Department Mission

The psychology department of St. Olaf College is committed to maintaining a rigorous academic curriculum together with a supportive community structure for faculty and students. In addition, the psychology department seeks to address both broad questions posed by a liberal education and specific concerns of individual students. All of this is carried out within St. Olaf College’s mission statement and standards of a quality psychology program as articulated by the American Psychological Association (APA).

St. Olaf’s mission statement provides a framework for both structuring courses and establishing departmental goals. Thus, in our curriculum, student and faculty development, and community relations we pay careful attention to “what is ultimately worthwhile.” Because life is more than facts and theories present in disciplinary knowledge, the psychology department encourages students to be “responsible citizens dedicated to service of others,” as well as scientific “seekers of truth.”

The psychology department accepts APA’s daunting challenge of “synthesizing the natural and social science aspects of the discipline, in part, by requiring students to take courses in both knowledge bases.” In accordance with APA standards, both interpersonal and investigative skills are enhanced in the department’s dual emphasis on natural and social science foundations of psychology. Through its course structure and faculty diversity, the department challenges students to think critically and creatively in examining ways in which we adapt to our environment through biological, social, emotional, spiritual, perceptual, behavioral, linguistic, and cognitive processes.

Psychology majors are prepared for graduate or professional programs in psychology, medicine, law, physical therapy, social work, nursing, ministry, or for entering positions in business, government and industry.

As you can see, the Department of Psychology prepares students for meaningful work in many different careers. As a psychology major, you will have a chance to gain experience in many of these different areas.