BS in Psychological Science

What is psychological science?

The ability to understand and predict how people act and think is more important than ever in addressing many of the greatest challenges we face as a society.  At the same time, the study of behavior and mind is undergoing a rapid transformation.  New technologies are continually being developed across the behavioral, data, and brain sciences.  Advances in cloud and wearable computing, massive open datasets, noninvasive brain imaging, and virtual reality offer powerful new tools for understanding and predicting human thought and behavior.  Psychological science is the rapidly evolving discipline that seeks to understand behavior and mind using rigorous scientific methods.  Psychological scientists are trained to understand how behavior and thought are influenced by neurophysiological, emotional, cognitive, developmental, social, and environmental factors.  With the benefit of emerging technologies, they are gleaning important new insights into how people learn, think, perceive, act, express emotions, make decisions, and interact with others, and applying these discoveries to improve the way we live and work.

The new psychological science major at RPI: Re-envisioning undergraduate education in the science of behavior

Looking ahead, some of the most exciting opportunities in psychological science will be available to students proficient in the use of cutting-edge research methods, data analysis techniques, and technology.  In 2017, Rensselaer launched a new undergraduate program in psychological science to provide students with exceptionally strong training in these areas.  The program is designed for technologically oriented students with interests in the scientific study of behavior and mind and its many applications.

Psychological Science Program Requirements

Research Labs and Opportunities:

Students are strongly encouraged to participate in research through RPI’s Undergraduate Research Program. Students may earn course credit or funding for their research project.

Examples of Research Topics in Psychological Science: 

  • Investigate visual memory and perceptual expertise using eye tracking and motion capture technology.
  • Study interplay of cognition, perception, and action in routine interactive behavior.
  • Explore how people perceive and move around in complex, dynamic environments.
  • Investigate olfactory function and training for stress responding and cognition relevant for aging and Alzheimer’s Disease.
  • Study effects of environment on stress, cognition, and creativity.

Career Opportunities:

Our goal in fostering proficiency in quantitative methods and technology is to expand the career opportunities for our students. Students will be prepared to pursue careers in a wide variety of sectors (e.g., business, information technology, healthcare, government, education, law). They may further expand their options by pursuing a dual-major with psychological science and another program of study (e.g., biology, computer science, management). Many students will also go on to earn graduate degrees in psychological science, medicine, education, law, business, and other fields.

Program Contact:

Professor Alicia Walf
Undergraduate Program Director, Psychological Science
Carnegie 304, 518-276-3840, psys-upd@rpi.edu

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