Department of Psychology at Illinois State University

Frequently Asked Questions About Psychology at Illinois State

Can psychology majors graduate in four years?
The undergraduate program requires 56-58 hours of coursework (depending on the year of admission to Illinois State), so graduation in four years is possible.

How many undergraduate majors are there?
The Department of Psychology has over 500 undergraduate majors.

Are scholarships available for psychology majors?
The Department of Psychology offers two scholarships for psychology majors. The Walter Vernon Scholarship in Psychology is for sophomores. The Edwin A. Payne Memorial Award is for seniors. For more information about scholarships, please see our Undergraduate Scholarships and Awards Web site at

How large are the Psychology classes?
PSY 111, the lab sections of PSY 138 and PSY 231, and most 300-level content courses are limited to 30 students per section. Enrollment in other 100-, 200- and 300-level courses varies.

Do graduate students teach classes?
Graduate students, under faculty supervision, teach the lab components of the statistics and research methods courses. Content courses are rarely taught by graduate students.

What is the faculty to student ratio in the department?
The psychology faculty to student ratio is approximately 1:13.

Is math proficiency required for the psychology major?
Psychology majors are required to complete one of the following college-level math courses: MAT 120, 121, 144, or 145, with a grade of “C” or better. In addition, two statistics courses are required for the major: PSY 138 and 340.

Does Illinois State offer a minor in psychology?
Illinois State offers a minor in Psychology that requires 24 hours of coursework.

Does Illinois State offer a teaching program for secondary education in psychology?
Illinois State does not offer a teacher education program for secondary education in psychology.

Is the psychology program APA accredited?
The American Psychological Association only provides accreditation for doctoral programs. Our doctoral program in School Psychology is an APA accredited program.

What kind of job opportunities exist for psychology majors with a bachelor's degree?
Job opportunities vary with each individual student. Psychology majors develop transferable skills such as communication and analytical skills, interpersonal skills, and self-efficacy skills that prepare them for pursuing a wide range of career paths. Students are encouraged to participate in our out-of-class experiences to enhance further skill development and marketability for future employment.

Is graduate school required for psychology majors?
If the intent is to work at an entry-level position in an area related to psychology, then graduate school is not necessary; most psychology majors do not pursue advanced degrees. However, certain professional positions within the discipline of psychology require a graduate degree.

What psychology graduate programs does Illinois State offer?
The Department of Psychology offers two graduate programs at the master's level and one graduate program at the specialist and doctoral level. The master's programs are Clinical-Counseling Psychology, and Psychology with graduate sequences in Cognitive and Behavioral Sciences, Industrial/Organizational-Social Psychology, Developmental Psychology, and Quantitative Psychology. A specialist degree and doctoral degree are offered in School Psychology.

How much education is required to become a psychologist?
In order to be classified professionally as a psychologist, a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degree is required. These degrees require five to six years of graduate study.

What is the difference between a Ph.D. and Psy.D.?
Both are doctorate degrees. A Psy.D. is practitioner based, while a Ph.D. is research based. A psychologist with a Ph.D. develops and conducts research; a psychologist with a Psy.D. uses research results in his or her practice.

What is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist?
Psychologists hold doctoral degrees in Psychology, which are available in a broad range of subfields. Psychiatrists are physicians with medical degrees who specialize in the assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental illness.