Learning from one's direct experience is integral to the educational goals for a psychology major. The Psychology Department offers several types of experiential courses, and students are encouraged to take any or all of these courses that suit their academic level.
Taking these courses or getting involved will benefit student's skills for employment after graduation, and is especially important for preparation for graduate school and advanced degrees.
Field Training (PSYCH 387)
The Psychology Department supervises field placements for majors interested in applying their knowledge of psychology to real-world situations for course credit (PSYCH 387). Students are supervised by both a Psychology Department faculty member and an on-site supervisor. These experiences provide insight into the types of employment students may achieve with a Bachelor’s degree in psychology. Field Training is also excellent experience for students intending to pursue graduate training in such areas as counseling, clinical psychology, school psychology, and social work. Field placements include a range of human service agencies, schools, crisis intervention programs and correction facilities. Students are encouraged to take this course during their junior year.
Nursing Home Visitation Program
An option for placement in Field Training is the Nursing Home Visitation Program. Students are encouraged to participate in this well-known project founded by a UW-W student and a psychology professor, Dr. Clifford O'Beirne.
The N.H.V.P has been a part of UW-Whitewater campus' efforts in community service for over 35 years, and has averaged over 200 hours per week. This is one of the largest programs in the nation that goes to nursing homes. To date, UW-W students have made over 175,000 visits to nearby nursing homes.
For more information on the Nursing Home Visitation Program, please visit the program's website: http://www.nhvp.com
Undergraduate Research (PSYCH 498, 498R, 499)
Independent Study (PSYCH 498, 498R) and Senior Thesis (PSYCH 499) are courses in which students work closely with a faculty member on a research project. Whether students should have certain background, such as having taken statistics will depend on the specific project. Students are always encouraged to contact their interested faculty to learn about possible research opportunities. A good way to get started on accumulating research experience is to volunteer to help with faculty's research if they have never worked with the faculty before.
Students may apply for financial support for their research (e.g., to purchase materials, travel) through the Undergraduate Research Program. Students who participate in this program will have the opportunity to present their research on UW-Whitewater's Undergraduate Research Day.
Students interested in undergraduate research are encouraged to plan for enrollment in these courses by discussing the possibility with their academic advisor as early as possible.
Independent Study (PSYCH 498, 498R)
Students may work with faculty on research in a number of different ways. Many students opt to take Independent Study (PSYCH 498) in which they work under the direction of a faculty member on research topics that interest them. These hands-on experiences may include literature review, data collection, analysis, or writing up papers or manuscripts. Students in the Undergraduate Research Program may enroll in Independent Study - Undergraduate Research (PSYCH 498R). These courses are repeatable (in combination with one another) for a maximum of 6 units in the major and 12 units in the degree.
Senior Thesis (PSYCH 499)
Some students choose to complete Senior Thesis projects (PSYCH 499) that involve a faculty advisor and a committee of faculty project reviewers. Students engage in a critical review or an experimental study of a topic of interest to them under the supervision of an honors thesis committee of the Psychology Department. The course is repeatable for a maximum of 6 credits in the major and 12 units in the degree.
UW-W alum featured in video
Ashley Acheson, Ph.D., is a 1998 UW-Whitewater graduate in psychology. Ashley is currently an assistant professor of psychiatry and research imaging at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. He conducts brain scans and psychological testing of children who are at risk for drug use. Check out Dr. Acheson's work in this video.