Information & Resources for Psychology Students

Psychology Department Mission Statement

Our mission is to offer a major in psychology that accurately represents the theoretical framework, breadth and depth of content, and scientific rigor of the discipline.  We are also committed to offering courses in general education and interdisciplinary programs that teach the principles of behavior and methods of science for all students.

Psychology Department Regular Events

  • September / October - We hold three departmental panels on the following topics every fall. We highly recommend these events for junior and senior Psychology majors:
    1. Applying to Graduate School,
    2. Internship and Research Opportunities, and
    3. Different Types of Clinical Degree Programs (e.g., PhD, PsyD, Masters).
  • December / May - Psychology majors present their capstone projects at the Student Project Poster Session
  • Early April - GRE Information Session to learn about the GRE Revised General Test and the GRE Psychology Subject Test
  • Late April - Students can present their research work at the annual Western Pennsylvania Undergraduate Psychology Conference (WPUPC). The conference rotates every year between schools in western Pennsylvania.

Psychology Department Honors and Awards

  • Graduation with Departmental Honors - Students wishing to graduate with Honors in Psychology complete a year long Independent Study Project with the advice and supervision of a faculty member. Students interested in this option are encouraged to approach a faculty member during the spring of their Junior year to discuss possible topics. In addition, students should get copies of the helpful information about the Honors Process available from the Office of Academic Affairs.
  • Psi ChiPsi Chi is the National Honor Society in Psychology. Founded September 4, 1929, this organization has established chapters in more than 800 colleges and universities in all 50 states. It's purpose is to encourage, stimulate, and maintain excellence in scholarship, and advance the science of psychology. Psi Chi is a member of the Association of College Honor Societies and is an affiliate of the American Psychological Association (APA) and the American Psychological Society (APS).  A local chapter was established at W & J in 1981. Membership in Psi Chi recognizes interest in psychology as well as outstanding academic achievement both within and outside the major. Criteria for membership in Psi Chi need to be met by the end of the spring term of the junior year.  Criteria include: 1) Completion of at least 5 psychology courses taken at W & J, 2) A grade-point average for all psychology courses greater than or equal to 3.33, and 3) A class ranking within the top 30% of their class.  Any student not majoring in psychology who would like to be considered for membership must notify the Faculty Advisor of Psi Chi at W&J, Dr. Rebecca McDonald, by the end of the spring term of their junior year. New members initiated Fall 2018 are: Molly Doran, Theo Kioussis, Gavin Koratich, Christina Kosch, Alyssa Rote, Karli Sanders, Mikayla Slota, Elissia Snyder and Nicole Walters.
  • Richard R. Martin Prize in Psychology - Given annually to an outstanding student majoring in Psychology. This award was established in 2002 by faculty members in Psychology who worked closely with Richard R. Martin in appreciation of his leadership as Chair of the department. The Richard R. Martin Prize winner is presented with a book of their choosing at Honors Day in the spring. The book is inscribed with the awardees' name and the award title. The Richard R. Martin Prize winner for 2018-2019 is: Michael Duncan.
  • Scholars in Psychology - Each year the psychology department reviews the credentials of the top psychology majors to determine which two are selected for the award of "Scholar in Psychology." Typically, seniors are considered for the award. The department faculty look at students overall grade point average, their psychology grade point average, the number of advanced courses taken, involvement in research and internships, and other criteria in choosing the awardees. The Scholars in Psychology (1st place and 2nd place) are presented with a book of their choosing at Honors Day in the spring. The books are inscribed with the awardees' name and the award title. The Scholars in Psychology for 2018-2019 are: Rachel Johnson (1st Scholar) and Gavin Koratich (2nd Scholar).

GRE Information

The GRE involves 2 tests, a general test and a subject test. The General Test is the SAT equivalent for graduate school. The subject test is like the achievement/subject tests that you may have taken in high school that were offered by ETS. The GRE General Test was revised in August 2011. Please be sure that you are looking at the correct test information when you register and prepare for the GRE. The old and the revised versions are similar, but there are substantive changes that you will need to prepare for.

General Test: The general test is given entirely on computers. It has 3 sections: Verbal, Quantitative and Analytic Writing. The Verbal Section is similar to the verbal section on the SAT but the revised test focuses more on reading comprehension and less on vocabulary knowledge. The Quantitative Section is similar to the Math section of the SAT. The problems are actually easier than those on the SAT, but before you get over confident, that is because you have had 4 more years to forget Algebra and Geometry.  The Analytical Writing Section consists of two analytical writing tasks: an "Analyze an Issue" task and an "Analyze an Argument" task. The "Issue" task states an opinion on an issue of general interest and asks you to address the issue from any perspective(s) you wish, as long as you provide relevant reasons and examples to explain and support your views. The "Argument" task presents a different challenge - it requires you to critique an argument by discussing how well reasoned you find it. You are asked to consider the logical soundness of the argument rather than to agree or disagree with the position it presents. These two tasks are complementary in that the first requires you to construct a personal argument about an issue, and the second requires you to critique someone else's argument by assessing its claims. The analytical writing section is delivered on the computer and you will use a simple word processor.

Subject Test: The subject test is a 2 hour 50 minute standardized test of a single subject. This test is only available in paper and pencil form and is offered on limited test dates each year (two in the fall, one in the spring). If you plan to by a book to help you practice we recommend you buy the book of practice tests from ETS (you can buy it from ETS or your local bookstore will often carry it). In general the best way to review for the Subject Test in Psychology is to review a good Introductory Textbook (the Myers text that we use is a complete and excellent textbook). Some people also recommend looking at a textbook on the History of Psychology.

The department strongly recommends that you prepare for these tests rather than taking them blind with the assumption that you will retake them later if you do poorly. Graduate schools do not all simply look at the highest score. Some schools will look at the lowest score and others will average the two sets of scores. If you would like suggestions for preparation please attend the spring GRE Informational Meeting or you can see your advisor. If you plan to buy a book to help you practice, we recommend you buy the book of practice tests from ETS (you can buy it from ETS or your local bookstore will often carry it). The GRE website has a series of reviews and test practice software (for the General Test) available for free download. The software is a "must" ... you need to be familiar with how the test will look before you get to the testing center.

Information about the GRE can be found in the Psychology Department Library (Dieter-Porter 306) and the bulletin board outside of Dieter-Porter 300.

Registration information, test dates, and review materials can be found at the GRE website.

Psychology Internship and Research Opportunities

Students interested in Clinical/Helping Profession internships are advised to see Dr. Crabtree for further information. Students interested in Human Resource Management internships should contact Dr. Cavoti or Dr. Crabtree for further information. The Department offers research opportunities in the context of several courses (PSY 215 and The Advanced Lab courses). Independent Study courses offer an opportunity to engage in an independent research project of your own design. Summer opportunities are also available, although they tend to be very competitive. NSF sponsors summer research opportunities in the sciences on a variety of college campuses, some of those sites offer research opportunities in psychology.

Psychology Career and Graduate School Resources & Links

The Psychology Department Library (Dieter-Porter 306) has a number of resources available related to careers and graduate school. This includes books about fields within the field of Psychology, books about APA-accredited graduate schools, books about admissions to graduate programs, current APA and APS journals, etc. The Library space is typically open and available whenever Dieter-Porter is open (school year hours approximately 8am to 5pm Monday through Friday). Books in the library can be used within the library space.

The Psychology Department also maintains a bulletin board outside Dieter-Porter 206 that contains information about a small subset of graduate programs in Psychology.

Below are a series of links that might be useful for Career, Graduate School, and Other Topics in Psychology

Career Links

Graduate Schools Links

Other Topics in Psychology