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Department of Psychology

Message from the Chair

Psychology is one of the most popular majors at universities around the country partly because it is such a versatile degree, preparing students for a wide variety of professions. The psychology department at Spring Arbor University has designed the curriculum to equip students to go to graduate school or enter the workforce. Each of our full-time faculty members have worked directly and extensively in the field of psychology. This helps us to anticipate and respond to the needs of students who are looking for a degree that will enable them to make a difference in their world. Because psychology is such a diverse field we also work to provide students with the tools necessary to interpret psychological theory and research from a Christian perspective.

Terry Darling

Department Chair

For more information about the psychology department, please contact Dr. Darling:


Undergraduate Programs

Spring Arbor University offers both a major and minor in psychology. The purpose of these programs is to foster the understanding of the methods and applications of the discipline of psychology within a Christian worldview. Learn more at the psychology program page.

Graduate Programs

The School of Adult and Graduate Studies offers a Master of Arts in Counseling (MAC) at locations in Michigan and Ohio. The mission of this program is to prepare professional counselors who are committed to excellence in community service. The counseling program provides a liberal arts education based on a Christian perspective that promotes respect for the diversity of each person as uniquely created by God. A balanced development of the individual’s spiritual, mental, physical, and social needs is encouraged based on the example of Jesus Christ, the Master Counselor. Learn more at the MAC program page.

Mission Statement

Our mission is to prepare students well for graduate study and careers in psychology and related fields, and assist them in integrating a Christian perspective into their understanding of human behavior.

Center for Autism Spectrum Enrichment (CASE)

The Center for Autism Spectrum Enrichment (CASE) is a collaborative, after-school program designed to help children and teens with Asperger’s and High Functioning Autism in the Greater Jackson Community maximize independence by providing opportunities for social, emotional, and educational enrichment.

CASE has four levels of impact:

1) Children with ASD

2) Parents touched by ASD

3) Siblings

4) Graduate and undergraduate students from varied academic disciplines

Using a multi-disciplinary team, CASE  provides youth with activities that expand their abilities to read social cues, to develop shared attention, and to practice conversation reciprocity. Time is also dedicated to sensory adaptation, emotional identification and regulation, and task transitions.

Art, music, drama, physical activities, relaxation techniques, and other fun activities provide a context in which to practice emerging skills. Weekly, these emerging skills are generalized from interactions with individual mentors to the larger social dynamics of group settings.

CASE is hosted at Spring Arbor University in partnership with the Jackson Intermediate School District. For more information, please contact Dr. Terri Pardee at

Student Organizations


Since 1978, Spring Arbor University has had an active chapter of PSI CHI, the national honor society in psychology. Check out the organization at We also have a psychology club that works in conjunction with PSI CHI.

Career Opportunities


The psychology major leads to careers in the helping professions including entry-level positions in:

  •  Crisis intervention and counseling centers
  •  Community service agencies and social work programs
  •  Evaluation and intervention in psychiatric hospital settings
  •  Substance-abuse programs
  •  Rehabilitation services
  •  Law enforcement and probation work
  •  Services and programs for senior citizens
  •  Youth ministry
  •  Services to children and adolescents with special needs
  • International volunteer service

The psychology major at Spring Arbor University has also successfully prepared students for admission into graduate training programs so that they can embark on careers as professionals and leaders in clinical and counseling psychology, social work, administration and management, public health, law, diplomacy and foreign service, and advanced seminary training for full-time Christian ministry.


Helpful links:

Information on graduate school: