Bird's eye view of UVM Campus

Psychology majors are especially well-equipped to move into a wide range of careers after graduation. Because students in our program have acquired in-depth knowledge about why people think, feel, and behave as they do, the skills and knowledge they acquire are applicable to any vocation and are highly valued by employers.

Psychologists traditionally study both normal and abnormal functioning, and also treat patients with mental and emotional problems. They also concentrate on behaviors that affect the mental and emotional health and mental functioning of healthy human beings. For example, they work with business executives, performers, and athletes to reduce stress and improve performance. They advise lawyers on jury selection and collaborate with educators on school reform. Psychologists are Involved in all aspects of our fast-paced world.

Central goals of the Liberal Arts are to foster in students active citizenship and community engagement, the pursuit  of life-long learning, and future readiness for post-graduation careers.  Our Psychological Science major builds core competencies in:

  1. Analytical and Critical Thinking.  The ability to explore issues, ideas, knowledge, evidence, and values before accepting or formulating an opinion or conclusion.  This includes building awareness of one's personal biases.
  2. Quantitative Reasoning/Applied Data Interpretation. The ability to apply basic mathematical skills to the interpretation of data to solve a disciplinary problem.
  3. Written, Visual, and Oral Communication. The ability to listen and observe with objectivity and communicate effectively in writing, visually and orally.

Read more about all of the core competencies you will develop as a student in the UVM College of Arts and Sciences (link)


  • Jenn Staples

    Psychologist and patient advocate

    Jenn Staples ’09, a fifth-generation Vermonter from Morrisville, began her college career at Hofstra University. But Long Island wasn’t the right cultural fit, so she transferred to UVM her sophomore year. Staples gravitated to psychology, largely through her experience growing up with an older gay sister who now identifies as genderqueer (an umbrella term for those whose gender identity falls outside the masculine/feminine binary) and uses "they/them" pronouns. “They were my role model and my hero, so I was used to standing up for them. I saw psychology as a discipline that would give me the tools to be a good ally and advocate.” A first-generation college student—following in her sister’s footsteps—Staples found a mentor early in her UVM career: clinical psychologist Dr. Alessandra Rellini, who studies human sexuality including revictimization of adults with a history of childhood sexual abuse. She recognized Staples’ gifts as a researcher and advocate. Rellini helped her complete her application to a Ph.D. program at the University of Washington—Staples graduated in 2017.

    Read more of Jenn's story.


How we can help

The Department of Psychological Science is committed to helping you reach your career goals, offering several areas that can enhance your career potential, including:

  • Getting research experience in a faculty member's laboratory
  • Writing letters of recommendation
  • Providing basic coursework required by most employers
  • Helping you develop independent study experiences in the community
  • Suggesting library and web sources for further information about your career choices

Tips on applying to graduate school