What Is a Bachelor of Science in Psychology Degree?
A passion for helping others and an interest in the inner workings of the human mind are two of the factors that draw students to a psychology degree. Psychology is a dynamic field of study that includes many specialization possibilities. You can develop a core understanding of the principles of psychology with the Bachelor of Science in Psychology program at Grand Canyon University.
Offered by the College of Humanities and Social Services, this online psychology degree includes a broad survey of the fundamental aspects of human thought and behavior at all stages of life. Human thought and behavior are continuously influenced by social, cultural and environmental factors. Examine how these factors affect individuals through the science-based curriculum, integrated with the Christian worldview and values of servant leadership.
All core psychology courses are aligned with the degree objectives established by the American Psychological Association (APA). To enhance their career qualifications, students may use the BS in Psychology as the basis for further academic achievements. A master’s or doctoral degree may be required in certain career paths.
Can You Get a BS in Psychology Online?
Students may take psychology courses at GCU’s Phoenix campus, online or via the evening (cohort) program. All online courses offer the same quality of education as the on-campus courses, and the online platform offers an engaging vehicle for intellectual discussions. Students benefit from the insights of fully trained faculty members, and from the perspectives of their peers. The Bachelor of Science in Psychology degree requires a total of 120 credits for completion. Most of the online courses are seven weeks long.
During the program, students develop critical reasoning and analytical skills, refine their communication abilities and explore what it means to bring Christian principles to the professional space. As they examine human behaviors and patterns of thinking, students learn best practices in research, including scientific observation, data collection and analysis.
Which Psychology Bachelor’s Degree Is Right for Me?
The online psychology degree covers the foundational knowledge necessary to gain an understanding of this discipline. Students may choose to add an emphasis to their degree program, such as the Bachelor of Science in Psychology with an Emphasis in Performance and Sport Psychology. The core psychology courses include the following:
- Introduction to Psychological Research and Ethics
- Child and Adolescent Psychology
- Social Psychology and Cultural Applications
- Adult Development and Aging
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Abnormal Psychology
Students also complete the Professional Capstone Project. It involves preparing a written proposal for a research project that addresses an issue within the field. The capstone synthesizes and integrates course content and professional practice.
Careers With a BS in Psychology
Psychology is an interdisciplinary degree by nature. It draws on insights from disciplines such as sociology, medical science and law. Its interdisciplinary nature lends itself to a rich array of possible career paths. Graduates with an online psychology degree may qualify for entry-level work within private companies, nonprofit organizations, schools or social service agencies. Some jobs that may be related to this degree include the following:
- Primary education school teacher*
- Teacher’s assistant
- Special needs assistant
- Youth counselor*
- Human resources specialist
- Case manager
- Psychiatric tech
- Child care worker
- Career counselor*
- Probation officer
- Market researcher
Graduates with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology may choose to pursue advanced degrees. Many of the high-level positions within this career field require a master’s or doctoral degree, along with licensure for clinical practitioners. For students who choose to pursue an advanced degree, the job outlook is favorable. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that, from 2018 through 2028, the rate of job growth for psychologists is 14 percent, which is faster than average.
*Additional training or certification required in some cases
General Education Requirements
General Education coursework prepares Grand Canyon University graduates to think critically, communicate clearly, live responsibly in a diverse world, and thoughtfully integrate their faith and ethical convictions into all dimensions of life. These competencies, essential to an effective and satisfying life, are outlined in the General Education Learner Outcomes. General Education courses embody the breadth of human understanding and creativity contained in the liberal arts and sciences tradition. Students take an array of foundational knowledge courses that promote expanded knowledge, insight, and the outcomes identified in the University's General Education Competencies. The knowledge and skills students acquire through these courses serve as a foundation for successful careers and lifelong journeys of growing understanding and wisdom.
Upon completion of the Grand Canyon University's University Foundation experience, students will be able to demonstrate competency in the areas of academic skills and self-leadership. They will be able to articulate the range of resources available to assist them, explore career options related to their area of study, and have knowledge of Grand Canyon's community. Students will be able to demonstrate foundational academic success skills, explore GCU resources (CLA, Library, Career Center, ADA office, etc), articulate strategies of self-leadership and management and recognize opportunities to engage in the GCU community.
- UNV-112, Success in Science, Engineering and Technology & Lab: 4
- UNV-103, University Success: 4
- UNV-303, University Success: 4
- UNV-108, University Success in the College of Education: 4
Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to construct rhetorically effective communications appropriate to diverse audiences, purposes, and occasions (English composition, communication, critical reading, foreign language, sign language, etc.). Students are required to take 3 credits of English grammar or composition.
- UNV-104, 21st Century Skills: Communication and Information Literacy: 4
- ENG-105, English Composition I: 4
- ENG-106, English Composition II: 4
Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to express aspects of Christian heritage and worldview. Students are required to take CWV-101/CWV-301.
- CWV-101, Christian Worldview: 4
- CWV-301, Christian Worldview: 4
Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to use various analytic and problem-solving skills to examine, evaluate, and/or challenge ideas and arguments (mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, geology, astronomy, physical geography, ecology, economics, theology, logic, philosophy, technology, statistics, accounting, etc.). Students are required to take 3 credits of intermediate algebra or higher.
- MAT-154, Applications of College Algebra: 4
- MAT-144, College Mathematics: 4
- PHI-105, 21st Century Skills: Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: 4
- BIO-220, Environmental Science: 4
Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to demonstrate awareness and appreciation of and empathy for differences in arts and culture, values, experiences, historical perspectives, and other aspects of life (psychology, sociology, government, Christian studies, Bible, geography, anthropology, economics, political science, child and family studies, law, ethics, crosscultural studies, history, art, music, dance, theater, applied arts, literature, health, etc.). If the predefined course is a part of the major, students need to take an additional course.
- HIS-144, U.S. History Themes: 4
- PSY-102, General Psychology: 4
- SOC-100, Everyday Sociology: 4
Program Core Courses
This foundation course in the science of behavior includes an overview of the history of psychology, the brain, motivation, emotion, sensory functions, perception, intelligence, gender and sexuality, social psychology, human development, learning psychopathology, and therapy.
This course serves as a foundation for undergraduates in the field of psychology. Professional skill development, such as an introduction to scientific reasoning, research foundations, critical thinking, literature reviews, and scholarly writing are covered, as well as contemporary ethical issues in the field of psychology. Students have the opportunity to apply guidelines proposed by the American Psychological Association Code of Ethics when exploring topics. Prerequisite: PSY-102.
This writing intensive course is a study of the nature and causal determinants of human behavior, including the definition and scientific measurement of personality. Theories studied include the psychodynamic, Neo-Freudian, trait, biological, humanistic, cognitive, and behavioral theories. The Christian perspective on the nature of human personality is also explored. Prerequisite: PSY-102.
Students entering Child and Adolescent Psychology gain a more in-depth knowledge of development from conception through adolescence. Major theories of physical, motor, emotional, and social development of children are critiqued and analyzed. Students engage in learning about the developmental milestones, personality, language, moral development, typical and atypical behaviors, and learning and cognition. An emphasis on research methodology and interpretation is used to analyze the concepts in this class.
This course provides a study of social and group factors affecting individual behavior. Attention is given to the development of attitudes, roles, norms, group processes, aggression and cooperation, persuasion, stereotypes and prejudices, and social awareness. The role of culture in social processes is emphasized.
This theoretical and research-based course covers psychosocial, emotional, physical, and cognitive aspects of human development from emerging adulthood to death. Theories of development and applications to real-world situations provide a context for understanding how humans transition across stages of adulthood to death. Scientific approaches for studying developmental psychology stress the importance of research methodology and research interpretation. Prerequisite: PSY-102.
This course reflects psychology’s growing interest in health-related issues, and gives students an overview of the broad topics in health psychology. Topics include theories of health behavior, patient adherence, stress and pain development and management, cancer and chronic illness development and management, and health-related behaviors such as substance use, proper nutrition, and exercise. This course focuses on health from a biopsychosocial perspective. Prerequisite: PSY-102.
This course is a study of elementary theories of probability, distribution, and testing of statistical hypotheses. Practical experience is provided in the application of statistical methods. Prerequisite: MAT-134, MAT-144 or MAT-154.
This course includes an introduction to the experimental study of cognition and neurophysiology. Topics include sensation and perception, memory, learning, language, metacognition, intelligence, problem solving, decision-making, mental imagery, consciousness, attention, and the development of cognition through the life span. Major theoretical perspectives and current research within the fields of cognition and neuroscience are discussed. This course also provides students with a basic understanding of the neural underpinnings of a variety of cognitive processes. Prerequisite: PSY-102.
This course is a laboratory course emphasizing both the theoretical and applied aspects of experimental design and research methodology. A variety of activities are performed in such areas as learning, motivation, and perception. Prerequisite: PSY-380.
The capstone project is the culmination of learning experiences for students in the psychology program at Grand Canyon University’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Students prepare a written proposal for a research project that focuses on the resolution of an issue or problem significant to professional psychological practice. The proposal includes a problem statement, review of literature, research methods, research questions, limitations, and ethical considerations for the research. The proposal needs to reflect synthesis and integration of course content and professional practice. The capstone project is guided by the baccalaureate program student learner outcomes. This capstone course needs to be completed at the end of program. Prerequisite: PSY-452.
This is a writing intensive foundation course in the science of abnormal behavior that offers students the opportunity to study the origin and development of abnormal patterns and disorders. This course is designed to assist students in recognizing and understanding mental illness through increased awareness of emotional, functional, and physiological factors influencing mental health. Specific topics include symptoms, diagnoses, etiology, epidemiology, and treatment of various psychological disorders and syndromes.