Have you ever considered picking up a second major? Double majoring can seem intimidating, but with the right planning and dedication it can be done. The Psychology Undergraduate Advising office has developed "The Guide to Successfully Double Majoring" handout that can be used to guide you along your journey as a double major. This handout covers the basic information, steps, and tips that every double major should know. Enjoy!
Originally inspired by an article by Dr. Samantha Boardman (M.D.) from Psychology Today and in the spirit of back to school, below are some interesting facts and tips that could potentially increase your productivity this semester:
Andrade, Jackie. (2009). What does doodling do? Applied Cognitive Psychology. Retrieved from: http://pignottia.faculty.mjc.edu/math134/homework/doodlingCaseStudy.pdf
Boardman, Samantha. (2015). 20 secrets of successful students. Psychology Today. Retrieved from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/positive-prescription/201508/20-secrets-successful-students
Bowen, Daniel H., Green, Jay P., Kisida, Brian. (2013, November 24). Art makes you smart. The New York Times. Retrieved from:
Herbert, Wray. (2014). In on paper: some notes on note taking. American Psychological Association. Retrieved from: http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/news/were-only-human/ink-on-paper-some-notes-on-note-taking.html
Landau, Ian. (2012) Could wearing a lab coat make you smarter? Everyday Health. Retrieved from:
Lewis, Tania. (2014). Red wine compound may improve memory. Livescience. Retrieved from: http://www.livescience.com/46139-red-wine-compound-may-improve-memory.html
Move-in day has come and gone. The buzz of excitement for the new school year has died down. It seems that everyone is settled in and trying to shift focus to classes, homework, and all the academic joys of the college experience, but there are some people who have far from settled in; “7% of persons spending time away from home experience intense symptoms of homesickness associated with significant symptoms of anxiety and depression” (Thurber, 2011). Homesickness can make the transition into secondary education difficult. Although most college students do experience some level of homesickness, it is the people who become consumed with feelings of loneliness, exclusion, and loss that are most negatively affected.
Now that we have got the tough facts out of the way, it’s time to talk about what is deemed “treatment” for homesickness and what resources we have on campus to cure your bye-bye blues. It has been proven that all of the following help to combat homesickness along with associated feelings of loneliness, anxiety, depression, and isolation: availability of peer and professional support, encouragement of self-compassion, reducing acculturation stress, and facilitating social interaction and activity (Thurber, 2011). Hooray for all kinds of solutions!
That brings me to discussion of all the opportunities we have here at San Diego State to make students feel right at home! Peer and professional support can be found all over campus; if a student is looking specifically for mental health support, she or he has access to an on-campus psychologist. Appointments can be made through Health and Psychological Services. If a student is in need of academic or career assistance there are a number of outlets: General Advising, Career Services, and our very own Psychology Undergraduate Advising. In terms of getting involved socially on campus, there are tons of great options, including over 300 Student Organizations. One specific organization I would like to highlight is PsyMORE. This organization helps students assimilate into the college community through one-on-one peer mentorship. The focus is on academics, career planning, and facilitating pathways for success of all kinds for mentees. It is super simple to sign up, just visit the SDSU PsyMORE website (http://www.sci.sdsu.edu/PsychMORE/) and fill out the mentee/mentor application depending on the role you would like to take in this awesome organization.
The transition to college life can be tough at times. If you’re feeling lonely or a bit disconnected right now, know that you are not alone. Also know that there are endless opportunities to get involved in campus culture. Choose resources and activities that will benefit you academically, socially, and emotionally and you will be well on your way to shaking that homesickness and embracing your new home here at SDSU!
Thurber, C. A., & Walton, E. A. (2011, March 4). Homesickness and Adjustment in University Students [Electronic version].Journal of American College Health, 60(5), 1-5.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the fastest growing careers in
psychology are Industrial-Organizational (I/O) Psychologists, Genetic Counselors,
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors, and Mental Health
Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists. What does each of these jobs entail,
and how can you enter these rapidly growing fields?
Expected growth from 2012 through 2022: 53.4%
What is it?
I-O Psychologists apply psychology to the workplace. They aim to make the
workplace better by improving selection procedures, training, and development.
They also work to increase motivation and performance, thereby lowering labor
How do I become an I-O Psychologist?
The typical education needed for entry into this field is a Masters degree. SDSU has a
Masters of Science Program in Applied Psychology that can prepare you for
entrance into this field. The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology
(SIOP) has a list of graduate programs that are available in the US and offer a
number of different degrees; some are at the Masters level and others are at the
Doctorate level. You can find more information at their website,
Expected growth from 2012 through 2022: 41.2%
What is it?
“Genetic counseling is the process of helping people understand and adapt to the
medical, psychological, and familial implications of genetic contributions to disease”
(NSGC). They assess individual or familial risk for various inherited diseases.
Approximately 2/3 of them work in the areas of prenatal, cancer, and pediatric
genetic counseling. However, the number of specialized fields has increased to
include cardiovascular health, assisted reproductive technologies, and others (BLS).
How do I become a Genetic Counselor?
Genetic Counselors often have graduate training in the areas of both genetics and
counseling. Minimum education requirements are usually a Masters degree. The
American Board of Genetic Counseling provides certification for genetic counselors.
Some states require licensure and others have pending legislature for this (BLS). For
more information about Genetic Counseling, you can visit the National Society of
Genetic Counselor’s website: http://www.nsgc.org.
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors
Expected growth from 2012 through 2022: 31.4%
What is it?
They are counselors who work with people who suffer from alcoholism, drug
addiction, eating disorders, or other behavioral problems. They provide support and
treatment to help their clients modify their problem behaviors or recover from
How can I become a substance abuse or behavioral disorder counselor?
The education requirements for these counselor’s ranges from high school diploma
to masters degree, depending on the responsibilities of the job, the setting, and the
state requirements. If they are in private practice, they must be licensed, which
requires a Masters degree and a number of hours that are supervised (BLS). For
more information about these careers, you can visit http://www.naadac.org.
Mental Health Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists
Expected growth from 2012 through 2022: 29%
What is it?
They help individuals with mental and emotional disorders overcome problems
with their family and relationships. Work in a variety of settings including mental
health centers, substance abuse treatment centers, hospitals, and colleges. They can
also have their own private practice or can work as a part of an EAP (Employee
Assistance Program), which employers sometimes provide to help their employees
deal with personal problems (BLS).
How can I become a substance abuse or behavioral disorder counselor?
To become either a Mental Health Counselor or a Marriage and Family Therapist,
they must have a Masters and become licensed (BLS).
What is the difference?
Mental Health Counseling Programs: prepare students to recognize symptoms of
mental and emotional disorders and how to use effective counseling strategies to
help these individuals (BLS). For more information about mental health counseling,
you can visit http://www.amhca.org.
Marriage and Family Therapy programs: teach students how marriages, family, and
relationships function and how they affect mental and emotional disorders (BLS).
For more information about marriage and family therapy, you can visit
With St. Patrick’s Day come and gone, and the green frenzy beginning to subside, we can finish off the last of our green beer, put away that one green tie or green shirt we own, and settle back to think about why we place so much importance on color in the first place. Is it not interesting that for the weeks before and after St. Patrick’s Day the whole country goes green? And I’d bet that whether your blood runs green and you speak in limericks or your mother’s grandfather’s cousin is 1/18th Irish on their father’s side, you wore some kind of green on St. Patty’s day this year (even if it was just to avoid being pinched). Why is color so important that it represents patriotism, ancestry, religion, and anything else we can imagine?
Humans have an affinity for color; we love it. That is because what we associate with it means something to us. Green for instance, is associated with ideas such as money, jealousy, the environment, and of course Irish pride. Beyond all the symbolic meanings we give it, green also means something to us psychologically. A study done on the relationship between color and emotion found the color green is associated with relaxation and calmness, happiness, comfort, peace, and excitement (Kaya & Epps, 2004). It actually received the highest number of positive responses compared to other colors. (No wonder everyone is so happy on St. Patty’s day – I thought it had to do with the green beer). Another study by Terwogt and Hoeksma (1995) found that as we get older, our preference for green increases! So not only do we feel certain things because of colors, but trends have been found as to when you’ll like a certain color more than another one! Come back to me when you’re 80 and let me know how awesome green is.
Green isn’t the only color that affects how we are feeling or thinking though; every color has a different emotional or psychological effect on us, and people are catching on. Do you ever notice that brands that are specifically geared towards men or women have completely different color schemes? A study done on the associations between color and brand perception found that lighter colors like pink and pastel that are associated with femininity are used to attract female buyers and darker colors that are associated with masculinity are used to attract male buyers. The color scheme of the brand is a predictor of positive perception by the sex it’s geared towards (Lieven, Grohmann, Herrmann, Landwehr, & Van Tilburg, 2015). Doubtless, thousands of companies have considered what their colors will mean to consumers when choosing their logo and brand, and now they have the tools to know what will attract certain types of people (perhaps green on products for the elderly?).
Color is used strategically everywhere you look, whether it be in the marketing of masculine cologne and feminine perfume, or as propaganda or a symbol of a country’s pride. So, next time you wear a green shirt to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day or buy a pink card for Valentine’s day, you can think about what that color means; there may be more to it than you think.
Lieven, T. , Grohmann, B. , Herrmann, A. , Landwehr, J. , & van Tilburg, M. (2015). The effect of brand design on brand gender perceptions and brand preference.European Journal of Marketing, 49(1/2), 146-169.
Kaya, N., & Epps, H. H. (2004). Relationsihp between color and emotion: a study of college students. College Student Journal, 38(3), 396-405.
Terwogt, M. M., & Hoeksma, J. B. (1995). Colors and emotions: Preferences and combinations. The Journal of General Psychology,122(1), 5-17. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/213647210?accountid=13758
Tori, a junior psychology major recalls her story: "As I scrolled through the list of classes that I wanted to take, it slowly dawned on me that I couldn't take any of them. Not knowing what was standing in my way, I rushed over to the Psychology Undergraduate Advising Office where they gave me the scoop. They said that Psych 101 is a prerequisite class for every course that I wanted to take. What? I actually have to take Intro to Psychology?!"
As a Peer Advisor, there's nothing I dislike more than having to tell students that they are far behind where they thought they were in terms of earning their degree. Here's some important things to keep in mind:
Your lower division courses (Prep for the major) are supposed to completed before you take upper division classes. In particular, Psychology 101 is a prerequisite course required for almost all upper division Psychology courses, however, either because some students believe that the Intro class is not required, or they are trying to sneak past the system set in place, or another of the many other possibilities of reasons, many students find themselves in the same predicament as our good friend Tori, who almost had a mini heart attack when she realized that she would have to go back and take Psy 101 before taking any other Psychology classes. Often students will put off taking Psy211 or 280, or another prep for the major class, and they believe that they are ready to graduate. They find that in reality they have two more semesters on campus instead of one. Our methods courses, Psy 301 and 410, require upper division major status- in other words you have to complete all of the lower division courses in psych! (including Psy 101, Tori!). In fact, Webportal will not allow you to register for the class unless you have taken all of the prep for the major AND taken the WPA (score of 8 or better). So students like Tori come into our office, unsure of why they cannot sign up for the methods class that they need to graduate, and get hit with the news that they must take some other classes and then the methods course in the following semester.
Now I'm guessing that you don't want to end up like Tori, so let's start with the basics about prerecs! Prerequisite classes, often abbreviated to "prerec classes" are courses which must be completed before subsequent classes teaching similar subject matter. In other words, prerec classes exist in order to give students some background knowledge on the subject, and a foundation in knowledge before taking a more advanced class. As you might imagine, there will be some overlap. ,Forgoing prerec classes may seem easier in the short term, however these prerec classes are required for graduation and will make your life a lot easier when completed prior to upper division courses. You may be asking yourself, so why are they required in the first place? In order to be an accredited university, schools must require classes which teach certain information and do so in a sequential and logical fashion that builds on itself. Long story short, prerec classes ensure that you have received an education on a broad scale of topics, they also teach you what you need to know before moving onto those upper division classes.
I like to think about prerequisite classes as an analogy. In this hypothetical situation, prerec classes serve as the foundation of a house. If that foundation is never laid down, an earthquake or storm could easily knock down your house, a.k.a. your academic career! If you don't want your chances of graduating college jeopardized, may I suggest taking courses in the order in which they are meant to be taken?
After reading this, I hope that you are wondering what prerec classes apply to which Psychology courses. Below is a list of some of the more popular Psychology classes and their prerequisite courses. So, take the prerec class first, and then proceed with confidence!
Psy 101: Required for almost all upper division Psy classes
Psy 201: Psy 101 and completion of at least 30 units
Psy 211: Psy 101
Psy 230: Psy 101
Psy 260: Psy 101 and Bio 100
Psy 280: Psy 101 and passing ELM, SAT, ACT or AP test score in math
Psy 281: Credit in a 3 unit Statistics course that did not have a computer lab requirement and a passing ELM, SAT, ACT, or AP test score in math
Psy 301: Completed all prep for the major classes in Psychology and be in the Psychology Major, G.P.A. of 2.4 or 2.5 or higher, depending on catalog year, and be eligible to take upper division writing classes ( taken WPA and received score of 8 or higher, or received a 7 or lower on the WPA and taken the lower division RWS course to fulfill WPA requirement)
Psy 319: Psy 101 and Psy 280 or equivalent Stats course
Psy 320: Psy 319
Psy 321: Psy 319
Psy 331, 332, & 333: Psy 101 and Psy 230
Psy 340: Psy 101 and Completion of GE Foundations of Learning II B
Psy 350: Psy 101 and Completion on GE Foundations of Learning II B
Psy 351: Psy 101 and Completion of GE Foundations of Learning II B
Psy 355: Psy 101
Psy 360, 361, & 362: Psy 101 and Psy 260
Psy 365: Completion of GE Foundations of learning II A
Psy 370: Grade of B or higher in Psy 280 or equivalent Stats course and Psy 301
Psy 380: Psy 101, Psy 211 recommended
Psy 388: Psy 101 and Psy 260
Psy 410: Upper division writing class eligible, Psy 211, a grade of a B or better in Psy 280 or equivalent Stats class, completion of all prep for the major classes and in the Psychology Major, G.P.A. of 2.4 or 2.5 depending on catalog year
Psy 495: Psy 350 and completion of either 230, 340, or 351
Valentine’s Day is one of those holidays that is known for romance, intimacy and adventure. However, it is also a holiday that many feel is just another day one fails to meet expectations. Psychological research has investigated various reasons Valentine’s Day is a holiday in which some love and others loathe. One reason for the dislike of Valentine’s Day is the stress and motives associated with gift purchases. In fact, to give you an idea of the pressures associated with this holiday, a research study conducted by Essig in 2014, showed that 53% of women said they’d leave their partner if they did not receive a gift on Valentine’s Day. Don’t worry though Fellas, research has also indicated that gifts for women are not the most important aspect of this holiday. For example, based on a comprehensive study by Sharp (2011), which included a questionnaire, anonymous diary entries and interviews, 70% of women said they would rather go on an adventure with their partner or try something new (something that sparks the passion) than to receive a traditional gift from their partner. However, those in relationships are not the only ones feeling the emotional strain of this holiday. For this reason the holiday has also developed a new name for singles referred to as SAD, otherwise known as Singles Awareness Day (see: http://www.singlesawareness.com). During this alternative version of a somewhat anti lovey-dovey day, singles may enjoy their time going out to a club with other singles, or even staying in and throwing a little pity party. Furthermore, statistics have shown that this year, only 54% of Americans will be celebrating Valentine’s Day. This is a 10% drop from last year (Essig, 2014). But, regardless of whether you are in a relationship or single, I will provide some tips pulled together by a group of researchers, speakers and trainers known as GoodThink. The people of GoodThink recommend a few helpful tips: http://goodthinkinc.com/psychology-today-valentines-day-survival-guide/
1) Put things in perspective, what does Valentine’s Day mean to you?
a. V-Day doesn’t have to be what retail says it should. Perception can be reality.
2) If you are single: pity parties are so last year, so snap out of it. It’s time to appreciate what you do have!
a. Being single on V-day does not mean being single forever
b. Reframe the situation, make a list of pro’s and cons of being single (Mardi-gras is right around the corner) and plan a fun night with friends
c. Research shows that when we do something nice for others we experience a boost in happiness and life satisfaction, so even if you do not have a romantic partner yourself, you can help another couple to celebrate their special day, or even celebrate close friendships.
3) If in a relationship, keep in mind what Valentine’s Day is not:
a. It is not a day to test your partner’s mind reading abilities; nobody has this ability even when they may seem to. If you have something you are expecting, communicate it.
b. Remember the three R’s: reconnect, reflect and romance with your partner. So as with all things in life, one must have reasonable expectations!
Click on the file below to see November's newsletter! Topic is all about food psychology to get in the Thanksgiving spirit!,