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PsychologyMost people know that psychologists study and treat mental illness but there is much more to the field than that. Psychologists study almost every aspect of the human experience from prenatal development to late adulthood. Psychologists explore how memories are formed, why adolescents alternate between rebellion and conformity, and what causes some people to be color blind or to be a natural leader. As a psychology major, you will acquire an owner’s manual for the human mind. You will also learn how to design a research study, analyze data, and draw conclusions from the results.   

The psychology program at Defiance College is intended to give students a broad understanding of human behavior. Small class sizes and frequent one-on-one faculty contact contribute to the academic quality of the psychology program and students’ future career success and enjoyment.

Psychologists specialize in a particular area of psychology such as education, human resources, mental health, sports, or criminal behavior. Because of this, psychology majors are encouraged to select a second major or minor related to their particular interests.  

Senior year psychology majors complete a 20-hour service-learning project that allows them to test-drive the knowledge and skills acquired in class. Students also complete a senior thesis which is an original research project they design and conduct. Some students have presented their research at the Ohio Undergraduate Psychology Research Conference. This is critical experience for anyone who plans to pursue a Ph.D. Field experience opportunities are available for students interested in mental health. 

Benefits of the Program
Courses in psychology are intended to:
- Contribute toward better personal and social adjustment by enhancing students’ understanding of themselves and others
- Prepare students for graduate study leading to careers in the field of psychology
- Provide a basis for pre-professional study (as in pre-law, pre-medical, and related careers)
- Provide an understanding of psychological principles, theories, and techniques that will result in more effective functioning in various vocational fields, such as business, education, criminal justice, and social work
- Contribute to the students’ general cultural enrichment

DC offers students a variety of service learning opportunities. Additionally, advanced psychology students have the opportunity to volunteer or work at local mental health and human service agencies. An exciting component of the psychology program is the chance to conduct a research study and present the results at the annual Honors Symposium. Our students have conducted research on topics such as depression in college students, how the number of siblings in a family influences family dynamics, and the effect of sleep deprivation on academic performance. Through the McMaster program, psychology majors have traveled to Cambodia and Belize to provide training on family planning, life-skills, child development, and therapeutic practices.

Related Programs
Students interested in mental health are encouraged to select social work as a second major. Having both majors will increase your career options after graduation. A second major or a minor in criminal justice is a good choice for students interested in forensics. Depending on your interests, you could decide to minor in sport psychologyautism studies, marketing, or focus on a different subject. Where do you want psychology to take you

Minor in Autism Studies
Defiance College offers a unique opportunity for students who are interested in learning about or working with people who have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Click here to learn more about minoring in Autism Studies.

Psychology as a Minor
Psychology is available as a minor and consists of Introduction to Psychology plus an additional 15 credit hours of psychology courses, 6 of which must be at the 300 level or above. Students who choose to take a research methods course to fulfill the minor may take either Social Work Research Methods or Psychology Research Methods.

PsychologyAfter College — What’s Next?
Students with a psychology major may proceed in a broad variety of career directions at the bachelor’s degree level. As experts in human behavior, people with an undergraduate degree in psychology are qualified for careers that require people skills or research skills, such as in management, mental health casework, child care, health services, human resources, gerontology, and probation and parole. At the same time, a bachelor's degree in psychology adequately prepares those who wish to attend law, medical, or graduate school.

Possible jobs include case worker, admissions/academic counselor, customer service agent, public relations officer, and research assistant. Those who choose to continue education by obtaining a graduate degree may become a psychologist in their area of specialization and work in clinical, government, school, or business settings.

Recent Defiance College graduates in psychology are graduate students, caseworkers, operation coordinators, substance abuse counselors, probation officers, and mental health counselors at government and social service agencies around the area. Examples include the Defiance County Probation Office, Maumee Valley Guidance Center, Consolidated Care, Inc., Inner Peace Homes, University of Michigan, and San Diego Police Department.

In Their Own Words
Caroline Hesterman

"To say that attending Defiance College prepared me for graduate school and my future career in the field of occupational therapy would simply be an understatement. Where I am now is something that would not have been possible if not for the multitude of experiences provided throughout my four years at Defiance College. From playing four years of collegiate volleyball to chairing the Dance Marathon Event, extracurricular activities definitely played an important role during my time at DC. I traveled to Belize twice with fellow students through the McMaster School for Advancing Humanity. While there I implemented a number of projects to increase the well-being of men, women and children in rural Belize. The process of researching for my McMaster project and throughout my undergraduate studies prepared me to efficiently identify the most relevant evidence-based research in the ever-changing profession of occupational therapy. I have no doubt that the well-rounded experiences afforded to me by Defiance College gave me the edge I needed to gain acceptance into the occupational therapy program of my dreams."
--Caroline Hesterman, OTDS, 2015 graduate enrolled in Huntington University Doctorate of Occupational Therapy Program

"The psychology program at Defiance College did an excellent job of not only preparing me academically for graduate school but personally as well. There are a variety of classes offered to students that provide applicable knowledge and experience that can be demonstrated in any future career. The professors within the program pushed me to develop my independent writing, research, and study skills while still providing a comfortable and supportive environment for me to learn and succeed."
--Kelsey Bowling, 2014 Graduate

Bryant Green"My education consisted of the perfect blend of the sciences and humanities, all provided in an intimate and encouraging environment that only Defiance College can provide. My coursework and involvement in the McMaster School for Advancing Humanity not only gave me the skills to think critically about many of society’s most challenging problems, it also instilled an awareness that those problems cannot be addressed without a compassionate understanding of individuals’ subjective experiences.
The diverse extracurriculars in which I was encouraged to participate - including the McMaster program, the Honors program, athletics, the Criminal Justice Society, music programs, residence life, international travel programs, among many others - distinguished my resume from my peers as I competed for graduate programs, and ultimately employment. The value of the individualized attention and the experiences that I received at Defiance College cannot be understated."

--Bryant Green, Criminal Justice and Psychology 2012 graduate, now associate attorney with Niles, Barton & Wilmer, LLP, Baltimore

"The small size of Defiance College means that you will interact with students and professors in other disciplines, and this can help you choose the career path that is right for you. You will see professors in more than one class, and your teachers will get to know your strengths and weaknesses, and they become invested in your success."
--Dr. Dalke

Deborah Dalke, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology
Phone: 419-783-2449

Jim Sliwinski, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Psychology
Phone: 419-783-2403