Psychology graduate decorates her SNC Tahoe graduation cap with the symbol for psychology
Investigate the nature of our human experience and human behavior.

Engage in a wide-ranging and intensive exploration of the self.


Bachelor of Arts in Psychology

Psychology is the study of how the mind works. A psychology major opens the door to the fascinating world of human thought, emotion, behavior, and motivation. It gives us new insight into why we do what we do!

A major in psychology is also a major asset in the workplace – especially if you want to persuade, supervise, teach, or communicate.

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What to Expect as a Psychology Major

Our minds are the drivers of our behavior, so psychologists study behavior as a window into the mind. As a psychology major, you’ll explore human behavior in many ways. You will learn about human development, social psychology, neuroscience, learning, cognition, perception, counseling, and abnormal psychology.

Learning to do research is another key part of your psychology degree. As a psychology major, you’ll study statistics, experimental methods, and experimental psychology. You’ll conduct your own original psychology experiment from beginning to end, then analyze and present your findings. Some people may still think of psychology as a “touchy feely” practice, but that’s not accurate. The techniques that let you “connect with your emotions” come from careful research.

You’ll also get practical experience with the therapeutic side of psychology. Psychology majors at SNC intern with local organizations which offer mental health and substance abuse treatment, grief counseling, equine therapy, and domestic violence services.

“What is beneficial about the Psychology department is its willingness to challenge your emotional and interpersonal intelligence. Psychology isn’t just about the emotions and thoughts that go through your brain, it’s WHY you have those thoughts.” – Teresa Rafello ’16

Hear first-hand how their experience in the SNC psychology program helped prepare them for their new careers and life after graduation.

SNC psychology student Ryan Knuppenburg at Lake Tahoe
Meet Psychology Major

Ryan Knuppenburg

Class of 2018

Getting involved in a relationship that was extremely dysfunctional after high school really got me interested in the topics of mental health and well-being. Educating myself was the only way for me to heal after that terrible experience. My classes at SNC have transformed my way of thinking, especially my psychology classes. . . . Read More

Teresa Rafello, Psychology major, plays around while waiting at the airport
Meet Psychology Major

Teresa Rafello

Class of 2016

I chose to major in Psychology because my personal experience got me interested in how we let ourselves think, why we accept difficult situations, and how we work toward viable solutions. I've been challenged on many levels in the program, and it's fine tuned my focus and determination to amazing levels. My senior research project has been the most strenuous journey of my academic career but it has paid off - all the students in my senior experimental design course have been accepted to present our research at the Stanford Undergraduate Psychology Conference in May! . . . Read More

Still wondering if you should major in psychology?

Research Experience

Every psychology major at SNC designs and conducts at least one original research project from start to finish. Three courses guide students through learning about, preparing for, and completing independent research in psychology. Students review journal articles in the area they are interested in. They make a hypothesis, and design an experiment to prove or disprove it. They conduct their experiment, then use statistics to analyze their results. Finally, they write up their results for publication, and present them at the SNC Psychology Research Fair and at conferences.

SNC at UCLA’s 2017 Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference

Psychology student Kelsey Brodie talks about her research at UCLA
Psychology students celebrate the chance to present their research at UCLA
Psychology student Arno Ruymaekers explains his research on stress and motivation at UCLA

Our psychology majors present at top-tier regional conferences. Recently, they have presented at the undergraduate research conferences at Stanford and UCLA. SNC student research has been published in the Undergraduate Research Journal for the Human Sciences, Student Pulse, and the Stanford Undergraduate Research Journal.

“The emphasis on research in the Psychology Program motivates students. The faculty provide a level of support beyond any reasonable expectation to aid students in achieving their goals, whatever they may be.” – Sarah A. Fricke ’15

Professional Preparation

Sierra Nevada College offers popular graduate school preparation workshops for students who want to continue on. These discuss how to choose a graduate school in psychology, the best application strategies, and surviving life in – and after – grad school. Help with both the Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) and the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) tests is also included.

Our psychology degree students graduate well qualified for graduate education and careers in their field. Recent alumni have gone on to post-graduate programs at Carleton University, Pacifica Graduate Institute, Northern Arizona University, and Prescott College.

“The world of psychology is huge. You can do almost anything under the sun, so having professors who specialize in very different fields really helps us narrow down what we want to study in grad school.” – Katie O’Hara ’16

Zachary Birdsell, Psychology major, enters the professional world prepared
Meet Psychology Alum

Zachary Birdsell

Major: Psychology

Class of 2016

I have been working with clients who have mental disabilities since I graduated from SNC. As a case manager, my responsibilities range from one-on-one counseling with clients to supervising group homes. . . . Read More

The Psychology Scholar Program

Get on a fast-track to your professional future. Work with your dedicated faculty mentor to build outstanding qualifications in your chosen psychology specialty. Get extra experience as an intern with a local psychologist, school counselor, or researcher. Expand your academic skills as the teaching assistant in an SNC psychology course. The Psychology Scholar Program is limited to five incoming freshmen each year. Apply early for priority consideration.