College of Letters & Sciences
Laurentide Hall


Contact Information

Elizabeth Olson
Department Chair & Associate Professor 
Phone:  262-472-5400
Location: Laurentide Hall 1221
Meg Waraczynski
Master Advisor & Professor
Phone: 262-472-5415
Location: Upham Hall 368


What is psychology?

Psychology is the scientific study of human behavior, emotion, and thought.  The goals of psychology are to describe, explain, predict, and influence mental and behavioral processes.  Objective observation, experimentation, and quantitative and qualitative analysis are psychologists' tools for achieving these goals.  By expanding and enriching our understanding of how people think, feel and behave, the study of psychology increases and broadens students' understanding of themselves and others, and encourages students to apply this knowledge and understanding appropriately to improve the condition of individuals and society.

Studying psychology at UW-W

The Psychology Department in the College of Letters and Sciences offers undergraduates comprehensive exposure to the prominent theories and concepts of psychology, the techniques and results of psychological research, and the applications of psychological knowledge to everyday situations.  The program offers field and research experiences that allow students to apply acquired skills and knowledge.

Our department strives to be a student-focused environment with faculty who are known for excellence in teaching and advising.  We provide our students with a variety of opportunities to excel not only inside but also outside the classroom.  Students are regularly engaged in field experiences, work alongside faculty members to conduct psychological research, attend and present research at local conferences, and participate in activities of the Psi Chi National Honor Society in psychology.

The Department offers B.A. and B.S. degrees in psychology as well as experiences that focus on preparation for graduate school.  The Bachelor of Science in Education degree prepares students to teach psychology in secondary schools.  The Department’s graduate program prepares students for careers in school psychology and offers the Master’s and Education Specialist degrees.  At the completion of their major, undergraduate students should be prepared for graduate education and/or entry into occupations which utilize knowledge of human behavior.

What skills and experiences will I gain from studying psychology at UW-W?

The Psychology Department at UW-Whitewater seeks to provide students a wide variety of skills that students will utilize in their careers, education, and daily lives.  These skills will propel students into careers and graduate schools and will remain useful throughout students' lives.  The following is a list of the skills and opportunities that psychology students can expect to gain.

  • Broad exposure to the basic concepts, theories, research, and ethical issues of psychology
  • Education in the scientific method including hands-on research opportunities
  • Strong critical oral and written communication skills, including the ability to evaluate and convey the evidence for claims regarding human behavior
  • Applied experience through fieldwork opportunities in the regional community
  • Research experience working closely with faculty members on research projects that may result in presentations and/or publications
  • Access to internship opportunities
  • Critical thinking skills (more information about this skill is provided below)

Critical thinking in psychology

A primary goal of the Psychology Department's curriculum is the development of students' ability to think critically.  This essential ability to reason with purpose and to be intellectually curious includes several thinking skills that are useful to students both within their academic coursework as well as their daily lives.  These skills include the following:

  • Identifying and evaluating assumptions
  • Integrating information
  • Considering the validity of sources
  • Evaluating evidence
  • Considering alternative explanations/hypotheses/confounds
  • Communicating valid conclusions that reflect critical thinking
  • Making appropriate inferences
  • Making logical arguments
  • Comparing and contrasting different points of view
  • Problem solving
  • Objectivity

Social Media

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Psychology Department Scholarships

The Psychology Department offers four undergraduate scholarships each spring. Winning an award can help you financially and can help you build a stronger resume for your future career. Visit our Scholarships page for more information.

School Psychology Information

Interested in learning about School Psychology? Visit the School Psychology website. You are also encouraged to attend an information session offered annually (usually in October) and described further at the website. At the session, you can meet students and faculty in the program, ask questions on how to apply, and more. 

School Psych Info Session small