Psychology & Counseling

OVERVIEW

Welcome to the Psychology and Counseling Department of Alvernia University. We hope you'll take some time to get acquainted with our B.S. in Psychology program. If you're interested in studying psychology, chances are you’re fascinated by human thought processes and behaviors, and you feel ready to start the scientific study of those topics. Alvernia faculty members can teach you a lot about those things. You might be surprised, though, about how much you’ll learn about yourself and the world around you while studying psychology. It’s not only a fascinating major, it’s a major that helps prepare you for life by teaching you important skills like communication and critical thinking.

WHY AU

feg Why should you study psychology at Alvernia University?

Because at Alvernia you get all the benefits of an outstanding university education in a manageable setting with personal attention and unique opportunities that can benefit you as you move toward your career.

Small Class Size
Alvernia has a 12:1 student-faculty ratio, and most classes contain less than 20 students. This facilitates valuable, professional relationships among faculty members and students. In these small class settings, you get individual attention to help you excel.

Faculty Who Care
Alvernia’s faculty members aren’t just teachers. They’re experts in their fields who are committed to passing along their knowledge and expertise to their students. In small class settings faculty members become mentors and advisors, intent on helping you learn, grow and succeed. Meet the Psychology faculty at Alvernia University.

Research Opportunities
Alvernia offers opportunities for many psychology students to work with faculty members on research projects relating to their areas of concentration. This collaboration prepares students for professions and/or graduate school.

Students have worked with psychology faculty on research projects ranging in subject from diversity and multiculturalism to learning in early childhood to substance abuse. Discover research opportunities at Alvernia.

Honors Program
Alvernia’s Honors Program for students who are academically gifted and highly motivated is designed to allow students to work at their own pace and to recognize and encourage academic excellence. Honors students interact with one another to exchange ideas and information across a wide range of disciplines and interests.

The Honors Program offers co-curricular activities, service opportunities and intellectual and social support to encourage students to exceed their own expectations. Learn more about Alvernia’s Honors Programs at www.alvernia.edu/academics/honors

Get Real
Classroom learning is valuable and necessary, but out-of-the-classroom, experiential learning provides psychology students with hands-on, real world learning opportunities that enrich your educational experience and are highly valued by employers.

You’ll have opportunities to participate in internships, co-ops, clinical experiences, field experiences, community service, campus events and other experiences to help you stretch and grow toward your full potential. Learn more about Alvernia’s Get Real program at www.alvernia.edu/getreal.

Study Abroad
Living and studying outside of the United States can change you in ways you can’t begin to envision. Students who study abroad typically gain immeasurable confidence and experiences they could not have imagined.

Many psychology majors have benefitted from participation in a Study Abroad program in countries including New Zealand, Italy, Spain, England, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Morocco, Palestine, China and Mexico. Learn more about Alvernia’s Study Abroad program at www.alvernia.edu/studyabroad.

YOUR CAREER

Psychology majors don’t just become psychologists. When you earn a B.S. in Psychology, you acquire the skills and knowledge needed to pursue careers in many fields. In addition, psychology provides excellent training for students who want to earn advanced degrees or enter professional training programs.

Psychology is an appropriate major if you’re thinking about a career in education, higher education, law, health care or research. You also can get the skills you need to work in fields like counseling or social work. Alvernia graduates pursue careers as marketing directors, admissions counselors, client managers, case-workers and spiritual counselors.

A sampling of employers who hire psychology graduates:

  • Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP)
  • Olivet’s Boys and Girls Club
  • Astra Zeneca Pharmaceuticals
  • Highmark Blue Shield
  • Greater Reading Mental Health Alliance
  • Pennsylvania Power and Light Corp.
  • Devereux Foundation
  • Caron Treatment Centers
  • Berks Psychiatry
  • Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
  • Montgomery County Intermediate Unit


For more information about careers in psychology check Careers in Psychology and All Psychology Careers.

Some psychology students return to school after graduating from Alvernia to earn graduate degrees.

A sampling of schools where psychology alumni attend graduate programs:

  • Alvernia University
  • Lehigh University
  • Minnesota State University
  • Northern Illinois University
  • Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • University of Scranton
  • Penn State University
  • Immaculata University
  • Temple University
YOUR CURRICULUM

All Alvernia students must successfully complete a minimum of 123 semester credits to receive a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree. View your Major Academic Plan (MAP) by year here.

As a psychology major, you’ll need to earn 44 credits in the major.

Required Courses:

  • PSY 101 - Introductory Psychology
  • PSY 130 - Exploring Research
  • PSY 208 - Human Development across the Life Span
  • PSY 230 - Applications of Research
  • PSY 250 - Introduction to Psychopathology
  • PSY 301 - History and Systems in Psychology
  • PSY 314 - Applications of Theories and Techniques
  • PSY 412 - Practicum I
  • PSY 413 - Practicum II 
PSY 422 - Ethical and Professional Issues I
  • PSY 423 - Ethical and Professional Issues II

Each Student Must Complete Five Elective Courses:

  • PSY 105 - Exploring Psychology
  • PSY 210 - Educational Psychology
  • PSY 215 - Multicultural Issues in Psychology
  • PSY 220 - Close Relationships
  • PSY 303 - Psychology of Personality
  • PSY 306 - Group Dynamics
  • PSY 308 - The Psychology of Gender
  • PSY 312 - Psychology of Play
  • PSY 330 - Crisis Management in Mental Health Field
  • PSY 350 - Industrial & Organizational Psychology
  • PSY 405 - Social Psychology
  • PSY 408 - Senior Seminar
  • PSY 430 - Forensic Psychology
  • PSY 440 - Sports Psychology


Your Practicum Experience
All psychology majors must complete a two-semester practicum experience. A practicum is a real-world work experience, during which you are placed in a position in the community that closely relates to your career interests. It’s similar to an internship, and usually occurs in your senior year.

Alvernia believes that real world experience is extremely important, as it can improve your confidence and introduce you to professionals in your intended field of employment. You can find out more about real world learning at www.alvernia.edu/academics/experiential_learning.

There’s a lot to think about when you’re preparing for a practicum, but you’ll get the information and help that you’ll need. You can find out a lot more about Alvernia’s practicum program in the Practicum Handbook.

Research Opportunities
In addition to real-world learning, psychology majors can get a chance to participate with faculty members in research projects. Faculty members serve as mentors for students working on their senior theses, and students work collaboratively with faculty members on a variety of projects. Discover research opportunities at Alvernia.

Psychology faculty members and students have conducted research in a wide variety of subjects, including:

  • The long-term impact of service projects on students
  • Substance abuse
  • Moral development
  • Diversity and multiculturalism
  • Socio-emotional development
  • Pre-natal alcohol exposure
  • Learning in early childhood

You can visit the psychology faculty pages to learn more about research projects that might match your interests, or our research lab pages.

YOUR SERVICES

Alvernia is committed to serving the needs of its students. Whether you have questions or problems related to academics, life on campus, student activities, social activities or any other issue, there is someone available to help you. You can learn more about all student services at www.alvernia.edu/student-life/student-services.

Educational Planning Center
The Educational Planning Center offers advice and support to help you with any problems or issues related to your Alvernia education; it also assists with career exploration and preparation. The office is open every day and can be contacted at 610-796-8266.

Career Services
Staff members at the Career Development office will help you with any questions you have about exploring or planning careers, and they also will guide you about how to look for and apply to jobs as you get closer to graduation. The office also has a career resources library. You can learn more about career services at www.alvernia.edu/student-life/career-services, or by emailing career.services@alvernia.edu.

Financial Aid
Contact the Office of Financial Aid with any questions you have about the cost of an Alvernia education and to discuss the options available for paying for it. Nearly all undergraduates at Alvernia get some type of financial aid, and everyone is encouraged to apply for it. You can learn more at www.alvernia.edu/financialaid/index.html or by emailing financialaid@alvernia.edu.

Admissions Office
If you’re interested in applying to the psychology program at Alvernia, Admissions Counselors are available to discuss and answer any questions you might have at 610-796-8269 or admissions@alvernia.edu.

GET INVOLVED

There is so much more to college than classes. Students who get involved and engaged in extra-curricular activities benefit both academically and socially, and open themselves to integral life lessons from beyond the classroom.

You’ll be encouraged to participate in a range of activities, including some rewarding and inspiring service projects. Some organizations and activities you might enjoy include:

  • The Psychology Club promotes understanding of psychology and gives you opportunities to get to know people with similar interests. You can email club officers to learn more at psychology_clb@yahoo.com or contact Dr. Erin Way, the club’s faculty advisor.
  • The Psi Chi International Honor Society is open to psychology majors and minors who meet academic qualifications. Getting accepted to an honor society can be very advantageous, so it’s something you might consider.
  • The Holleran Center for Community Engagement serves as a bridge between the University and the community. It partners with a variety of organizations to provide opportunities for service for students. Activities have included helping in an after-school program for city children, spreading stone in Nolde State Forest, organizing an on-campus library at the Children’s Home of Reading and counting brown bats at Blue Marsh Lake. Learn more at http://alvernia.edu/about/holleran-center.
  • You can learn more about Alvernia’s Student Government Association, becoming a Student Ambassador, student trips and other activities at www.alvernia.edu/student-life/activities.
  • If you’re academically gifted and highly motivated, you may want to learn more about Alverania’s Undergraduate Honors Program. Honors students have opportunities to take courses dealing with unusual topics and participate in a variety of activities. You can learn more about the Honors Program and how to apply at www.alvernia.edu/academics/honors/index.html.
AFTER AU

Alvernia’s psychology alumni are engaged professionals who attribute their success back to the real-world experiences they received both in and out of the classroom.

These success stories are highlighted by internships, service-learning experiences, research opportunities, practicums and the careers they pursue upon graduation.

Alyssa Wagner ‘14
As a student, Alyssa continually volunteered at the Berks Residential Center, a place she chose as a service-learning opportunity her freshman year. This service-learning opportunity motivated her to pursue a career as a counselor after graduation. Read about Alyssa’s entire service-learning experience.

Jennifer Kaucher ‘13
As a communication major and psychology minor, Jen had plenty of career options. She decided to combine her two passions and began working as a Prevention Specialist with The Council on Chemical Abuse soon after graduation. See how Jen’s internships and work-study experience led her to a rewarding career.

Melissa Marcario ‘93
After earning her degree in psychology from Alvernia, Dr. Melissa Marcario went on to earn her master’s and Ph.D. in clinical psychology. She is now at the forefront of PTSD treatment in her work with the Veterans Administration at the Pittsburgh Health Care System. See how Dr. Marcario got there.






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