Academics > FAQs

FAQs

How many of the department’s majors work one-on-one with faculty on a research project?

The answer should be:  “All that are interested in doing so.”  In most universities and many private colleges, faculty-student research opportunities for undergraduates are in short supply and – when they are offered – only the most high-achieving students are afforded this privilege.  And even when a school does provide some opportunity for one-on-one research experiences, this most typically doesn’t occur until very late in the student’s academic career, when graduate school applications have been submitted or career intentions have already been locked in.  At Coe, students are encouraged to get involved in research early on in their careers.  For example,  the preparatory Research Methods course is open to students immediately following their satisfactory completion of Introductory Psychology – for most students as early as their first year of study at Coe.

Are their opportunities for career-related internships?  How many students undertake such experiences?  Do students need to live away from campus during their internship projects?

Although virtually all colleges and universities offer students the opportunity to undertake internship experiences, few provide the assistance that Coe does in helping students prepare for this valuable learning venue.  Coe’s Career Center holds workshops on a wide variety of work-related skill building, such as preparing a resume or a letter of introduction, so that students are well prepared to make application for competitive internship placements. Trained career counselors in the Center also help students develop a mature understanding of what will be expected of them, and what to expect, during an internship experience – and they provide assistance to students wary of making contact with an organization to ask about a possible placement.  Coe’s Alumni Office can link current students to Coe alumni around the country – and in fact around the world – and pair them up for advice or even a placement.

Coe also capitalizes on its local reputation and location:  Because Coe is a well-respected educational institution and it resides in a larger city, a virtually unlimited array of internship opportunities is available to Coe students WHILE they are taking other on-campus courses.  Thus, students don’t need to travel to complete an internship, nor do they need to find new housing arrangements or disrupt their lives in other ways.  The typical expectation is that a one-course internship will involve 140 hours of on-site work, and students find it easy to schedule their courses around their internship commitments.  Although Coe students have held internships in many different – and sometimes exotic – locales, most continue to live on Coe’s campus during their internship, taking 3 other courses while they explore a work-related opportunity.  Many Coe Psychology students complete valuable internship experiences – both in clinical/counseling settings an in businesses in the area – and completing an internship is an opportunity offered to all Coe students.

What should a student look for in an outstanding Psychology curriculum?

The philosophy that drives Coe’s Psychology curriculum is to (1) develop students’ critical thinking, analytical, and communication skills and to (2) provide all student majors with a solid grounding in the central, traditional subject matter that sits at the core of the discipline.  Thus, the Coe curriculum is intentionally narrow, and it is centered in the development of students’ intellectual skills.

Sometimes students see a much wider array of courses listed in other college’s Psychology curriculum offerings – and oftentimes these include courses with “sexy” titles  (such as Sleep and Dreams, Sport Psychology, Early Childhood Development).  However, courses such as these may not help the student develop a thorough understanding of the structure and basic findings in the discipline, and students whose coursework is too heavily weighted with such courses often find themselves ill-prepared for graduate school or competitive jobs following graduation.

What do students who graduate with a degree in Psychology do?

Just take a look at the Coe Psychology alumni profiled on this Web site, and you’ll see that Coe’s majors do the most amazing things – and at a highly professional level!

Can a student graduate with a Psychology major from Coe is 8 semesters (4 years)?

Yes!  The Psychology major at Coe is streamlined such that it is easy to graduate in four years, while completing the requirements of general education.  In fact, about half of Coe’s Psychology majors elect a second major, and still have the opportunity to earn a degree in Psychology as well.  Commonly-elected double majors include Biology, Sociology, and Neuroscience, but Coe students have paired Psychology with virtually every other major offered at the College.

Part of the reason that Coe students find it easy to complete the major in a timely way is that all required courses are offered every semester, so schedule conflicts are easily addressed.  Many Coe students undertake a semester abroad, or begin their major during their sophomore – or occasionally even their junior – year.  Psychology faculty work very hard with each student interested in the major to develop a plan of study that accommodates the student’s interest and also gets the student graduated on time!

What kinds of graduate and professional programs do Coe Psychology majors enter, if they do decide to pursue post-baccalaureate student?  Psychology majors are well prepared to enter many different types of programs.  Included among these are the following:

Medicine and Health-Related Careers:  Students applying for admission to Medical schools must have a year’s study of Biology and Physics, and two years’ study of Chemistry, but beyond these requirements, they can major in any area of study.  Psychology increasingly is becoming a popular choice of student majors, in recognition that critical thinking, understanding research design and methodology, and interacting successfully with a wide variety of people are all fundamental skills that doctors need.  At Coe, many former psychology majors are currently working as medical doctors, as well as dentists, chiropractors, physical therapists, and other health care professionals.  As a matter of fact, the Association of American Medical Colleges recently proposed revisions to the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) that incorporate knowledge of human behavior.

Social Work:  Coe typically sends one or two Psychology graduates per year into competitive M.S.W.  (Master of Social Work) programs.  Programs that Coe grads recently seem especially interested in are the top-ranked M.S.W. programs at the University of Iowa and the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, although Coe students are attractive applicants at a variety of M.S.W. programs.

Counseling and Clinical Psychology: Many Coe Psychology majors enter graduate programs in counseling, either at the Masters or the Doctoral level.  Coe grads oftentimes follow their specific interests in choosing a graduate program that specializes in helping a particular kind of clientele, especially at the masters level – for example electing to enter programs in substance abuse counseling, marriage and family counseling, mental health counseling, vocational counseling, or rehabilitation counseling.  Because Coe’s curriculum emphasizes the development of core knowledge and skills, Coe graduates are well prepared to undertake work in any of these specific areas of study.  Many Coe Psychology graduates also elect Ph. D. programs in either Clinical or Counseling Psychology.  Coe is lucky to be located geographically close to the University of Iowa, since this school maintains some of the best Ph.D. programs in the country in the fields of Counseling and Clinical Psychology and Coe students are recruited for entry into these competitive programs.

Industrial/Organizational Psychology: Students interested in working in Management oftentimes choose to earn either an M.B.A degree or an advanced degree in I/O Psychology.  Two of Coe’s Psychology professors are trained in this field, and both offer student-faculty research programs in core areas within this field.  Each year, Coe typically sends students off to earn graduate degrees in Industrial and/or Organizational Psychology.  Furthermore, Coe’s Business Administration major is an excellent program, and courses elected in Business work as great elective choices for the Psychology major whose career interests involve working in the corporate world.

Educational Psychology and Related Fields: Many Coe Psychology majors are interested in education and they oftentimes pursue graduate work, completing degrees in several types of programs.  Some students earn specialized degrees in fields such as School Psychology or Speech and Audiology.  Here, Coe’s coursework in research methodology, statistical analysis, and psychological testing is especially useful preparation.  Other students enter more general programs in educational psychology, and work either in educational administration, educational research, or program evaluation.