A psychologist sits and listens to a patient in his office.


Have you ever asked yourself why people do the things they do? Psychology can provide knowledge and skills to begin to answer this question. Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and behavior and explores two critical relationships: one between brain function and behavior and another between the environment and behavior. Psychology is a multifaceted discipline with more than 50 specializations. We have 21 full-time faculty members whose training reflects the diverse field of psychology. This assures a broad coverage of areas in psychology and a wide choice of instructors. Psychology is one of the most popular majors at California State University, Chico! 

We offer coursework at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Our undergraduate major is a diverse 42-unit liberal arts program. Required courses in the major provide a solid foundation in the field’s methodological and scientific principles, while elective courses allow exploration of additional academic and applied topics. The major includes two laboratory courses, providing you with hands-on, direct experience with the methods and content of psychological science.

We have three master's programs in psychology including both an MA and an MS. Each graduate program contains different emphases. The MA in psychology has options in psychological science and applied psychology. The MA option in psychological sciences provides coursework for students planning to enter a doctoral program or to teach at a community college. The MA option in applied psychology prepares students for the Pupil Personnel Services Credential for school psychologist authorization. The MS in psychology meets the course content requirements for California marriage and family therapists licensure eligibility.


How do you know if psychology is the right major for you? Are you interested in working with people? Are you interested in understanding behavioral, biological, mental, and developmental processes? Are you curious about social, cultural, and environmental influences on our lives? Psychology fosters the capacity for critical thinking and problem-solving as well as developing practical and professional skills. A survey of students by the American Psychological Association reports that students select psychology because of its career possibilities and for its personal growth possibilities.

As a psychology major at Chico State, you will be a part of a community that fosters a diverse discipline and profession. We are breaking down social and structural barriers that have historically limited the potential of students. We understand that the advancement of psychology depends on promoting demographic and viewpoint diversity. We promote inclusive learning environments. We utilize modern, up-to-date laboratories and classrooms, including biopsychology, statistics, and counseling laboratories.

You can enhance your educational experience by getting involved. Choose an internship program where you can apply psychology in many local social agencies, businesses, and educational settings. Work in faculty research programs to develop research skills. Join student clubs Psi Chi and OnePsych to grow professionally, socialize with other students, network with faculty, and become involved in the Chico community.


What can you do with a degree in psychology? While the profession of psychology requires an advanced degree, more than 80% of our students graduating with a BA in psychology seek employment after graduation.

At the undergraduate level, the study of psychology is good preparation for numerous professions. According to O*NET (developed by the U.S. Department of Labor), psychological knowledge is ranked sixth in importance across 536 occupations. Five occupational areas where BA-level psychology majors report employment include health care, business, human resources, teaching, and social services. A degree in psychology is relevant in many career paths.

Many employers are interested in the skills that psychology majors can bring to the workplace. Psychologists contribute solutions to problems through careful collection of data, analysis of data, and development of intervention strategies—in other words, by applying scientific principles, the hallmark of psychology.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects opportunities in psychology to grow over the next decade. Future growth is expected in the fields of community and social services, health promotion, and working with older adults in many settings. All three of these areas are arenas in which psychology majors have much to contribute. The economic outlook for people willing to pursue graduate training in the field of psychology is very bright.

Graduates from our program indicate they love their work and report being pleased that what they studied in school has helped prepare them for both life and work.