Major Review: Psychology

Photo by Megan Hartman

By: Mallory Turner

A wide range of future careers are opened up to prospective students who major in psychology at Gardner-Webb. They can one day could become a psychiatrist, a counselor or a crime scene investigator. In the department of psychology and counseling, located in the Elliot building, there are classes that range from learning about major mental disorders, to learning about how psychology interacts with religion.

Jeremiah Hamby, a senior psychology major, said he “thoroughly enjoy(s) studying people and human behavior.” Once a music major, he decided to switch to psychology because he was always interested in “what influences people lives, their behaviors [and] their futures.”

“We (professors of psychology and counseling) want to do our part in terms of teaching people how to think well when it comes to the science of behavior and mental processes,” said Dr. David Carscaddon, who has been the dean of the school for the past eight years, and has been at Gardner-Webb for a total of 26 years.

Professors that teach in the psychology department are from many different backgrounds in order for the varying aspects of psychology to be represented through the classes.

“Psychology is a really interesting field to study because we learn about human nature – our own and others,” said Dr. James Morgan, professor of psychology and counseling. “Regardless of what we might eventually do in a career and life, that’s a helpful understanding to have.”

Much of what is learned in psychology can be applied to different careers because of the amount of intrapersonal and interpersonal reflection that is taught; meaning that a student can better interact with future coworkers, employers and themselves.

“Take as many kinds of classes as possible, and also think about things like, ‘do I want to go into psychologically in a directly related field?’ or ‘do I want to go into an indirectly related field?’,” advised Carscaddon.

These questions are important to answer when thinking about the future. An undergraduate psychology degree can help students get jobs in fields such as social work, but for jobs as a researcher or a psychiatrist, graduate school is a necessary next step.

“One of the most important aspects [of psychology] you can do is research,” said Hamby. “Get prepared to do research while you’re here, because it’s going to be the most important thing going into graduate school.”

In order to receive a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, students are required to have 39 hours of credit by the time they graduate, 18 of those hours being required courses, 15 being elective courses and the remainder going to a required internship and capstone project.

A minor in psychology requires 18 hours of credit, six of those hours being two required classes (Developmental Psychology and General Psychology). The remaining 12 hours are electives, but six of these hours must be courses at the 400 level or above.

“Many of our majors have a second major or a minor,” said Morgan. “We don’t require our majors to do this, but I think that combining areas of interest provides a student with a greater depth of knowledge, understanding and appreciation that prepares them even better for whatever comes next in their life.”