Academic Catalog 2023-24

Psychology (BA, BS, Minor)

The undergraduate Psychology Department at Dominican University of California is committed to providing a comprehensive, human entered, and culturally sensitive foundation in the psychological sciences, inclusive of theory, research, and practice, in an atmosphere that models mutual respect and encourages individual challenge.

The undergraduate Psychology Department offers a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science plus three minors in Psychology. Courses are offered in several basic areas within the field: clinical and counseling, human development, health and sports, communication, social, business/organizational, cognitive, and biological psychology.

Classes take the form of seminars, lectures, experiential exercises and simulations, demonstrations, guided research, and independent study, all of which are intended to stimulate active student participation in learning. The undergraduate program provides a wide variety of fieldwork placements, as well as specific research opportunities through the Senior research requirement. Students are also encouraged to attend professional psychological conventions, and undergraduate research conferences, and to develop research projects with faculty. The program’s size allows for one-on-one interaction with the department’s well-qualified faculty, which includes practicing psychologists, acclaimed teachers, and researchers.

The department encourages active student involvement in departmental issues through a number of student-faculty activities. The Psych Club sponsors topic/discussion sessions with speakers from the community, field trips, movies, social gatherings, and an ongoing support group. Academic, career, and graduate school advising are available through specified courses, workshops, peer advising, and appointments with faculty.

Psi Chi

The Dominican Chapter of Psi Chi, the international honor society in psychology, sponsors guest speakers, research, and social events for undergraduate students, graduate students, and alumni. The Psi Chi Book Award is presented at the annual awards ceremony to the student who has contributed most in the way of service to the department or to the field of psychology. Students are eligible after completion of 12 upper division units in psychology. A high standard of scholarship is required for admission to Psi Chi. (3.3 GPA in Psychology coursework and 3.0 GPA overall).


The undergraduate psychology curriculum is based on a model which integrates theory, research and practice. In addition to the fundamental core curriculum, there are two components which make the Dominican psychology curriculum distinctive: first-hand experience in the field (PSY 4940) and the selection of a personal focus. The Senior thesis research project stands as a culminating experience to students’ education at Dominican. The Senior thesis (PSY 4997 and PSY 4998) requires students to design and conduct, under faculty supervision, their own research on a topic of their choice. By integrating their research topic with a field placement in the same content area, students obtain additional specialized knowledge of and first-hand experience in their own area of interest.

Program Learning Outcomes

In keeping with Dominican’s goal for students’ intellectual development, the undergraduate Psychology Department has identified the following student learning objectives for those seeking a major in Psychology. (Note: some of the program learning outcomes listed do not apply for those seeking a minor in Psychology).

The student will demonstrate:

  1. Familiarity with the major concepts, diverse perspectives, research outcomes, and historical trends in psychology.
  2. Understanding and ethical application of the scientific method in psychology.
  3. Understanding and application of psychological theory and principles to a diverse range of real life issues and personal development.
  4. Knowledge, understanding, and the ability to think critically about empirical findings in psychology.
  5. Comprehension of the range of career possibilities in psychology and the development of a personal career plan.
  6. Ability to communicate psychological principles effectively in a variety of formats, demonstrating technological and information literacy.