Bachelor of Science in Psychology
Dr. Elizabeth Williford, Chair
The Belhaven University Department of Psychology seeks to introduce all students to the study of human behavior and mental processes within a Christian context. The psychology major is designed to provide a foundation of knowledge in the major subfields of psychology and to prepare students for future study and work in this field. Many degrees in psychology are founded solely on secular principles, but Belhaven incorporates the biblical worldview into coursework and classroom discussion.
In today’s ever changing world, career paths often change and society requires that each of us have flexible skills to adapt to new challenges, new technologies, and new economic realities. Psychology, because it trains you in a broad set of critical thinking skills, interpersonal skills, and communication skills, prepares students with the flexible skills that they can use in a wide variety of settings in your future. Many students choose psychology because they value and enjoy helping people. A psychology major prepares students to enter the wide range of people helping fields available upon graduation or after pursuing graduate training.
To earn a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Belhaven students must complete an on-site research or clinical practicum. Previous practicum locations have included: University of Mississippi Medical Center eating disorder clinic and sleep disorder lab, Crisis Pregnancy Center, Youth for Christ and Baptist Hospital Drug Treatment Program. This course of study, along with the practical, hands-on experience has been successful in securing positions for Belhaven graduates in numerous counseling fields, social services and business.
What degrees and tracks are available in the Psychology Department?
B.S. Psychology – The traditional psychology degree program is designed to meet the requirements and demands of students considering future graduate training in psychology or a related field. This track emphasizes both the scientific side of psychology, as well as the applied aspects of psychology. Students who are not interested in future graduate training will also find this degree provides them with the knowledge and skills for a broad range of careers.
B.A. Psychology with Creative Arts Therapy Concentration – For students coming to Belhaven with a passion and gifting in a particular art form, we have developed a unique track that will help students to utilize their artistic passion in the service of helping others. Students will take a minimum of 12 hours in their chosen art form (creative writing, dance, music or visual arts) as well as a course in creative arts therapies. This concentration is designed for students who might wish to use the arts to help others in careers such as Child Life Specialist, Recreation or Activities Directors, cross cultural mission work or to prepare for graduate school in an area such as Dance/Movement Therapy, Art Therapy or Music Therapy.
What special things might I participate in as a psychology major?
Career Development – Because we are a small department, faculty closely mentor students regarding their life upon graduation. Students will attend a course during their junior year specifically designed to help them develop a vision and plan for a career upon graduation. Guest professionals currently practicing in psychology or related fields, as well as graduate school representatives, help students gain a window into the realities of potential careers after graduation.
Internships - One great advantage of being within the city of Jackson is the large number of internship experiences available. Students are highly encouraged to get work experience in a field they are considering. Many students have been offered jobs at their internship sites.
Research Experience – Students with the goal of attending graduate school are highly encouraged to gain some research experience. We have a close relationship with the University of Mississippi Medical School across the street. This can provide invaluable experience and recommendations to get into graduate school. Students can also participate in an Undergraduate Honors Research class to develop their own research study with a small team of other students.
Travel and Field Trips - In recent years, our students have traveled with professors to attend conferences and/or present their research in Chicago, Memphis, New Orleans, Biloxi and Bay St .Louis. Students regularly visit local institutions that provide some type of human services. These experiences allow students to gain a broader vision of the field of psychology and the vast number of career options.
What might I do with a Psychology degree?
Our students have taken a variety of paths upon graduation such as:
- Ph.D. programs in Clinical or Counseling Psychology
- Master’s degrees in Counseling or Marriage and Family Therapy
- Master’s degrees in Experimental or Industrial/Organizational Psychology
- Graduate school in social work, law school, medical school, speech pathology, PT and OT school
- Private practice therapists
- Partial-hospitalization therapists
- Rehabilitation counselors
- Behavior therapists working with autistic children
- Police officers
- Pharmaceutical sales representatives
- Group home house parents
- Mental health case managers
- Family preservation therapists
- Staff of programs for disabled children or adults
- Reformed University Fellowship staff