Spring Arbor University


 psychology classroom
About the Psychology Program

As a psychology major within the Department of Psychology,  you will learn the methods and applications of the discipline of psychology within a Christian worldview. Course offerings provide exposure to experimental and clinical methods for studying individuals; study of the major theories and research findings of the field; exploration of the historical background and philosophical assumptions underlying the methods and theories of modern psychology and how these relate to Christian belief and experience; and experience in applying psychological knowledge to address significant human need in the field.

Why should you choose SAU’s psychology program?

The SAU Department of Psychology offers a comprehensive psychology program following the American Psychological Association’s guidelines for undergraduate study. Here, students combine theories of modern psychology with a Christian perspective, learning how to understand and help people. Psychology is one of the most versatile majors – it can lead to clinical practice, a variety of people-helping roles, or human resource management, just to name a few. Our major is deliberately designed to allow students to consider being double majors or have an additional minor and still graduate in four years.

Busteed and Seymour (2015) looked at the college experience in America. Using data from Gallup-Purdue Index, they wanted to assess the quality of graduates’ college experience and how that contributes to preparing people who are engaged, qualified employees. They concluded that there were six key college experiences.

big-six-college-experiencesThe SAU psychology major:

  • Our full-time psychology professors have all come out of real-world experience that they share in the classroom.
  • Departmental advising is done by full-time professors; faculty also meets with students for lunch.
  • Students are encouraged to do special research projects or to attend conference/training with faculty.
  • All psych majors are required to do an original research project that takes one semester. They may also opt to work 1:1 with a professor to do a two semester honors thesis.
  • Students have multiple opportunities for hands-on experience through exploratories and required practica. Even as Freshmen, students can be a part of the department’s Center for Autism Spectrum Experience (CASE Program).
  • Students have numerous opportunities to connect through Psi Chi (the national honors society), department book clubs and movie nights, volunteer projects, etc.

According to Busteed and Seymour, 25% of all college students had zero of the ‘Big Six’ experiences. Only 3% have all six! The Spring Arbor University psychology department looks beyond enrollment and GPA – we are passionate about graduating students who can get a job directly out of school or get in to graduate programs!

Where are some of our grads now?

In the Workplace:

  • Jackson County Youth Center, Youth Specialist
  • Teaching overseas
  • Human Resources at UM
  • Foster Care Manager, Catholic Charities
  • Quality Assurance Office, non-profit working with the disabled
  • Youth Haven Ranch, Team Leader
  • Recovery Technologies: Case Managers, Therapists
  • Adventure Therapy in Utah
  • Autism Program, eastern Michigan
  • Wedgewood Christian Services, Clinician and Supervisor
  • Highfields, Inc., Case Managers serving at-risk youth
  • Hospice Care, Bereavement Facilitator
  • Recovery Technologies

Graduate Programs:

  • Eastern Michigan (Ph.D.)
  • Southern Mississippi University (Ph.D.)
  • Adler School, Chicago (MA in Counseling; Ph.D.)
  • Portland State University (Ph.D. in Health Psychology)
  • Regent University (Ph.D.)
  • Western Michigan (MA in Counseling, Marriage and Family, Occupational Therapy, MSW)
  • Michigan State University (MSW)
  • University of Wisconsin (MA in Student Personnel)
  • North Texas University (MA in Child Therapy, Ph.D)
  • Liberty Baptist Seminary (M.Div.)
  • University of Michigan (MA in Health Psychology)
  • University of Michigan, Dearborn (School Psychology)
  • Indiana Wesleyan University (MA in Counseling)


Courses and Course Descriptions

The courses for the 36-hour psychology major include such subject areas as integration of psychology and Christianity, research design, learning and thinking, physiological psychology, abnormal psychology, and social psychology. A 20-hour minor is also available.

View the course requirements, layout, and course descriptions, as well as learn more about the psychology program at Spring Arbor University in the undergraduate catalog.

Career Opportunities

Career Opportunities


A major in psychology can lead to a variety of entry-level careers in the helping professions:

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

A psychology minor prepares one to teach psychology at the secondary education level.


To help students begin thinking about their future before entering the job market, BestColleges.com created a guide of the best careers for psychology majors. It highlights several common paths of employment, as well as a few out-of-the-box options. The guide also explores useful workplace skills learned in the major and provides a collection of resources to help new psychology graduates.

Professors at Spring Arbor University are committed to helping our students succeed after college.  Please visit BestColleges.com Psychology Career Guide for more information.

From Dr. Drew C. Appleby of  Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis

I taught, advised, and mentored psychology majors for 40 years at both a small, private liberal arts college and a large, public research university.  Although these two schools were remarkably different, all my students were concerned about their ability to provide a confident answer to the perennial question, “What can I do with a bachelor’s degree in psychology?”  This challenging query motivated me to create and teach a careers-in-psychology class to help my students answer it and to write a textbook for the class titled The Savvy Psychology Major.  The goal of the class was to enable students to become savvy psychology majors by creating an educational plan that would enable them to give clear, complete, convincing, and confident answers to the following questions:

What careers can I enter if I major in psychology, and which of these would be a good choice for me?

Which of these careers can I enter with a bachelor’s degree, and which will require a graduate degree?

What specific knowledge and skills (KSs) must I possess to enter and succeed in my chosen career?

How can I use the curricular and the extracurricular components of my education to develop these KSs?

How can I convince potential employers or graduate school admissions committees that I possess these KSs so they will hire me with a bachelor’s degree or accept me into their graduate program?

For a more in-depth career guide, please visit Dr. Appleby’s booklet:
An Online Career-Exploration Resource for Psychology Majors.

To learn more about how Spring Arbor helps its graduates prepare for a career, visit our career development section.