Learning Goals

At UC Davis, the psychology program presents an introduction to the study of individual and group behavior; provides a liberal arts curriculum for students looking for employment in business, government, personnel work, and other fields directly after obtaining their bachelor’s degree; and prepares students for graduate study in various areas of psychology, leading to teaching, research and applied work.

 Undergraduate Student Learning Goals  

I.  Knowledge about the Science and Application of Psychology

A.  Characterize the nature of psychology as a discipline

    1.  Understand why psychology is a science 
    2. Understand the primary objectives, assumptions, and methods of psychology   
    3. Understand the history of psychology (e.g., the recognition of historical figures, important theoretical foundations and conflicts)

B. Demonstrate Knowledge in Selected Content Areas

      1. Biological bases of behavior and mental processes (e.g., physiology, comparative psychology, motivation, emotion, and evolution) 
      2. Developmental changes in behavior and mental processes  
      3. Learning and cognition
      4. Personality and social psychology, including sociocultural issues 
      5. Abnormal behavior (e.g., mental illness, substance abuse, neurodevelopmental disorders, brain disease and trauma) 

II.  Research Methods in Psychology

A. Understand the variety of research methods used in psychology:

  1. How different research designs address different kinds of research questions.
  2. The strengths and limitations of different research methods
  3. Issues in cross-cultural research (e.g., translation of measures, experimenter bias)
  4. Distinguish the features of designs that permit causal inferences from features of those that do not permit these inferences
  5. Understand internal and external validity 
B.   Evaluate the conclusions drawn from psychological research 
  1. Interpret statistical results 
  2. Distinguish between statistical significance and practical significance 
  3. Understand the APA ethics code regarding the treatment of human and nonhuman animals 


 III.       Critical Thinking Skills in Psychology   
A.   Evaluate the quality of information 
  1. Distinguish between empirical evidence and speculation 
  2. Evaluate the credibility of claims about behavioral claims
  3. Identify claims that arise from myths, stereotypes, or untested assumptions
  4. Evaluate popular media reports of psychological research
Students who have majored in psychology at UCD have selected many different careers after graduation. Psychology majors have gone into industry, teaching, sales, social work, counseling, medicine, the ministry, and nursing, to name a few.