CofC Logo

Psychology

Ben Simpson

A high school reading assignment – Truman Capote’s novel “In Cold Blood” – that marked Sarah’s first exposure to psychology. “The book initially sparked my interest in criminal psychology,” she explains, “but as I gained more experience in the larger field of psychology, I realized I had a more general interest in the process of trying to understand people and what directs their choices in life.”

After enrolling at the College, Sarah took several psychology courses, which gave her a basic understanding of the field. But it’s what she has learned through her research that really cemented her interest in psychology.

It was actually a non-fiction novel that ignited Sarah Crotts’ interest in psychology. Once she chose her major, she experienced challenges and personal triumphs, and ultimately made important strides toward a rewarding career.

“I didn’t know how to get started, so I emailed a number of psychology professors whose research I thought was interesting, and one responded. Being involved in research has been my best academic experience because I’ve learned to apply lessons from class. That experience really developed my abilities to work independently and promoted my critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. It was nerve-wracking and hard at first, but it was a good lesson because I gained a lot of confidence in my own skills and my ability to work in a team setting with others.”

To date, Sarah has studied the effects of BPA (bisphenol A) on locomotor activity in zebrafish. She has worked with a psychology professor to examinine the peer pressure and self-presentation motives that college students respond to when wearing or not wearing a bicycle helmet. To complement this work, she has also volunteered as a phone counselor on the 211 Hotline and served as an officer in Psi Chi – the psychology honor society.

Due to her research and volunteer experiences, Sarah is considering a career in social work after graduation. And that’s just one of many fields that a major in psychology can lead to. Psychology majors are also prepared for careers in the behavioral sciences, law, business, medicine, government or almost any field where personal interaction is involved.

Program Information

Our program prepares students to excel. They’re taught to think critically, research intensively and communicate clearly. They’re exposed to traditional areas of psychology (through courses such as Conditioning and Learning and Abnormal Psychology) and to newly developed areas (with such courses as Neuropsychology). And, they benefit from close contact with a faculty that includes social and clinical psychologists who study relationships and mental health issues, as well as behavioral neuroscientists who study the effects of neurotoxins on brain development and behavior. To complement our cirriculum, we conduct cutting-edge research.

Facts

  • Research opportunities abound, both on campus and with nearby partners such as the Medical University of South Carolina.
  • Recent graduates have secured employment with non-profits, businesses, law firms, and mental health institutions. They also attend top-tier graduate programs.
  • Undergraduates benefit from both animal and human research training programs.

Opportunities

  • The Psychology Club promotes social interaction and a deeper appreciation for psychological topics.
  • Through the Best Buddies program, students can work and interact with individuals who have intellectual disabilities.