Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What do Psychologists do?
Psychology is the scientific study of mental and behavioral processes, and the application of the scientific knowledge to understanding, explaining and predicting human behavior, alleviating human suffering, and improving people's quality of life.
The scope of the present-day discipline of psychology includes many areas of specialization. There are probably more kinds of psychologists than you realize.
Within the "helping professions", you can find clinical, counseling, family, health, and school psychologists who treat problems ranging from misbehavior in school to addictions and major mental disorders.
Industrial/organizational psychologists apply psychological techniques to personnel administration, management, and marketing problems.
Forensic psychologists offer an expert psychological opinion in courts as well as focus on criminal matters.
Personality, social, developmental, educational and cross-cultural psychologists perform research on complex behaviors in social settings.
Human factors and environmental psychologists do basic and applied research on problems involving the relationships between people and their human-made or natural environments.
Experimental psychologists perform research on the underlying physical and mental processes upon which more complex behaviors are based.
While some cognitive psychologists deal with the brain's role in memory, thinking, and perceptions, others are involved with research related to computer programming and artificial intelligence.
Other area of specialization include psychometrics, psychology and the arts, history of psychology, psychopharmacology, and community, comparative, consumer, engineering, environmental, family, population, military, and rehabilitation psychology.
So, on any given day, while some psychologists are treating individual patients in a hospital/clinic, others are examining the effects of television violence on children in a university lab, coaching and training executives and a few are helping Apple or IBM design the next graphical user interface.
Still more info: You can learn more about what Psychologists do on the American Psychological Association student website
What is it like to be a Psychology major?
Psychology is a social and behavioral science major, closely related to majors such as sociology, anthropology, political science and history, but not very different than literature, languages, and philosophy.
Psychology addresses a vast array of issues ranging from intra-individual processes, to interpersonal interactions and group dynamics. The undergraduate psychology program curriculum is very flexible and is generalist in nature, giving students a foundation that is necessary for advanced work in various areas of specialization. Psychology majors are expected to become knowledgeable, sophisticated, critical thinkers rather than learn a specific skill or trade.
Psychology majors begin their college education by taking primarily non-psychology courses, including writing, humanities, math, and science, taking proportionally more psychology-oriented coursework as they progress. By their senior year, their course load is about half or more psychology. The early classes are very general in nature, around the middle of their curriculum they take survey courses in the subfields of psychology, and towards the end they take advanced courses in one or two of these subfields.
What’s the difference between the BA and the BS degrees?
While the Forensic Psychology degree is a B.A. degree, students taking a general psychology degree have the option of choosing to pursue either a B.A. or a B.S.
The biggest differences in the two degrees occur outside of psychology – B.A. students take more language and communication classes, B.S. students take more math and science. Either route will work and often it is a matter of personal preference. If you are thinking of going into a field that utilizes a good deal of biological science in addition to psychology (neuropsychology, animal behavior, etc.) then you will likely prefer a B.S. degree. This is something you can explore with your academic advisor – and plenty of students change their mind after they come in.
What are the classes like?
The School of Psychology at Florida Tech has the atmosphere of other private-college, liberal arts majors. Classes are small, typically no more than 30 students, and all but Introductory Psychology are taught by doctoral-level faculty who are experts in the subject. Lower-division classes (1000-level and 2000-level) include a mix of Psychology majors and students from other departments, whereas upper-division classes (3000 and above) are taken almost exclusively by psych majors. Every professor brings a different style to the classroom, but the small class sizes and concentration of majors in the classes accommodates a great deal of focused interaction between teachers and students.
In contrast to larger universities, every student is known to the instructor. Small classes also make it possible to follow, within the constraints of covering important material, the interests of the students in a particular class. Just as the teacher brings something unique to the classroom, so does the unpredictable mix of student personalities and backgrounds in each class.
How does Psychology fit in at a technological university?
Psychology at Florida Tech is a medium-sized major. It is one of the most respected and valued programs in the University and students at both undergraduate and graduate levels evaluate their programs more highly, on average, than do those in any other department on campus. Psychology majors bring something unique to the University community because of their people-orientation, open-mindedness, broad knowledge, and interest in extracurricular activities. Not surprisingly, they often figure prominently in campus organizations and government fields.
Advising, Mentoring and Networking…
Students learn quickly the difference between the advising systems in small, private schools and large, public universities. In small schools such as this one, advising is very close and students can spend as much time as they desire working on their curriculum with their advisors, discussing career options, or arguing about things.
All students are known by the faculty within a year of being on campus and there is no anonymity (even if you want it). Course offering decisions are therefore informed "from the bottom up"—within the constraints of staffing, courses are offered to meet students' needs.