Program overview

Major/minor: Psychology

Psychology is a diverse field with career options ranging from research and healthcare to social service and public policy, and we offer three separate tracks for our majors to choose from:

The Psychology Specialist option prepares students for a broad range of activities in psychology, including graduate study and a variety of areas of practice. We have labeled this curriculum “specialist” because it allows students to choose a generalist option or to develop individualized specializations while also completing breadth requirements crucial for advanced study in Psychology. Talk to your advisor about whether a specialization area might be advisable for you and about what courses to include in a specialization.

The Psychological Scientist option includes more coursework in mathematical and natural science areas, and prepares students for research-oriented positions, health-related careers, or graduate study in areas of psychology that are more closely associated with the natural sciences, such as learning, cognition, neuroscience, and biopsychology.

The Psychological Services option prepares students for work in a variety of mental health and human service areas, as well as for graduate training at the master’s degree level in applied aspects of psychology and related fields (e.g., student services, social work, rehabilitation, or career counseling). This track allows students to complete either Senior Seminar or a practicum as a capstone experience.  We strongly encourage students who might eventually pursue doctoral training in psychology to select one of the other tracks of the major, or to complete Senior Seminar in fulfilling the Psychological Services option.

One Course At A Time

Cornell’s One Course At A Time curriculum allows us to use class time flexibly to fit the subject rather than fitting the subject into rigid 50-minute class periods. Most class periods are a mixture of short lectures, film clips, demonstrations, and small group discussion, but the block plan makes other ways of using class time possible. In some class periods students may watch a feature length film and discuss the psychological principles shown in the film. In other class periods, students may use their psychological knowledge to train a virtual rat or to practice counseling skills they have learned in class.

One Course At A Time also makes it possible for classes to take full-day field trips. And the schedule is ideal for internships. Psychology students who complete an internship at Cornell can work full time on-site for a block or longer, and thus be more completely integrated with the activities of the agencies and the other staff members.