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Department of Psychological Sciences

Undergraduate Program Overview

The Psychology major offers a broad-based foundation for the study of psychology while providing our students flexibility and choice in their undergraduate experience. Students have an opportunity to learn about the complex and multifaceted aspects of thoughts and behaviors while being presented with many opportunities to participate in our department’s wealth of ongoing research. The major can be completed in little more than 30 credit hours allowing our students to explore double majors, minors, and even dual degrees. A degree in Psychology is often chosen by students who are interested in pursuing careers in research, therapy, human services, or a variety of careers that only require a bachelor’s degree.

Psychology Major & Career Possibilities

Careers
The Psychology major allows our students to examine the fundamentals of the field of psychology. Our students complete their undergraduate education with either a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree. Here are just a few possible careers:

  • Human Services Manager
  • Mental Health Technician
  • Police and Law Enforcement Officer
  • Corrections Officer
  • Life Skills Specialist
  • Victim Advocate
  • Human Resources Manager
  • Case Manager
  • Account Executive

Additionally, many of our students continue their education into graduate school focusing on a wide variety of disciplines both inside the field of psychology and out. Some of those include:

  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Industrial/ Organization Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Counseling Psychology
  • Medical School
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Law School
  • Physical Therapy

Psychology Satisfaction

Not all jobs are created equally. Some jobs have a higher pay relative to others, however salary may not reflect other factors like overall job satisfaction. The graph below illustrates how Psychology measures against other fields in both salary and satisfaction.

Undergraduate Job Satisfaction

You can also visit our undergraduate Careers Page for more information.

Also, check out these informative websites:

American Psychological Association's information on jobs for Bachelor's degree in Psychology.

O*Net Online Resource for occupations in Psychology.

Career Profiles for jobs for those with bachelor's degrees in Psychology.

Core Course Selection

Psychology is a dynamic discipline with a variety of unique areas of specialization that stem from a firm foundation. The undergraduate degree program provides our students with the core education each psychology student needs to be successful while allowing them to explore areas of specialization.

PSYCH 110-General Psychology
PSYCH 500-Junior Seminar in Psychology (Fall)
STAT 325-Intro to Statistics
PSYCH 350-Experimental Methods in Psychology
PSYCH 351-Experimental Methods Laboratory

 Students choose two (2) of the following courses after completing PSYCH 350:

PSYCH 460-Cognitive Psychology
PSYCH 470-Psychobiology (PR: BIOL 198)
PSYCH 475-Principles of Learning
PSYCH 480-Fundamentals of Perception and Sensation

Students also choose one (1) of the following courses after completing PSYCH 350:

PSYCH 605-Advanced Social Psychology
PSYCH 620-Psychology of Personality

Students must also choose one (1) of the following courses from Applied or Health Psychology:

PSYCH 505-Abnormal Psychology
PSYCH 518-Introduction to Health Psychology
PSYCH 560-Industrial Psychology
PSYCH 564-Psychology of Organizations
PSYCH 565-Occupational Health Psychology

Students also complete twelve (12) hours of Psychology electives of their choice. Those hours can also be used to select an area of specialization.

Areas of Specialization

The courses presented in these specializations represent possible course combinations for students who may be interested in a specific area of psychology. The titles featured below do not represent degree designations.

Behavioral Neuroscience

Behavioral Neuroscience studies the organic brain and how it changes relative to behavior, stimuli, abnormalities, and changes over time.

PSYCH 202-Drugs and Behavior
PSYCH 370-Brain and Behavior
PSYCH 470-Psychobiology
PSYCH 570-Psychopharmacology
PSYCH 599-Problems in Psychology
PSYCH 630-Human Neuropsychology

Cognitive

Industrial/ Organizational

Social/Personality

Clinical

Psychology Minor (Fall 2020)

Beginning in Fall 2020, students will have the opportunity to pursue a minor in Psychology.  Although procedures for declaring that minor will not be established until late in Spring or Summer 2020, students interested in pursuing the minor may want to enroll in some courses in anticipation.  The Psych 350 course will not be offered to minors until Fall 2020.

A Psychology minor offers students a variety of unique areas of study to enhance their existing major. Our minor consists of 18 hours and includes:

PSYCH 110-General Psychology
PSYCH Elective
PSYCH Elective
PSYCH Elective
PSYCH Elective
PSYCH 350-Experimental Methods in Psychology

Undergraduate Research Opportunities

The Psychological Sciences department at Kansas State University is dedicated to a variety of research areas. Our undergraduates have a unique opportunity to work alongside our faculty and graduate students while employing the skills they have learned in the classroom.

Undergraduate Research Laboratories

Dr. Brase Lab

Adaptive Reasoning & Decisions 

We do studies on how people make judgments and decisions across different real-life situations.  This includes how people use numbers to understand things like medical test results, how people reason about social rules about behavior, and how people make decisions about relationships (judgments of attractiveness, choosing partners, and having children).  We apply cognitive, social, and evolutionary theories across all this work.

GPA Requirement: 3.0

Career Interest: Research

Class Requirement: Good performance in PSYCH 350

Contact: Dr. Brase

Laboratory Informational Flyer

Dr. Brase Research Page

Adaptive Reasoning & Decisions Laboratory Webpage

Dr. Young Lab

Dynamic Decision Making

Research typically involves the study of decision making in dynamic environments. Dr. Young is currently studying the situational and individual variables related to impulsive and risky choice in video game and other dynamic environments. Undergraduates help with collecting data, attend and present at weekly lab meetings, and obtain professional experience opportunities.

GPA Requirement: 3.0 but will consider students with strengths in other areas.

Special Requirement: New lab students should be able to commit 6 hours/week for 2 credits of Psych 599

Class Requirement: PSYCH 350 and/or STAT 325 with A or B

Contact: Dr. Michael Young

Laboratory Informational Flyer

Dr. Young's Research Page

Dynamic Decision Making Laboratory Webpage

Dr. Bailey Lab

Memory & Aging

Dr. Bailey’s research focuses on how memory differs across individuals and how it changes with age. Some of her students are evaluating how strategies influence students’ learning, memory and problem solving. Other students are studying how young and older adults use information they have learned in the past to help them learn and remember new information. Finally, others are evaluating how individuals with PTSD learn and remember everyday activities. We use different methods to evaluate these questions, including computer tasks, eye tracking, and neuroimaging. Undergraduate research assistants help to collect and analyze data, develop experiments, participate in weekly lab meetings and engage in professional development opportunities.

GPA Requirement: 3.0 but students who can provide a strong reference letter will also be considered

Special Requirement: Must be available 6 hours a week

Class Requirement: PSYCH 350 or equivalent course from another department

Contact: Dr. Bailey

Laboratory Informational Flyer

Dr. Bailey's Research Page

Memory & Aging Laboratory Webpage

Dr. Pickens Lab

Cognition, Learning, and Psychopharmacology

The Cognition, Learning, and Psychopharmacology lab is interested in the relationship between drug use (including alcohol and illegal drugs) and learning abilities in a variety of tasks. We look at potential neurotoxic effects that drugs might have on the brain and behavior (ex: drug exposure altering the brain and behavior). We also look at potential individual differences that might cause altered cognition/emotion and cause increased drug use (ex: drug exposure doesn’t cause altered decision-making or anxious, but more anxious people or people more prone to bad decisions are more likely to take drugs)

GPA Requirement: 2.8

Special Requirement: At least 5 hours a week, 2-semester commitment, 3-5 2.5 hour weekend shifts per semester, Cannot own snake or rodent

Class Requirement: None

Contact: Dr. Pickens

Laboratory Informational Flyer

Dr. Picken's Research Page

Cognition & Neurobiological Laboratory Webpage

Dr. Wisniewski  Lab

Auditory Learning & Cognition

In the ALC lab at K-State, behavioral, electroencephalogram (EEG) recordings, and connectionist modeling methods are used to study the processes involved in auditory perceptual learning. We also use these methods to study the processes involved in coping with difficult listening scenarios (e.g., listening in noise), and in the development of man-machine interfaces for performance augmentation. We believe this work will lead to more effective methods for improving human auditory capacities (for rehabilitative or other reasons).

GPA Requirement: 2.7 or higher

Special Requirement: Ability to work at least 6 hours per week (2 credits of 599)

Class Requirement: PSYCH 350 and PSYCH 460 preferred

Contact: Dr. Wisniewski

Laboratory Informational Flyer

Dr. Wisniewski's Research Page

Auditory Learning & Cognition Laboratory Webpage

Dr. Saucier Lab

Social Psychological Research

Dr. Saucier’s research interests center on expressions of antisocial and prosocial behavior. Specifically, Dr. Saucier is interested in the individual differences and situational factors that contribute to the justification and suppression of antisocial behavior (e.g., prejudice, aggression), as well as to decisions to behave prosocially (e.g., to give or withhold help). Undergraduate students are involved in all phases of the research process, from designing projects and collecting data to data analysis to the presentation of results.

GPA Requirement:

Special Requirement:

Class Requirement:

Contact: Dr. Saucier

Laboratory Informational Flyer

Dr. Saucier's Research Page

Dr. Kirkpatrick Lab

Reward, Timing, and Decision (RTD)

Our lab is interested in impulsive and risky decisions that accompany problem behaviors such as drug abuse, gambling, obesity, and ADHD. We work with rodents for most of our studies and examine the neurobiological and behavioral mechanisms of impulsive and risky decisions. We also have been working on developing behavioral interventions to improve decision making and have recently been translating these for use with humans.

GPA Requirement: 3.0 but others with strong interest will be considered

Class Requirement: None, although Intro Biology and PSYCH 110-General Psychology and PSYCH 350 can be beneficial

Career Interest: Biomedical, medical, veterinary medicine, other research interests, and a variety of Psychology based fields

Contact: Dr. Kirkpatrick

Laboratory Informational Flyer

Dr. Kirkpatrick's Research Page

Reward, Timing, and Decision (RTD) Laboratory Webpage

Dr. Brannon Lab

Attitude & Persuasion

In the BAPL, we study how people form attitudes, how they can be changed, and how that affects their behavior. Students in our lab will learn to read, analyze, and discuss research articles. They will also learn to collect, clean and analyze data as well as conduct guided research projects.

GPA Requirement: 2.5 or better

Class Requirement: PSYCH 350 preferred but not required, sophomore standing or higher, and interest in presenting at conferences

Special Requirement:  At least 2 credits of PSYCH 599 (6+ hours per week in lab) and an interest in attitudes, persuasion, and Health Psychology

Contact: Dr. Brannon

Laboratory Informational Flyer

Dr. Brannon's Research Page

Attitudes & Persuasion Laboratory Application

Dr. Lake Lab

Work & Career Decisions

Our lab is to better understand the key decisions that people make in pursuit of work and career goals, with the ultimate objective of improving work performance, work commitments, and career success.

GPA Requirement: 3.0

Special Requirement: Meeting once per week, highly motivated, attention to detail

Class Requirement: Student who have or are taking PSYCH 350/351 and STAT 325 Introduction to Statistics

Career Interest: Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Business, or Human Resources, Management

Contact: Dr. Lake

Laboratory Informational Flyer

Dr. Lake's Research Page

Work & Career Laboratory Webpage

Dr. Lee Lab

Work Systems & Occupational Health Psychology

Our lab is focused on designing safer, healthier, and enjoyable work environments. We also examine the mechanisms that foster a safety climate in hazardous industries, promote the mental health and well being of employees. Finally we examine and address occupational safety and health disparities.

GPA Requirement: 3.0

Class Requirement: None, however PSYCH 564-Psychology of Organization or PSYCH 565-Occupational Health Psychology or STAT 325 are encouraged

Career Interest: Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Buisness, Clinical or Health Psychology, Medical, Managment, or government

Contact: Dr. Lee

Laboratory Informational Flyer

Dr. Lee's Research Page

Dr. Diehl Lab

Diehl Laboratory

Research in the Diehl laboratory seeks to understand why some individuals can overcome trauma and develop behavioral resilience, while other individuals go on to develop a neuropsychiatric disease, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. We are also interested in understanding how social stimuli can alter fear-related behaviors and the neural circuits that guide social interactions under aversive conditions. We combine rodent models of fear and avoidance learning with functional circuit mapping techniques to understand how behavioral resilience can augment the neural circuits of fear and avoidance. Undergraduates in the lab can expect to learn about animal behavioral paradigms that model clinical symptoms of excessive fear and avoidance as well as neural circuitry techniques such as single unit recordings and in vivo optogenetics. Many students also learn surgical techniques, critical interpretation of data, scientific literacy, and critical thinking skills.

GPA Requirement: 3.0, but others with strong interest will be considered

Class Requirement: None, although Intro Biology and PSYCH 110-General Psychology and PSYCH 350 are recommended

Special Requirement: Minimum 2-semester commitment, weekend availability

Career Interest: Biomedical, medical, veterinary medicine, other research interests

Contact: Dr. Diehl

Dr. Loschky Lab

Visual Cognition

The Visual Cognition Laboratory conducts research on scene perception and its real world applications, spanning the traditional areas of perception and cognition. Our lab's research philosophy is that good basic research should always be capable of suggesting applications for real-world scenarios, and good applied research should always add information to a theory.

GPA Requirement: 3.0 or better

Class Requirement: "A" in either PSYCH 350, 351, 460, or 480. High interest students with an "A" in PSYCH 110 may also be considered.

Special Requirement: One year commitment preferred

Contact: Dr. Loschky

Laboratory Informational Flyer

Dr. Loschky's Research Page

Visual Cognition Laboratory Webpage

Dr. Plakke Lab

Plakke Laboratory

We examine cognitive flexibility and multisensory processing with neurophysiological and histological techniques to determine neural circuits of sensation and cognition. We also examine autism like behaviors in rodents with the valproic acid model. We are interested in better understanding behavioral, sensory, and cognitive changes in autism, as well as possible neurobiological changes that occur within the brain.

GPA Requirement: 3.0

Class Requirement: None

Career Interest: Medical or Graduate School

Contact: Dr. Plakke

Laboratory Informational Flyer

Dr. Plakke's Research Page

Dr. Cain Lab

Addiction Neuroscience

In the Cain lab we use animal models of early life environmental differences, to unravel the underlying mechanisms of addiction and addiction vulnerability. Undergraduates in the lab can expect to learn aspects of several scientific disciplines including both behavioral and neurobiological techniques. Many also learn surgical techniques, improve their data interpretation skills, scientific literacy, and critical thinking.

GPA Requirement: N/A

Class Requirement: N/A

Special Requirement: The amount of time in the lab is based on the number of credit hours enrolled (PSYCH 599) or the requirements of their research program (DSP, etc)

Contact: Dr. Cain

Laboratory Informational Flyer

Dr. Cain's Research Page

Undergraduate Advising

The Psychological Sciences department shares K-State’s passion for student success. Our department has a dedicated faculty and staff to ensure our students' needs are met. One of the key components to students' success is effective and timely advising. Psychological Sciences has two enthusiastic and knowledgeable advisers who help our students through the entire process of their undergraduate education in psychology.

Sarah 2

Sarah Buchanan

Jason 2

Jason Walls

Academic Advising Syllabus

Meet Our Undergraduate Alumni

The K-State Department of Psychological Sciences is proud of all of our alumni. In this section, we would like to introduce you to some of our Alumni Advisory Council that earned their undergraduate degrees from K-State. They represent a wide variety of career choices one can make with a Psychology degree!

Mr. Milt Ahlerich (BS 1968)
President, Ahlerich Consulting Group
Alexandria, VA

Ms. Gail Antenen (BS 1980)
Court Services Officer, State of Kansas
Ness City, KS

Ms. Lindsey Firebaugh Bock (BS 2004)
Neuropsychometrician, University of Missouri-Kansas City
Kansas City, MO

Mr. Thomas Clark (BS 1971)
Executive in Residence, KSU College of Business
Manhattan, KS

Dr. Michelle Coker (Binkley) (BS, 1984)
Clinical Psychologist, Bariatric Center of Kansas City
Lenexa, KS

Mr. William Conaway (BS 1990)
Chief Information Officer & Vice President, Prime Healthcare
Los Angeles, CA

Mr. Richard Felton (BS 1976)
East Cleveland (Ohio) City Schools
East Cleveland, OH

Dr. Sandi McCoy Kramos (BS 1988)
Clinical Psychologist, Private Practice
Manhattan, KS

Dr. Desirae McKenzie Moreno (BS 2003)
Clinical Psychologist, Private Practice
Wichita, KS

Mr. Mark Raggett (BS 2002)
Investment Manager, Creative Planning, Inc.
Leawood, KS

Dr. Kenneth Sewell (BS 1986)
Vice President for Research, Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK

Ms. Lisa Way (BS 1993)
Senior Director, Commitment Management
Granger; Chicago, IL

Alumni Spotlight

Kenneth Sewell

Ken Sewell

Kenneth Sewell graduated from Kansas State University with his Bachelors of Science in 1986. He is currently Vice President for Research at Oklahoma State University and serves as President of the OSU Research Foundation. Ken stated that his undergraduate psychology experience in systemic task analysis and decision-making, (research methods, problem solving and decision making) as well as developing people skills continue to help him in his work. Additionally he stated he gained a deep understanding of how life-changing undergraduate research can be for students, especially first-generation college students.

Thomas Clark

Tom Clark

Thomas Clark graduated from Kansas State University with his Bachelors of Science in 1971. He is currently a part-time adjunct professor in the National Strategic Selling Institute at KSU. Tom is also a retired sales executive from the high technology industry having worked a variety of leadership roles in direct sales, channel sales, strategic alliance management and global business development for many Fortune 500 companies. He stated that his undergraduate psychology experience learning critical thinking skills, gaining understanding of different personality types, and how to effectively work with many different types of people was essential. Finally, he suggests undergraduate students take a business class if they think they may have an interest in that career path.