A broad discipline incorporating the scientific approach to the study of human and animal behavior, and the physiological and cognitive processes underlying behavior. In addition to understanding its subject matter, psychology aims at the application of psychological knowledge to the solution of practical problems. Using the core principles of the scientific method it teaches students to think critically, enables them to understand themselves and others better, and bridges the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences. The discipline equips students, whatever their profession or career, for lives of leadership and service.
The Davidson College Psychology Department strives to provide our students a world-class education, second to none, in all aspects of the discipline of psychology, now and in the future. We also strive to create and maintain a climate of daily excellence within the Department, in which our faculty may flourish in their professional growth as contributors to the field, reaching their highest level of professional attainments, supported and celebrated by their peers.
Our Educational Goals
- To provide thorough, accurate, and up-to-date knowledge of the principal subfields in psychology for both majors and nonmajors. This goal includes an orientation to the following: the historical and theoretical foundations of psychology; the research methods and technology used to increase knowledge in the discipline; the key philosophical and ethical issues in both gaining and using that knowledge; the experience of work in laboratory or field research; and, the experience of the application of psychology to practical issues, through internships, practica, teaching experiences, and field-related courses.
- To help both majors and nonmajors, through a deep understanding of the theory, research, and practice of psychology, become more informed and discriminating consumers of psychological research in the popular press as well as professional sources, become more effective managers of their personal and professional relationships, and become exemplars of good citizenship in their communities, broadly defined.
- To fully prepare students for graduate work leading to advanced degrees in any subfield of the discipline in any psychology or psychology-related graduate program, leading to careers in academics, neuroscience, the mental health profession, management, human resources, psychometrics, and organization development, among many others.
- Through the department’s emphasis on the critical thinking skills of the scientific method, to fully prepare students for graduate or professional training in fields other than psychology (e.g., law, medicine, the ministry, communications, education), or for direct entry into careers in the organizational world (e.g., general management, manufacturing, information systems, sales, and financial services).
- To help our students learn to contribute to the knowledge base of the discipline of psychology through research and professional involvements with faculty. Student/professor partnership in scholarly investigation constitutes a hallmark of the psychology major. This partnership may result in independent studies, theses, conference presentations, and even coauthorship of scholarly publications.
In pursuing our educational goals, consistent with our Vision, the department operates under the following core principles and values:
- To engage ourselves and our students in the lifelong pursuit of and love of learning in our discipline.
- To hold our students and ourselves to the highest standards of academic excellence at all times, and to expect continuous improvement in our levels of performance.
- To operate at all times at the highest level of personal and professional integrity, consistent with the Ethical Principles of the American Psychological Association.
- To treat our students, our peers, and others with whom we share our mission as educators and professionals with the highest respect, in a climate of mutual caring, personal regard, collegiality, courtesy, and common purpose.
- To work continuously to make the Davidson College Psychology Department a place of which we are all proud to be a part.