Course Outline: Psychology 280

Course Information

  • Department: Psychology
  • Prepared By: Drs. Islam, Carter, Gonder
  • Prepared Date: Fall 2017
  • Course Title: Preparation for Graduate Training in Psychology
  • Course Code: PSY 280
  • Credits: 1
  • Contact Hours:  15

Catalog Description

This course will provide those Applied Psychology majors who are considering graduate training in psychology with the opportunity to explore the various specialties in psychology (and related fields) as well as the graduate training required by each subfield.  Students will explore their own interests while simultaneously researching and being provided with information regarding the many types of graduate training available. Self-assessment regarding standardized entrance examinations such as the GRE will be provided.  Developmental plans will be generated based on self-assessment results.  Applied Psychology majors who are considering graduate training are encouraged to take this one credit elective course during their sophomore year of the program.  Course grading is Pass/Repeat.  Prerequisite(s): PSY 101, Applied Psychology Major Credits: 1 (1,0)

  • Prerequisites: Applied Psychology Program Major, PSY 101
  • Required For: None 
  • Elective For: Applied Psychology Program 
  • Required Text: Kuther, T. & Morgan, R. (2013). Careers in Psychology: Opportunities in a Changing World, 4thEdition. Wadsworth: Belmont, CA.

Course Description

PSY 280 is a one-credit, elective course offered to Applied Psychology majors as a way to help them prepare for graduate studies in psychology.  It is not a required course. The course is targeted at those students who plan to attend graduate school either immediately upon achieving their bachelor’s degree or shortly thereafter.  Students will be provided with information and research tools with which they can understand graduate school options, entrance requirements and commitments required.  Preparation for standardized entrance examinations will be provided through individualized online assessment.  Individualized developmental plans will be developed based on the student’s target graduate programs and self-assessment results.  

Behavioral Objectives

  1. The student will learn the various careers requiring graduate training in psychology and the associated graduate degree programs available. 
  2. The student will conduct reflective, self-administered, career and interest inventories to help them solidify the direction of their undergraduate preparation and graduate training, given their skills, interests and preferences.
  3. The student will become familiar with entrance requirements for self-selected graduate programs and complete self-assessment of their current performance with regard to these standards. 
  4. The student will develop an individualized development program to assist in ensuring that any distance between graduate entrance requirements and their current performance on these requirements can be ameliorated. 

Course Outline

Careers in Psychology and Associated Graduate Training Options

Students will be presented with information regarding the full range of careers in psychology and associated graduate training options. Issues regarding entrance requirements, masters vs. doctoral training, licensure and certification will be presented. Students will be provided with tools and references so they can continue this research independently.

Careers in Psychology

  • Students will begin the course by completing a series of self-assessments, including measures of: 
    • Personality
    • Career goals
    • Values
    • Work styles
  • Students will research the careers that they can pursue with a Bachelor’s in psychology. 
  • Students will research the various sub-disciplines of psychology (social, cognitive, clinical, biological, industrial-organizational, etc.). The research will not only include the content within these sub-disciplines but requirements for entry into Master’s, PhD, and PsyD programs. 
  • The students will explore GRE requirements for each level (Master’s or PhD) for their desired sub-discipline.


Students will be provided with tools with which they can take practice GRE-type examinations. Students will be provided the tools with which they can evaluate their relevant experience including research involvement, scholarly activity, work experience, extra-curricular campus activity and other qualifications, that make them competitive for graduate school admission. Students will also take assessments that will help them identify their career goals.

Career Plan

Students will be provided with tools to create a developmental plan based on their graduate school goals and their current/projected performance on relevant entrance standards. Students will set individual goals and develop action plans with which to reach their goals. Examples may include specific course work and self-study designed to raise GRE scores, planned research activities to build scholarly credentialsor planned extra-curricular activities, as experiential/resume builders. Continued self-assessment and career research will be built into each development plan.

Career Plan:

• Students will develop a career plan that indicates how they will achieve their academic goals, based on their self-assessment and research on careers in psychology.

Graduate School Assessment

• Students will assess graduate schools based on a variety of criteria. Primarily they will assess graduate schools based on entrance requirements, specialty area in psychology, and appropriateness for the student's future career.


The course is designed to be pass/fail. A passing grade is earned by taking the practice GRE, researching disciplines in psychology, completing the self-assessments, and creating a career plan.