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Beloit Psychology Department Mission and Learning Goals

Mission Statement

Psychology is the scientific study of behavior and mental processes. As such, the mission of the Department of Psychology at Beloit College is to help students learn to think like psychologists. To achieve this goal, students generate and evaluate empirical evidence while considering theoretical perspectives of the discipline. Students actively engage with a rigorous academic program that includes comprehensive coursework, internships, and student-faculty research. Ultimately, and in an ethical manner, our students will contribute to the knowledge base of psychology and apply psychological principles to everyday life.

Learning Goals

Students who complete a major in psychology at Beloit will:

Acquire a Knowledge Base in Psychological Science

  • be aware of the major theories, concepts, principles, perspectives, and historical trends of the  discipline
  • achieve fluency in the language of the discipline
  • understand the evolving nature of psychological knowledge

Be Able to Evaluate Claims and Evidence

  • be able to assess the strengths and weaknesses of different sources of knowledge
  • recognize that knowledge is generated within a particular historical and cultural context
  • be aware of common thinking fallacies and techniques to avoid them
  • be appropriately skeptical of claims made by others

Be Proficient in Research Methods and Statistics

  • understand the scientific method and its key concepts (e.g., reliability, validity, operational definitions)
  • be able to design and conduct studies using various research methodologies
  • be able to use and interpret descriptive and inferential statistical procedures
  • be able to use SPSS to analyze data
  • comply with professional standards for the ethical treatment of research participants and laboratory animals

Acquire Professional Communication Skills

  • be able to communicate clearly in all standard professional modes (oral presentations, formal writing, and research posters)
  • be able to summarize and synthesize psychological literature
  • be able to communicate research findings clearly, using both words and numbers
  • be proficient in the use of APA style

Demonstrate Information Literacy

  • be able to locate information found in text-based or electronic sources
  • be able to evaluate the credibility of sources (e.g., peer-reviewed vs. non peer-reviewed)

Exhibit Sound Values and Judgment

  • recognize the necessity for ethical behavior in all aspects of the science and practice of psychology (e.g., avoid plagiarism and conflicts of interest)
  • be open to new ideas and perspectives
  • avoid bias and prejudice in one's thinking
  • be able to disagree with ideas civilly and constructively
  • tolerate ambiguity and acknowledge that most issues are complex and best understood within a multi-disciplinary framework

Apply Psychological Knowledge Effectively

  • be able to apply psychological principles to one's everyday life
  • consult with professional psychologists when appropriate
  • be able to articulate how psychological principles can be used to address social issues and inform public policy in a multicultural, global context