Program Description and Goals

        Psychology is a diverse field of inquiry. As a result, "psychology" is often defined in a variety of ways both professionally and popularly. At the University of Sioux Falls, the faculty see psychology as the scientific study of behavior. That definition offers both disciplined and flexible study from a variety of perspectives. As a scientific endeavor, we believe that to understand behavior in its many forms we should utilize an empirical approach. Thus, we ask questions about ourselves and objectively study behavior through a variety of methods to learn about how and why people act as they do rather than merely speculate about ourselves. We do not conduct research for its own sake, however. In addition to learning about behavior, psychologists are compelled to apply what we learn to everyday living, both normal and abnormal.

        Now, "scientific study of behavior" may sound dry and unappealing to something as interesting as behavior. However,  a fantastic aspect of science is the interplay of disciplined study and creativity. Psychologists must be able to think of precise, manageable, and new ways to study and interpret behavior. Often we need to design new ways to study both old and new phenomena in a world that is both stable and dynamic. USF’s psychology students and faculty work together to integrate accepted sound research methods and our new ideas to learn about behavior.


        The psychology program develops students’ critical thinking, problem solving, and writing skills as they learn the discipline of psychology.  Students will develop their understanding of the basic principles, theories, research and applied methods of the field. In conjunction with the general education core and the result of studying psychology within a Christian context, students will enhance and expand their appreciation of psychology’s role in the liberal arts, service to others, their own lives, being a citizen, and their vocations.