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Psychology Major

College of Education and Health Sciences

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Department of Psychology

(440) 826-2197,



Explore the complexities of the human mind and behavior. Learn why people think, feel and behave as they do. Whether your career interest is in applied psychology (counseling, industrial/organizational, legal, neuropsychology, forensic, sport or school psychology), or in a medical profession, scientific research or in teaching, psychology is a versatile major that will help you understand biological, psychological and social causes of behavior.

Baldwin Wallace's psychology major combines rigorous coursework with extensive research and community engagement opportunities. You'll explore the broad areas of human development, experimental psychology, applied psychology and human relations. Through elective courses, you will then personalize your major to align with your career interests.

  • photo of students in a psychology laboratory

    Students learning the proper technique of placing an EEG net. BW's emphasis on hands-on learning enables psychology students to gain valuable research skills.

  • photo of students in a psychology laboratory

    Students use state-of-the-art laboratory facilities for thesis work and collaborative research with faculty.

  • photo of a psychology student presenting research at a professional conference

    Psychology students, such as Adam Ramsey '18, have presented their research at professional conferences. Ramsey now attends a doctoral program at Vanderbilt University, a top-20 national program.

In-Demand Career Field

According to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of psychologists is expected to grow at a rate of about 14 percent through the year 2028. This is considered much faster than average growth.

Why Employers Like Psychology Majors

The skills acquired in the study of psychology, such as analyzing data, communicating complex information and understanding human behavior, are highly valued by employers. You'll learn how to communicate thoughtfully, purposefully and clearly. This broad skill set will make you employable in a wide range of career fields.

Career Opportunities in Psychology

  • Healthcare
  • Law enforcement
  • Social work
  • Human resources
  • Marketing/sales
  • Laboratory research
  • Public relations
  • Law school
  • Advertising


Psychology is offered as a major and minor. The coursework provides a theoretical and empirical framework for your studies. You'll progress from learning the basics of psychology to gaining knowledge and skills that will enable you to analyze data, communicate complex information, and understand behavior and mental processes.

Gain Marketable Research Skills

A four-course sequence that includes semester-long courses in statistics, statistical analysis software, research methods and thesis provide an outstanding opportunity to gain advanced research skills. As part of your studies, you'll conduct original research that includes data collection and analysis, scientific writing and oral presentation.

View a full list of courses and course descriptions for the psychology major >

What You'll Learn

BW's psychology major prepares students to:

  • Develop ethically and socially responsible behaviors for work in professional settings.
  • Gain a meaningful professional direction for life after graduation.
  • Become knowledgeable about psychology, both theoretically and empirically, as it relates to human motivation, cognition, psychotherapy, neurophysiology and behavior.
  • Interpret, design and conduct psychological research.
  • Use scientific reasoning to interpret psychological phenomena.

Affiliated Social Work Program

BW's affiliated social work program enables students to earn a bachelor's degree from BW and a master's degree in social work from Case Western Reserve University in just five years.

Earn Your Master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC)

BW’s Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) offers psychology program graduates an opportunity to earn a master’s degree in 24 months through a full-time cohort program. The CMHC program prepares students to become licensed professional counselors (LPC), working with clients to improve their mental health and well-being. Learn more.

Course Catalog

Course Descriptions

Course descriptions, requirements for the major and additional information can be found in the University Catalog.


Small class sizes, individual attention and faculty mentoring are central to the psychology program. You'll learn from professors who hold doctorates in their subject areas and have decades of teaching experience.

Student Clubs and Organizations

PSI CHI Chapter (International Honor Society)

Members participate in chapter-sponsored research and service projects. They also travel to conferences to present their research and to build skills in professional development.

Psychology Club

Offering educational, professional and social opportunities, the Psychology Club helps students learn about a range of psychology-based topics and coordinates activities that include guest speakers, field trips and service.

Jacket Philanthropy Program

The BW Jacket Philanthropy Program is a course-based, service-learning program that engages students in volunteerism and the grant-making process. Courses are open to students of all majors, from first-year students to seniors. Courses have been offered in business, English, psychology, public health and sociology.

Graduate-Level Research Opportunities

You'll learn in the classroom, then take that knowledge and apply it in a lab. You'll gain advanced skills and hands-on learning experiences comparable to those of a master's level program.

The quality of research through faculty-student collaboration and student thesis are outstanding. Many BW students have presented their research at professional conferences like the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science and the Society for Neuroscience. Other students have had their research published in scholarly journals.

At BW, you can participate in faculty-led research as early as your first year. The psychology department has facilities for human and non-human research, including:

Behavioral Science Lab

This lab utilizes animal models to better understand normal and disordered human behavior. Recent studies have focused on anxiety, anorexia, autism and drug addiction. Faculty researcher: Dr. Brian Thomas

Center for Psychological Science

The social, developmental and counseling psychology lab allows for computer research, video recording and the observation of human participants in research rooms equipped with one-way mirrors. Faculty-led projects have included social rejection, self-concept and child research. Faculty researchers: Dr. Stephanie Rothman, Dr. Deb Esty and Dr. Jennifer Perry

Health and Well-being Lab

Using ecological momentary assessment (EMA), the health and well-being lab studies how to sustain well-being in the midst of chronic illness and psychopathology. The research team is currently conducting a study on the emotional benefits of health behaviors (e.g., eating fruits and vegetables, physical exercise) for adults with depressive and anxiety disorders. Faculty researcher: Dr. David Disabato

Internships and Field Experiences

BW partners with several organizations to provide psychology students with opportunities for internships, clinical field experiences and off-campus research. National and regional placement sites for students include research labs, hospitals, counseling and therapy facilities, nonprofit and community agencies, personnel offices and education centers.

Psychology Speaker Series

Harrington Lecture Series

The Harrington Visiting Professor series offers annual presentations by national and international experts. Past speakers have included Drs. Philip Zimbardo, Albert Bandura, Elizabeth Loftus, Walter Mischel, Anthony Marsella (BW alumnus), Robert Sternberg, David Buss, Daniel Schacter, Robert Sapolsky, Carol Tavris and Roy Baumeister, among others. Recent topics have included:

  • Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People
  • Addiction: A Problem of Motivation, Free Will, or Self-Destructive Behavior?
  • Talking Up, Talking Down: The Power of Positive Speaking
  • How Mind and Brain Enable Self-Control

The Harrington Colloquium series offers monthly presentations by regional experts. Past speakers have included: Dr. Sandra Russ (CWRU), Dr. Eric Geyer (Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital), Dr. John Gunstad (KSU) and Dr. Frederick Frese (NEOUCOM). Recent topics have included:

  • Myth and Truths of Forensic Psychology
  • Recovery: Myths, Mountains and Miracles
  • Christmas Cookies and Alzheimer's Disease: How Obesity Hurts the Brain
  • ADHD Across the Lifespan
  • Creativity in Children and Adults


Psychology prepares students for diverse career opportunities. Many students go directly into employment opportunities in a variety of career fields and others seek graduate school entry for careers needing additional education.

First Destination Employment

Recent BW psychology graduates are employed in human resource management, pediatric psychology, sales, marketing, social service, organizational development, special education, teaching, management, drug rehabilitation and vocational rehabilitation. Recent graduates are employed at the Cleveland Clinic, Equality Ohio, Goodyear headquarters, Medina County Job & Family Services, and other regional and national organizations.

Graduate School

BW psychology students have been accepted to prestigious graduate schools across the nation to pursue master's, doctoral and medical degrees. Recent graduates have been accepted to Rutgers University, Boston College, Michigan State University, Southern Illinois University, University of Denver and Case Western Reserve University, among others.

Alumni Spotlights

Ashley SmithAshley Johnson '15 is a graduate student in Kent State University's College of Public Health in Ohio. The Ohio Public Health Association named her a public health champion in 2016. At BW, classes in psychology, communication, health education and promotion prepared her for a career in public health. She is from Berea, Ohio.

Emily HusikEmily Husik '14 is community mental health worker at OhioGuidestone in Berea, Ohio. While at BW, Emily was a K9 Partners intern at OhioGuidestone. This connection led to her being hired by the organization upon graduation. The Middleburg Heights, Ohio, native holds an MAEd with literacy specialization from BW.

Heather LowHeather Low '14 is qualified mental health specialist, community psychiatric supportive treatment, at OhioGuidestone in Cleveland. A liberal arts education provided her with diverse experiences that contributed to her personal growth and prepared her for a career in the mental health field. She is from Amherst, Ohio.

Whitney YoderWhitney Yoder '14 is pursuing a master's in methodology and statistics for the biomedical, behavioral and social sciences at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. Internships helped her identify her career interests, and an undergraduate research thesis set her apart from other graduate school applicants. She is from Medina, Ohio.

Laura DunsonLaura Dunson, '13 is outpatient therapist and licensed professional counselor at OhioGuidestone. Her focus areas include gender issues, trauma and creative therapies. From Cleveland, she holds a master's from Duquesne University. BW faculty inspired her to pursue social justice causes and prepared her for graduate education.

Sarah HummelSarah Hummel '13 is DVM candidate at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. As an undergraduate, the Ithaca, N.Y., native worked in BW's neuroscience and animal learning labs and conducted two major thesis projects that were instrumental to her growth as a researcher and problem solver.

Joe LuchsingerJoe Luchsinger '13 is MD-PhD candidate at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tenn. At BW, small class sizes, faculty mentors and extensive experiential learning opportunities enabled the Bexley, Ohio, native to engage deeply in multiple areas of interest while preparing for medical school.

Alison SmithAlison Smith '12 is impact evaluation program assistant at Social Impact in Arlington, Va. From Jamestown, N.Y., she holds a Master of Public Health with a concentration in global health from Boston University. At BW, thesis projects and a focus on research and data analysis prepared her for the rigor and independence of graduate school.

Katelynn CarverKatelynn Carver '11 is Ph.D. candidate at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. She holds a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard. From Medina, Ohio, she has presented and published her work widely, including in interfaith blogs, international metaphysics symposia and cultural studies publications.

Kelley LikesKelley Likes '11 is annual giving coordinator for OhioGuidestone in Berea. Kelley completed one of many undergraduate internships at OhioGuidestone and was hired to work full-time for the company upon graduation. She holds an B.S. in psychology and an MBA from BW. She is from Huron, Ohio.

Katherine YoussoufKatherine Youssouf '11 is M.P.P. and J.D. candidate at American University in Washington, D.C. Her research interests lie at the intersection of international law, policy and advocacy. The Montvale, N.J., native has conducted research for international non-profits and co-wrote a report on hate crimes research for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

Emily ElderEmily Elder '10 is doctoral candidate in the counseling psychology program at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind. An internship helped her identify an interest in trauma prevention and treatment. Undergraduate research experience helped the Monroeville, Ohio gain acceptance into one of her top-choice doctoral programs.

Lorrin RadzikRev. Lorrin Radzik '10 is pastor of the Seven Hills and Independence Methodist Churches in Ohio. She holds a Master of Divinity from Boston University. At BW, she served on a faculty-student research team and worked as student research coordinator for the psychology department. She is from Creston, Ohio.

Lisa SlamaLisa Domonkos-Slama '10 is owner and trainer at K9 Coaches providing private consultations and training to canines and their owners. Studying psychology and sociology has enabled the Strongsville, Ohio, native to meet the social and psychological needs of her clients and expand her practice to psychiatric service dogs.

Ruth Anne LoeppRuth Anne C. Loepp '09 is school psychologist at a charter school in Harlem, N.Y. She has testified as an expert witness in a state administrative hearing and provided programmatic recommendations to a school district in Fla. From Canal Fulton, Ohio, she holds an MAEd and advanced certificate in school psychology.

Rachel PerniciRachel Pernici '09 is manager of forensic case management for Frontline Services in Cleveland. She holds an MSSA from Case Western Reserve University. BW faculty and coursework helped the Amherst, Ohio, native identify an interest in social work. Research experiences prepared her for graduate studies.

Sean RobinsonSean Robinson '08 is industrial/ organizational psychologist at MillerCoors and adjunct professor at Marquette University in Milwaukee. He holds a doctorate from Ohio University in industrial/organizational psychology. BW faculty challenged the Mentor, Ohio, native as a student and researcher, preparing him for doctoral studies.


Brian Thomas

Chair, Psychology Department
Post-doc, University of Massachusetts in Amherst

Brian Thomas

David Disabato

Assistant Professor
Post-doc, Affective Science, Kent State University

David Disabato

Deb Esty

Ph.D., The University of Akron

Deb Esty

Associate Professor
Ph.D., The University of Akron

Nancy Gussett

Charles Levin

Ph.D., University of Illinois at Chicago

Charles Levin

Full-Time Faculty

Brian Thomas
Chair, Psychology Department
Ph.D., Texas Christian University

David Disabato
Assistant Professor
Ph.D., George Mason University

Deb Esty
Ph.D., The University of Akron

Andrea Graves
Assistant Professor
Ph.D., Capella University

Nancy Gussett
Associate Professor
Ph.D., The University of Akron

Charles Levin
Ph.D., University of Illinois at Chicago

Jennifer Perry
Ph.D., University of Oklahoma

Stephanie Rothman
Associate Professor
Ph.D., University of Kentucky