Department of Psychology

A Powerful Undergraduate Major

Good faculty - student engagement.The bachelor of science degree with a major in psychology requires four courses of all students, and eight additional courses selected from electives such as abnormal, physiological, cognitive, and child development. Most classes are small. Class size in the required statistics and research courses is limited to just 20 students.

Required Courses

  • introductory psychology
  • statistics
  • research methods
  • senior comprehensive exam

Specific requirements and course descriptions are listed in the WIU undergraduate catalog.

Forensic Psychology Major Option

The common objective of forensic psychology is to consider how the principles of scientific psychology are applied to legal issues at every level of the justice system. Clinical work in the forensic area may include assessments involving competency to stand trial, risk of reoffending, and treatment for drug abuse and mentally disordered offenders. Non-clinical work in the forensic area may involve research on memory, perception, child development, and decision making as it pertains to eyewitnesses, juvenile offenders, and police training and procedures. The goal of forensic psychology as a field is to support and influence law enforcement officers, attorneys, and judges to adopt and implement empirically based policies that increase accuracy and fairness in the justice system. 

The Bachelor of Science degree with a major option in Forensic Psychology requires that all students take introductory psychology, statistics, research methods, specialty courses in forensic psychology, directed electives in clinical and non-clinical psychology, and forensically relevant electives. Students also complete a capstone project that consists of an independent, scholarly paper demonstrating a depth of knowledge about a forensically relevant psychological topic.

Among the course choices in the forensic psychology option is a substance abuse course sequence. The substance abuse course sequence is designed for students interested in substance abuse and treatment. This course sequence prepares students for Certification as an Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) in Illinois. Specific requirements and course descriptions are listed in the WIU undergraduate catalog

The Minors

Because the study of psychology leads to a greater understanding of people, a psychology minor is an excellent complement to many majors.

There are five minors available.

The six courses required for a minor may be selected from courses that are consistent with your major, interests, and career plans.


Field Experience / Hotline

As a major you will have the opportunity to earn credit for work in such agencies as community mental health or rehabilitation centers. Majors and minors can also earn credit for participation in HOTLINE, a student-run crisis intervention telephone service.

Career Opportunities

Western's graduates are employed in a variety of social services areas such as counseling, child care, case work at public and private agencies. Others work in such areas of business as personnel, sales, public relations, human resources, and management. If you plan further study, your psychology degree from WIU will prepare you for graduate programs in clinical, school, industrial, or other branches of psychology. An undergraduate concentration in psychology also provides valuable preparation for professional schools of medicine or law.

Student Organizations

Psychology students can join the Psychology club or its companion organization Psi Chi, the National Honor Society in psychology. These organizations sponsor educational events such as lectures and field trips, and programs on such topics as careers and graduate school, and publish a newsletter, The Freudian Slip.