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
Professor of Psychology, Department Chair of Psychology
Biological Foundations of Behavior; Women's, Gender and Sexuality StudiesContact »
Assistant Professor of Psychology & Scientific Philosophical Studies of Mind
Scientific and Philosophical Studies of Mind; Women's, Gender and Sexuality StudiesContact »
Christopher L Grant
Adjunct Assistant Professor of PsychologyContact »
Associate Professor of Psychology & Scientific and Philosophical Studies of Mind
Biological Foundations of Behavior; Scientific and Philosophical Studies of MindContact »
Associate Professor of Psychology, Program Chair of Biological Foundations of Behavior
Biological Foundations of BehaviorContact »
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.
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
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
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
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?
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.
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.
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
- General Counsel
- Marriage and Family Therapist
- Registered Nurse
- Research Scientist
- School Psychologist
- Social Worker
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. 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. 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.
Students Decode Zoom GesturesA 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 »
The Perfect Blend of Sociology and PsychologyThomas 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
Business, Organizations & Society
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.
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.
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.