About Psychology

Our Program and Courses

Psychology is a major and minor at F&M. As part of your studies, you will explore and participate in hands-on research to better understand the mind and behavior of humans and animals alike. We consider observation and active participation to be particularly crucial in the field of psychology, meaning you will have ample opportunities to explore, research, and answer your questions about the mind and behavior with the help of your professors and peers. Our department recognizes that diversifying both who studies psychology and who participates in our research is critical to advancing the goals of psychology. We stand against racism and white supremacy and strive for equity in our classrooms and labs.

As psychology deals with a wide variety of topics, you will also be able to take a course in another field that will count toward your major. By pointing you towards additional courses in other departments, we make it possible for you to fine-tune your experience to your specific interests and develop your own unique perspective on psychology. Some of the most common cross-department studies are found in biology, philosophy, and linguistics. Students interested in Psychology can also study Neuroscience, Animal Behavior, and Scientific and Philosophical Studies of Mind.

By the time you graduate, you will: 

  • Be a mature consumer of scientific knowledge
  • Be a proficient producer of scientific knowledge through collecting data and/or formulating evidence-based arguments
  • Be able to apply psychological knowledge to real-world problems and phenomena
  • Be able to approach scientific phenomena from an integrative and conceptual mindset, moving away from a unidimensional, fact-focused perspective
  • Be a mature and active participant in your own education

Wondering what psychology courses are like? Explore our course catalog to see what classes are available to you.

Our Faculty and Staff

Christina L Abbott

Senior Teaching Professor of Psychology

Public Health

Contact »

Meredith J Bashaw

Professor of Psychology, Department Chair of Psychology

Biological Foundations of Behavior; Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Contact »

Carlota Batres

Assistant Professor of Psychology

Contact »

Krista M Casler

Visiting Scholar of Psychology

Contact »

Elena C Cuffari

Assistant Professor of Psychology & Scientific Philosophical Studies of Mind

Scientific and Philosophical Studies of Mind; Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Contact »

Todd DeKay

Senior Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychology

Contact »

Nicole R Fickes

Academic Department Coordinator

Biological Foundations of Behavior

Contact »

Christopher L Grant

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychology

Contact »

Lauren H Howard

Associate Professor of Psychology & Scientific and Philosophical Studies of Mind

Biological Foundations of Behavior; Scientific and Philosophical Studies of Mind

Contact »

Robin Johnsson

Adjunct Assistant Professor

Psychology

Contact »

Megan Knowles

Associate Professor of Psychology

Contact »

Frank C Koczur

Electronics Technician/Programmer

Contact »

Ryan T Lacy

Associate Professor of Psychology

Biological Foundations of Behavior

Contact »

Cade D Mansfield

Assistant Professor of Psychology

Contact »

Duncan Overton

Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology

Contact »

Lucia Q Parry

Visiting Instructor Psychology

Contact »

Michael L Penn

Professor of Psychology

Scientific and Philosophical Studies of Mind

Contact »

Timothy C Roth

Associate Professor of Psychology, Program Chair of Biological Foundations of Behavior

Biological Foundations of Behavior

Contact »

Josh D Rottman

Associate Professor of Psychology & Scientific and Philosophical Studies of Mind

Scientific and Philosophical Studies of Mind

Contact »

Learning Outside the Classroom

In keeping with the philosophy of our department, you’ll have ample opportunities to learn outside the confines of the classroom. After all, psychology is about observing and understanding behavior, not just reading about it in a textbook. With F&M’s strong internship connections, community-based learning classes, summer and semester research fellowships, work opportunities, and study-abroad opportunities, you’ll have plenty of chances to take what you’ve learned and apply it to the world around you.

Summer Internships

Students often choose to take some of the 15 weeks before the start of their next academic year to dive into the fields and industries they’re studying in the classroom. From working in wildlife rehabilitation centers to assisting doctors at hospitals, the opportunities for learning hands-on skills are numerous. Thanks to a generous donor fund, many F&M students are able to obtain financial assistance to attend these programs.
Explore internships at F&M

Research Opportunities 

The psychology department provides a diverse selection of research topics, including personality, social and psychopathology; perception and physiology; development and cognition; and evolution and adaptation. Your psychology major will cultivate your research skills and create opportunities for you to make scientific discoveries with faculty and answer your own questions about the mind and behavior. Many students present their research findings in professional journals and at conferences of national associations!
Explore research at F&M

Off-Campus Study

When studying behavior, it’s crucial to look outside your own experiences and learn from other people and cultures. Psychology students have studied abroad in Bolivia, Denmark, Tanzania, Italy, Kenya, Australia, and Scandinavia. 
Explore off-campus study at F&M

Our Facilities

The Barshinger Life Sciences & Philosophy Building

The Barshinger Life Sciences & Philosophy Building gives students access to state-of-the-art resources for studying the development of morality, animal welfare and problem-solving, social belonging, drug addiction, infant learning, non-verbal communication, healthy behaviors, responses to trauma, human rights, and more. 

The Development and Experience Center

Housed in the Barshinger Life Sciences & Philosophy Building, the Development and Experience (DAX) Center is home to two innovative child development research labs. Students can apply to become research assistants in these labs at any point in their college careers. As a student researcher, you would learn how to recruit and schedule participants, serve as experimenters in running empirical studies, assist in data analysis and interpretation, and become familiar with relevant psychological literature. 

Research questions the lab investigates include: 

  • What leads children and adults to acquire new moral beliefs or to change existing moral beliefs?
  • How extensive and variable are the contours of the moral domain?
  • How and why do disgust and dirtiness reduce the scope of moral treatment?
  • How do people allocate moral value to outgroup members, animals, and ecosystems?

Learn more about DAX

Success Beyond F&M

What happens after you graduate with a degree in psychology? Our graduates are prepared to pursue advanced degrees or begin their chosen careers from day one. The creative and intellectual activities that make up the work of psychology — including analyzing, writing, collaborating with others, and interpreting data — help you develop useful and productive skills, which are valuable for any post-college plan.

Graduate School

With a breadth of study that is uncommon at other liberal arts colleges, our graduates are immediately prepared to pursue advanced degrees upon graduating from F&M. Past F&M psychology majors have entered graduate programs studying education, clinical psychology, speech and language pathology, social work, human development, quantitative psychology, social psychology, business, and public administration. 

Career Paths

Psychology graduates enjoy a vast array of careers and have excelled in health care, social services, education, research, and more. They hold positions such as: 

  • Director of Human Resources 
  • Doctor
  • General Counsel
  • Lawyer
  • Marriage and Family Therapist
  • Pediatrician
  • Professor
  • Psychiatrist
  • Psychologist
  • Psychotherapist
  • Registered Nurse
  • Research Scientist
  • School Psychologist
  • Social Worker
  • Therapist

Research Spotlight

Students Decode Zoom Gestures

A team of Franklin & Marshall College students combed through six hours of Zoom class footage to identify gestures exhibited by participating professors and students. While gestures have been widely studied, the limitations of digital screen borders provide an unexpected twist. "That's rare in gesture scholarship because we just haven't had a lot of conditions or studies where the gesture is partly blocked," said Elena Cuffari, assistant professor of psychology & scientific philosophical studies of mind.
Read More »

Alumni Spotlight

The Perfect Blend of Sociology and Psychology

Thomas Downs Jr. '22 said he likes to help people reach their full potential. "I'm hoping that as a school psychologist, I can make more of a difference for people who need help in the beginning so they can cultivate themselves into something greater," he said. Through his psychology and sociology courses at F&M, Downs said he has learned what happens in a person's early years can help solidify who they ultimately become later in life. He's hoping that by supporting students in early childhood, he can give them a good foundation to build upon and become the best version of themselves.
Read More »

Related Fields of Study

Sociology

One field of study engages in all sorts of questions about people, institutions, and social structures: sociology. How does power operate in society? How do politics shape our lives? How and why have family relationships changed over time? As a student of sociology, you will explore these interactions to better understand how they shape the world and cultures that we live in.

Business, Organizations & Society

Do you imagine yourself in management, marketing, accounting, or finance after graduating from college? Study Business, Organizations & Society at F&M and learn to think critically and lead effectively in a variety of environments, from small businesses to large corporations and from for-profit to nonprofit.

Public Health

Do you want to explore the fascinating connections between science and government? Study public health at F&M and challenge assumptions and structures as you develop a deep moral intelligence surrounding public health around the globe.

Psychology in the Spotlight

February 20, 2024

Record Number of Fulbrights Earns F&M a Top Producer Spot

For the seventh consecutive year, the Fulbright U.S. Student Program has named F&M a top-producing institution. Eleven recent graduates were awarded Fulbright fellowships in 2023, the highest number in F&M history.

August 21, 2023

Genesis Familia: Raising Others Through Philanthropy

For most, home is the place where they are raised. For Genesis Familia, it is also the place to give back by raising others. This summer, the Posse Scholar returned to New York City for an internship with Bloomberg Philanthropies in human resources and management. In addition to her overseeing managerial duties, Familia also contributed to hands-on philanthropic efforts.

July 10, 2023

Child-Robot Research Merges Psychology and Technology

Learn how F&M students conducted an interdisciplinary graduate-level study and gained valuable insights into the future of education.