Explore Your Potential With Psychology
Have you always been interested in the science of thought? Do you want to better understand the nature of human minds, including your own? Do you enjoy helping people overcome their problems, or just lending a compassionate ear to those in need? If so, you might be the perfect candidate for Buffalo State College’s Psychology Program. As a psychology professional, you would be able to help people cope with addictions, mental illnesses, marital troubles, or personal traumas. You also could advise workplaces on how to best train and interact with employees. Or you could pursue one of many other diverse options. Read on to learn if psychology is the right program for you.
“I loved having the opportunity to hear stories from students who have gone through the program and overcome their own obstacles,” said Saša Vann, a double major in psychology and hospitality and tourism, about the Kenzie Scholars luncheon, where she was recognized in spring 2017 prior to graduating from Buffalo State. She is now pursuing a graduate degree in sports and exercise psychology at Ball State University.
Michael MacLean, associate professor of psychology, is a clinical psychologist who works closely with the Erie County Council for the Prevention of Alcohol and Substance Abuse (ECCPASA). He has helped to develop a program to steer at-risk young people away from developing full-blown addictions. "Focus on Consequences for Adolescents," uses software and motivational interviewing to help clients identify their own challenges and strengths. "Our clients are referred by counselors, courts, and schools throughout Erie County," said MacLean. "They have had some sort of problem—possession of an illegal substance, a DUI case, an assault, or problems with relationships, for example. They complete a questionnaire about their situation, and they receive a feedback sheet that helps them see their behavior and identify ways to change it."
Students in Buffalo State’s psychology program learn statistical methods necessary to understand and perform research in psychology. They develop critical thinking skills to analyze and solve problems. They understand the effects of genetic, biological, social, cultural, and environmental influences on behavior, learning, intelligence, cognition, stress and coping, and personality. Developing oral and written communication skills is a critical part of this major. Buffalo State offers both a bachelor of arts and a bachelor of science in psychology. The BA gives students a broad understanding of core concepts, while the BS is designed for a close study of specialized areas within the psychology disciplines.
Students enrolled in the undergraduate major of psychology usually fall into three broad categories:
- Those who want to work in the field and become psychologists. This option requires a graduate degree in addition to the undergraduate one.
- Those who want a general background in psychology to complement another major such as criminal justice, social work, or business.
- Those who wish to use a bachelor’s degree in psychology in fields such as social services or human resources.
At Buffalo State, students can pursue all of these options. Distinctive features that make our program appealing include:
- Individualized attention: Most psychology classes have between 12 and 30 students so that you have the opportunity to get to know faculty members and receive individualized attention.
- Stellar faculty: The 12 full-time faculty are active researchers who receive competitive federal grants and routinely publish their research in peer-reviewed journals and present their research at regional, national, and international conferences. Many of our faculty have been recognized with awards for teaching, research, advising, and undergraduate research mentorship.
- Strong reputation: Our students are recognized as among the best in the college. Since 2003, the Psychology Department has produced 14 recipients of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence and five recipients of the President’s Medal.
- Minor option: Students can choose a multidisciplinary minor in gerontology (the study of aging), which is a growing field.
- Unique opportunities: Our program offers opportunities usually only offered to graduate students, such as advanced research projects.
Buffalo State is committed to providing opportunities that will allow students to acquire hands-on experience outside of the classroom. Below are just a few of the extracurricular options we offer for psychology students.
- Psychology Club: This campus club is open to all students with an interest in psychology. It includes visits from professionals, career seminars, field trips, research projects, and a year-end picnic.
- Psychology Students Interested in Community Outreach (PISCO): This charity drive supported by the Psychology Club aims to help disadvantaged families in neighborhoods surrounding Buffalo State.
- Psi Chi Honorary Society: The international honorary society coordinates programs and activities with the Psychology Club and Psychology Department. Members of Psi Chi sponsor an informal tutoring program for psychology courses on an as-needed basis.
- Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM): A local student chapter of a national organization that helps prepare students for possible careers in human resources or industrial/organizational psychology. Activities include guest speakers, tours of organizations, and campus conferences.
Psychology is a popular choice among undergraduate students. This is likely due to the fact that career options for psychology majors are quite broad. They include jobs in research, education, advertising, marketing, public relations, politics, and public health. Of course, becoming a licensed counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist are the most popular options, but they are far from the only ones. Careers for psychology graduates may include such positions as:
- Animal Behaviorist
- Art Therapist
- Career Counselor
- Child Psychologist
- Correctional Treatment Specialist
- Criminal Investigator
- Crisis Counselor
- Family and Marriage Therapist
- Forensic Psychologist
- Grief Counselor
- Human Resources Specialist
- Marketing Director
- Military Psychologist
- Music Therapist
- Public Relations Agent
- School Psychologist
- Social Worker
- Substance Abuse Counselor
- University Psychology Professor
- Youth Counselor
Upon graduation, many of our students are accepted into graduate programs at such institutions as Columbia University, the University of Pennsylvania, Syracuse University, and the University at Buffalo. Other students choose to work upon graduation. Of the many positions our recent graduates have obtained include ones at:
- Crisis Services
- Transitional Services
- The Buffalo Psychiatric Center
- Stanley Falk School
Our students are actively involved in research. Every year, students publish papers in refereed journals, present at regional and national conferences, and participate in the Student Research and Creativity Celebration. This kind of activity helps our students learn to think critically about psychology, learn about the research process, and prepare for careers and graduate school.
Internships enable students to gain hands-on experience in the field and apply what they have learned in the classroom.
The psychology program offers two types of internships: field studies and teaching. Internship topics include crisis services, human resources, mental illness, refugee placement and support, school/youth counseling, substance abuse, and teaching.