Majoring in Psychology

Psychology Certificate


Major in psychology and you develop strong research skills, learn in ways that are interactive and hands-on, and get to know your professors well. You study clinical, social and experimental psychology; we also offer an interdisciplinary major in behavioral neuroscience. We encourage you to develop your own research interests, which may culminate in a senior honors thesis or an individual study with a professor. We offers more than 35 courses – a reflection on the diverse interests of our faculty. You have many opportunities to learn outside the classroom, including study abroad or an internship at a medical center, social services agency or mental health institution. In addition, a dozen distinguished scholars and practitioners in the field visit campus each year to speak.

Special opportunities

You can combine your psychology major with another major or a certificate from one of the College's academic centers. For example, a psychology major in the Toor Cummings Center for International Studies and the Liberal Arts interned with an advocacy group in Argentina and also did cross-cultural research on body image and eating disorders. Another major in the Holleran Center for Community Action and Public Policy researched the impact of residential treatment on troubled youth.

Department activities

Professors host weekly or biweekly discussions on a wide range of research topics, from developmental psychopathology and feminist psychology to personality and clinical research. You might use the group for feedback as you develop a research proposal, help a professor with a research project or collaborate with other students.

What can you do with a majorcertificate in Psychology?

Here are some of the positions our graduates have gone on to hold:

  • Senior Clinical Publications Lead, AstraZeneca
  • Clinical Team Lead, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
  • Assistant Director, Advocacy Services for Kids
  • General Counsel, BMC HealthNet Plan
  • Professor, San Diego State University
  • Youth Outreach Worker, Scarsdale Family Counseling
  • Autism Research, Boston University
  • Health Specialist, World Bank
  • Director of Human Resources, Converge
  • Assistant Commissioner of the Department of Developmental Services, Commonwealth of Massachusetts
  • Director of International Adoptions, Adoptions Together
  • School Counselor, Paul D. Schreiber High School
  • Research Assistant, Harvard Medical School
  • Psychotherapist
  • Social Worker, Golden Gate Regional Center
  • Ph.D. Candidate, Harvard Business School
  • Speech/ Language Pathologist, ARC Greenwich
  • Teacher, Woodland Heights Elementary School
  • Accessibility Specialist, U.S. Department of Justice
  • Advanced Practice Registered Nurse, Yale University


Joan C. Chrisler, Class of '43 Professor of Psychology

Joan C. Chrisler, Class of '43 Professor of Psychology  (On sabbatical 2014-2015 academic year)
Health psychology and psychology of women • Women's health • Menstruation and menopause • Weight and eating disorders • Coping with chronic illness

Ann S. Devlin, May Buckley Sadowski '19 Professor of Psychology, College Marshal

Ann S. Devlin, May Buckley Sadowski '19 Professor of Psychology, College Marshal
Environmental psychology • Spatial cognition • Design of housing for the elderly • Gender differences in way-finding

Ruth E. Grahn, Interim Associate Dean of the Faculty, Associate Professor of Psychology

Ruth E. Grahn, Interim Associate Dean of the Faculty, Associate Professor of Psychology
Impact of stress on behavior and neural function • Animal models of psychopathology • Role of serotonin in fear/anxiety-related behaviors • Protein immunohistochemistry

Taleb S. Khairallah, Instructor of Psychology

Taleb S. Khairallah, Instructor of Psychology
Counseling psychology • Multicultural psychology • Psychology of men and masculinity • Alcohol and drug use and interventions

Joseph A. Schroeder, Associate Professor of Psychology, Director of the Behavioral Neuroscience Program

Joseph A. Schroeder, Associate Professor of Psychology, Director of the Behavioral Neuroscience Program
Neurobiology of analgesia • The neurobiological mechanisms of psychostimulant related behavior • Animal models of neurodegenerative disease, schizophrenia and drug abuse • Heavy metal neurotoxicity • Spatial navigation learning and memory • Development of zebrafish behavioral pharmacology models

Jefferson A. Singer, Faulk Foundation Professor, Department of Psychology

Jefferson A. Singer, Faulk Foundation Professor, Department of Psychology
Personality theory • Autobiographical memory • Clinical psychology • Couples and family therapy • Narrative identity • Addiction

Stuart A. Vyse, Joanne Toor Cummings '50 Professor of Psychology

Stuart A. Vyse, Joanne Toor Cummings '50 Professor of Psychology  (On leave 2014-2015)
Psychology of irrational behavior, superstition and belief in the paranormal • Human operant behavior • Theories of choice • Decision-making • Behavior analysis • Developmental disabilities

Audrey L. Zakriski, Professor of Psychology

Audrey L. Zakriski, Professor of Psychology
Children's mental health • Contextual assessment of child psychopathology • Childhood peer rejection and victimization

Student profile

Gabby Arenge Gabby Arenge

Psychology, art

Q: Why Connecticut College?
A: After visiting at least three times, I knew I belonged here. The College seemed to expand on the liberal arts concept through [the career and professional development program] CELS, first-year seminars, the academic centers and the Office for Volunteers for Community Service.

Q: Did you study abroad?
A: I spent six months in Nairobi, Kenya, collaborating in community work and studying. I wanted to better understand the interplay between an urbanizing city, a developing economy and extreme poverty. I spent my summer developing Amani Art, a community organization that serves at-risk youth in Kibera slums, with a $10,000 Davis Projects for Peace grant.

Q: What role has CELS played for you?
A: It has shaped every rewarding experience I've had at Connecticut College. Without my CELS counselor, I probably would not have considered applying to the Holleran Center, for the Davis 100 Projects for Peace grant or for the Truman scholarship – endeavors that significantly shaped, and are still shaping, my studies and my pursuit of social change beyond college.

Selected courses

  • Social Psychology
  • Psychological Disorders
  • Environmental Psychology
  • Industrial and Organizational Psychology
  • Drugs and Behavior
  • Health Psychology
  • Irrational Behavior
  • Psychology of Personality
  • Psychology of Women
  • Sensation and Perception
  • Cultural Psychology
  • Psychology of Men and Masculinity
  • Psychology of Stress
  • Research Methods in Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


Student research

Defining and Cultivating Creativity in Kibera, Kenya
By: Gabrielle Arenge '14
Advising Faculty: Audrey Zakriski

Effectiveness of Campaigns on Stigmatizing Attitudes toward Mental Illness
By: Meg DeJong '14
Advising Faculty: Audrey Zakriski

Reducing Fat Stigma in American Culture
By: Erica Stockwell-Alpert '14
Advising Faculty: Joan Chrisler


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