Undergraduate Program

Student in class

Psychology is the study of human and animal behavior. There are many areas of specialization within psychology. The Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Iowa has five areas of emphasis: behavioral and cognitive neuroscience, clinical psychology, developmental science, cognition and perception, and social psychology. Psychologists in academic settings teach and conduct research designed to increase our knowledge about behavior. Psychologists also work in governmental and industrial organizations carrying out basic and applied research and providing professional advice. Many clinical psychologists are employed in clinics or in hospitals or are engaged in private practice, focusing on the diagnosis and treatment of psychological disorders. Clinical psychologists are to be distinguished from psychiatrists, who are physicians (M.D.'s) with specialized training in the treatment of mental disorders.

The majority of vocational opportunities in psychology require advanced professional training, usually through the Ph.D. degree (typically requiring 4 or 5 years of postgraduate work) and including extensive work in research. Some opportunities for teaching psychology at the junior college or high school level, or for work in a business, school, or hospital, are available to those with a master's degree (2 or 3 years of postgraduate work). Job opportunities within the profession of psychology for those with only an undergraduate degree are quite limited. Further vocational information can be obtained from the University of Iowa Career Development Services or by writing the American Psychological Association (750 First Street, N.E., Washington, DC 20002-4242).