The Department of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences supports majors designed for the student planning graduate work in psychology and other related fields. The curriculum is designed to develop strong skills in the theory and practice of the science of psychology with an emphasis on dealing with the emotional, mental, social and spiritual needs of others.

Courses in Social Work are designed to prepare students for graduate work in the field of social services. Courses place an emphasis on the Christian model of service.

Mission Statement

Rochester College cultivates academic excellence, principled character, servant leadership and global awareness through a rigorous educational experience that integrates liberal arts and professional studies within an inclusive Christian heritage.

Career Opportunities

  • Entry-level jobs in crisis intervention centers, counseling clinics, community service agencies or other social agencies.
  • Preparation for graduate studies in psychology, psychotherapy, professional counseling or social work.
  • Graduate work in experimental, applied, academic, theoretical or professional psychology (clinical, counseling, or school psychology, or marriage and family therapy)
  • Psychology graduates are often sought by employers in sales, public relations or other human services and resources.



Admission to the Program

All students seeking a degree with a major in Psychology or Behavioral Science must apply for and be admitted to the Behavioral Science Program or the Psychology Program. This process is in addition to the general admittance to Rochester College.


The following must be documented at the time of application:

  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 2.50.
  • Completion of 30 hours, including the following core courses:
    • ENG 1113 English Composition A
    • ENG 1123 English Composition B
    • MAT 1103 Intermediate Algebra (or higher level MAT) with a C- or higher
    • PSY 2013 General Psychology
    • PSY 2223 Lifespan Development or PSY 2113 Psychology of Adjustment
    • Completion of lower level Psychology/Social Work Core courses with a grade of C or higher.
    • Completion of the Autobiographical and Professional/Career Goals Statement for the Behavioral Sciences Department. This should be approximately 3-5 pages in length and address your interest in psychology or social work and present your short- and long-term goals for your career.


  1. Obtain from the Chair of the Department of Behavioral Sciences and complete an Application for Admission to the Department of Behavioral Sciences for either Psychology or Behavioral Science–Social Work.
  2. Return the application to the Chair of the Department of Behavioral Sciences prior to the established deadlines for application: Fall – Monday after Thanksgiving; Spring – Second Monday of April.
  3. The Department of Behavioral Sciences reviews applications of all candidates for both Psychology and Social Work. All applicants will be notified of their admission status by letter from the Department of Behavioral Sciences.


National Honor Society in Psychology – Psi Chi

The Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Department is a sponsor for Psi Chi, The National Honor Society in Psychology, which offers opportunities for students who excel in their academic coursework in their respective Behavioral Sciences programs.

Students invited to join Psi Chi have shown a significant interest in Psychology and must meet the minimum
requirements for undergraduate students:

  • Must be enrolled as a student at Rochester College
  • Must have established a GPA at Rochester College
  • Must be enrolled in the final semester prior to graduation
  • Must be enrolled as a major or minor in a psychology program or a program psychological in nature that is equivalent to a psychology major
  • Must have completed at least 9 credit hours or 14 quarter hours of psychology courses
  • Must have an overall GPA that is in the top 35% of the senior class (90+ credit hours earned; if the cut-off for the top 35% is below 3.00, the applicant must have an overall GPA of at least 3.00 on a 4-point scale)
  • Must have a psychology GPA (in PSY course work) that is at least 3.00 on a 4-point scale
  • Students who meet all the criteria for induction will be sent an invitation packet during their final semester of enrollment.
See Psi Chi’s website at www.psichi.org for additional information.




PSY 2013 General Psychology
Human behavior, personality, motivation, emotion, intelligence, personal adjustment, and the social and physiological bases of behavior.

PSY 2113 Psychology of Adjustment
Psychological approaches to everyday problems, coping skills, anxiety, personal growth and health, and interactions of individuals within personal and social environments.

PSY 2223 Life Span Development
Major theoretical foundations of the development of human beings across ages and cultures over the course of the life span. Emphasis on the integration of physical, cognitive, affective and social as well as moral and spiritual development. Utilization of developmental research to address the scope of issues during the course of life.

PSY 3013 Psychology of Personality
Personality theories and the understanding of human development, psychopathology and behavior. PR: PSY 2013.

PSY 3033 Abnormal Psychology
Theories related to the development of various mental and personality disorders, including the function of abnormal behavior. Introduction to diagnostics, using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV), methods of investigation and psychotherapy. PR: PSY 2013.

PSY 3043 Brain and Behavior
Biology of behavior and mental processes. Behavioral effects of neuroanatomical structures and neurochemical processes. Structure, chemistry and function of the brain. PR: PSY 2013.

PSY 3053 Health Psychology
Behavioral and psychological processes and their influence on human health, wellness and health care. Introduction to behavioral medicine, psychoneuroimmunology, and the psychological literature on cardiovascular disorders, somatoform disorders and other medical conditions. PR: PSY 2013.

PSY 3093 History and Systems of Psychology
Historical, philosophical, and scientific roots of psychology and the contemporary models of sociology, psychology and counseling training. Emphasizes important contributions of major leaders and schools of psychology and current issues in the field of psychology.
PR: PSY 2013.

PSY 3123 Social Psychology
Individual psychology in a group setting; social thinking, influence and relations studied through a review of current research and experimentation. PR: PSY 2013.

PSY 3143 Psychology of Religion
Religion in classical psychological theories, psychological views on religious experience, and recent research and theory in the field of psychology and religion. Emphasizes integration of biblical and theological studies with psychology and psychopathology. PR: PSY 2013 and Junior status.

PSY 3193 Infant and Toddler Development
Human development from prenatal growth through the toddler years. Major theories and research related to physical, cognitive and socio-emotional development and the implications of those theories for parenting behavior and environmental planning. Accelerated program only. PR: PSY 2013.

PSY 3203 Child Development
Interactive theories of change involved in growth from birth to puberty. Considers physiological, intellectual, psychological and social change as it is affected by the child’s parents, family, school and general social environment. PR: PSY 2013.

PSY 3213 Adolescent Development
Interactive theories of change involved in the growth of the person from puberty to young adulthood. Physiological, intellectual and social change as affected by involvement in family, school, community, church and peers. PR: PSY 2013.

PSY 3223 Psychology of Adulthood and Aging
Sources of psychological growth and crises in adulthood and aging. Changes in intellectual functioning, attitudes toward aging, experience in the family, retirement, needs of the elderly, and death. PR: PSY 2013.

PSY 3233 Child and Adolescent Development
Interactive theories of change involved in growth from birth through adolescence. Considers physiological, intellectual, psychological, spiritual and social change as it is affected by the child’s parents, family, school, and general social environment. PR: PSY 2013

PSY 3303 Statistics for Behavioral Sciences
Quantification and statistics. Descriptive and inferential statistics, including measures of central tendency, variability, basic hypothesis testing, analysis of variance, correlation, and regression. Application of statistical concepts to research. PR: Minimum grade of C- in MAT 1103 (Traditional). PSY 1403 (Accelerated program).

PSY 3313 Introduction to Psychological assessment
An introduction to the field of psychological testing and assessment. Emphasis on test theory, construction, standardization, and review of assessment procedures. Surveys current assessment instruments for measurements of personality, intelligence, neuropsychological functioning, achievement, vocational interest, special abilities, and aptitudes. PR: PSY 3013 or 3093. Course fee.

PSY 3323 Research Methods in the Social Sciences
Application of proper research methods to specific problems related to the social sciences, including problem identification, development of research instruments, sample construction, variable control, application of statistical analyses, and publication of research results. PR: PSY 2013 and C or better in PSY 3303.

PSY 3403 Introduction to Psychotherapy and counseling
A focus on the major theoretical foundations and current approaches in psychotherapy and counseling. Emphasis on the development of listening, communication and empathetic skills necessary in the formation and maintenance of the counselor-counselee relationship. Analysis of dynamics in the counselor/counselee relationship, interviewing techniques, crisis counseling, suicide analysis, referrals, cross-cultural issues, and ethical problems in dealing with clients. PR: PSY 3013 or 3093.

PSY 3413 Substance Abuse and Addictive Behaviors
Major theoretical foundations and current understandings of physiological mechanisms involved in the development and maintenance of substance abuse problems. Emphasis on exploring the differences in various drugs and their effects on individual functioning. Addresses issues of assessment, treatment interventions, the varied clientele affected by substance abuse problems as well as legal and ethical issues. PR: PSY 3403.

PSY 3423 Diversity and Cross-Cultural Psychology
A focus on the various aspects of psychology from a cross-cultural perspective. The nature of living in a pluralistic and multicultural society is addressed with an emphasis on multicultural trends and characteristics of diverse groups. Students examine cultural awareness and sensitivity in counseling and psychotherapy, gender issues, religious variables and individuals with special needs. PR: PSY 3403.

PSY 3504 Cognition, Learning and Memory
Psychological and biological processes in human thought, informationing processing, and decision-making; study  of mind-brain interaction; the role of computer science, philosophy, and linguistics in the study of cognition. Special attention is given to memory, attention, conditioning, and conceptual acquisition. Includes laboratory. PR: PSY 3323.

PSY 4413 Introduction to Marital and Family Systems
Addresses the major theoretical foundations in marital and family systems, emphasizing the dynamics and development of marital and family relationships, behavior, conflicts and relational resolutions. Explores principles of intervention as they relate to family systems theory and principles, multicultural differences, intergenerational and multigenerational issues, family processes, techniques and professional issues. PR: PSY 3403.

PSY 4423 Psychology of Group Processes
A focus on the major theoretical foundations of group processes, including the psychological functions of group experience and behavior. The dynamics of group interactions including the concepts of boundaries, decision-making and interaction. Explores the counselor’s role in group interventions with specific counseling populations, including cross-cultural and ethical issues. Students participate in and conduct group activities. PR: PSY 3403.

PSY 4434 Advanced Experimental Psychology
Hands-on training in experimental and laboratory research. Focuses on training in the ethical guidelines for the use of animals in behavioral and medical research, behavioral testing techniques including water maze, object recognition, open field, and passive-avoidance, statistical analysis, and research presentations. Includes an overview of immunohistochemistry, basic neuroanatomy, genotyping and memory processing. Students are required to participate in some preparation and training prior to the beginning of the course. Laboratory experiences are generally held at an off-campus site.

PSY 4493 Psychology Field Practicum
Requires 300 hours of counseling agency experience. Student must compile a portfolio containing a journal of daily work experiences, description of the agency (including its services and the training it provides), journal article and critical book reviews reflecting 1,000 pages of reading on a topic approved by the adviser, an original paper on the student’s readings and practicum experience, and an evaluation of the practicum experience by the adviser and the student. PR: Senior status or PI and completion of 20 hours of major core.

PSY 4893 Psychology Seminar
Psychology major capstone course. Includes readings, discussions, written and oral reports on advanced topics, and related psychology issues. Topics rotate each semester and include health psychology, neuropsychology, child psychopathology and others. Requires a major research project and final research paper. PR: Senior status or PI and PSY 3303 and PSY

PSY 4911/2/3 Directed Research in Psychology
Student-conducted research study under instructor supervision. Literature reviews, data collection, statistical analysis and interpretation, and assistance in research report writing may be included. PR: PI and PSY 3323 for traditional program; PSY 3323 for accelerated program.

PSY 4921/4922/4923 Directed Readings in Psychology
Students read original source material in psychology under instructor supervision. Annotated bibliographies, content summaries and literature review papers required. PR: PI.

PSY 4943 Ethics in Behavioral Science
Reviews ethical standards such as patient rights, confidentiality, and duty to report in the context of professional human services organizations governed by State of Michigan laws. Contrasts philosophies of biblical imperative and humanistic practice. PR: PHI 2933 and senior status (Traditional program).


SOC 2453 Marriage and the Family
Introductory course on marriage and the family. Includes the major understandings relative to the development of the family historically, family life course, preparation for marriage, gender roles, marital adjustments, parent-child relationships, in-law and extended family relationships, financial planning and religious perspectives. Considers marriage and family as dynamic social systems and how they function as social institutions. Considers the broader issues reflecting diversity within marital and family systems from ethnic, inter-cultural and religious perspectives.

SWK—Social Work

SWK 2013 Introduction to Social Work
Examines the field of social welfare, the history of American social services, and issues relating to the field of social work practice.

SWK 3003 Human Behavior and the Social Environment
Human behavior dynamics and the effect of social environment on individual lifetime development. Biological, psychological and social perspectives on human function. Students develop a people-in-systems theory.

SWK 3103 Social Welfare and Public Policy
Historical, philosophical and political forces that shape the welfare system’s response to contemporary social needs. Analysis of public policy’s impact on society.

SWK 4403 Social Work Practice I
Generalist social work skills and interview techniques in client systems. Use of self in the change process and problem-solving in a systems framework. PR: SWK 2013.

SWK 4413 Social Work Practice II
Generalist model for problem identification, intervention selection, and intervention approaches for individuals, families, groups and communities. Highlights ethical decision-making in social work. PR: SWK 4403.

SWK 4893 Field Practicum
Requires 300 hours of field experience and portfolio that includes a daily journal of internship experience, description of agency’s services and training, journal article and critical book reviews reflecting 1,000 pages of reading on an approved topic, written report on readings and practicum experience, and an adviser and student evaluation of the practicum experience. PR: SWK 4403 and 4413.