The Psychology Major at HBU

The News Magazine of HCU

Success Beyond the Bachelor’s Degree

The Undergraduate Psychology major at HBU represents a blend of theory, research, and practice. This
46-hour major is grounded in a curriculum designed to introduce students to a basic understanding of
the scientific and systematic study of behavior and mental processes. Like most psychology programs,
psychology majors at HBU learn to critically examine theories and research findings that explore the
biological bases and environmental determinants of behavior. What sets HBU’s program apart is that
students hone these critical thinking skills within a Christian environment.

WHAT TO EXPECT – Psychology majors at HBU can expect to know their professors and for their professors to know them. Despite the popularity of psychology courses at HBU, a concerted effort is made to keep class sizes at or below an enrollment of 30. It is the philosophy of the department that smaller class sizes foster an environment that is conducive to learning course content and also facilitate more of a mentee-mentor relationship between student and professor outside of the classroom. Secondly, all psychology majors can expect to be assigned to a full-time psychology professor for advising. In addition to fostering an environment that is conducive to learning about psychology in the classroom, it is also the aim of the program to provide opportunities for students to apply what they learn about psychology out of the classroom. For example, during their senior year, psychology majors are required to take the Psychology Capstone course, which is the culminating experience for the psychology major. Students incorporate the essential core concepts of psychology into one of two domains. Domain I focuses on an in-depth original research project and Domain II requires students to complete an externship at an approved site. Students who choose the research project are strongly encouraged to present their findings at the University’s annual Celebration of Scholarship and at professional conferences such as the Texas Psychological Association. Finally, students can expect to have their academic achievements recognized. The Psi Chi National Honor Society is one of several ways the department recognizes academic excellence.  Another way that the department recognizes academic excellence is by identifying an Outstanding Student in Psychology each year. This award is given to a senior psychology major whose achievement is recognized at the annual Honors Convocation. Another special honor is given to the psychology undergraduate who continues their graduate studies in either psychology or counseling at HBU. This student automatically receives an Alumni Scholarship from the Graduate School. However, the student also may apply for the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences Scholarship. The psychology faculty members award this scholarship based upon the strength of the student’s essay and academic record.

LIFE AFTER MAJORING IN  PSYCHOLOGY – The Psychology major prepares students for graduate study in psychology. Students who want to practice psychology or counseling must be licensed and earn at least a master’s degree. Students who want to become a psychologist must be licensed and earn a doctorate in psychology. Students may continue their graduate studies in psychology or counseling at HBU. The following degree programs are available: Master of Arts in Psychology – General (MAP-General), Master of Arts in Psychology – Licensed  Specialist in School Psychology, Master of Arts in Counseling, and Master of Arts in Christian Counseling. All of the aforementioned programs lead to licensure with the exception of the MAP–General program. The MAP-General  program is designed to prepare students  for doctoral study in psychology. There are limited “applied”  employment opportunities for the student with a BA degree in psychology. The prospect for employment is brighter for the undergraduate psychology major who is seeking employment in either a nonpsychology related field or seeking a staff position in a psychology-related field.

WHAT IF A STUDENT LIKES PSYCHOLOGY BUT IS NOT COMPLETELY SOLD ON MAJORING IN PSYCHOLOGY? In addition to the Psychology major, there is the Psychology minor, which serves as a great companion to majors such as  biology and Christianity. What makes the Psychology minor such a good fit for Biology and Christianity majors is that it assists with the development of the soft skills that are important for those who plan to pursue careers in medicine and the ministry. Another alternative for students to consider is the Preprofessional Art Therapy program. This program was established in 2015 and is co-sponsored by the psychology and art departments. Students who plan to become an art therapist are encouraged to consider this program prior to applying  to an art therapy master’s program. Strong academic preparation within a Christian environment, a low faculty to student ratio, and opportunities to support student success beyond the bachelor’s degree are several characteristics that set the psychology department at HBU apart from other programs. If you have questions about the psychology major at HBU, please contact me at 

“Strong academic preparation within a Christian environment, a low faculty to student ratio, and opportunities to support student success beyond the bachelor’s degree are several characteristics that set the psychology department at HBU apart from other programs.”- Dr. Renata Nero

By Dr. Renata Nero
Chair, Department of Psychology
Director, Graduate Studies in Psychology
Sharon Burros Professor in School Counseling
Program Coordinator, Psychology
Professor of Psychology