What Is Academic Advising?

Your academic advisor will guide you in fulfilling your course requirements for your degree and give advice about how to prepare for life after college. Feel free to ask your advisor about:
     •courses you need for your major
     •courses you need for your General Education requirements
     •courses to help prepare you for a career or graduate school
     •issues related to academic probation
     •internship opportunities
     •how apply to graduate school
     •career opportunities in psychology

The advice of your faculty advisor represents the best information, knowledge, and experience of that faculty member regarding curricular recommendations and information. However, the final decision about where a course may count in the curriculum is best derived from information from Director of CLAS Student Services in DW3300A or from approved lists of courses for requirements in the Bulletin.

Your advisor is capable of helping you in many ways. However, there are some issues that are best handled by other offices on campus. If you need help with:

General Advising Procedures

Declaring a Psychology Major. Contact CLAS Student Services in DW3300B to change or declare your major, then contact the Psychology Department secretary (DW 2119, or 520-4393), so she can assign an academic advisor to you.

Getting an advisor. Contact the Psychology Department secretary (DW2119, 520-4393) to be assigned to an advisor. You may request a particular faculty member. However, we try to keep the number of advisees roughly equal among all faculty members, so she may not be able to accommodate your request.

Meeting with your advisor.

When? Whenever you need to discuss advising issues, but a least once a year. Many students see their advisors before registering for classes each semester.

How? Call or email your advisor to set up an appointment.  You may also see them during their office hours.

May I see a different professor instead? Try speaking with your assigned advisor. Over time, your advisor will become familiar with your particular academic history and goals and can better advise you for your future. If you want to change advisors, see the department secretary.

What if my advisor is not available? If your advisor is on leave or is away from campus, especially during the summer, you may need to see someone else. Contact the department secretary for help in finding someone else to advise you.

What do we do during an advising meeting? Your advisor will check your progress towards your degree by looking at what classes you have already taken and what requirements you still need to fulfill. Your advisor may suggest specific courses or sequences or courses for you to take. He or she will go over the psychology major requirements and answer any questions you may have about your schedule. After that, you may talk about other advising issues, such as preparing for graduate school or what types of jobs you can get with a BA in psychology.

Applying for graduation. If you are close to completing the requirements for a degree, submit an Application for Degree Form to the Director of CLAS Student Services in DW3300A. For May or August graduations, submit by October 1st of the preceding year. For December graduations, submit by March 1st. Student Services will conduct an audit of your degree progress and inform you of all the courses you still need totake befor you may graduate.

Psychology Major Curriculum

For a complete list of requirements, see the Campus Bulletin or the Psychology website. Here are some guidelines for choosing courses:
1. Suggested sequence
Majors need P103.
It is a pre-requisite for all other psychology courses, although some courses have more than just P103 as a pre-requisite. Check the bulletin.

  • Register for P211 Methods soon after completing P103
  • Complete P211 Methods and math (M111 is the best fit for psych majors) before registering for Stats P354
  • You must take at least one course from each of the four content areas of psychology to achieve breadth of knowledge (see bulletin for details), but you are certainly not limited to only one class per area. Most of our majors take more than four content courses.
  • Wait until you are a junior before P459 History and Systems since you must have at least 12 psych credits and even more is better.

2. Advanced Labs

  • The Advanced Lab is considered the “capstone course, which means you will use the knowledge and skills you learned in your core courses and content courses. This should be taken in your final year.
  • You need authorization from the professor to register for the lab.  You should contact the professor the semester before you plan to take the lab to see what preparation is required. Register early because the advanced lab classes fill quickly.
  • You MUST complete all pre-requisites for the Lab BEFORE you take the Lab.
  • The Community Psychology Lab requires P211 P403 and P434.
  • All the other labs require P211, P403, P354 and the appropriate content course.

3. General Education Curriculum

  • If possible, you should take the B399 in psychology. This will fulfill your requirement for the Common Core course in Human Behavior and Social Institutions. If you take B399, you do not need to take a B190.
  • B190/B399 courses do not count toward the psychology major and do not count as a pre-requisite for any other psychology course.

4. Minors

  • Most minors require around 15-18 credits.
  • You MUST declare the minor in the corresponding department - we cannot advise you for your minor.

Independent Study Options, PSY-P 495

The P495 courses give students the opportunity to engage in customized, in-depth, hands-on experiences that greatly enhance their learning and their résumés. Although students are no required to
complete a P495, these courses are highly recommended for Psychology majors. There are several types of P495 courses, which provide very different experiences. Course credit ranges from 1-3 credit hours, to be agreed upon by the student and the instructor. You may count a maximum of 15 credit hours of Independent Study toward graduation, except in special cases authorized by the advisor, the instructor, and the departmental chairperson.

Please note that ALL P495 courses require the consent of the instructor. In many cases, limited slots are available and you may be asked to interview. It is important to discuss P495 options with the instructor well before course enrollment, so that all details are agreed upon before you sign up for classes. In general, these courses are restricted to juniors and seniors in the major. Exceptions may be made upon agreement of the instructor and the departmental chairperson.

P495 Readings and Research in Psychology
In Readings and Research, you study a particular topic in-depth. The outcome is often a library research paper, but other products are possible. This option is particularly appropriate for the student who would like to follow up on a course or study a topic that is not offered. The departmental chairperson is the instructor of record, but you must first meet with the appropriate instructor to get their agreement to supervise your work.

P495 Professional Practice Program Internship In an Internship, you work in an applied setting throughout the semester, using what you have learned in your classes. There are two types of internship:Community Experience. In this option, you work in the community in an agency or business that is related to psychology. For example, you might work at Oaklawn, Logan Center, or Press Ganey. This is excellent experience for students who hope to work in human services, and particularly for those who will be looking for employment soon. Students who excel in their internship often receive strong references or even job offers. For more information on this option, please see the FAQ of Internships, available from your advisor or the from the psychology website.

Psychology Lab In this option, you work as a teaching assistant in the Psychology Lab. You are assigned a particular course (usually a section of P103) and you assist the teacher and students in a variety of ways. You also lead general study session and help with other lab activities. For more information, contact Laura Talcott, Director of the Psych Lab.

P495 Supervised Research In Supervised Research, you work closely with a faculty member on research project. You might be part of a research team working on a common problem, or you might be working on you own research project under faculty supervision. This research experience is particularly valuable for students who plan to apply to Ph.D. programs. Several faculty members have their own section of P495, but other instructors can supervise research with the departmental chairperson as instructor of record. A current list of faculty research interests can be found on the psychology department Faculty Research Interests webpage.

Useful Web sites for Psychology Majors
The Psychology Department Homepage includes major and minor requirements, course descriptions, a five-year plan for course offerings, information about professors, and more.
The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has a Student Information page with links to important information, including registration, scholarships, course requirements, and policies and forms.
This is the site of the CLAS Advising Center. Some of the information is also found on the CLAS student info page above, but there are also links to other campus resources and information.
This is the student section of the American Psychological Association website. Great info on careers, graduate programs, the APA Style Helper, etc.
This has good information on careers in psychology, links to psychology department websites from around the world, and full-length books of interest.

Career Opportunities in Psychology

For jobs in the human services area (counseling, advocacy, mental health services), employers are in state, federal, and local government, national non-profits, and faith-based organizations. The websites below contain a great detail about the different types of offices, affiliations, or organizations that provide human services.

Summary of the strategies for finding a human services position:
     •Obtain essential practical experience
     •Plan internship or practicum placements for academic credit
     •Get volunteer experiences
     •Pursue an excellent academic record
     •Become fluent in foreign language spoken by multi-cultural clients
     •Be willing to relocate
     •Obtain a graduate degree for substantive counseling work
     •Become familiar with government hiring procedures

Helpful websites for career information:  The IUSB Career Placement website   Here, students will find a wealth of guidance including job listings financial aid, pursuing graduate school as a path to a career, and a variety of related topics.
     While some is specifically geared toward social psychology, the bulk of the material pertains to the broadly defined field of psychology.   This site has information about entry level jobs and jobs requiring graduate degrees.

Preparing for Graduate School

Many students may be considering graduate education, including masters and doctoral degrees. Getting into a graduate program of your choice takes preparation, including working ahead to obtain experiences that will help your application. Consider completing an internship for practical experience in the field or doing research with a professor. Also, you may want to think carefully about which courses can be helpful to your chosen degree. Contacting the graduate schools you are interested in can be helpful as the can give you more information about their requirements. Here are some things to consider as you think about graduate education and some of the steps you will need to take.

To start, do a search of graduate programs and degrees. The websites below offer some good advice about this step. You may want to complete this step in your junior year to give yourself plenty of time to apply. Also, contact these programs early, so that you can get information about their requirements, including whether tests (such as the GRE) are required and the particular courses you might need.

In your junior year, you may also consider doing a practicum or do research with a professor. These experiences can provide you valuable experience and possibly lead to letters of recommendation.
Early in your senior year, you will want to start to gather the following materials. The websites below give you more information about how to do this. Contact the programs to get a packet of materials and procedures for applying. You may need: test scores (such as the GRE), letters of recommendation (from professors and employers), personal statements about experiences and goals, application and autobiographical information, official college transcripts, and other materials as required by each school. Most schools charge an application fee.

Gather your materials AT LEAST one month before the deadline given by the program. People writing letters of recommendation need time to complete them. Provide the individuals writing letters for you with as much information as possible. Consider having them, as well as others, read your personal statement to get advice about how to make it stronger. Also, talk to your academic advisor about your goals and ask for advice. Try to be as organized as possible by keeping checklists for each program you will apply to. After submitting your application, you may want to contact the program in order to make sure that it has been received and is complete.

Helpful websites for graduate students:  Offers specific advice about the applications process, writing a personal statement, and getting good letters of recommendation.  Brief overview of the application process.  Good information about getting into graduate school and how to succeed once you’re there. Lots of links to other helpful sites.  Offers free GRE test preparation.

Organizations for Students

Psychology Club
The Psychology Club is open to all students, regardless of major. Students with common interests meet to discuss events, issues and ideas with each other. Past activities have included current psychological issues discussion groups and Psychology Night at the Movies. The club is also very service oriented and participates in fundraising activities that support organizations focused on improving quality of life and mental health. Collectively, these activities provide the opportunity for social and professional networking. There is no membership fee to join, all we ask for are your ideas and a little bit of your time to help make our club visible and positive campus presence. For more information or to sign up, see Sarah Woods in DW2108 or stop by the Psychology Office in DW2119.

Psi Chi
Psi Chi is the national honor society in psychology. Psi Chi aims to encourage, stimulate, and maintain excellence in research and to advance the science of psychology. Membership is offered to majors and minors in psychology who have completed 9 hours of psychology courses in at least 3 different semesters and who maintain an overall cumulative GPA of 3.00 or above. For contact information, see the bulletin board outside DW 2108.