"Psychology is a loosely federated intellectual empire that stretches from the domains of biological sciences on one border to those of the social sciences on the other."

Henry Gleitman
American Psychological Foundation
Distinguished Teaching Award winner

Psychology is the scientific study of behavior and mental processes-the basis for both a field of scientific knowledge and of professional application. The training and interests of our faculty span this diverse "intellectual empire" and provide Coe psychology majors with a solid foundation that will help our graduates be successful wherever their interests should carry them.

The Psychology program at Coe is centered on a traditional, scientific approach to the discipline. Courses are offered in all of the fundamental areas within the field. Students learn not only the content matter of Psychology, but also a host of research and technical skills including research design and statistical analysis. Students work closely with faculty, both in traditional classroom settings and the ample opportunities provided for independent study and research exploration.

Both research experience and hands-on internship placements in community centers and businesses are important aspects of the Psychology program at Coe. Students are encouraged to apply what they learn in the classroom to real-world problems. About 50% of Coe's psychology majors enter graduate programs within five years of graduation. Students are well prepared by our curriculum for successful application to competitive graduate and professional programs, as well as for a wide variety of career opportunities that await them when they complete their work at Coe.

10 Reasons to Major in Psychology at Coe College

  1. Psychology is one of the largest and most energetic programs at Coe, with lots of interesting students doing interesting things. Most courses in the department are offered every term, and others are offered at least once a year.
  2. Flexibility - Faculty work very hard to make sure each student undertakes an undergraduate program designed with the student’s particular interests and abilities in mind.
  3. Interesting Careers - Psychology graduates have entered graduate programs in many fields of study, including medicine and law. Although most people think of psychology graduates entering the field of counseling (and many do), others go on to get graduate training in a wide variety of interesting areas - including a student who trained dolphins for Sea World.
  4. Great internship placements - Because Coe College resides in a large city, our students have a wide variety of internship placements available to them. Among the more frequently chosen are:  working as a counselor at Tanager Place, a nationally known residential treatment facility for children and adolescents with severe behavioral or mental disorders; working in human resource management in several local businesses; working in the field of drug abuse treatment, either at the Sedlacek Center (affiliated with Mercy Hospital) or the Linn County Area Substance Abuse Council (ASAC).
  5. Opportunities to engage in student-faculty research -  Every year, two to three dozen Coe psychology majors work with faculty on faculty-led research projects, ranging from the examination of “Memory for Images” and “Physical Attractiveness and Memory for Faces” to “Self-Consciousness and Goals” and “Effects of Prenatal Methamphetamine on a Spatial Learning Task (in baby chickens, not students!).” We take student-faculty research seriously in psychology at Coe.
  6. Opportunities for leadership and recognition, including Psychology Club, Psi Chi, lots of group projects, and presenting papers at conferences. For example, many Coe students belong to the Psych Club, which provides a schedule including a variety of speakers and field trips, as well as service engagements. All of these activities provide fun and valuable learning experiences outside the classroom – and free pizza! For example, this year the Psych Club toured the state mental health hospital at Independence, Iowa, met with distinguished alumni during their visits to Coe, and heard representatives of major Cedar Rapids employers talk about how psychology majors fit into their workplace environments. In the past three years, psychology students have presented their research findings at the Midwestern Psychological Association annual conference, at the ILLOWA Conference (Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota), at CSBS (College of Social and Behavioral Sciences) at UNI, and at the annual Tri-State conference (Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois).
  7. Peer mentoring - Psychology employs students to help other students learn, either by serving as tutors through Coe’s Academic Achievement Program (all Coe students can access free tutoring for classes), or by serving as classroom teaching assistants in statistics, memory and cognition, or other courses in the curriculum. Students teaching other students is a valuable method of learning, and one the psychology faculty embraces.
  8. Great graduate school placement rates - At Coe, about 50% of Coe psychology majors enter graduate programs within five years of graduation.
  9. An outstanding, science-based curriculum - Courses focus on skill development, especially critical thinking, critical reading, writing and quantitative literacy. All majors take several courses that build students’ skills, including research methods, statistical methods, memory and cognition, and several elective courses that extend the emphasis on the ability to use information to analyze and solve problems. This provides an excellent basis on which graduate training can rest, and also teaches real-world skills that are valuable in the workplace.
  10. A caring faculty, attuned to students’ needs, interests and opportunities.