If you are interested in social relationships, mental disorders, child development, the relationship between humans and animals, criminality, or any of the many other ways in which humans behave and interact, one of the Psychology degrees may be for you.
The Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences offers three degrees: the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Psychology, the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Psychology, and the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Neuroscience. The two Psychology degree options begin the same way, making it easy to adjust your path as your interests develop. The Department also offers a minor in Psychology, a Clinical Psychological Science Certificate, a Certificate in Neuroscience, and a Certificate in the Psychology of Business.
The Psychology B.S. is designed for highly motivated, career-oriented students. The program emphasizes breadth of preparation in science and development of math and computer skills. It requires more advanced courses and laboratory work in psychology than the B.A. program.
Students who graduate with the degree should be well prepared for graduate training in psychology and related fields, for professional schools, and for jobs in psychology and other fields that use scientific training and quantitative techniques.
The wide breadth of the field of psychology allows you to explore many different topics. For example, undergraduates have explored applications to law and criminal justice through social psychology; to education through developmental psychology; to therapy and counseling through clinical psychology; to business through industrial and organizational psychology; and many more.
Nearly any issue that impacts human lives has a psychological slant. You are encouraged to personalize your undergraduate major to emphasize topics that resonate with your own interests.
Tracks and concentrations
There are no official tracks or concentrations in the Psychology major. Instead, students have the ability to select from a wide range of courses, electives, and capstone experiences. This enables you to construct an undergraduate experience that is tailored to your unique interests, while gaining a well-rounded understanding of the science of mind, brain, and behavior.
Upper level coursework
The Psychology B.S. degree allows you to customize the curriculum by choosing which upper level courses to take. The B.S. requires three Advanced Psychology courses and two Capstone Experiences. Students are advised to pick classes and opportunities that relate to their interests or career goals.
Advanced courses (300/400 level) offer a more in-depth look at an issue or topic.
Capstone Experience gives students an opportunity to put what they have learned into practice. Students can fulfill the requirement by gaining hands-on experience in a lab course, working as a research assistant for a professor, or participating in an approved service learning experience.
A Psychology and Neuroscience academic advisor will help you select the best courses to suit your interests.
Commonly pursued majors, minors and certificates
Your major represents about one quarter of your degree requirements. With the help of your academic advisor, you may be able to combine several areas of interest with additional majors, minors, or certificates.
Students frequently combine their Psychology B.S. coursework with other majors, minors, and certificates offered by the College of Arts and Sciences or other schools at IU Bloomington. Recently, the most commonly paired majors have been Neuroscience and Biology. Many different areas of study are possible, too.
The most common minors are: Biology, Animal Behavior, and Spanish. Check your bulletin for more information about these minors.
Some students pursuing the Psychology B.S. degree may wish to complete either the Neuroscience Certificate, Clinical Psychological Science Certificate, Certificate in the Psychology of Business or the Liberal Arts and Management Program (LAMP) certificate as well.
- Enhance your major
Working with faculty
When pursuing a Psychology B.S. degree, you have the opportunity to work with faculty who have expertise and experience in the field. Take advantage of office hours to talk with your instructors about your performance in class, the content of readings and assignments, and how the course helps you work toward your goals.
The Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences offers many opportunities for research, teaching and independent study, emphasizing an experiential learning approach.
Experiential learning starts with acquiring new ideas from readings or group discussions, just as in a typical classroom. With experiential learning, you then get a chance to apply what you've learned in a real-world setting, and to reflect on how your experience deepens your understanding. Opportunities include:
- Research Assistantship - With over 40 faculty-run labs in the Psychological and Brain Sciences department, you have the opportunity to conduct research with PBS faculty members in a variety of specialized topics
- Teaching Internship - As an undergraduate teaching intern, you will assist in an undergraduate course, attend weekly discussions of good teaching practices, and complete a project related to the aims of the course in which you are assisting
- Service-Learning and Field Experience courses - Psychological and Brain Sciences offers students the opportunity to have hands on experience within the community, while you learn inside and outside of the classroom or through independent study
For more information, contact your academic advisor.
To earn the Departmental Honors Degree, students must complete an Honors Thesis Research (P499), which includes an independent lab research project and thesis. Outstanding students are eligible to apply for the Honors Capstone by the spring of their junior year.
Undergraduate scholarships and awards
Options for pursuing scholarships and awards include:
- American Psychological Association Scholarships, Grants, and Awards
- Indiana Noyce Scholars Program
- Indiana University Office of Scholarships
- Office of Overseas Study Scholarships
- Sally Kissinger Wilt Merit Scholarship
- Selective Scholarships
- Service-Learning Student Travel Scholarship
Internships offer you a chance to develop both technical and transferable skills while making vital professional contacts with others in the field. Many students begin exploring internship opportunities, including overseas study programs with internships, as early as their freshman year.
Students pursuing the Psychology B.S. degree have found internship opportunities with organizations such as:
- City of Bloomington
- College Mentors for Kids
- Crimson CORPS
- IU Environmental Health & Safety
- The Student Involvement & Leadership Center
- IU Health Hospital
- Matthew 25 Health/Dental Clinic
- Milestones Clinical and Health Resources
- Monroe County Community School Corporation
- Monroe County Humane Association
- Riley Hospital for Children
- Simon Cancer Center
- WonderLab Museum of Science, Health and Technology
Another resource you can use is the Psychology/Neuroscience Blog, where academic advisors post relevant oppotunities for you to take advantage of.
Learn more about internships, including the possibility of earning credit, through Walter Center for Career Achievement, where you'll find many resources for finding both domestic and international internships.
Foreign language study
The Psychology B.S. requires a third semester proficiency in a foreign language.
As one of the premier institutions in the U.S. for the study of languages, IU Bloomington offers courses and resources in over 60 languages. Learn more about the foreign language requirement for a College of Arts and Sciences degree.
Here is partial list of foreign language resources available to students at IU Bloomington:
- Center for Language Technology and Instructional Enrichment
- Chinese Flagship Center
- Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships
- IU Language Workshop
- Language Tables
- Project GO
- Russian Flagship Program
Study abroad is an important part of undergraduate education in our increasingly interconnected world. Students majoring in the sciences have a number of options to choose from.
Psychology majors have studied abroad in England, Denmark, Australia, and Spain, as well as other areas of the world. Semester, academic year, and summer opportunities are available.
These student associations are supported by the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences and can enrich your Neuroscience experience, helping you prepare for a career or graduate school:
Here are some other groups of interest to many Psychology majors:
- ActiveMinds works to increase awareness about symptoms of mental illness and resources in and around the IU community.
- Crimson CORPS (Caring, Open-Minded, Respectful, Peer Support) promotes a culture of compassion and action on the IU Bloomington campus.
- Global Brigades empowers volunteers and under-resourced communities to resolve global health and economic disparities and inspire all involved to collaboratively work towards an equal world
- Raising Awareness of Interactions in Sexual Encounters (RAISE) focuses on consent and health sexual communication.
Psi Chi Honors Society is an academic honor society for students in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. Members are committed to academic excellence in the fields of Psychology and Neuroscience, local volunteering, and active participation within the Department.
Collins Living-Learning Center is located in an historic setting close to the heart of campus, just steps away from the Psychology Building. The Collins community is intentionally academically diverse, and includes students from different majors across the university. Read more about the student experience at Collins.
The Women in STEM Living-Learning Center is home to a group of undergraduate women of all levels (freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors) who are driven to achieve in the fields of science, technology, informatics, and mathematics, or STIM.
Explore beINvolved to get connected to any of the 750+ student organizations that already exist or to start a new one.
There are numerous opportunities for volunteer engagement, allowing you to give back to the local community while developing useful job skills. The organizations below can help you connect with others from the university and beyond:
- Bloomington Worldwide Friendship
- Bridges: Children, Languages, World
- Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center
- Wonderlab Museum of Science, Health and Technology
- Bradford Woods Therapuetic Camps
Sign up to receive weekly emails from the Bloomington Volunteer Network to learn about local opportunities and organizations.
Here are a number of professional organizations Psychology B.S. students may find of interest:
- American Psychological Association
- Association for Psychological Science
- Midwestern Psychological Association
- Psychonomic Society
- Society for Neuroscience
- Society for Personality and Social Psychology
- Society for Research in Child Development
- Build your skills
Through the major
Students who choose to earn the Psychology B.S. degree have a wide range of advanced topics to consider once the required courses are completed. The department offers advanced seminar and laboratory classes, as well as opportunities to work one-on-one with faculty in their laboratories. Depending on the choice of courses or labs, a student could master the following skills:
- A scientifically-grounded understanding of human behavior that addresses normal and dysfunctional individuals and relationships
- An understanding of various brain regions and their functions
- An overview of the potential causes of disorders such depression, autism, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer's disease
- An understanding of the importance and role of developmental processes in human cognition
- Basic laboratory skills allowing you to pose and then answer questions about brain and behavior using rigorous methods that adhere to ethical principles
- Communication skills that enable you to make presentations at regional or even national conferences, and perhaps to write a senior honors thesis
- Should you wish to apply to medical school, a set of courses can be chosen that provide a solid foundation for the MCAT
Through a College of Arts and Sciences degree
Your coursework provides many opportunities to develop the following five foundational skills that will serve you well in every career path:
- Question critically
- Think logically
- Communicate clearly
- Act creatively
- Live ethically
These foundational skills will aid you in landing your first job and advancing professionally throughout your working life. Not only are these the skills that employers say they calue most in the workplace, they provide the best preparation for lifelong success in a world of complexity, uncertainty, and change.
Skills desired by employers
Each year, the National Association of Colleges and Employers asks employers what skills and qualities they are looking for in recent college graduates.
The following abilities are the most commonly desired atributes across many employment sectors:
- Problem-solving skills
- Ability to work in a team
- Written and verbal communication skills
- Leadership skills
- Strong work ethic
- Analytical and quantitative skills
- Ability to take initiative
- Being detail oriented
- Demonstrating adaptability
- Technical Skills relevant to the field
- Interpersonal skills
- Computer skills
- Organizational ability
As you explore various career fields, pay attention to specific job descriptions and requirements. If there are areas where your skills or knowledge are lacking, talk with your academic and career advisors about how you can develop in those areas while you are at Indiana University.
Your academic advisor and career coach can also help you find ways to strengthen and deepen the knowledge you already have, becoming more prepared for whatever path you select after your college career.
- Launch your career
Plan your search
A good starting point for exploring your career options is an appointment with the a career coach. The Walter Center for Career Achievement offers job search resources, career courses, job fairs, information about internships and full-time jobs, and help with social media networking through professional organizations. Get advice about how to write your resume, ask for letters of recommendation from faculty and workplace supervisors, and prepare for job interviews, too.
Explore and enroll in Career Communities to learn more about industries relevant to your interests. These offer unique information about each field, including alumni spotlights, opportunities and resources, and in-person events.
The job market
A major in psychology prepares students for work in a vast variety of industries and work environments, making the outlook promising due to the diversity it allows. Psychology students can take their depth of understanding and broad set of skills into hundreds of different fields and career paths.
Students with the Psychology B.S. degree are well prepared to work in research and academia, science and technology, education, health care, government, nonprofit organizations, and business.
Initial and long-term destinations for graduates include positions in many job sectors: Scientific researchers, educators, marketers and advertisers, social services providers, counseling aides, child and family service providers, volunteer directors, nonprofit directors, psychiatric technicians, consultants, entrepreneurs, health care providers, and much more.
Talk with Psychology faculty, an academic advisor and other students to gain insights into the career paths taken by graduates of the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences and the College of Arts and Sciences.
Want to see where your fellow majors go right after graduating from IU? Check out the Walkter Center's First Destinations survey!
Need more ideas? The Occupational Outlook Handbook from the Bureau of Labor Statistics offers career information about hundreds of occupations.
Post-graduate short-term experiences
After graduation, a short-term experience or internship can help you make connections, gain life skills, and assess your interest in future careers. Talk with your career coach and use these and other resources to find opportunities that are a good fit with your educational experience and career goals:
Fellowships for post-graduate study
Fellowships are temporary post-graduate opportunities to conduct research, work in a field, or fund graduate school. Most opportunities can be found through universities, non-profit, and government organizations.
Good resources for finding fellowship opportunities include:
- APA Fellowships
- APS Grants and Awards
- National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program
Graduate and professional study
When applying to graduate or professional schools, you'll need letters of recommendation from faculty members who are familiar with your work. Make a practice of attending office hours early in your academic career to get to know your professors and discuss your options for advanced study in the field.
A Psychology B.S. degree will prepare you for entry into graduate programs in a wide variety of fields, including Masters (M.A./M.S.) and Doctorate (Ph.D.) programs in the field. Additional common graduate paths include counseling, school psychology, clinical psychology, social work, education, research, non-profit management, business, and consulting.
With careful planning, and in consultation with the Health Professions and Prelaw Center, you could also prepare to enter law school, medical school, or other programs in the health professions.
Students who pursue graduate studies in psychology have gone into careers with top academic and research institutions, education, local, state, and federal government, nonprofit organizations, business and entrepreneurship.
You might consider these Indiana University graduate opportunities:
- Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences
- Maurer School of Law
- School of Education
- O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs
- School of Social Work
Stay connected with happenings and alumni from IU's Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences via the PBS Update Newsletter.
The IU College of Arts + Sciences has thousands of active alumni. Check out the IU College Luminaries program, which connects students with the College's most influential, successful, and inspiring alumni.
Join and the Walter Center Success Network to remain in touch, network directly with College of Arts + Sciences Alumni, and let others now where your path takes you.
Is it for you?
The Psychology B.S. major attracts a diverse set of students who are curious about some of the following types of questions:
- How does the brain work?
- What causes mental disorders and how best can we treat them?
- How can broken relationships be mended?
- What makes people different from one another?
- What can animal behavior tell us about what makes us human?
- How do people behave differently in the presence of others?
- What is the fastest way to learn a new skill or language?
- Why do we make certain decisions, and are these decisions correct?
Contact the Psychology and Neuroscience academic advisors and schedule an appointment to explore your options. Complete information about the requirements of the major can be found in the College of Arts and Sciences Bulletin.
- Department website
- Advisor email address