PROGRAM OVERVIEW The Department of Psychology provides courses in the fundamental areas of study that comprise the science of behavior. The psychology department encourages students to participate in experiential learning opportunities in the form of research seminars, independent study, and internships in addition to traditional coursework. Students are also encouraged to take courses in the arts and sciences that improve their verbal, quantitative, and critical reasoning abilities.

The Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) is intended for students planning careers in areas other than psychology or related sciences. A B.A. in psychology can be completed as part of many pre-professional programs of study, including pre-business, pre-law, and pre-social work. Students should work with their advisers to assure selection of courses most compatible with their educational and career objectives.

The program of study leading to a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree with a major in psychology is intended for students who anticipate attending graduate school in psychology or related sciences. The course requirements reflect the breadth and rigor necessary to prepare for the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) and graduate study.

FACULTY All nine faculty members of the psychology department hold their doctorates, and several completed postdoctoral study before joining the faculty. They represent the major areas of the discipline and are committed teachers and scholars.

ACADEMIC PREPARATION Although no specific high school classes are required, a challenging high school curriculum consisting of science, mathematics, and English courses is strongly recommended.

REQUIREMENTS FOR MAJOR A B.A. in psychology requires 39 hours of psychology coursework while a B.S. requires 39 hours of psychology coursework and 12 hours of additional coursework in sciences other than psychology.

REQUIREMENTS FOR MINOR A minimum of 22 credit hours of courses offered by the Department of Psychology. A minimum grade-point average of 2.0 in psychology courses must be achieved, and courses taken on a credit/no credit basis may not be used for the minor.

DRAKE CURRICULUM The Drake Curriculum, required of all undergraduates, is designed to help students meet personal and professional goals as they acquire fundamental knowledge and abilities in ten Areas of Inquiry, including communication, critical thinking, artistic experience, historical consciousness, information and technology literacy, international and multicultural experiences, scientific and quantitative literacy, values and ethics, and engaged citizenship. Students work closely with their academic advisers to craft a program of study in general education that prepares students for civic and professional leadership.

The Drake Curriculum also requires a First Year Seminar, which fosters development of critical thinking and written and oral communication skills through a topical focus, and a Senior Capstone in which students demonstrate the capacity to bring information, skills, and ideas to bear on one project.

INTERNSHIPS & OPPORTUNITIES Internships are of great importance, particularly if a student is interested in applied psychology (clinical, counseling, industrial/organizational specialties). Student involvement in research is offered in laboratories and through individualized studies. Bachelor of Science students are encouraged to take a research seminar (PSY 198) and/or independent study (PSY 190, 191). Drake has excellent human and animal research facilities, including a microcomputer laboratory and a completely equipped EEG laboratory. Internships are also available at a number of hospitals, mental health/social service agencies, and businesses in the Des Moines area.

CAREER OPTIONS The psychology major prepares students for careers in psychology, law, medicine, social work, business, education, and research. Psychologists work as psychotherapists, consultants, teachers, researchers, and administrators in a variety of settings including community mental health agencies, elementary schools, universities, and corporations.

HONORS The department recognizes outstanding undergraduate students by presenting annual achievement awards for excellence in academic performance and for significant contributions in experimental and applied psychology.

STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS AND ACTIVITIES Qualified students may join Drake University’s chapter of Psi Chi, the national honor society in psychology.


  • Srdan Kobsa, AS'03, M.D./Ph.D. program, Yale University, New Haven, Conn.
  • Alan Anticevic, AS'04, Ph.D program, clinical psychology, Washington University, St. Louis
  • Ellen Rozek, AS'07, Ph.D. program, cognitive psychology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kan.
  • Molly Larson, AS'04, Ph.D. program, clinical and cognitive psychology, Emory University, Atlanta