The psychology curriculum is designed to acquaint students with the broad spectrum of divisions within the discipline of psychology and to deepen their awareness of the interdependence of those areas. The mission of the St. John's University and College of St. Benedict Joint Department of Psychology is to produce graduates who have a high level of critical thinking skills derived from knowledge of basic psychological principles and methods, and a clear understanding of the role of psychology in the liberal arts curriculum. Courses expose students to the theoretical and technical principles central to the discipline of psychology, allowing them to adapt to future trends and changes within the field. This breadth of exposure produces graduates who are well qualified for graduate education in psychology or related fields, who are prepared to work in a variety of applied areas, and who can apply the relevant principles in any work environment. Students in disciplines such as education, pre-law, theology, pre-medicine, nursing, social work, nutrition, and management also find many relevant courses within the psychology curriculum.
The psychology faculty promotes critical thinking in the evaluation of research literature and popular ideas about psychology. The department also engages in a process of assessment in order to continuously improve its ability to offer a quality learning experience. In addition, students are required to relate academic course material to moral and ethical concerns of the profession and the community at large.
Many members of the department are actively engaged in research and work closely with students on these projects. The department maintains facilities for an active research program that include rooms for instructional lab exercises, student/faculty research projects, a learning lab, and an animal suite. Both mainframe and microcomputers are being used in statistics, research and lab courses.
As one progresses in upper-division psychology courses, one's learning becomes more experimental in nature. Many upper-class students are chosen as teaching assistants for introductory courses. In addition, students participate in seminars and work on a one-to-one basis with professors in directed learning projects. Recent student projects have investigated how to access critical thinking skills, relational patterns of college students who are survivors of parental divorce, and mate preference in both heterosexual and homosexual dating patterns .
Counseling experience can be gained through the Peer Resource Person program through the counseling center as well as through internship placement at regional institutions such as the St. Cloud Children's Home, and other institutions in the area. In addition to internships at service facilities, many students do internships in corporate offices or professional settings, such as legal offices, to gain more business-oriented experience.
Career opportunities for psychology majors are diverse. Recent CSB and SJU graduates have found jobs directly related to their study of psychology as social workers, family counselors, employment counselors for large companies, crisis line therapists, mental health associates for hospitals, teachers, chemical abuse tutors and registered nurses.
Others have established themselves in careers which appear to be unrelated to the psychology major but actually draw on skills they acquired through their undergraduate study. Examples of such CSB and SJU psychology graduates are a computer analyst, home finance administrator, manager of a commercial bank, tax auditor for the Internal Revenue Service, sales representative for Proctor and Gamble, president of a business college, assistant director of admissions at an eastern university and an actuary. Each year a substantial number of CSB and SJU graduates choose to continue their psychology training in graduate school. Others find psychology to be a useful background for professional study of law, medicine or business administration.