Psychology FAQs

What is Psychology?

Although definitions of psychology differ, most psychologists would agree on several things: First, psychology is a discipline that utilizes the scientific method. Second, psychology is concerned with the study of behavior, both of human beings and of animals. Finally, psychology's focus in recent years has also emphasized the study of mental processes (such as perception, memory, emotion, states of consciousness, and so forth). While psychology is a science, it reflects many diverse philosophical viewpoints that are not themselves open to scientific inquiry. (For instance, questions about free will and determinism, whether human nature is essentially good or bad, and so forth, cannot be answered by science, but they are questions that are important to psychology's subject matter and on which various theories of psychology sometimes take different positions.)

Psychology as a discipline has a wide range of subfields in which one can specialize. Some psychologists study how the brain and nervous system process information. Psychologists also study how memory works - what helps us to remember things, how we forget things, and whether or not our memories are reliable. Other psychologists work as consultants to businesses and organizations to help make personnel decisions and create productive working conditions. Psychologists work in schools, providing assessment of students with mental retardation and learning disabilities, and helping to create productive learning environments. Psychologists are also engaged in studying and treating mental illnesses, such as depression, eating disorders, and dementia. This is just a very short sample of the many things that psychologists do.

Do I have to go to graduate school?

Malone's psychology program is designed to expose students to the major areas of psychology that are expected as a foundation for graduate study in psychology. Nationwide, only a small percentage of psychology majors go on to study psychology at the graduate level. Some go on to graduate studies in other disciplines (such as pastoral ministry, medicine, and law), some enter the business world (in jobs such as sales, marketing, or human resources), and some enter social service occupations (such as working in domestic violence shelters, crisis intervention services, and foster care). For students who want to become licensed psychologists, however, graduate training after obtaining a bachelor's degree is necessary.

Do you have any advice about careers/graduate school?

What is the job market like for psychology graduates?

Since an undergraduate major in psychology can lead to many different career paths, the answer to this question is a bit complicated. For individuals who go on to complete doctoral training in psychology, the job market is very good. Some segments of the market are stronger than others (for instance, the need for licensed clinical psychologists specializing in geriatric psychology or neuropsychology is anticipated to be very strong for the foreseeable future). For individuals who seek to enter social service occupations that do not require advanced degrees, the market is very strong, but the pay scale is typically somewhat lower than the average salary scale for college graduates. For individuals who enter the business sector, for which a psychology degree may provide a good liberal arts background, different markets and salaries vary. Individuals who pursue non-psychology advanced degrees (such as psychiatry, pastoral ministry, or masters-level counselor training) will need to explore the market trends in their particular area of interest.

What is the difference between psychiatry and psychology?

Psychiatry is a subfield of medicine. Psychiatrists must have a doctorate in a medical field (M.D. or O.D.) and extensive training in the application of medical sciences to psychiatric disturbances. Psychiatrists can thus prescribe medication and administer other medical interventions. Clinical and Counseling psychologists are also trained at the doctoral level, but not in medicine. Licensed Psychologists use psychological methods - such as individual and group therapy - to treat individuals with psychological problems or to help individuals pursue self-understanding.

How do I know if psychology is the major for me?

Psychology is the second most common major for college students in the United States (following business). Its popularity, though, is only an indication that many people find psychology fascinating. Many college students change their majors during their college experience as they gain exposure to different subjects, and your experiences may help you decide if psychology is a major that you want to pursue. A psychology major may be a good fit for you if:

  • You plan to pursue a profession in one of psychology's sub-fields (recognizing that you will need to go to graduate school).
  • You plan to pursue graduate studies in a field that would make good use of the skills and knowledge base acquired with a psychology major.
  • You plan to pursue a human service profession that would allow you to utilize a psychology degree without requiring further graduate study.
  • You plan to enter the job market with a liberal arts degree that signals to prospective employers that you are interested in people and/or quantitative research.
  • You are fascinated with the subject matter of psychology.

If you are interested in psychology but do not plan on majoring in it, you might want to consider a minor in psychology to augment your major field of study.

How does Malone relate Christianity and Psychology?

Malone's catalog description of the psychology major begins with the following statement:

Dedication to scholarly integrity and commitment to a Christian world view are the twin foundations upon which the psychology department of Malone University is built. The psychology department aims to instruct students in the methodologies and findings of the diverse areas covered by the field of psychology. It also encourages students to integrate faith and learning throughout their education.

It is our belief that God has revealed many things about human nature in Scripture and that God created human beings with the ability to reflect on and investigate the world God has made - including ourselves as creatures. Our understanding is always incomplete because we are finite and fallen creatures. Nonetheless, we have the ability to seek truth using many tools (Scripture, philosophy, science, etc.).

Believing that “all truth is God's truth,” we are convinced that there can never be a fundamental contradiction between psychological truth and divinely revealed truth. (Of course, we would expect some level of contradiction between our imperfect theories about these truths.) We encourage our students to recognize that there are diverse ways of pursuing knowledge, with an eye toward both that which is divinely revealed and that which is discovered through empirical or rational inquiry. This allows us to explore the methods and findings of psychology while also encouraging mature Christian reflection about the nature and functioning of human beings. Our aim, then, is to provide a broad-based education in the various subfields of psychology, to develop critical thinking skills, and to encourage students to use all of their God-given talents and abilities in ways that bring honor to Jesus Christ.

Why study Psychology at Malone University?

  • We would invite you to visit our classes, contact our professors, and prayerfully consider your options as you make your decision about where to pursue your studies. Here are compelling reasons to choose to study Psychology at Malone: 
  • There are numerous opportunities to work with people and to study human nature. For students who are interested in working with animals, Malone’s Psychology Department has close connections with the Zoo and Wildlife Biology program – and both programs are dedicated to preserving animal species and to our stewardship obligations to care for the planet.
  • Our faculty are active in scholarship in the field and committed to Jesus Christ and the integration of faith into the classroom and beyond.
  • You’ll study all of the subcomponents of psychology – scientific research, philosophical theory, and clinical practice – but you will be encouraged to especially explore your passion. Furthermore – Malone has faculty with specialties in each specific discipline.
  • You can choose between periodic service-learning trips to either Brazil or Poland, led by department faculty. In either trip the option is given for you to complete the General Education “Cross-Cultural Encounter” component.
  • Professors provide opportunities for individual as well as team-based research experiences. Psychology majors have presented empirical research reports at the yearly Malone University Research Symposium, the Ohio Undergraduate Psychology Research Conference, and the Christian Association for Psychological Studies. Some have also co-authored publications with peers and/or supervisors.
  • Students do practicums at the Stark County Crisis Center and also the Child & Adolescent Behavioral Health (C&A) of Stark County, which is one of two American Psychological Association (APA) doctoral internship sites in Ohio.
  • There’s an intentionally strong camaraderie among psychology majors both inside and outside the classroom (see the Psyc Club page).