The psychology program at Clarkson provides a solid foundation in the fundamental areas of psychology, as well as plenty of opportunities for hands-on professional experience.

Psychology is the study of mind and behavior, from exploring the activity of individual brain cells to the complex interactions between individuals and society. Psychology investigates how people develop, learn, perceive the world and form relationships, in addition to why conflict is a part of human experience. Psychologists also try to understand the nature and causes of abnormalities and search for effective treatments to relieve chronic suffering.

Participation in at least one semester of professional experience is a requirement of the program  — and you may decide to do more than one semester. Professional experiences include cutting-edge research with psychology faculty, working/volunteering at organizations related to your career interests, and working with mental health professionals or school psychologists, to name a few.

Clarkson offers a program with the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center that allows you to work with clinical psychologists one day per week and to meet on campus to reflect upon the experience. Professional experiences like these help develop problem-solving, critical-thinking and communication skills that are critical in the workplace — and also allow you to begin networking, which helps with career placement.

Career Opportunities

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Psychology is an excellent major if you are interested in a career as a lawyer or health care provider (e.g., physician, physical therapist, physician assistant, occupational therapist) or a career in business (e.g., MBA). All of these areas require an ability to understand and deal with people, problem solve, think critically and communicate, and Clarkson will provide you with these critical skills. There are also a wide variety of careers that are directly related to psychology, including:

Clinical psychologists assess and treat people with psychological problems, such as anxiety and depression. Careers in this area require a graduate degree in psychology.

Counseling psychologists foster and improve normal human functions across the life span by helping people solve problems, make decisions and cope with the stresses of everyday life. Careers in this area require a graduate degree in psychology.

Developmental psychologists study human development across the life span. Career opportunities for those with bachelors' degrees include gerontology aide, child life specialist and non-profit organizations dealing with children. Opportunities for those with graduate degrees include scientist/practitioner, product development and media consultant and social policy research.

Educational psychologists study how people learn and develop the methods and materials used to educate people of all ages. Recently there are increasing possibilities in the military and in industry for doctoral-level educational psychologists. New opportunities in evaluation of social problems and policies are opening for those with master’s degrees.

Forensic and legal psychologists apply psychology in legal settings. Opportunities with a bachelor’s degree include police officer, correctional officer, probation & parole officer, juvenile detention worker and forensic science technician. Opportunities with a graduate degree include correctional psychology, forensic examiner, police psychologist, trial consultant, criminal profiling and political consulting.

Health psychologists are concerned with how psychological variables (e.g., personality traits and stress) and social environments (e.g., family and community support) affect both mental and physical health. Career opportunities with a bachelor’s degree include recreational therapist, occupational therapy assistant, physical therapy assistant and health educator. Opportunities with a graduate degree include research and teaching in academic, service delivery and public health settings.

Industrial/organizational psychologists are concerned with the relationship between people and the workplace. There are three main areas in I/O psychology:

  • Consumer psychologists help organizations understand how and why consumers choose certain products over others and find out what consumers want. Career opportunities with a bachelor’s degree include advertising, real estate, retail and public relations. Opportunities with a graduate degree include market research and product development consultant.
  • Environmental psychologists study the interaction between people and their environments. This knowledge is applied to the design of the work place, hospitals, schools, etc., to maximize productivity and efficiency, reduce stress and minimize risks. Careers in this area require a graduate degree.
  • Human resource managers recruit employees, provide training and development activities to help employees achieve their best, organize and implement performance appraisals, ensure that employees and management practices conform to government regulations and manage personnel policies and employee benefits, compensation and records. Opportunities at the bachelor’s degree-level include human resource generalist, recruiting and placement specialist, training and development specialist and compensation and benefits specialist. Opportunities at the graduate degree-level include consultant and usability specialist.

Neuropsychologists administer psychological tests to evaluate cognitive and behavioral function following brain injury in order to design and administer rehabilitation programs to help patients regain function. This career tract requires a doctoral degree in neuropsychology.

Psychometrics, quantitative & experimental psychologists are concerned with methods and techniques used to acquire and apply psychological knowledge. Career opportunities for those with bachelors' degrees include insurance underwriter, computer programmer, computer support specialist and budget analyst. Opportunities for those with graduate degrees include operations research analyst, computer systems analyst, database administrator, actuary, financial analyst and jobs in data mining.

School psychologists are concerned with the intellectual, educational, social and emotional development of children. Opportunities at the bachelor’s level include teacher, childcare worker, teaching assistant and early childhood behavioral specialist. Opportunities for those with graduate degrees include school psychologist and school counselor.

Sports psychologists help athletes perform their best. This can be accomplished by teaching the athlete visualization techniques, stress management and team-building skills. Sports psychologists also work with coaches to help them become better at leading and motivating teams. Opportunities with a bachelor’s degree include fitness instructor, recreational worker, physical education teacher, sport instructor, coaching and sport reporting. Career opportunities at the graduate level include research and teaching in academic settings and private practice/consulting.

Curriculum

Major

The psychology program consists of 32 credit hours of the 120 required for a bachelor's degree. There are also 49 credit hours of electives. This flexibility allows you to tailor curriculum to match your career interests.

Psychology Major Curriculum

Minor

The psychology minor consists of six psychology courses, including PY151 and any 5 of the following upper-level PY courses: PY253 Social Psychology, PY255 Cognitive Psychology and any PY courses numbered 300 or above.

Minor in Cognitive Neuroscience Curriculum

Minor in Biology, Behavior and Society Curriculum

All Clarkson Minors

Experiential Learning

Research Opportunities

Our low faculty-to-student ratio allows us to provide you with hands-on learning experiences, including directed research in which you work closely with a faculty member on an experiment of mutual interest (see research interests listed on each faculty member's individual website).

The research experience provides the opportunity to apply information learned in the classroom, as well as to acquire a number of skills sought by employers, namely, critical thinking, problem solving, working in teams and communication skills.

Clarkson students' psychology research projects are often presented at undergraduate research and scientific meetings and are occasionally published as research articles.

Internship and Co-op Opportunities

If you are interested in pursuing a career in clinical psychology, there are a number of clinically oriented internships, including the Ogdensburg Mental Health Clinic, Canton-Potsdam Hospital's Chemical Dependency unit, NYSARC, Renewal House and the Reachout crisis hotline. Business-related internships are also available locally and in Clarkson’s Human Resources office. You can also develop your own internship experience — in Potsdam, at home over the summer or elsewhere. Indeed, your internship could involve any work or volunteer experience that is related to psychology. Check with your advisor for details.

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