Welcome to Psychology at GVSU

Psychology covers such a broad range of topics that psychologists specialize in many different areas, such as clinical psychology, counseling psychology, developmental psychology, physiological psychology, neuropsychology, industrial-organizational psychology, educational psychology, experimental psychology, cognitive psychology, social psychology, and cross-cultural psychology. The interests and training of the faculty members in the department cover all of these areas, so we are able to offer a wide range of courses in the undergraduate curriculum.

PSY 101 Participation in Psychological Research

Undergraduate Degrees Offered

Psychology is the science of mind and behavior.  This basic and applied science includes the study of thought, action, and emotion.  Psychologists study how people influence and interact with one another, how they develop, and the role that biological mechanisms play in psychological processes.

Graduates find jobs in varied settings, including business, industry, and human services.

Many of our graduates pursue graduate studies in a wide variety of disciplines, including psychology, medicine, law, social work, business, library science, human resources management, and non profit administration.

Course Catalog   Degree Requirement   Student Learning Outcomes

Because human interaction is central to many careers, students often choose to add a psychology minor to their major field of study. Psychology minors gain increased understanding of how humans perceive, think, feel, and act, and how research contributes to our growing knowledge in these areas. 

For future teachers interested in teaching psychology in high school, there is a strongly suggested set of courses that will fulfill the minor requirements and prepare students for secondary teaching.

Course Catalog  Degree Requirement  Minors Interested in Secondary Teaching

Behavioral Neuroscience is an interdisciplinary area that studies the interactions between the nervous system and behavior, the development and function of the nervous system, and their application to the treatment of disorders.

The major is administered by the Psychology Department. Students may earn a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) or Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in Behavioral Neuroscience.  The B.S. requires students to take the degree requirement sequence from the Psychology Department. The B.A. requires third semester proficiency in a foreign language.

Graduates with training in behavioral neuroscience have worked for colleges and universities, research institutes, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, and government agencies. Students with a Behavioral Neuroscience degree may also pursue graduate study in neuroscience, neuropsychology, or related fields, or professional degrees in health-related fields.

Course Catalog  Degree Requirement   Student Learning Outcomes

Graduate Studies Offered

Grand Valley State University's School Psychology graduate program, leading students to earn both a Masters of Science degree (M.S.) and a Specialist in School Psychology degree (Psy.S.), offers students extensive training through coursework, practicum, and research experiences in the assessment, prevention, and intervention of academic, social, and mental health problems that affect a wide range of students.  

The full-time program spans 3 years, and includes extensive coursework and practicum experiences. Upon graduation, students are eligible to apply for licensure as a school psychologist. Every student is automatically admitted to the Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) certificate program.

Courses for Specialist in School Psychology      School Psychology Website

Many school and mental health professionals are seeking graduate level programs that teach them to incorporate behavior analytic principles and practices into their work with individuals with learning, social, and behavior challenges.

The GVSU Psychology Department offers an online graduate level certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) that allows students to pursue certification as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). A master's degree or higher is required for admission to the program.

To become a BCBA, students must meet the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) course requirements, supervised fieldwork requirements, and pass the BCBA exam. The GVSU ABA certificate program is a Verified Course Sequence by the Association for Behavior Analysis International.

ABA Course Requirements     ABA Certificate Program Website

Alumni Panel Discussion - Career Paths after GVSU

Date: Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019
Time: 6:30 To 7:30 PM
Place: ASH 2310

Three alumni speakers with unique career paths:

Claire Hopkins: Class of 2015, currently a Childrenýs Counselor at Relief After Violent Encounter-I/M, Inc.: Supportive Counseling and Advocacy Services, Ionia, MI

Steven Dendrinos: Class of 2006, currently the Director of Health Informatics, responsible for electronic health record training at Spectrum Health, Grand Rapids, MI.

Travis Whitaker: Class of 2012, Data Manager and Research Specialist at the Arthroscopy Association of North America (AANA), Chicago, IL.


Please join us to hear their stories and ask them questions!  Hosted by: PSI CHI & Psych. Dept. Alumni Relations Committee

The Robert Hendersen Leadership Award

Named after the Psychology Department’s longest-serving and most transformative Chair, the Robert Hendersen Leadership Award recognizes students who demonstrate effective leadership and commitment to others in their campus, community, or work environments, and whose engagement in these activities has drawn upon or enriched their knowledge of psychology.

Each academic year, a single student will receive this award following careful consideration of all candidates.  The winner will be announced near the end of the fall semester, and the Psychology Department will formally recognize the winner at an event during the winter semester.

In order to be eligible for the Robert Hendersen Leadership Award, candidates must (a) have declared a major in psychology or behavioral neuroscience, (b) be of junior or senior standing, (c) have a GPA of 3.5 or above, and (d) be currently enrolled at Grand Valley State University.

Picture of Robert Hendersen

Robert Hendersen

Applications for the 2019-2020 Academic Year

Apply for the Robert Hendersen Leadership Award, if you are a student who meets the eligibility criteria.  Please note that completed applications are due by midnight on Monday, November 11.


Nominate Someone for the Robert Hendersen Leadership Award, If you know a student who you think would be a good candidate.  Please note that nominations must be received by midnight on Monday, October 14.

Recent Faculty and Student Conference Presentations

Psychology student Rachel Lawson

Bridging the Gap Between Generations: Social Participation via Befriending Programs

Student Scholar Day 2018

Student Scholar Day 2018

Psychology student Jack Kelly

Bridging the Intergenerational Gap with a Virtual Platform

View More Recent Faculty and Student Conference Presentations


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Blood Test at Birth Could Predict Children’s Psychological Development bit.ly/2Oc9Xtp
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The Psychology Department is part of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.