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Academics

These are your questions.

  • How does the brain work?
  • Why do people act the way they do?
  • What are some of the secrets of the human mind?
  • How can what I learn help me help others?

Research based

What distinguishes Bethel College’s psychology department:

  • Research starting in lower-level (freshmen and sophomore) classes
  • Upper-level student mentors for lower-level students
  • Labs for all upper-level courses
  • The liberal arts emphasis: skills in critical thinking, analysis, writing and speaking
  • Decades of support from the National Science Foundation (NSF)
  • The Neuroscience (research) and Clinical and Counseling (practice) certificates

Pre-medicine and more

Psychology is a popular major for students who plan to go to medical school. But psychology is also a great foundation for

  • law
  • school administration
  • pastoral ministry
  • counseling
See what some of our alumni have done with their degrees.
A note on “Natural Sciences”

If you don’t want to commit to a single field of science, the Natural Sciences major is an option – available only by request at the end of your sophomore year and subject to approval by the department chair. You must complete at least 18 upper-level hours in one of the sponsoring departments: athletic training; biology; chemistry; computer science; mathematics; physics; or psychology.

Want to talk more with faculty and current students? Schedule a campus visit.

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You’ll be able to pursue ways to put your education and interests to use in a variety of settings, depending on your interests. All psychology students have opportunities for lab work, where you’ll learn to administer and analyze tests, observe people, measure brain activity, use the latest software and prepare presentations.

You’ll also be able to participate in research projects, both on campus and off, from studying how people interpret the behavior of others to determining how animals make choices in finding food. You’ll have the chance to work as a departmental assistant and/or at local agencies that serve people with developmental disabilities or mental illnesses.

Internships/research

The sciences at Bethel College emphasize student research and creative activity. All psychology majors design and complete a year-long research project, putting into practice skills they have acquired. Some of the more recent projects have included:

  • Effects of Specific Formal Training on Emotional Responses to Music
  • The Effects of Attributions in Writing about Traumatic Events on Anxiety Levels
  • Concept of God and Personal Meaning: Investigating the Perspective of Older Adults
  • What’s in a Label?: Resolving Ambiguities in Self-Reports of Emotional Responses to Music

Some recent psychology internship placements have included:

  • Northview Developmental Services, Newton
  • United Methodist Youthville, Newton
  • Prairie View Mental Health Services, Newton/Wichita
  • Community Playschool, Inc., North Newton

As a student in psychology, you’ll benefit from a sufficiently broad background to give you alternatives in many career areas. You’ll also develop versatile skills and knowledge useful in almost any area you choose to pursue.

A psychology degree from Bethel College will prepare you to pursue a career such as counseling, clinical psychology, teaching and research. You will have gained the ability to understand human actions, so psychology will also equip you to serve effectively in professions such as school administration, law, medicine, social work and pastoral ministry. Psychology is a popular major for students who plan to go on to medical school.

Post-graduate careers include:

  • School administration
  • Law
  • Medicine
  • Social work
  • Pastoral ministry
Aimee Voth Siebert – ’10
Aimee graduated with an interest in disaster psychology. She went on to get her master’s degree in international disaster psychology. She currently works for the city of Denver as a disaster behavioral health specialist.
Michael Klein – ’03
Michael went on to become an optometrist and currently works at Perfect Sense Eye Center in Kansas City.

Our psychology program builds a broad foundation in the major areas of the discipline. Courses emphasize fundamental findings, theory and research methods but examine applications as well. You may select from advanced courses that cover areas such as personality, neuropsychology, abnormal psychology, learning and memory, developmental psychology, cognitive psychology, social cognition and counseling.

Major requirements for Psychology:
38 hours.
Minor requirements for Psychology:
16 hours, including at least one course with a methodology component.

Natural Sciences major is an option if you do not want to commit to a single field of science. This major is available only by request at the end of the sophomore year and must be approved by the department chair. You must complete at least 18 hours in one of the sponsoring departments (athletic training, biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, physics and psychology); 18 hours must be upper-level from the departments listed.

The psychology department administers two certificate programs. If youare seriously considering graduate school, you might also want to think about earning a Neuroscience Certificate (18–19 credit hours). Neuroscience is currently an extremely active area in psychology and biology. The Clinical and Counseling Studies Certificate (16–17 credit hours) canhelp to prepare you for graduate work in areas such as clinical and counseling psychology, school psychology or pastoral counseling. Electives are based on your personal interest—for example, working with children and youth. You will also do a practicum in collaboration with a local service agency such as Prairie View Mental Health Center or ResCare Developmental Services.

The Summer Science Institute takes place annually on campus, generally in the first full week of June. The institute offers high school students who have completed grades 10–12 opportunities for research investigation in multiple areas of science, including biology, psychology, mathematics, chemistry and computer science. Students study fascinating and challenging topics that high school courses typically do not cover, with a focus on learning how to do research through close interaction with faculty. Bethel students can gain practical experience in science instruction and lab supervision as Summer Science Institute staff.

About Bethel

As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.