Psychology Major & Minor | Degree in Psychology | Pepperdine University | Seaver College

Psychology Major and Minor

Psychology majors review a large stack of files and notes - Psychology Degree

The psychology degree program at Seaver College teaches students to study human behavior and mental life using scientific methodologies. Psychologists explore such questions as: How do organisms learn? What are the effects of hormones on behavior? What is personality, and how is it measured? What motivates behavior? What is mental illness, and how should it be treated? What information is gained through scientific endeavor? Our faculty set demanding standards of excellence in written expression, especially in writing for scientific publication.

Psychology Degree

Our faculty provide psychology majors with a series of courses focusing on the foundations of psychological principles and methodology to prepare them for admission into graduate school or career entry as professional psychologists and therapists. Psychology majors may choose to enroll in courses, designed to enhance personal growth and improve interpersonal relationships.

Industrial Organizational Psychology Minor

Today industrial organizational (I/O) psychologists offer services through the scientist/practitioner model in settings that involve human resource management in both private and nonprofit sectors, government agencies, and the public policy field. Many offer services as professional consultants, managers, or evaluators.

Student Testimonials

Our Program

Unique Aspects of the Major

In addition to broad academic offerings, a number of worthwhile fieldwork experiences are available. Students routinely work at a nearby detention facility for juvenile delinquents or in the local state hospital. A variety of other field placements are available with such agencies as those dealing with child abuse, adult mental retardation, drug abuse, educationally or physically handicapped children, and mental illness.

The faculty has developed expertise in assisting those students who desire to apply for admission to graduate school. When teaching specific areas, faculty emphasize the information needed to pass graduate school examinations. The faculty also counsels and assists psychology majors to select satisfying career goals in psychologically oriented fields or in other related settings.

Lastly, the faculty offers a few select courses that enhance understanding of the relationships between psychology, religion, and human values.

Honors Research Program in Psychology

Psychology majors are encouraged to participate in the two-semester Honors Research Program, aimed at providing students with insight into how psychological scientists design research projects, collect and analyze data, and communicate their results to the scientific community. Students apply to the program in the fall semester of their junior year and are admitted to the program based on their grade point average, career goals, and successful completion of prerequisite psychology courses (PSYC 200 or 210, 250, 310, and enrollment in 442 during the spring semester of their junior year).

Students are selected by a committee in the fall semester of their junior year and are notified in time for preregistration for the spring semester of that same academic year. Upon acceptance into the program, students enroll in Research in Psychology: Advanced Research Seminar for two consecutive terms (three units each term).

During the first semester of the program, students will design an original experiment including the formulation of a hypothesis, completion of a literature review, and creation of a research design under the supervision of one of the psychology professors. Students will be required to present their research proposals formally to the psychology faculty and the other students in the class.

During the second semester of the program, students will collect and statistically analyze their data. In order to complete the program, they must present their research findings as a written manuscript for publication in APA format, as well as successfully complete an oral research presentation before the psychology faculty and students.

Upon successful completion of these research requirements, the psychology faculty will recommend that students' transcripts and diplomas be marked "Honors in Psychology." It is expected that the research will be presented at a local, regional or national professional psychological conference.

Honors Club

The Pepperdine chapter of Psi Chi and the Psychology Club provide excellent resources and opportunities for students. Psi Chi is the national honor society for psychology students. Its purpose is to encourage, stimulate, and maintain excellence in scholarship for individual members, and to advance the science of psychology. Membership is open to psychology majors who meet the national requirements. Guest speakers, movies, and parties are arranged for members.

Psi Chi - Pepperdine University

Possible Double Majors and Complementary Courses

  • Psychology and biology
  • Psychology and religion
  • Psychology and sociology
  • Psychology and communication
  • Psychology and criminology law courses: POSC 446, POSC 526, POSC 533, SOC 421, and SOC 436

Our Student Research and Publications

Our psychology students have worked with professors in their areas to publish and present their unique research in a variety of places. 

See all psychology student publications and presentations

Articles Published in Peer Reviewed Journals

Gurkoff G, Gahan J*, Rahil B*, Ghiasvand T*, Hunsaker R*, Van K, Feng J, Berman R, Lyeth B, Folkerts M (2013). Evaluation of metric, topological and temporal ordering memory tasks after lateral fluid percussion injury. J Neurotrauma. 30:292-300.

Gutierrez, N.*, Krumrei-Mancuso, E. J., & Miller-Perrin, C. (2017). The Relationship Between Religiousness and Friendship Quality. Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research.

Hunt, C.*, Trammell, J., & Krumrei-Mancuso, E. J. (2015). The interaction of semantic relatedness and emotion: Why emotion may not lead to better memory. Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research, 20, 45-51.

Larona, R. T., & Miller-Perrin, C. (2016). Parent and Child Knowledge and Attitudes Toward Mental Illness: A Preliminary Study. Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research, 21(3).

Matsuda, W. T., Rouse, S. V., & Miller-Perrin, C. L. (2014). Validation of the Attitudes Regarding Bisexuality Scale: Correlations with ratings of a positive media image of bisexual men and women. Journal of Bisexuality 14, 1-13. doi:10.1080/15299716.2014.903219

McDowell, A.*, Trammell, J., & Krumrei-Mancuso, E. J. (2015). How handedness direction and consistency relate to declarative memory task performance. Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research 20, 228-235.

Perrin, R., Miller-Perrin, C., & Song, J. (2017). Changing attitudes about spanking using alternative biblical interpretations. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 1-9, DOI:10.1177/016502541667329

Wang, I., Rouse, S. V., & Krumrei Mancuso, E. (2017). The virtual self: Avatar and individual determinants of mood. Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research, 22, 29 - 38.

Wilgus, S. J., Packer, M. M., Lile-King, R., Miller-Perrin, C. L., & Brand, B. L. (2015). Coverage of child maltreatment in abnormal psychology textbooks: Reviewing the adequacy of the content. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy. Advance online publication. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/tra0000049

Conference Presentations

*Ashlock, L., Miller-Perrin, C., & Krumrei-Mancuso, E. (2017). The Effectiveness of Coloring Methods for Anxiety Reduction. Presented at the American Psychological Association Convention, Washington, DC, August 3-6.

Grandpre, J. M., Hacker, D. R., & Rouse, S. V. (2016, January). Personality traits associated with philanthropic giving. Annual Convention of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, San Diego, CA.

Jory, K., Miller-Perrin, C., & Trammell, J. (2017). Marital Satisfaction: The Role of Post-Formal Thought and Partner Blame. Presented at the American Psychological Association Convention, Washington, DC, August 3-6.

Lammert, B., Rouse, S. V., & Miller-Perrin, C. (2017, January). Seeking the shield of faith: The influence of defensive theology on the development of religious fundamentalism following mortality salience. Annual Convention of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, San Antonio, CA.

*Murray, M., & Miller-Perrin, C. (2016). First-Generation College Students and Social Activism. Presented at the American Psychological Association Convention, Denver, August 4-7.

Pfund, G., & Miller-Perrin, C. (2017). The Impact of Faith Community Involvement on Loneliness, Well Being, and Life Purpose. Presented at the American Psychological Association Convention, Washington, DC, August 3-6.

*Perrin, R. D., Miller-Perrin, C., Song, J., Bruner, R., Rains, S., Thomas, D., & Cope, A. (2016). Changing Attitudes about spanking Using alternative Biblical Interpretations. Christian Scholars Conference, Nashville, TN, June 8-10.

Riley, PJ* , Greco, T. , Giza, C.C. , Prins, M.L., Folkerts, M. ENRICHED ENVIRONMENT REARING DIFFERENTIALLY AFFECTS DENTATE SPINES AFTER REPEAT CONCUSSIONS IN ADOLESCENT RATS. Presented at the 35th Annual National Neurotrauma Society Meeting, Snowbird, UT on July 7-12, 2017.

Song, J., & Miller-Perrin, C. (2017). Colorblind Attitudes and Religious Fundamentalism as Predictors of Racial and General Campus Climate Perceptions. Presented at the American Psychological Association Convention, Washington, DC, August 3-6.

*Virzi, N., Rouse, S., & Miller-Perrin, C. (2017). The Relationship Between Extraversion and Listening Comprehension Under High and Low-Salience Visual Distraction Conditions. Presented at the American Psychological Association Convention, Washington, DC, August 3-6.

Wick, M., Miller-Perrin, C., & Harriger, J. (2017). The Relationship Between Instagram Photo Editing and Undergraduate College Women's Body Dissatisfaction. Presented at the American Psychological Association Convention, Washington, DC, August 3-6.

Resources for Students

Career Opportunities

Recent graduates have found careers in industry, personnel, and research, and have worked as management trainees, counselors in various settings, and agencies educating children with special needs.

Psychology majors are often qualified to apply for state and county jobs in the area of corrections and welfare such as the Department of Children's Services.

Additionally, the industrial/organizational psychology minor allows undergraduates to take courses in the area of business management as partial fulfillment of their psychology requirements.

This way, students can incorporate both fields in pursuit of employment in an industrial career, which emphasizes psychological principles, such as personnel psychology.

Graduate School Admission Requirements

Requirements for admission to master's or doctoral programs vary greatly.

Master's programs—which include marriage and family counseling, industrial psychology, and clinical psychology—usually require a grade point average of 3.0 (B) or higher, and fulfillment of a core of undergraduate courses. Letters of recommendation are required.

Doctoral programs require a minimum grade point average of 3.3, completion of numerous psychology courses, and perhaps some other courses in physiology, chemistry and mathematics. In addition, students must perform above the median or higher in the three areas of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE): verbal, quantitative, and analytic. Some schools look for a high performance on the advanced GRE and on the Miller's Analogies Test (MAT).

Letters of recommendation from professors and other professionals are required, and it is very helpful if students possess some experience in related fieldwork.

Read the APA Graduate Study in Psychology book, and be prepared to take the GRE and the MAT in October the year before you hope to enter graduate school. Start applying for admission in November. Notification of acceptance arrives in April.

Ethnic Studies Minor

Ethnic Studies Minor at Pepperdine

Our ethnic studies minor focuses on the historical experiences, creative expression, and interactions of the various ethnic, racial, religious, and linguistic groups in the United States.

Social Work Minor

Social Work Minor at Pepperdine

The social work minor at Seaver College can be combined with a major in almost any field. Students majoring in sociology or psychology may find a social work minor especially helpful to their career goals. 

Minor in Nonprofit Management

Nonprofit Management Minor at Pepperdine

In cooperation with the American Humanics Foundation, Pepperdine University offers a Minor in Nonprofit Management which affords special opportunities for involvement in various non-profit human service organizations.