Undergraduate Distinctives​​

What makes SPU’s undergraduate psychology program stand apart?

Tatyana Lats in Uganda

During her quarter studying abroad, psychology major Tatyana Lats ’15 visited Rwanda, where, with other students from Uganda Christian University, she interned with Retrak, a faith-based charity that houses homeless youth in the outskirts of Kampala.

Academic curricula. Rigorous and comprehensive, our curriculum maps onto the American Psychological Association (APA) Guidelines for the undergraduate Psychology major. Our students thrive and acquire skills easily applied to the workforce or post-graduate study through the rich developmental learning process and support of qualified, caring faculty.

Our Introductory Psychology course serves many majors on campus and is thus offered in large lecture format. All major required courses are taught in small sections. Our research capstone courses are offered to groups of only 16 students, providing an exceptional learning experience.

Qualified, caring faculty. Psychology faculty members hold doctorate degrees and are experts in their fields. All are active scholars, and all are committed teachers and mentors.

Philosophy of teaching. Teaching and evaluation processes are motivating, redemptive, and rigorous. They nurture critical thinking skills, include a variety of methods and engage a variety of cognitive modalities, and elicit the higher cognitive functions of application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.

Philosophy of research. The scientific method provides a primary process for grounding knowledge, but it is not the only legitimate means of knowing. Basic, applied, and action research complement one another, and each is to be valued. Research should be grounded in theory, methodologically sound, and ultimately applicable to serving the needs of God’s human and non-human creation.

Philosophy of service. Followers of Jesus are called by his life and teachings to serve in gentleness, humility, and strength, and to seek out the marginalized and hurting. All teaching and scholarship should be perceived as service to God and on behalf of God’s creation; the goals of which should be to model, prepare, and inspire students to seek out opportunities to serve in their world.

Disciplinary assumptions and values. Humankind is comprised of biological, psychological, social, cultural, and spiritual dimensions. Behavioral science and religious faith complement one another and provide multiple levels of explanation; however, they are not independent of each other.

Faith informs one’s hypotheses about human behavior, what one decides to study, and how one carries out behavioral research. Likewise, the scientific study of psychology may well carry implications for one’s religious beliefs and experiences.