Stevenson Hall 3092
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Stevenson Hall 3092
*Faculty Early Returement Program
What is Psychology?
Psychology is the study of mind, behavior and experience. From this foundation, psychologists have developed sub-disciplines that address many diverse aspects of human experience. Psychology is a field that requires one to apply focused knowledge, abilities, and skills in order to solve human problems. It is an extremely diverse field that attracts people with a wide variety of backgrounds, interests, and skills.
The Psychology Department
From its founding in 1960, the department was allied with the humanistic and existential traditions in psychology. The department offered the first graduate program in humanistic psychology and also helped to pioneer that field, with four faculty having served as president of the Association for Humanistic Psychology. The department has been distinctive for its pioneering work in such areas as somatics, client-centered therapy, expressive arts, biofeedback, health psychology, organization development, ecopsychology, Jungian and archetypal psychology, transpersonal psychology, interdisciplinary learning, student-directed learning, experiential learning, and learning-community approaches. This distinctiveness has led to widespread recognition.
We currently offer a diverse array of traditional and contemporary approaches to studying human experience. Faculty teach, conduct research, author books and articles, pioneer community projects, and consult with organizations and groups. Current faculty interests include social justice, multicultural psychology, health psychology, depth psychology, clinical practice and mental health counseling, spirituality and mindfulness, community service, ecopsychology, creativity, and child development. Our goal is to empower students with psychological knowledge and practical skills that will enable them to be effective agents of change in the world.
The department’s five Breadth areas address central subfields in the discipline of psychology. These subfields are: holistic, clinical/counseling, developmental, social/personality, and cognitive/ physiological.
Holistic: focuses on the essential wholeness of persons by developing knowledge and skills integral to health and growth, such as self-reflection, self-awareness and creativity.
Clinical / Counseling: develops knowledge and skills in understanding and helping others, and in health-promoting behaviors.
Developmental: investigates changes in persons over the life span, and explores how this knowledge may be used in applied settings such as in parenting, education, and community life.
Social / Personality: focuses on how individual differences among people and the social context in which they live shape their emotions, thoughts and behavior.
Cognitive / Physiological: explores the physiological foundations of human experience, as well as the mental processes involved in learning, memory, perception, and problem solving.
The department strongly recommends that students take courses in psychology and other disciplines to gain competence in diversity areas of culture, race and ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion, and social class. While all psychology faculty are committed to including diversity in their courses, specific courses focus on diversity issues and students’ development of multicultural competence. These courses are identified in the course descriptions and the semester course schedule.
The department offers a master of arts in psychology with an emphasis in depth psychology. Depth psychology cultivates specific methods and skills designed to explore the inner life, give form to it, understand it, and apply it to persons, groups, art forms, and cultures. Therapists, counselors, psychologists, teachers—anyone who works closely with people—may apply the knowledge of depth psychology to their work.
Department Learning Goals and Objectives
The Psychology Department curriculum is designed to develop the following skills in each student by graduation time. The courses are devised to enable each student to:
- Understand the major concepts, theories, and perspectives in psychology;
- Apply psychological theories, concepts, and principles to individual experience as well as to social issues and social systems;
- Reflect on personal experience in light of psychological knowledge;
- Recognize and understand the complexity of cultural diversity, in light of psychological knowledge;
- Understand and apply basic research methods in psychology and the social sciences; and
- Demonstrate skills that promote behavioral change at the individual, organizational, and community levels.
Careers in Psychology
A career in psychology gives opportunities to break new ground in science, to better understand yourself and others, to help people live richer and more productive lives, and to establish ongoing personal and intellectual growth in school and throughout your career.
Many people with psychology training find it rewarding to work directly with people—for example, helping them to overcome depression, or to stop smoking, training people on health behaviors, parenting, skills, etc. Others are excited by research questions on topics such as health and well being, decision-making, eating disorders, brain functioning, parenting skills, forensic work, and child development.
Careers: Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology
A bachelor’s degree in psychology means that you graduate with a strong liberal arts education and adequate preparation for entry-level employment in one of many career paths, including:
- Administration and management
- Aging, human services, and advocacy
- Behavior change consulting
- Behavioral Specialist
- Childhood Education
- Health services
- Marketing and public relations
- Human Resources
- Research Assistant
- Not-for-Profit Organizations
- Organizational consulting
- Probation and parole
- Psychiatric assistant
- Social service casework and advocacy
Careers: Graduate Work and Further Training
Students are encouraged to search graduate programs in their fields of interest to identify graduate prerequisites. Students should consult the psychology department website which has some career information and web links to graduate schools and programs.
Most master’s and doctoral programs and employers prefer applicants who, in addition to their academic background, have some kind of applied internship or research assistantship that provides hands-on experience in their field.
Traditionally, with a master’s or doctoral degree, people are employed in different settings such as education, government, private industry, non-profit organizations, research institutes, hospitals, and clinics. They work as professors teaching within their discipline at universities, community colleges, or high schools. Licensed psychologists provide individual or group therapy in private clinics, hospitals, the military, or schools. School counselors/psychologists work with students and their families to support healthy social, cognitive, and emotional development. People with advanced degrees are often hired as consultants to work on a variety of tasks related to their specific area of expertise-e.g., Designing marketing surveys, providing training to executives and other professionals, etc.
The Psychology Department strongly recommends community internship experience, particularly for the student going on to counseling or clinical psychology master’s and doctoral degrees.
Each semester students may participate in field placements and internship work experiences in organizations and agencies throughout the University’s six-county service area. These internships involve on-the-job training by the agency as well as academic work under the supervision of a faculty member. This experience forms an important base for academic credit and helps students to obtain a range of learning experiences not otherwise found in the department. Applications for internship should be made near the end of the semester preceding the internship semester. Students planning on graduate work in clinical or counseling psychology are encouraged to gain internship experience well before applying to graduate school. A maximum of 8 units of Credit/No Credit classes may be applied to the major, including internship units.
Some Psychology Department instructors offer teaching internships to advanced students who have taken and excelled in a course. Duties include working with the classroom instructor in class preparation and classroom tasks, and facilitating small group work. Teaching Assistants register for PSY 482 - Teaching Internship , or PSY 483 - Advanced Teaching Internship (C/NC). A maximum of 8 credit/no credit units may count toward the psychology major.
The Psychology Department strongly recommends research assistantships for those students going on to graduate work in psychology at the master’s or doctoral levels. Many university graduate programs require students to have experience in conducting psychological research, as well as in analyzing data and writing up the results. In order to find out more about these research opportunities, students should consult with individual faculty members who are mentoring students in faculty research projects. Please see the psychology department website (www.sonoma.edu/psychology) to identify the departments academic advisors, their hours and office hours.
Students who wish to carry out independent study and research are encouraged to contact an individual faculty member of their choice.