Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Psychology
As a psychology major, you’ll study human behavior, something our species has been curious about for centuries. How does the brain work? How do humans develop and make decisions? What goes wrong in this process, and how can we help? You’ll learn to explore these questions and many more.
Our major program builds the groundwork for successful employment after graduation in human services, management, sales, student affairs, law or health-related fields like medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy and nursing, among many others.
Our program can prepare you for graduate training in practitioner-oriented fields like counseling, criminology or social work as well as research-oriented fields like cognitive or behavioral neuroscience and quantitative psychology. We also offer the neuroscience major for those students who plan to enter neuroscience graduate work or are on a pre-med track.
Study the overarching themes of psychology to develop a working knowledge of scientific reasoning, interpret key themes, conduct basic psychological research and adopt values that build community at local, national and global levels. Use these skills to supplement your current major and get ahead in your eventual career.
If you're interested in a career in neuroscience, biomedical sciences, animal behavior, psychology or medicine, then the neuroscience minor is for you. This minor will give you a strong background of how the nervous system works, from social and behavioral to cellular and molecular levels.
As a psychology student at USC, you will learn outside of the classroom, sometimes for course credit. You might record data in a research lab, assist with programs in local schools, or earn clinical experience at facilities like the Psychology Services Center. However you get involved beyond the classroom, it will strengthen what you learn and build skills for your career.
Experiential learning is a must if you are interested in graduate school, especially 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; experiential learning can be a fun and engaging way to expand on 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.
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, email@example.com) 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, firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.