About Us

 Bachelor's Degrees (Fall 2011):
  • 997 majors
  • 71% women, 29% men
  • 308 awarded (AY10-11)
  • 5.2 years to degree (Frosh)
  • 2.95 years to degree (Transfer)
  • 3.08 GPA
Master's Degrees (Fall 2011):
  • 57 current students
  • 79% full-time
  • 75% women, 25% men
  • 32 awarded (AY10-11)
  • 2.84 years to degree
  • 3.80 GPA
Complete Department profile...
SJSU and Beyond..

 An Introduction

I know that this video is for Grant MacEwan University in Canada, but they've done a really nice job of describing Psychology while still having fun. Think SJSU Psychology and enjoy the video! 

Although the question of why people do the things they do is an age-old question, the scientific study of this question, which constitutes the field of psychology, is only about 125 years old. As the field of psychology has developed during the last century, large strides have been made in acquiring new knowledge and in effectively applying the knowledge that has been acquired.

In the United States psychology is the second most popular major with about 65,000 bachelor's degrees granted in 1996. Although about 10% of these graduates went on to graduate work in psychology, most undergraduate students stop with a bachelor degree. Consistent with this pattern, psychology is one of the most popular majors at SJSU, but a somewhat higher percentage of our undergraduates continue on to graduate programs.

However, the BA - Psychology provides students with useful and marketable skills which go beyond basic knowledge of the content of psychological facts and theories. Successful majors develop good research and technical writing skills, develop high-level skills for analyzing, synthesizing and evaluating information, and become good problem solvers with well-developed people skills. A BA - Psychology is an appropriate broad liberal arts major for many students who will directly enter the workforce. A list of fields which frequently hire psychology students is available in the department. The psychology degree is also suitable pre-professional preparation for such careers as business, law, medicine and theology, as well as the graduate training necessary for careers in psychology.

Graduate study in psychology is also extremely popular with the number of students seeking terminal master's degrees increasing sixfold since the 1960s and the number receiving doctoral training doubling in the last decade. The Psychology Department offers programs for those seeking terminal master's degrees in clinical and industrial and organizational psychology. These MS degrees are called terminal master's degrees because they provide training for employment rather than for moving on to the next level of graduate training. The department also offers a General MA degree designed to prepare students for additional advanced training leading to a doctoral degree in psychology or related field, or employment in human factors or other research settings. The MS and MA degrees fulfill the degree requirements for teaching psychology at the community college level.

The undergraduate and graduate students in psychology are a diverse group which mirror the diversity in the SJSU student population with a somewhat higher proportion of women. They are well represented on the list of Dean's and President's Scholars. Psi Chi, the psychology honors association, is very active and runs the Spartan Psychological Association Research Colloquia (SPARC) meetings each spring. This meeting provides an opportunity for students to present their research findings in a local meeting before venturing to regional or national professional meetings. The Psi Chi group recently won the award for the best student presentation at the regional meetings of the Western Psychological Association.

The SJSU Chapter of Psi Chi, the National Honors Society in Psychology, is an active participant in departmental activities such as the Psychology Convocation at the end of the spring semester. In addition, each year the Society organizes information workshops (e.g., Career Day, Applying to Graduate School, etc), colloquia, community outreach programs, and our annual student research conference (SPARC).

Psychology faculty offer students a variety of expertise and experience. Some focus on basic research in areas such as cognition, social psychology, developmental psychology and psychobiology while others focus on more applied areas such as clinical practice, industrial and organizational psychology and aerospace human factors. Faculty in the department receive several million dollars per year in grant support which is used in part to support projects in which students are hired as research assistants and may receive course credit. Faculty run a variety of student participatory programs within the community, such as the Hooked on Books Reading Program which promotes reading literacy and a divorce mediation program run in conjunction with the local courts. Our faculty are frequently recognized for their outstanding articles and books which include an award-winning book on feminist psychology, two highly respected textbooks on statistics and one on child psychology. Each year many students are co-authors of papers presented at professional meetings or published in professional journals



Separate advising arrangements are provided for the undergraduate and graduate programs. For undergraduate advising, there are two or three faculty each semester who provide academic advising for psychology. Additionally, many students also find that other psychology faculty whose area of expertise matches their own interests are useful sources of information and provide important mentoring and informal career guidance.

Each or our three graduate programs has one faculty member designated as the program coordinator; this is the official program advisor for that program. Graduate students who are writing a thesis also choose a thesis advisor from among the faculty.


Transfer Students

The Psychology Department welcomes transfers and seeks to facilitate the transition to SJSU. We work with community college advisors so they can provide useful information about our major. Community college courses evaluated as equivalent to SJSU courses in the lower division are automatically transferable. The psychology major (BA or BS) is designed so as many as 15 lower division units in psychology can be transferred plus the required 3 units in biology (and, for the BS, additional units in Chemistry). Lower and upper division courses from other four-year institutions that have not been evaluated can also be transferred for the major. To accomplish this you will need to provide a complete description of the course (the syllabus usually provides the most complete information) so that a psychology advisor can provide the evaluation of comparability. Regardless of the coursework you have taken elsewhere, for a major in psychology you must take at least 12 upper division units at SJSU, and six upper division units for a minor.

Psychology is currently "IMPACTED" and potential students should check with both SJSU and the CSUMENTOR website to verify impaction criteria for admissions.


Facilities and Support Staff

The department maintains a variety of facilities and support staff to enhance instruction and research. For biological and cognitive research and instruction, the department has a number of laboratories and specialized laboratory equipment on campus, and a lab technician is available to construct additional equipment. In addition, the department has an agreement with NASA-Ames Research Center in Mountain View under which selected students interested in experimentation and human factors serve as interns. Students interested in human factors or industrial-organizational psychology also have access to local businesses and corporations through the department, and externally-funded research assistantships in a variety of areas are available on campus.

For work in clinical psychology, the department has a psychology clinic consisting of therapy rooms and adjoining observation rooms equipped with audio and video equipment. These rooms are also available to individuals working in other areas, such as developmental, personality and social psychology. In addition, students interested in counseling-related activities have access to a number of off-campus organizations.

Three computer laboratories containing microcomputers are available for use by students. These labs have extensive software for statistical analyses, word processing and other computer-related tasks. Statistical and computer consultants are on call to help with software and hardware problems, design and interpretation of statistical analyses and computer exercises.


Psychology Honors Program

Students receiving departmental honors in psychology will be selected on the basis of the following criteria: a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 when averaged across all psychology courses attempted; a GPA of at least 3.5 when averaged across Psyc 120, 121, 117, Stat 95 and Stat 115; and evidence of distinguished scholarly work as indicated by completion of either an honors thesis (Psyc 199), the Honors Seminar (Psyc 195), or work leading to a published paper or presentation at an external professional meeting (e.g., Western Psychology Association). Contact the Psychology Department Office or a Psychology Advisor for details.


Consider donating to the Psychology Department by clicking on the Make a Gift button below. This will take you to the university's donation page. Please designate under 'alternate purpose' that you would like your donation to go to our department.

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