Psychologists help us better understand ourselves and our relationships in the rapidly changing world around us. Some of the questions we ask – and answer – at Menlo College include:
Why do we behave in certain ways in person vs. online?
How does the brain affect our attraction to others and our engagement in the worlds of work or school?
How can we support marginalized populations at school or work and in our communities?
What can psychologists contribute to athletes’ performance?
How do enriched or impoverished environments influence academic and professional achievement?
How can we conduct and communicate research that is ethically responsible and respects multiple life experiences?
What makes up our identity, and how does it evolve across our lives?
How can we apply scientific science and methods to help people lead satisfying lives?
How can we better understand and treat mental illness while promoting well-being?
How can we thrive socially, psychologically and physically from youth into late life?
To help us answer these questions, the Psychology faculty crafted the program Mission to promote the well-being of individuals and communities by raising awareness of psychological, social, cultural and biological influences on human growth and development.
To accomplish the Psychology program Mission, the faculty enact a Vision where students are encouraged to view human behavior from both interpersonal and intrapersonal perspectives, examining their own experiences in light of relationships with others. Small classes bring faculty and students together to work with and challenge each other to set and achieve academic, personal and professional goals. These developmental networks of faculty and peers help students to know themselves, build on their strengths and overcome their weaknesses to identify what they would like to accomplish in the world.
At Menlo, we provide a strong foundation for an undergraduate psychology degree through a general upper division psychology curriculum while exploring current psychological issues including identity development, intercultural relationships and gender in social organizations. The Psychology curriculum is supported by four pillars of psychological science: biological influences on behavior; antecedents and treatments of psychopathology; individual and cultural differences of personality; and developmental change across the lifespan. Psychology students select from core electives in psychology, liberal arts and business to individualize their exploration of human behavior in many social and organizational contexts with an eye toward graduate school and professional positions. Two signature pedagogies demonstrate the integration of theory and practice that is a hallmark of the psychology curriculum: applied field experiences and the senior thesis on a topic of personal and professional relevance. The focus on strong theoretical understanding and conceptual applications that target individual interests successfully prepares students for a multitude of paths, including careers and graduate studies in areas such as counseling, human services, rehabilitation, education, law, and business. Whatever you choose, when you leave Menlo, you’ll be ready.
The American Psychological Association (APA 2013) recommends five clusters of learning goals and outcomes to insure that all psychology graduates have the knowledge and skills expected at the undergraduate level – and the career readiness to approach graduate school and a variety of professional roles. The baccalaureate levels of these clusters are woven throughout the Psychology curriculum.
Knowledge base in psychology:
Conceptually this goal means that students have a reasonable breadth and depth of “key concepts, principles and overarching themes in psychology” (APA, 2013, pg. 15). Operationally, students will complete a comprehensive assessment of the core competencies of the curriculum: psychological disorders, lifespan development, biopsychology, and personality theory.
Scientific inquiry & critical thinking:
Conceptually this goal means that students can “use scientific reasoning to interpret psychological phenomena” (APA, 2013, pg. 20). Operationally, students design and conduct the Senior Thesis Capstone project demonstrating psychological information literacy and standards of research design, critique and analysis.
Ethical & social responsibility in a diverse world:
Conceptually this goal means that students can “apply ethical standards to evaluate psychological science and practice” (APA, 2013, pg. 26) in a diverse global community. Operationally, students demonstrate attention to psychosocial issues of diverse populations and ethical practices for research and human services throughout the curriculum, culminating in their critiques of a body of literature in the Senior Thesis.
Conceptually this goal means that students “demonstrate effective written…and presentation skills” (APA, 2013, pg. 30). Operationally, students demonstrate written and oral communication skills by conducting and writing an analytical literature review of a key social-psychological issue and orally presenting their findings to a public audience in the Senior Thesis capstone.
Conceptually this goal means that students “develop meaningful professional direction for life after graduation” (APA, 2013, pg. 16) that applies “psychological content and skills to their career goals.” Operationally, course content, Senior Thesis projects and volunteer or internship opportunities may be used to explore different directions for employment and graduate school.