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Psychology Program Goals

The Department of Psychology has adopted nine Program Goals -- significant and essential learning that students are expected to achieve and demonstrate by the end of the program. For each goal, learning outcomes are described by which the achievement of these goals can be measured.

Program Goals for Student Learning

Learning Outcomes

1.  Knowledge Base

Acquire a strong intellectual foundation in psychological science .

1.1 Students will be able to identify, describe, and contrast the historical foundations, the major theoretical approaches, the range of questions addressed, the research methods used, and the key research findings in the discipline.

2. Research Methods

Understand and apply basic research methods and experimental design principles.

2.1 Identify and describe different research methods used by psychologists.
2.2 Design and carry out a research study to test a hypothesis.

3.  Research Methods/ Quantitative Literacy

Use descriptive and inferential statistical methods to describe and evaluate empirical data.  Interpret and produce graphical representations of data.

3.1 Use appropriate statistical analyses to facilitate interpretation of measurements.
3.2 Choose appropriate information to convey in charts, tables, figures, and graphs.
3.3 Accurately interpret, and notice misuse of, quantitative visual aids.

4.  Critical Thinking

Respect and use critical and creative thinking, skeptical inquiry, and, when possible, the scientific approach to evaluate problems related to behavior and mental processes.

4.1 Analyze and evaluate arguments, findings, and claims about psychological phenomena in the popular media and in the psychological research literature.
4.2 Distinguish among assumptions, emotional appeals, speculations, and defensible evidence.
4.3 Engage in creative thinking by pursuing an original or unusual approach to a problem.

5.  Values in Psychology

Act ethically, value empirical evidence, and reflect other values that are underpinnings of psychology as a science.

5.1 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of relevant ethical issues, and recognize the necessity of ethical behavior, in all aspects of the science and practice of psychology.
5.2 Follow the APA Code of Ethics (Standard 8: Research and Publication) in the treatment of human and nonhuman participants in the design, data collection, interpretation, and reporting of psychological research.
5.3 Seek and evaluate scientific evidence for psychological claims.

6.  Application of Psychology

Understand and apply psychological principles to individual, social, and organizational issues.

6.1 Apply psychological concepts, theories, and research findings to real world problems.

7.  Communication Skills—Written

Demonstrate effective written communication skills.

7.1 Write a scientific paper (research report, research proposal, literature review) that clearly communicates theories, hypotheses, research methods, and research findings.

8.  Communication Skills—Oral

Demonstrate effective oral communication skills.

8.1 Give an effective oral presentation (research report, research proposal, article critique) that clearly communicates theories, hypotheses, research methods, and/or research findings.

9.  Information and Technological Literacy

Demonstrate information competency.


9.1 Research a topic for an oral or written report, locating sources from appropriate media and evaluating them for quality and potential bias.
9.2 Use information and technology ethically, citing sources, avoiding plagiarism and distortion of findings.

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