Welcome to the Program!


The Department of Psychology is a Community of Scholars dedicated to the creation and dissemination of knowledge. The department is committed to furthering our understanding of the mind and behavior by the methods of science, as well as to the development of applications of the science of psychology to better the human condition and that of individual persons. In keeping with the mission of the University of South Florida, the department is committed to helping its students to acquire knowledge of psychological theories, research findings and the methods used by both basic and applied psychologists. The department sees as its mission serving the general student body, its majors and its graduate students by providing these students with an understanding of the importance of the scientific approach in addressing issues of human behavior. We see it as an important part of our mission to assure that our students internalize the cannons of ethics of the discipline and profession, of Psychology. The Department of Psychology values and promotes diversity of its members and students.


Upon completion of the B.A. in Psychology at USF, the student should show competence in three main areas: discipline-specific knowledge, critical thinking skills, and communication skills.


The graduate can

  • Demonstrate knowledge of facts and theories pertinent to domains of psychological interest.
  • Describe several of the major theoretical positions in psychology.
  • Describe how psychological theories can be used to practical ends.
  • Take a position on several major psychological controversies (e.g., the influence of nature vs. nurture, serial vs. parallel human information processing, the degree to which we can increase intelligence) and marshal empirical research results that support the position taken.
  • Demonstrate understanding of diversity and influence of cultural differences in human development.
  • Apply knowledge of the accepted ethical principles and practices in the use of humans and nonhuman animals in research.
  • Apply descriptive and inferential statistics to behavioral research.
  • Apply psychological content and skills to career goals.
  • Describe psychology's place in a larger, societal context (e.g., the professional roles of psychologists).
  • Articulate degrees of interest in various sub-disciplines of psychology.


The graduate can

  • Choose a method appropriate to answering a research question, apply the chosen method properly to data collected, and reason soundly about the inference.
  • Formulate and identify hypotheses.
  • Distinguish between an operational definition and a hypothetical construct.
  • Distinguish hypotheses from facts and opinions.
  • Collect, analyze, and interpret data relevant to such hypotheses. 
  • Describe and interpret both descriptive and inferential statistics.
  • Identify problems with the internal and external validity of the study findings.
  • Use information about the reliability and validity of a test to make judgments about the test's quality.


The graduate can

  • Conduct a computer search for prior research in an area of interest to psychologists (e.g., can gather information on the use of psychological tests in college admissions).
  • Demonstrate writing skills by producing reports that describe empirical research designed to answer questions of psychological interest.
  • Identify flaws in the conclusions of studies presented in the popular media (e.g., shows about ESP, advertising claims about sexually enhancing drugs, etc.) and problems with psychology in the popular press (e.g., a report implied causal relations but a correlational design was used).