Archive for the Student FAQ's Category

Both new and seasoned psychology majors at Spring Hill frequently have questions about our program, individual courses, grad school etc. In this blog I will answer some of the more common questions. I will begin with some of the most basic questions.

  1. In what sequence should I take my psychology classes? Students are often excited to take courses such as Abnormal Psychology or Social Psychology and less excited about the core courses - Statistics, Research Methods, History & Systems etc. The suggested sequence (and timing) for core course would be: General Psychology (first year), Statistics (sophomore), Descriptive & Experimental Research Methods (junior), History & Systems (fall, senior year), and Senior Seminar (spring, senior year). Most of the elective courses have only General Psychology as a pre-requisite and so it’s fine to take any of them beginning in your sophomore/junior years.
  2. What are the best courses to take (other than statistics) if I am a beginning psychology major? The numbering system provides a rough estimate of the difficulty of a course - so we generally suggest that beginning majors take courses such as Social Psychology (PSY 200), Developmental Psychology (PSY 204), or Abnormal Psychology (PSY 225). Your advisor may make other suggestions based on your areas of interest.
  3. I know that I want to pursue a Ph.D after I graduate - what courses should I take? You should seek courses that will be beneficial for your field - e.g. if you’re interested in clinical or counseling you should take Tests & Measures and Psychotherapy & Counseling. Other elective courses such as Cognitive Psychology or Biological Psychology would be helpful for students pursuing graduate degrees in both clinical and non-clinical areas of psychology.
  4. Are there other courses outside of psychology that might enhance my graduate application? Absolutely. Graduate schools in psychology - and particularly PhD programs - place a premium on critical thinking skills, writing ability, and speaking ability. Courses that enhance these skills would be very helpful. Additionally, you might take extra courses in biology sociology, or business depending on your specific area of interest (see your advisor for specific course recommendations).
  5. Aside from coursework what else should I do to prepare for graduate school? In a word - research. Graduate programs are becoming increasingly competitive and one way that you can distinguish yourself is by demonstrating the ability to complete a research project. The psychology faculty at Spring Hill offer many opportunities for upper level students to gain valuable undergraduate research experience. Most of our faculty members have ongoing research projects and would love to have your help. Additionally, seniors are encouraged to enroll in Senior Research where they will design their own research project, collect data, and present their findings.
  6. When should I take the GRE and what is a “good” score? The GRE or Graduate Record Examination is an aptitude test required by virtually all graduate programs in psychology. Most students take the exam during the summer or early fall of their senior year. The GRE is divided into 3 sections - verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing. You will receive a score for each section. The average score on the verbal subsection is about 460 points and the average for quantitative is 580 (range for each is 200-800). The writing scores are on a different scale with a range from 0-6 with an average 4.1. You should shoot for above average scores on each subsection but be aware that if you are interested in a clinical Ph.D. program you will likely have to score significantly above average. More specific guidelines can be given by your advisor.
  7. How often and where is the GRE given? How much does it cost? For answers to general questions regarding the GRE please visit their website:
  8. What classes/professors are the easiest? Nice try :-)

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