Advice for Sophomores
Since you are a sophomore Psychology major, I want to make several suggestions which will help you get the most you can from our program.
- For next year, your Junior year, you should plan to take Psy 310 – Research Methods for Behavioral Sciences – in the Fall semester and the sequel course, Psy 311 – Research in Human Behavior – in the Spring semester. Plan to take Math 205 – Elementary Statistics – in the Spring Semester of this year. If you are weak in mathmatics you may want to take it in a Summer Session so you can concentrate exclusively on statistics. It is advantageous to take the Research Methods classes in your junior year since your senior year courses are enriched by the knowledge gained in Research. We encourage all students, those in the Traditional track as well as Human Resources or Human Services tracks, to plan on doing at least one Internship (Psy 444) during your senior year. Any research you do in your internship will be enhanced by having completed Research Methods before doing the internship. Also, if you are thinking of applying to graduate school, the work you do in 310-311 will give you the opportunity to complete a scholarly research paper which will be an asset to your graduate school application. If you are planning for full-time employment immediately after graduation, this paper’s topic can be tailored to the type of work setting you want to enter.
There may be some circumstances when it is best for a student to take the Research Methods class during her or his senior year. You and your advisor can decide if this would be advisable for you.
Also, if you are double majoring in Psychology and Sociology or Psychology and Criminal Justice Studies you may choose to take Research Methods in either of these departments. The Sociology methods classes are Soc 410 and 419. The CJS classes are CJS 410 and 419. If you double major, you will need to take 2 elective courses in the department you do not take the research classes in so you meet the departmental minimum of 24 hours for each major. If you are particularly interested in research instead of doing two elective courses, you may want to take Soc 410-419 your senior year to get in depth knowledge of survey research. Feel free to talk to me or Dr. Bergstrand about this option.
- We have several resources available in the Psychology Department office which I want you to know about. We have several editions of the American Psychological Association book Graduate Study in Psychology and Associated Fields. This provides descriptions (degrees and programs available, grades required for admission, special features of the programs, and so on) of all the graduate programs, Masters and Doctoral, in the United States and Canada. We also have a black binder notebook filled with various articles we have copied relevant to various aspects of employment and further education in psychology. This is divided into sections such as “Employment of Psychology Baccalaureates”, “Preparing for Graduate Study and Employment in Psychology”, “Employment of Psychology MAs and MSs”, “Employment of Doctoral Level Psychologists”, “Employment of Psychologists in Business and Industry”, “Employment of School Psychologists”, and “Distinctions Between Clinical and Counseling Psychologists”. These articles can help you decide which field of psychology is of most interest to you and suggest electives in other departments you may want to take here at Bellarmine.
- If you are thinking about applying to graduate school, now is the time to be thinking about the way you approach your psychology classes. I encourage you to get actively involved with your classes because the recommendations the Psychology faculty at Bellarmine write are an important part of your application. We faculty are asked to rate you on characteristics such as the following: academic ability, general knowledge, ability to analyze ideas, oral expression skills, written expression skills, originality and creativity, emotional maturity, desire to achieve, ability to work with others, leadership skills, independence and initiative, professional commitment, research skills, teaching skills, social awareness and concern, and so on. Besides class participation, factors that are a plus for you are such activities as attending Psychology Club events, seeking out psychological literature outside of course requirements, stopping by during office hours to talk psychology, and so on.
- Feel free to set up an appointment with Ann Zeman, Career Planning and Placement, with advice on how to use their services and describing some of the resources they have available. You should register with them now.
I also want to encourage you to feel free to come in and talk with me, Dr. Cartor, Dr. Jirkovsky, Dr. Rothgerber or Dr. Wilson. We are proud of the fact that our past graduates in Psychology say one of the strengths of the department is our genuine interest in the student as a unique person. We are committed to helping you choose a program which will be right for you.
Don R. Osborn, Ph.D.
Chair, Department of Psychology