Psychology updates class requirements

Emily Moran

This fall, freshman and transfer students new to Kent State University will see some changes to the requirements for a Bachelor’s of Science degree in psychology. While the changes are not substantial, they will make a difference in the lives of students seeking a psychology degree.

Jocelyn Folk, an associate professor in the department of psychology, said the changes were made for several reasons. She said there was a need to update the requirements for the major because they had not made any changes in a long time.

“After reviewing the major requirements, we decided that some core areas were not represented – developmental and clinical/counseling,” Folk said.

Folk said cognitive neuroscience was added as a choice in the “cognitive” area and several other elective courses were added including: animal cognition, psychological disorders of childhood and adolescence and drugs and behavior. She said the changes to the major requirements will not change the overall credit hours in the major.

“Students will still have the flexibility to pair the BA degree in psychology with a minor, another major or significant experiential coursework, to help prepare them for employment and graduate school,” Folk said.

She said the most significant change would be that incoming students will have to take one course in developmental psychology and one in clinical/counseling psychology.

“We believe that the major is improved by increasing exposure to content in those areas,” Folk said.

She said the elective credits were reduced from twelve to nine to keep the overall credit hours the same for incoming psychology students. Folk said they are also working on adding concentrations as well.

Kathryn Kerns, a professor in the psychology department, said she thinks the changes will work to the advantage of incoming psychology majors.

“We added more options to some of the required pairings and added a new course in a relatively new and growing discipline,” Kerns said.

Kerns said a positive feature of the major is that most courses do not have prerequisites other than general psychology.

“Students have a great deal of flexibility in completing the major, and can easily finish in four years, even if they switch to psychology later in their schooling,” Kerns said.

Folk said students will “retain the benefit of a flexible major that provides a foundation in core areas of the field of psychology, while providing the opportunity to specialize within the major.”

Contact Emily Moran at [email protected].