Exploring the possibilities of human potential.

Delving deep into things like behavior, emotion, the brain, human thoughts and how they drive actions is enlightening to say the least. That is the fundamental core of the field of psychology. And when you pursue those areas at a place with a rich history in the liberal arts and spirituality—a place like Marian—it opens even more amazing doors of understanding.

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The Program

The psychology program at Marian is about empowering students with an understanding of the major concepts, theories and historical trends that impact the field. As a student in the program, you’ll apply research methods, including data analysis, as well as psychological principles to foster a better understanding of a broad array of personal, organizational and social issues.

For more details regarding this program, view Marian’s Academic Bulletin.

Sample Course Plan:
Download Sample Course Plan

Liberal arts core
45 credits:

A course designed to enhance students’ composition and critical-thinking skills, by providing experiences with a range of writing strategies, with emphasis on expository and argumentative prose. Students develop their awareness of the resources of language and of the stages in the writing process. The course aims to make students competent in standard edited English and to prepare them for the writing they will do in college and in their careers. The course also introduces students to the principles of college research, with emphasis on analytical reading of research material, focused use of sources, and the methodology of citation and documentation. It acquaints students with techniques of interviewing and conducting surveys, as well as with search strategies involving resources in print. The course provides guidance for students as they apply research principles to subjects within their disciplines or areas of interest.

A survey of world civilizations from the 16th century to the present. Exploration of the cultural, political and economic development of humankind in a global context.

This introductory philosophy course builds on the critical reading and thinking outcomes students will have achieved in the First Year Seminar, and prepares students for their future studies and for life by leading them to develop their abilities in three outcome areas: Interpretive Reasoning, Critical Reasoning, and Global Citizenship. Through engagement with historical, multicultural, and contemporary texts students will learn how to interpret texts, move from evidence to conclusions, and use their interpretations and conclusions to live a more examined life.

An introduction to the science of psychology through a survey of the biological, intra-psychic, and social bases of behavior. Major topics include cognition, sensation and perception, motivation and emotion, personality, behavior disorders, and social elements of behavior.


A survey of the changes which occur during the entire lifespan as people develop: physical, motor, cognitive, moral, and social-emotional. Developmental theory and research data are critically considered. Application of existing knowledge about the variables which affect the course of development is emphasized.

An introduction to Christian theology understood as the critical and reflective study of God’s revelation through the person, life, and teaching of Jesus Christ and of the implications of this revelation. Proceeding from the Catholic intellectual tradition and incorporating perspectives of other Christian traditions, this study aims to present theology as a striving for the harmony of faith and reason. Through critical study and reflection, students are introduced to specific concepts, terminology, and methodologies needed to participate well in on-going theological dialogue. Students have the opportunity to apply and reflect on their knowledge in written work, presentations, service-learning, community service, and/or retreat experiences.

ART xxx Art Elective
BIO xxx Biological, Ecological, Environmental Science Elective
ENG xxx Literature Elective
HIS 2xx History Elective
MAT xxx Math Elective
MUS xxx Music Elective
PHI 2xx Philosophy Elective
PHS xxx Physical Science, Chemistry or Physics Elective
SOC xxx Sociology Elective
THE 2xx Theology Elective

Psychology Core
36 credits as follows:
21 required credits:

An introduction to the science of psychology through a survey of the biological, intra-psychic, and social bases of behavior. Major topics include cognition, sensation and perception, motivation and emotion, personality, behavior disorders, and social elements of behavior.

A survey of the changes which occur during the entire lifespan as people develop: physical, motor, cognitive, moral, and social-emotional. Developmental theory and research data are critically considered. Application of existing knowledge about the variables which affect the course of development is emphasized.


MAT 001 Basic Algebra, Appropriate math placement test score or MAT 001 with grade of C or higher

An interdisciplinary introduction to the basic principles of data analysis with an emphasis on application. Students are expected to apply these principles to data analysis in their respective areas of study. The applied focus is on the computerized application of summary statistics, one/two/multi-sample tests, linear models, association tests, randomness/normality tests, time series comparison, quality control charts and probability distributions as used across a variety of community and organizational settings. Other techniques may be added as appropriate for specific disciplines.


This course explores the major types of psychopathology to include anxiety disorders, personality disorders, mood disorders, schizophrenia, organic brain disorders, substance-related disorders, somatoform disorders, dissociative disorders, eating disorders, sleeping disorders, mental retardation, adjustment disorders, sexual and gender identity disorders, impulse control disorders and delirium, dementia and amnestic disorders. Emphasis is given to the issues surrounding classification, etiology and treatment.


A survey of development of modern psychology from its physiological and philosophical roots to the present status of various contemporary theories and systems.


This course presents the basic principles and methods of social science research. Students are introduced to techniques for critical analysis of the professional practice literature and how, as consumers, they can incorporate research findings in practice. Students also acquire knowledge and skills for applying research in their practice. Similarities between the research and problem-solving processes are identified, beginning with conceptualization of the research question, followed by determination of the appropriate design and methodology, and concluding with qualitative and quantitative data analysis and presentation of findings. Professional values and ethics, as well as sensitivity to human diversity, are subsumed within the conduct of research.

(Psychology majors only) A forum for discussion for graduating seniors. Completion of a project which demonstrates the student’s ability to integrate and apply acquired knowledge in psychology is required.

15 elective credits, from the following:

This course is designed to provide the student with a thorough understanding of gangs, theories of gang formation, gang behavior, and policies implemented to address them. Upon completion of this course, students should have a good understanding about what a gang is, how gang violence is functional, and how the existence of gang criminal activity has impacted criminal justice policy (prosecution, courts, prisons, probation and parole).

This course studies the different types of child abuse. Central to this course is an extensive review and examination of the multiple causes and intricate familial dynamics of abuse. Both the physical and behavioral indicators of the victim are also studied as well as potential family intervention strategies.

(AGS students only)   A study of topics that include descriptive statistics and data analysis; elementary probability; binomial, hypergeometric and normal probability models; the central limit theorem; confidence intervals; elementary hypothesis testing; linear regression; and correlation. A major goal of this course is the application of these topics to problems arising from the natural sciences, the social sciences, the health industry and the business environment.


An investigation of the influences of social factors on individual behavior, the role of social cognition when people interact, interpersonal and group dynamics, and application of social-psychological research data to various situations.

A course allowing for instruction in areas not included in the regular psychology curriculum.

A consideration of the physical, cultural, and intrapersonal aspects of sexuality in light of how they affect the growth and occurrence of sexual behavior. The conceptual core of this course is the idea
that human sexual behavior follows the same rules and is directed to many of the same ends as other human behavior.

An examination of the relationship between brain chemistry and behavior. Special attention is paid to drug use/abuse and the application of drugs to the treatment of psychological disorders.

A survey of major theories of personality functioning, covering such areas as the nature, determinants, development, structure, motivational bases, and dynamic operations of the human personality. Examples of theories from the following areas are treated: psychodynamic, behavior and learning, cognitive, humanistic-phenomenological, trait, and Eastern. Each theory is critically analyzed in terms of its assumptions, logical cohesiveness, research support, and applications.

Positive psychology focuses on the strengths within the individual versus the more traditional focus of pathology. A comparison between past psychological theories and this more contemporary theory of psychology will be explored. The course will teach students how to evaluate, understand, and how to identify strengths within themselves and others. Additionally this course will offer the opportunity to learn how to utilize these identified strengths in order to reach greater levels of happiness, accomplishment and satisfaction.

A focus on practical techniques derived from theory and research in learning. Emphasis is on assessment, intervention, and evaluation in both clinical and non-clinical settings.

A survey of a broad range of psychopathological disorders which can affect children and adolescents. Attention is given to description, assessment, theoretical and empirical explanations for and treatment of the disorders.

Focuses on the production and application of psychological knowledge and research findings to both civil and the criminal justice systems. Topics include competency evaluations of criminal defendants and of the elderly, screening/selection of law enforcement applicants, the delivery and evaluation of intervention and treatment programs for juvenile and adult offenders, police and investigative psychology, and psychopathy.

Exposure to the realities of work through experiences in settings where psychological services are being provided.

This course examines the underlying basis for human skills in learning, perception, attention and memory, language, problem solving, and decision-making. The focus is on current knowledge about the processes, structures, and mechanisms that contribute to human cognition. Some application of this knowledge to fields such as law, education, and clinical psychology will be included.

24 credits:

University electives

The Psychology major adheres to the American Psychology Association’s guidelines for undergraduate psychology.


The purpose of the Psychology Program is to enhance students’ lives through the pursuit of psychological knowledge and understanding by focusing on the cognitive and social aspects of human beings and the numerous variables, which influence their actions. Students are encouraged to explore and learn more about the various fields in psychology and apply that knowledge through field experiences, internships, and research that enhances the student’s understanding and critical analysis of key psychological concepts.

Learning Objectives

  • Demonstrate understanding of APA-informed ethical principles
  • Apply psychological scientific knowledge and reasoning to real world examples across a variety of settings
  • Demonstrate the ability to utilize and interpret various statistical procedures and tests
  • Show understanding of historical background in psychology
  • Demonstrate ability to work effectively with others in a team
  • Exhibit the ability to effectively write using APA style

Powerful results. That’s what you can expect from Marian’s Psychology Program. You’ll find many of the program’s graduates have gone on to graduate or professional school to enhance their learning and pursue an advanced degree. Marian graduates have been accepted into graduate programs at Cardinal Stritch University, Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Edgewood College, Medical College of Wisconsin, Mount Mary University, Roosevelt University, University of Iowa College of Law, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. And according to the U.S. Department of Labor, the need for psychologists is projected to grow by 22 percent—adding 37,700 positions—between 2010 and 2020.

In the Psychology Program at Marian University, our goal is to prepare students for an in depth understanding of psychology from both a theoretical and applied perspective training our students to understand the importance and substance of research, while gaining an applied knowledge of the field

96% of our students demonstrated competency in working on team projects which is key to success within the work environment.The majority of our psychology majors choose to take field experience and are placed in a variety of psychology related agencies working with survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, the mentally ill, homeless, and those with emotional or behavioral issues.

Over 85% of Marian psychology graduates are employed in the field of psychology. Recent graduates are employed as autism line therapists, children’s behavioral specialists, human resources specialists, patient advocates, child welfare specialists, and much more.

Over 50% of Marian alumni complete a master’s degree program within two years. Graduate schools Marian University psychology students have been accepted into include: Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Wisconsin School of Professional Psychology, Florida State University, University of Massachusetts – Lowell, University of Wisconsin -Stout, Concordia University, Lakeland College, and many more.

Employment: 94% of Marian graduates are employed within six months of graduation from the Psychology Program.

To hear a bit more about the program from the program director, click here.


Marian University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

The Marian psychology program is recognized for its quality, offering a depth and breadth of understanding to students. As a graduate of the program, you’ll be prepared for a career in human services or in the nonprofit sector, as well as for graduate school where you can pursue a career in psychology, counseling, law or medicine.

Psychology majors must achieve an average GPA of 2.5 in their psychology coursework before graduation.

Tracey Marx

Andrea Wolf

Amy Hennings, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

Ciara Kidder, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Gina Possin, M.S.
Assistant Professor

Jennifer Schultz, M.A.

As a student in the psychology program, you’ll be able to take advantage of educationally driven internships, designed to connect theory with real-world practice. You’ll benefit from working in a broad array of professional settings. Recent internship sites include Boys and Girls Club, Doll and Associates, Family Resource Center, Fond du Lac Public Schools, Washington County Council of Alcohol and Drug Abuse and Winnebago Mental Health Institution.

Apply Now

For more information, please contact:

Adult and Online Studies

Amy Hennings, M.A.
Associate Professor