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Department of Psychology

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Undergraduate

Psychology is the study of brain and behavior and as a major you will learn how psychologists use the scientific method to understand brain and behavior at multiple levels. Furthermore, you will learn how we apply this knowledge to solving some of humankind’s most important issues. Coupled with critical thinking skills gained through a strong liberal arts education, our majors graduate equipped to pursue careers in psychology, health, education, advocacy and law to name a few. Thus, the psychology major at UofSC will prepare you for a host of career fields!

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) or Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Psychology

 Psychology majors at the University of South Carolina have an option to pursue either a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) or a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree.  When deciding what psychology track to pursue, it is important to consider your goals after graduating from the University of South Carolina. 

A Bachelor of Science in Psychology provides preparation for students who are interested in more research-oriented graduate training (e.g. cognitive psychology, cognitive neuroscience, behavioral neuroscience, quantitative psychology) or health-related professional schools (e.g. medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, physical therapy, and nursing).

A Bachelor of Arts in Psychology provides preparation for students who are planning to go into practitioner-oriented graduate training (e.g., counseling, criminology, social work). The study of human behavior is also relevant to many professions, and this program provides groundwork for successful employment after graduation in human services, management, sales, student affairs or law.

Coursework

Graduation from the University of South Carolina requires 120 hours of coursework.  Both degree tracks have the same number of major credit hours.

 

Psychology Minor

A psychology minor requires 18 additional credit hours.

 

Experiential Learning

Experiential learning refers to any learning that takes place outside of the classroom, sometimes for course credit. If you are interested in graduate school it is imperative that you participate in some sort of experiential learning as an undergraduate. This is especially true for those interested in Ph.D. programs where experience in a research lab is highly desired. You don't have to be interested in a Ph.D. to participate though! This can be a fun and engaging way to learn about your major. We offer three types of experiences for course credit.

Independent Study is where you receive major credit (PSYC 498) for working in a faculty member's research lab. If interested, peruse the faculty research database and contact faculty the semester before you are looking to work. They will want to interview you and may have specific requirements, like GPA or coursework. If you choose to work in someone's lab for a second semester, you could sign up for Advanced Independent Study (PSYC 598). With a 598 you have to present your research in some fashion, such as at Discover UofSC or a regional conference, or perhaps write a research paper!

Community Practicum (PSYC 489) is similar to Independent Study in that you are working with a Psychology faculty member, but instead of helping to conduct research, you are practicing applied psychology. That is, you are using knowledge gained through research to help the community in some way. For example, helping at-risk youth in an after-school program. Go to the faculty research database to find participating faculty.

An Internship in Psychology (PSYC 495) involves receiving course credit for working with one of our community partners doing something psychology related. For example, working with autistic children, in a clinical psychologist's office, or in a host of other settings. Our internship program is expanding every semester! All internships are through pre-approved partners, check out this link for a list of potential sites.

 

Undergraduate Awards

As an undergraduate psychology student, you'll have the opportunity to compete for awards.

The Psychological Service Award recognizes outstanding achievement on the part of an undergraduate student in psychological service. It is awarded to a psychology major (students with a minimum of 90 credit hours, 60 hours on the USC Columbia campus, 15 out of 60 hours on the USC Columbia campus in psychology major credits), with a 3.0 minimum GPA, and participation in a broadly defined psychological service. To apply for this award, please submit a one page summary of a service experience, a current resume or a CV, and a letter of support from a faculty member. Applications should be submitted to the Undergraduate Student Services Coordinator (Connie Outen, couten@mailbox.sc.edu) via email. The winner of this award will be determined by the Undergraduate Program Committee.

The Roger W. Black Award recognizes outstanding achievement on the part of an undergraduate student in psychological research. It is awarded to a psychology major (students with a minimum of 90 credit hours, 60 hours on the USC Columbia campus, 15 out of 60 hours on the USC Columbia campus in psychology major credits), with a 3.0 minimum GPA, and participation in psychological research project. To apply for this award, please submit a one page summary of a research experience, a current resume or a CV, and a letter of support from a faculty member. Applications should be submitted to the Undergraduate Student Services Coordinator (Connie Outen, couten@mailbox.sc.edu) via email. The winner of this award will be determined by the Undergraduate Program Committee.

The M. Kershaw Walsh Award is given to the graduating senior Psychology major with the highest overall GPA. The winner(s) of this award will be determined by the Undergraduate Program Committee. No application is required.

The Kendra Cusaac Community Engagement and Leadership Award recognizes outstanding leadership in community service activities. It is awarded to a rising junior Psychology major (students with a minimum of 45 credit hours obtained from the USC Columbia campus) who has community service experience. To apply for this award, please submit a resume or CV, an unofficial transcript, a letter of recommendation from a faculty member in the Psychology Department and a letter of recommendation from a person involved with your primary community service activity. In addition, please submit a 500 word essay on the following topic:

Dr. Cusaac stressed the importance of leadership in the community, the importance of positivity and persistence toward one’s goals and the relevance of Psychology courses to life. Discuss how an experience from one of your Psychology courses has influenced your community engagement and leadership activities.

 

 


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