AQ Difference

The Psychology Department draws much of its structure and curriculum from recommendations presented by the American Psychological Association (APA). These standards are then incorporated into the overall Mission of Aquinas College, resulting in a unique and high-quality program that is well-respected by employers, graduate schools, and our own graduates.
Outstanding Senior Awards 2015
Senior Awards





Graduating seniors Melissa Anthony, Emina Djonko, Brittany Fata and Valarie Gee were honored as the Psychology Department's Outstanding Seniors for the 2014-2015 academic year.



European Roots of Psychology & Sociology
European Roots of Psychology and Sociology is a course developed by Drs. Lorraine Straw (Psychology) and Kathy Kremer (Sociology). The course combined a spring semester class with travel to central Europe in May where students participated in programs and lectures presented by European academics and experts.
Departmental Mission Statement
Higher education is preparation for lifelong learning, thinking, and action. To be a successful student, a good citizen, a happy and productive person, requires nurturing of all intelligences -- abstract, social, practical, and aesthetic (APA). The mission of the Department of Psychology is to contribute to the students' intellectual development and resulting liberal education by providing a knowledge of psychology, its research findings, its major problems, its theoretical integration, and its contributions (APA). This mission is accomplished through our Philosophy of Education and our Major Curriculum.
Philosophy Of Major
The discipline of Psychology focuses on an understanding of the material human being as its object of study for the transmission, synthesis, and generation of information, which are the three general purposes of college education. The body of knowledge in psychology is firmly based in the method of the experiment, thus defining it as a scientific discipline. The undergraduate psychology major curriculum, therefore, adopts the scientific method in its philosophy of education for accomplishing the purpose of a liberal arts education.
The Major curriculum emphasizes the science-research model of psychology. This curriculum serves the Mission of the Department through the development of specific coursework based on the application of a model of standards and values, following guidelines set forth by the American Psychological Association.
Major Curriculum
In order to function as a professional psychologist, a student must obtain an advanced degree -- usually a PhD. The ability to communicate effectively and conduct research is an integral part of any such program. Students not only need to develop an appropriate knowledge base within psychology, but must have critical thinking skills, and the ability to generate and test original ideas and synthesize information from a variety of sources. Development of these skills and the attendant knowledge base are the general goals of the curriculum.
The Major Curriculum is derived from the following set of goals which are adapted from our Mission statement and from the guidelines of the APA.
  1. Knowledge Base - There are significant facts, theories, and issues in psychology that a student needs to know, but these must be in the context of helping students develop a conceptual framework and a basis for lifelong learning.
  2. Thinking Skills - Students need to develop skills in learning, critical thinking, and reasoning; to develop a command of quantitative and qualitative methods; to be able to evaluate statements and conclusions made about the causes of behavior; and to think critically about themselves and others.
  3. Language Skills - Students need to learn how to read, write, and think, using the language of the discipline, i.e., scientific language.
  4. Information Gathering and Synthesis Skills - Students need to learn how to complete comprehensive and organized literature searches.
  5. Research Methods and Statistical Skills - Students need to know the complete scientific method including problem formulation, design and analysis of experiments, and the drawing of conclusions.
  6. Interpersonal Skills - Students need to develop the ability to monitor their own behavior; to be sensitive to differences and similarities in the way people are treated because of gender, race, ethnicity, culture, and class; and to work effectively in groups.
  7. History of Psychology - More than names, dates, systems, and theories, students need to know the development of psychology in the context of its theoretical conflicts, its sociopolitical uses, and its place in the broader intellectual traditions of the humanities, sciences, and social sciences.
  8. Ethics and Values - Students need to know the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and evaluate them according to their personal system of ethics and values.


Psychologists provide psychological services to individual persons and to groups, and engage in research, teaching, consultation, and administration. Most psychologists devote themselves to more than one of these activities. For example, most research psychologists also teach; many teachers also engage in some applied or service functions; and some practitioners also do research.
To pursue a career as a professional psychologist requires an undergraduate degree as well as a graduate degree, either a Master's or Doctorate.
On the other hand, an undergraduate degree in psychology is highly valued in many career paths, because psychology students are trained in critical thinking, observation, and the complexities of human functioning. Therefore, the opportunities are limited only by the individual's interests, and willingness to explore the options.
Examples of career options for bachelor-level psychology graduates include:
  • Aides in educating or caring for the emotionally disturbed or developmentally disabled
  • Aides and activity specialists in day care or respite setting for children or older adults
  • Community mental health workers
  • Computer analysts for survey research
  • Substance abuse program workers
  • Social service agency workers
  • Organization managers
  • Customer service and customer relations employees
  • Legal aides
  • Police officers, probation officers and court employees
  • Authors and editors
  • Personal trainers or image consultants
  • And many more!