Student Learning Outcomes

Overview of Goals:
The psychology curriculum is designed to encourage students to view psychology and human behavior using a multiplicity of theoretical and empirical models. We offer students a solid foundation in the methodology, history, and traditional and non-traditional approaches to the discipline. We urge critical thinking. Listed below are the eight goals for the psychology major at Pitzer College.

  • 1. Research training
  • 2. Integrating experiential and scientific knowledge
  • 3. Understanding diverse perspectives
  • 4. Life-long learning
  • 5. Communication skills
  • 6. Ethical considerations
  • 7. Social responsibility
  • 8. Skepticism

Goal 1: Research training
We intend the graduating psychology major to have learned to carry out research projects in psychology. The skills they should acquire include understanding issues of experimental and non-experimental methodologies, ethical issues, and developing a theoretical/conceptual basis for a research project. We would like the psychology degree to prepare our students for being producers and/or critical evaluators of research.

Goal 2: Integrating experiential and scientific knowledge
We intend the psychology major to provide students with an ability to integrate hands-on work with communities and social service organizations with the theoretical and methodological understandings of the discipline. Students acquire depth and breadth in understandings of the discipline. We encourage students to be able to examine psychological issues through a bio-psycho-social-cultural framework.

Goal 3: Diversity
We intend for our students to have a deep appreciation for diversity, and for the multiple cultural perspectives in psychology. Our students should develop broader, non-ethnocentric conceptions of mental health, personality, and interpersonal and intercultural communications. Students will recognize, understand, and respect the complexity of sociocultural and international diversity.

Goal 4: Life-long learning
We intend for our students to develop an interest in life-long learning, and that their coursework in psychology will generate a broad interest in psychological issues in all areas of their personal and professional lives. We hope they will continue to be discriminating and skeptical readers of psychology-related issues as they arise in current events and the popular press.

Goal 5: Communication skills
We intend the psychology major to provide students with excellent training in various forms of written and oral communication. Because the students come to understand the discipline of psychology in depth, we expect that they will acquire the skills required for communicating clearly – but without oversimplification – about the complexities of psychological topics.

Goal 6: Ethical considerations
We intend the psychology major to provide students with the ability to think deeply about ethical considerations in carrying out and disseminating psychological work, and to act in an ethical manner. Students will be able to weigh evidence, tolerate ambiguity, act ethically, and reflect other values that are the underpinnings of psychology as a discipline.

Goal 7: Social responsibility
We intend for our students to see a connection between their psychology training and social justice issues. We hope they will feel some responsibility to use their psychological understandings to better the world in which we live, to support and give voice to persons who are disenfranchised or left at the margins of our social systems, to right social wrongs, and to give back to their communities. We intend for our students to use the perspectives that they have learned to become engaged members of, and advocates for, those communities, and to be able to assess the psychological factors that are affecting their communities.

Goal 8: Skepticism
We intend the major to leave students with a healthy skepticism about research findings, and about the research enterprise as a whole. Students will respect and use skeptical inquiry in interpreting, understanding, and applying psychological research.