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Explore the mind’s mysteries.

If you’re curious about the complexity of human behavior, Psychology may be a good major for you. Through critical analysis and creative scientific studies, Whitman College’s Psychology program offers amazing insights into why we humans do what we do. As you earn your bachelor’s degree in Psychology, you’ll experience hands-on projects and wide-ranging exploratory discussions—and gain original research skills working with faculty who are experts in their fields of study. All this will prepare you for a meaningful career that can improve people’s lives.

3 Reasons to Study Psychology at Whitman

Dive Deep Into the Human Mind

Our Psychology program starts with a rigorous sequence of science-based courses to familiarize you with the foundational areas and methods of psychology. And from that solid knowledge base, you’ll have the opportunity to explore your unique interests further through original research and a senior thesis.

Experience Psychology in the Wild

Whitman’s small size and community connections mean internships and work opportunities abound. Psychology majors have helped in local veterinary clinics and K-12 classrooms, in family services and child advocacy settings, at hospitals and in research labs. At Whitman, you won’t lack for opportunities to put your learning into practice.

Connect in Meaningful Ways

Perhaps it’s no surprise that a program fascinated by relationships, personal development and mental health would have some of the most approachable and innovative professors at Whitman. Plus, you’ll be surrounded by a special community of students who will become your friends, allies and support system during your time here.

Interested in Psychology?

We’d love to send you information, including more on academic majors and student life at our beautiful campus in Walla Walla, Washington.

Madi W., Psychology and Hispanic Studies double major

“I majored in Psychology because of the wide variety of directions I could take the major in and some of the niche courses they taught that are very relevant to the world right now, like Psychology of Poverty or [How School Shooters Develop]. I even took Science of Sexual Orientation my junior year.”

Our Whitman Student Voices Blog

Courses in Psychology

See just a few of the fascinating courses you might take.

PSYC 110

Introduction to Psychology

This core course provides an overview of the major areas of study in Psychology: learning, development, personality, behavioral pathology, emotion and social behavior. You’ll distinguish science from pop culture and learn specialized vocabulary and research methods used in the field.

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A jar with some coins inside of it.
PSYC 218

Psychology of Poverty

Tens of millions of people live in poverty in the U.S. What are the psychological implications of living in such an unequal society? How are the impacts of poverty and economic inequality evident in our mental health, physical health, family relationships, and personal identity? If you're fascinated by Psychology and Sociology, this course will be illuminating.

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PSYC 270

Personality Psychology

What is personality? Why and how do individuals significantly differ? This course explores theories of personality, as well as issues such as measurement, pseudoscience and pathology of personality. You’ll analyze individuals—including yourself—from multiple perspectives to consider the strengths and vulnerabilities of different approaches.

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PSYC 309

Science of Sexual Orientation

This advanced seminar explores what contemporary scientific research has to say about sexual diversity. Take part in rich discussions of contemporary issues like same-sex relationships and parenting, sexual-minority discrimination and gay-affirmative therapy.

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PSYC 315

From Columbine to Parkland: How School Shooters Develop

The U.S. has had 57 times as many school shootings as other major industrialized nations combined. Who are these shooters and how did they develop? Through the lens of developmental psychology, you’ll explore contributing factors, such as brain development, psychopathy, psychosis, trauma, decision-making, masculinity, bullying, parenting and the media.

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Hands in a circle.
PSYC 322

Seminar in Stereotyping, Prejudice and Discrimination

We all experience complex psychological processes that shape our beliefs, attitudes, responses and behaviors in group settings. This seminar is your chance to explore how social psychologists frame their studies and discussions about discrimination, especially involving race and gender.

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Amazing Experiences You Can Pursue

Study your way. Want to design your own Independent Study course? Gain insights into other cultures through our study abroad program? Explore a topic with special relevance to you in your senior thesis? As a Psychology major, you will have the support of the program on your unique quest for meaning.

Make a positive difference. Psychology majors can easily mesh their academic interests with experiences that benefit the community. Your involvement on and off campus—as an intern with local schoolchildren, a campus guide or a hospital volunteer, for example—can help others while you strengthen important career skills. 

Play ball. Put your Pavlovian principles into practice—basketball practice, that is. Psychology majors say that the lab to condition animal behavior—getting rats to shoot hoops—is fun, fascinating and foundational for their Whitman education.

What Our Graduates Are Doing Now

Michael Chang Michael Chang ’22

Behavior Specialist in a middle school working with students with disabilities

Alicia Even ’22 Alicia Even ’22

Health Educator/Media and Outreach Coordinator with EXCELth Family Health Center

Ella Nelson ’22 Ella Nelson ’22

Teach for America Corps Member

Guy Oram ’87 Guy Oram ’87

Director & Clinical Neuropsychologist

Julia Schroeder ’09 Julia Schroeder ’09

Distinguished Data Scientist for Walmart

Al-Rahim Merali ’13 Al-Rahim Merali ’13

User Experience Researcher at Google

Your Questions Answered

Mental illness researcher, baseball coach, website designer, pediatric specialist and client relations manager. What do these people have in common? They all started as Psychology majors at Whitman. Our Psychology program will give you a solid grounding in theory, analysis and research skills if you choose to pursue a career in psychology. And if not, Whitman’s liberal arts curriculum will hone your critical thinking skills and open your mind to the many ways in which your knowledge of psychology can prepare you for careers in other fields.

Collaboration, communication and critical thinking are more than buzzwords at Whitman. As a Psychology major, you’ll gain fluency in research, analysis, writing and public speaking skills. You’ll learn to work effectively in groups and independently. You’ll learn how to approach problem solving collaboratively, with self-awareness and compassion. And with guidance from faculty and colleagues, you’ll pursue internships off campus and work-study opportunities on campus that can give your resume a competitive boost.

Absolutely! Through a liberal arts education at Whitman and the rigorous Psychology major, you’ll learn how to interpret the kind of science that informs medical studies and practice—and how to connect that knowledge meaningfully with other disciplines. Many of our Psychology professors research and teach on clinical topics. While at Whitman, you can pursue internships in hospitals and other clinical environments to get a taste of the medical world—and many of our graduates go on to medical school. 

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