Academic Major Spotlight on: Psychology
A look at what makes one of Agnes Scott’s most popular academic majors special
In recent memory, Agnes Scott’s psychology major has always landed on the list of top five majors for Scotties. Maybe that’s because psychology is such a quintessential liberal arts major, preparing students for multiple fields. Yes, Agnes Scott psychology graduates have gone on to be clinical psychologists, therapists and psychiatrists. But they’ve also become lawyers, school superintendents, victims advocates, marketing and development coordinators, researchers, business analysts and professors.
Interested in the psychology major, but unsure if it fits you exactly? Here’s a taste of what the major has to offer you, straight from psychology major Taliesyn Jax ‘22.
What is psychology, exactly?
In short, psychology helps you understand yourself and those around you. While psychology itself is a broad field with many branches (from industrial organizational psychology to child psychology), no matter what branch you choose you’ll focus on how the brain functions, how personalities develop and why humans behave the way they do. According to Taliesyn, these many branches mean you get to explore within the major. Her focus is on psychology of women and maternal wellness, but she’s been able to take classes such as Psychosexual Behavior, Industrial Organizational Psychology and Social Psychology.
Is psychology a science?
Psychology is considered a social science. At Agnes Scott, that means you’ll have a strong backing in academic psychology, as well as opportunities for laboratory work and field experiences. Psychology majors complete a field practicum or internship, as well as completing independent and mentored research experiences.
What kinds of classes can I take with a psychology major?
After you have a broad introduction to psychology, research statistics and research design, you’ll take classes on social & cultural psychology (like Psychology of Women); neuroscience (like Animal and Human Learning); clinical & health (like Psychology of Sexual Behavior); and other elective courses (like Neuroendocrinology and Psychological Assessment). Read all about the class descriptions on the psychology major website.
What skills will I learn?
A lot! You’ll focus on strong writing and communication skills, public speaking, research, professional presentation, statistical analysis, critical thinking, understanding of diverse peoples and more! That’s before you even factor in the academic material. Taliesyn says that a lot of her focus has been on improving communication skills (verbal and written). Professional growth has been woven into the curriculum in every class she’s taken; professors will equate what they are doing in the course to how the concept can be used in the professional world.
What internships can I do with a psychology major?
Really, internships across the board might be connected to psychology. Recently, students have interned with the Grady Trauma Project, Marcus Autism Center, Beyond Words Center, TalentQuest, Zoo Atlanta, Georgia Aquarium and the Yerkes Primate Research Center. Taliesyn has interned at InTown Collaborative Ministries (a houselessness outreach service with a focus on social work) and completed her SCALE experience at the Atlanta Birth Center, focusing on her specific interest in maternal health.
Where are psychology graduates now?
60% of psychology majors apply to graduate programs within two years of graduation with an overall 92% acceptance rate. Agnes Scott psychology graduates have gone on to such graduate schools as Loyola University, Teachers College Columbia University, the University of Pennsylvania, George Washington University and Emory University. Graduates are working at Google, Autism Pensacola, Central Atlanta Progress, Eli Lilly & Company, the Yerkes Primate Center, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and PepsiCo.
What are the benefits of studying psychology at Agnes Scott College?
- Small classes, taught by full professors with the highest degree in their fields, professors like Dr. Jenny Hughes and Dr. Maryam Jernigan-Noesi. “The professors in psychology are so supportive. Even when the curriculum does get a little difficult, they are available as your support network. They’re just really there for students.”
- Independent psychology laboratory space in our Mary Brown Bullock Science Center, including Dr. Bonnie Perdue’s Cognitive Neuroscience and Animal Behavior Lab; Dr. Janelle Peifer’s College Student Development and Global Cultural Competency Lab; and Dr. Jenny Hughes’ Psychological and Physical Effects of Commuting Lab.
- Opportunities to be involved in research frequently and early on in your college career; read about how Peyton Capehart ‘21 joined a psychology research lab with no prior experience in her first year.
- Active student organizations, like the student-run Psychology and Neuroscience Club and the Psi Chi honor society.
- Talieyn’s main reason? “The psychology curriculum really pushes you outside of your comfort zone. There’s a lot to learn and a lot you want to study. You have to prioritize what makes the most sense for you. I want to take every single class in the psychology program.”
Are you ready to start studying now? Taliesyn suggests exploring psychology on your own; “explore as much as you can about the psychology major and about psychology; it can give you a great overview about everything you can learn and what might interest you in the field. If you have the chance, reach out to your admission counselor. They can get you in touch with a student psychology major or a professor so you can learn more.”
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