Psychology at USC Upstate


The primary mission of the USC Upstate psychology program

The primary mission of the USC Upstate psychology program is to provide a quality baccalaureate education in the basic areas of psychology to the Upstate of South Carolina. The psychology curriculum is designed to meet the educational needs of students who are diverse in background, race, ethnicity, age, educational experience and career goals. Psychology is one of the largest majors on campus. Since 1976, 1,742 students have graduated from USC Upstate with a degree in psychology.

The Psychology Department at USC Upstate occupies part of the College of Arts, Humanities,  and Social Sciences building. We offer a BS and a BA in psychology, a minor in psychology, a minor in Child Advocacy Studies and a post-baccalaureate certificate in Child Advocacy Studies. The psychology faculty conduct research on a wide range of topics within psychology, publish in top journals and present at national and international conferences. 

Our program is very student oriented. Each student is assigned their own advisor to help guide them through their college career and for life beyond USC Upstate. Small classes, independent study, internships and the distinction program provide opportunities for students to work closely with faculty, preparing them to move into the work force or to on to graduate study. The Psychology Club and Psi Chi, the national honor society of psychology, offer two other means for students to engage with faculty and with each other.

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  • Goals and Student Learning Outcomes

    1. Knowledge base of psychology: The student will demonstrate familiarity with the major concepts, theoretical perspectives, and empirical findings of psychology.

    1.1 Students will be able to identify theory and major research findings across five basic areas in psychology: Natural Science, Cognitive Science, Social/Personality, Clinical/Developmental, and Applied Psychology.

    1.2 Students will be able to apply content knowledge to real-world issues in an integrative manner.

     2. The student will demonstrate an understanding of and apply basic research methods in psychology.

    2.1 Students will be able to critically evaluate empirical research.

    2.2 Students will be able to critically evaluate theories of human behavior and mental processes.

    2.3 Students will demonstrate information literacy with respect to psychological science.

    3. The student will demonstrate the ability to communicate psychological material effectively in writing.

    3.1 Students will be able to write effectively about psychological science.

    3.2 Students will be able to give clear and efficient oral presentations about psychological topics.

  • Students who major in psychology are a diverse group. Some plan to pursue graduate work in psychology or related fields, while others are preparing for work in human services careers. Others haven’t yet settled on a career goal but enjoy learning about the science of psychology.  In order to meet the needs of these varied groups the psychology program is designed to be as flexible as possible while meeting the objectives of the program. These objectives include:

    • Providing students with experiences in a wide variety of content areas such as cognitive psychology, personality theory, human development, neuroscience, abnormal psychology and social psychology
    • Introducing students to the methodologies used to study human experience and action
    • Facilitating development of oral and written communication skills
    • Providing experiences in critical thinking
  • These objectives provide a strong foundation for students pursing graduate study and for students choosing to enter the work force after graduation. Some Upstate psychology majors continue on to graduate school to study different branches of psychology such as school psychology, clinical psychology, counseling psychology, cognitive psychology, neuropsychology, industrial and organizational psychology or human factors. Others branch out into fields such as neuroscience, social work, medical school, law school or the ministry. Other students choose to work after graduation and work as case workers for DSS or DJJ, as residential youth counselors, group home coordinators, as victim or patient advocates, in drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs, as employment counselors, in advertising agencies or market research or in college admissions as counselors or recruiters.