Psychology is the science that studies behavior and mental processes. Psychologists want to know why people do what they do and why they think what they think. If you have a curiosity about these things, psychology might be the field of study for you.
In addition to gaining an understanding of the behaviors and thoughts of others, some psychologists apply their expertise in the wider world—in schools, clinics and counseling centers, business and industry, and in many other vocational settings. A major in psychology provides a foundation for careers both applied and academic, as well as a starting point for a lifetime of learning about people (and animals!).
The Psychology Department at Luther has seven Ph.D. psychologists, each with a different area of academic specialization. We are large enough to provide expertise in a wide variety of courses in psychology, and small enough that we get to know our students and they get to know us. Whether you are interested in counseling and abnormal psychology, stress and well-being, personality, cognition in humans or animals, human development, social psychology, or how psychology applies to the workplace—we have experts with the background, training, and research experience to help you learn and explore those areas.
Luther psychology faculty are active scientists, performing research in their areas of expertise—and affording their students with opportunities to collaborate in that research. Psychology majors at Luther thus have the opportunity to learn not only the “what” of psychology—what we know about behavior and thinking—but the “how.” They learn how psychologists ask the questions they ask, and how they go about answering those questions using the scientific method. Developing this different way of thinking about and studying others is part of the rich liberal arts tradition of Luther. It also provides our students with skills and understanding that will serve them in their careers after college.
Many of our psychology students complete psychology internships as part of their major, either during our January Term or during a semester or summer session. These internships help our majors discern what kind of career is the right fit for them, and also provide excellent experience should they decide to apply to graduate school.
The Luther Psychology Department also has excellent classroom and laboratory space. Each faculty member has his or her own research space. Some of these areas include laboratories devoted to studying neuroscience, cognitive processes, animal learning, evolutionary psychology, and physiological responses to stress.
Some psychology majors choose to begin a career immediately upon graduation from Luther. Others choose to further their psychology education in graduate school. The Psychology Department has had great success in helping our students achieve those educational opportunities.