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Pschology and Family Sciences

COLUMBUS, Miss.-- Psychology students at Mississippi University for Women will have the opportunity to earn a bachelor of science degree in psychology starting in the fall 2021 semester.

The Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) recently approved The W’s proposal to add a BS degree to its bachelor of arts option. Dr. Dorothy Berglund, the chair of the Department of Psychology and Family Science, said the requirements for the major coursework also have also been updated, but they will be the same for the BS and BA options. The change will allow transfers to complete their degrees in four terms and raise awareness that Psychology is a science.

“As a department, we had discussed this idea for several years,” said Berglund, who also is a professor of Family Science. “However, no action was taken until the Psychology area was fully staffed with three full-time faculty in August 2020.”

Students will have the option to complete the BA, which requires four foreign language courses, or the BS, which requires additional math and science coursework. In total, the BS degree requires six math/science courses. Because some of those count as general education requirements as well, three courses would be needed beyond the general education math/science requirements.

“The BS ends up being more efficient for a lot of transfer students to complete because they have completed their general education coursework, and they can take the remaining courses simultaneously,” said Dr. Holly Krogh, a professor of psychology. “The foreign language courses have to be taken in sequence during four separate semesters.”

Berglund and Department of Psychology and Family Science faculty members Dr. Krogh, Dr. H Bliss and Dr. Andrew Nguyen worked on the BS degree proposal to enable psychology majors to take MA 123 (Statistics) as a prerequisite course for their upper-level statistics and research methods courses or as their math general education course, or one of the other three math or science courses required for the BS.

Berglund also said psychology majors already at The W who want to move from the BA to the BS option will have to move into a new curriculum. The BA and BS degrees for psychology will have the same requirements for the major for the 2021-22 academic year and that students will have more requirements and more elective choices. If current students are interested in changing to the BS option, or retaining the BA but moving into the new curriculum, Berglund said they should contact their advisor to find out whether changing their degree option and/or curriculum would be best for them.

“Students will now take 11 required courses for the psychology major, two more than required in the prior curriculum,” Berglund said. “There will be a new required course, PSY 110, which will provide incoming students an orientation to the major. The students also will complete a developmental area requirement (the same as in the previous curriculum) and a biological area requirement. Students can now complete nine elective hours in psychology (the previous option was six hours).”

Berglund said the revisions to the psychology curriculum are the first since 2013. She said the new curriculum reflects the current American Psychological Association (APA) guidelines for undergraduate curricula and expertise of The W’s faculty. Dr. Krogh (developmental), Dr. Bliss (cognitive) and Dr. Nguyen (social) have expertise in those areas.

Berglund said the new BS offering will benefit students who already have expressed an interest in switching their degree program as well as faculty members in the department.

“The new curriculum will allow faculty to teach in their general areas, as well as to develop courses (if not already offered) in their specific area,” Berglund said. “Doing so not only will allow us to provide a richer experience for the students, in that they will be exposed to potentially interesting coursework and content, but it also will keep faculty engaged in their work as instructors.”