Learning Goals

Undergraduate learning goals

Goal One: Knowledge Base in Psychology. Students should demonstrate fundamental knowledge and comprehension of the major concepts, theoretical perspectives, historical trends, and empirical findings to discuss how psychological principles apply to behavioral problems. 

Goal Two: Scientific Inquiry and Critical Thinking. Students will develop scientific reasoning and problem-solving skills, including effective research methods (e.g., research design, data analysis, and interpretation) and understand their fundamental importance in psychology.

Goal Three: Ethical and Social Responsibility in a Diverse World. Students will develop ethically and socially responsible behavior for professional and personal settings. Students will 1) recognize, understand, and respect the complexity of globalization and international diversity, 2) recognize, understand and respect the complexity psychosocial and cultural diversity, and 3) will understand and apply psychological principles to environmental sustainability issues. 

Goal Four: Communication. Students will be able to demonstrate competence in writing and in oral and interpersonal communication skills. Students will demonstrate information competence and the ability to use computers and other technology for many purposes.

Goal Five: Professional Development. Students will emerge from the major with abilities that sharpen their readiness for post-baccalaureate employment, graduate school, or professional school. Students should have realistic ideas about how to apply psychology-specific content and skills, effective self-reflection, project management skills, teamwork skills, and career preparation.

Graduate learning goals

The graduate program has four outcome-specific emphases

The Pre-doctoral training emphases prepare students for doctoral training in either health psychology (Pre-Doctoral Health Psychology) or other subdisciplines of psychology (Pre-Doctoral General Psychology). The Clinical Health Psychology emphasis prepares students to apply clinical health psychology at the master’s level. The Teaching of Psychology emphasis provides specialized knowledge across a broad base of psychology subdisciplines and teaching experience in preparation for a teaching career at the high school or community college level.

Common core graduate learning goals

Critical thinking and quantitative and methodological sophistication are core goals for our graduate program. Therefore all students study core substantive areas of psychological science (graduate level statistics and research methods) and the Pre-doctoral General students also take a second graduate statistics course (multivariate statistics). More generally, our graduate program emphasizes understanding the methods, ethics, and sociocultural context of research in psychological science through coursework and one or more of the following: independent and/or collaborative research, clinical experience, and teaching experiences. Furthermore, through their work as graduate or teaching assistants, graduate students may be provided with additional opportunities beyond the classroom to improve their ability to disseminate, critically evaluate, and apply psychological research. 

The core curriculum of the NAU Graduate Program in Psychology enables students to:
  1. Utilize statistics and scientific research methods to critically evaluate research and practice regarding human behavioral, biological and mental processes. For thesis track students, these skills are extended to include students’ ability to design, conduct, analyze and disseminate empirical research in psychology.
  2. Apply psychological theory and practice to real-world problems. Graduate students are expected to apply their knowledge in one or more domains of psychology, such as: conducting their own empirical research, applying best practices in health psychology interventions in both individual and group clinical settings, or gathering experience in the teaching of psychology.
  3. Strengthen literacy, proficiency, and efficacy in informational, technological, and communication (written and oral presentation) skills as applied to psychological science.
Through curricula in specific areas of specialization, the NAU Graduate Program in Psychology enables students to pursue specific emphases within the masters’ program:
  • Clinical Health Psychology: Understand and apply empirically validated methods of health psychology assessment and intervention. Receive supervised training by Ph.D. psychologists in the department’s Health Psychology Center.
--or--
  • Pre-Doctoral Health Psychology: Understand and apply empirically validated methods of health psychology assessment and intervention. Receive supervised training by Ph.D. psychologists in the department’s Health Psychology Center. Design, conduct, and evaluate empirical research that is relevant to health psychology to prepare for doctoral level study in health psychology or a related field.

--or--

  • Pre-Doctoral General Psychology: Design, conduct, and evaluate empirical research that is relevant to a specific area of psychology to prepare for doctoral level study in psychology or a related field.

--or--

  • Teaching of Psychology: Demonstrate specialized knowledge across a broad base of psychology subdisciplines and the skills required to teach psychology courses at the high school and collegiate levels.