PSYC 1800: Careers in Psychology

(Fall II 2018)


Dr. Linda M. Woolf

Office Hours:


Kuther, T. L., & Morgan, R. D. (2013). Careers in psychology: Opportunities in a changing world (4th ed.) Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning. ISBN 978-1133049678

Catalog Description

Provides students with career information for the field of psychology. Students are given guidance on how to search for and apply to graduate programs and internships, create personal statements, develop a resume, and find jobs within the field of psychology. Prerequisite: PSYC 1100 or permission of instructor.

Expanded Course Description:

Thinking of completing a degree in psychology? What are your career goals once you graduate? Do you need or want a graduate degree? A degree in psychology is an incredibly flexible degree that opens doors with either a Bachelor's, Master's, or Doctoral degree. In this course, we will discuss the myriad of opportunities that are available to individuals at these various degree levels as well as the path needed to achieve your goals. We will discuss the three different majors (i.e., B.A. Psychology, Emphasis Mental Health; B.A. Psychology; B.S. Psychology) available at Webster, information about career planning, admission to graduate school, and the variety of job opportunities. We will also look at the nuts/bolts of topics such as resumes, CVs, personal statements, and interviewing.

Learning Outcomes: Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  1. Outcomes: Determine whether psychology is a field for you by thinking critically about your strengths, likes, and attitudes and whether they match with those typically seen in this field.

  2. Outcome: Describe and differentiate between various career options for those individuals with the psychology degree.

  3. Outcomes: Identify the educational and professional requirements for various psychology-related careers.

  4. Outcomes: Conduct occupational research in order to identify responsibilities, required skills, work setting, required education/training, and growth potential related the your possible career path.

  5. Outcomes: Articulate a possible career path for yourself and additional optional paths.

  6. Outcomes: Describe how to optimize your undergraduate training and opportunities here at Webster by describing the skills you will need to reach your goals and how you may obtain these skills.

  7. Outcomes: Begin preparations for getting into graduate school and/or finding a job related to your major by describing typical graduate programs and jobs, evaluating personal statements and resumes, and demonstrating that you can search for graduate programs and jobs.

  8. Outcomes: Draft a Resume and/or Curriculum Vita.

Incoming Competencies/Prerequisites:

PSYC 1100 or permission of the instructor. If you do not have the prerequisite for the class you need to see me ASAP.

Class Meetings:

The class will meet on three consecutive Mondays & Wednesday from 2:00 - 3:50. As we will only be meeting six times (October 29, 31; November 5, 7, 12, 14), attendance is required.

Course Requirements:

Pre-course career/goals statement, occupational research presentation, final portfolio (Personal statement; strengths analysis; CV/resume; four-year plan; and final careers/goals statement); in-class participation; and online discussion.

All grades will be assigned on a scale of 0 - 10 with:

90 - 100A-, ASuperior Work
80 - 89B-, B, B+Good Work
70 - 79C-, C, C+Satisfactory Work
60 - 69D, D+Passing, but less than Satisfactory (not passing if a requirement for the major or general education)
Less than 60FFailing

Percent of Grade:

Pre-Course Career/Goals Statement5%
OccupationalResearch Presentation 25%
Final Portfolio 40%
In Class Particpation/Discussion 15%
Online Class Participation/Discussion15% (5% each week)

Pre-course Career/Goals Statement: A two page essay is required by October 30 (submit via WorldClassRoom/Canvas). This essay will include a statement concerning your possible career goals, why you think this career would be good for you, what steps you think you need to complete to be successful in this career. You should also discuss how you think you have already prepared yourself for this career and what skills you already possess to make this a successful career choice.

OccupationalResearch Presentation: Students, in pairs, will be responsible for preparing a detailed description of ONE occupation within or related to the field of psychology. You should include the educational requirements and corresponding degree, a description of the job responsibilities, the skills required, any specialized training/licensure, the work setting, salary information, growth potential in the field and at least two "related occupations." Presentation times and occupation assignments will be discussed and assigned during the first week of class. Given the number of students in our class, each presentation should be approximately 10 MINUTES in length, with another 2 minutes allotted for questions/discussion. You should include any information that would be helpful for a student thinking about pursuing this career. For example, you might include links to professional associations, salary information, suggested readings, etc. Finally, be sure that it is clear where you are getting your information (i.e., cite your sources).

The website includes interviews with real people who are working in various careers in psychology. This would be a good resource for you to get a sense of "what someone does" in the field that is of interest to you. Finally, you may wish to refer to the Researching Careers and Employers Handout developed by the Webster University Career Services Center available at

Final Portfolio (Due Date: November 24): Portfolios provide you with an opportunity to organize and effectively display evidence of your learning and professional growth during this course. In addition, the portfolio may be thought of as a "living document" that you can modify and add to throughout your academic and professional career. A portfolio is intended to be a collection of documents that can serve as a resource for you to use for obtaining future employment as well as for graduate school applications. Typically, materials should be indexed and organized logically. A main or title page should be included as well as a table of contents. Portfolio components should be clearly identified by labeling each component with an appropriate title. Components may include materials for this class that you revise over time but also literature reviews, research papers, etc. For this class and to start your professional portfolio, you will need to include the following:

Additional Information

Strengths analysis and relationship to career goals: Students will complete the two Careers Inventories provided on Canvas. We will discuss these in class. You will take these inventories and write a 2-3 page essay analyzing your strengths and the relationship of these strengths to your potential career goals.

Personal/Professional Statement: You are either to draft a personal statement for admission to a graduate program or a professional statement for a job. Examples will be provided and discussed in class.

CV/Resume: Given the career-development focus of our course, you will need to begin to develop some tools and skills that will help you achieve your professional goals. To this end, you will be responsible for creating (or revising) a professional resume and/or a Curriculum Vita (CV).

For this assignment, you will need to prepare a professional resume (which includes some similar information to the CV but is focused on obtaining a job) OR an academic CV (which includes some similar information to the resume but is focused on academic settings such as graduate school and research-focused positions). Sample resumes and CVs can be found in your textbook. You may also wish to refer to the "Writing a Resume" helpful handout created by the Webster University Career Planning & Development Center available at

Every student will need to create a first draft and then consult with a Career Advisor to discuss your resume/CV and how you can improve upon it in light of your professional goals. A Career Counselor from the Webster University Career Planning & Development Center (located at 568 Garden Ave.) should be able to provide resume feedback through individual appointments or via email within a few business days. Based on this consultation and the Peer Feedback, you will then submit a revised resume/CV for professor review as part of your final portfolio,

Four-Year Plan: This exercise is intended to provide you with an opportunity to "map out" your remaining time at Webster and perhaps, the years immediately following graduation, so that you can make the most of your time here. For this assignment, you will need to review the requirements for obtaining a degree in Psychology and then draft a "Four Year Plan" for yourself. What courses do you need to take and when during your academic career? In addition to the coursework, include when you might pursue additional experiences relevant to your own professional development (e.g., volunteer opportunities, research experience, internships, etc.) and when you might begin to search for and apply to jobs, graduate programs, etc. If you are finishing (or close to finishing) your degree, you should include the years immediately following graduation, if you will be doing additional preparatory work for your career or to gain admission to graduate school. It should be 2-3 pages, exclusive of cover page and references.

Final Career/Goal Statement: Where do you see yourself after graduation? In five years? Ten years? Twenty years? What level of education will you have achieved? What specialized training or licensure will be necessary to accomplish your goal? In what setting will you be working? With what population? What makes you a good fit for such a career? Might you find yourself in a leadership role?

For this project, you will need to reflect on and respond to these sorts of questions. You will need to articulate a specific career goal for yourself and describe strategies to facilitate your achievement of this goal. Throughout your paper, you should refer to relevant sections of our text, in-class discussions, and other sources of information as you discuss strategies for working toward your goal. This final paper should be written in APA-format. It should be between 3-5 pages, excluding cover page and references.

All papers should be submitted electronically through Canvas.

In-Class Participation: Your participation in this class is very important. Hence, active participation is required. Note that sitting quietly in the back of the room does not constitute active participation. Participation will be evaluated not on the amount of talking you do in class, but rather the quality of what you bring to the class discussion.

Online Discussion: There will be weekly discussions questions throughout the three week class. You are required to actively participate in these discussions. Your participation will be graded on both the quantity and quality of your postings. Although there is no specific day/time at which you must log in, it is strongly recommend that you log in several times per week to participate. Note that there are deadlines for first and second responses. As an absolute minimum, you should not only post your response to the discussion questions but also respond at minimum once to provide feedback to your fellow classmates. Remember that "at minimum" translates into a C grade. The discussions are comparable to in-class group discussions.

The first post is a substantial comment on the discussion topic, preferably a few paragraphs and must be completed before Friday at midnight. The second post is a substantial comment to a peer post and must be made by Sunday night (11:59 pm). Don't simply log into the system and provide a "throw-away" comment at 11:57 pm to complete the requirement. Discussion involves reading and responding to your colleagues thoughts, ideas, and questions. Note that you may want to draft your comments in a Word document and then cut/paste into Canvas.

When participating in the discussion forum, consider the following:

Make sure you post substantive comments in both your initial post and your comment on a post from your peers. Reference course content and spend time reflecting on what you have learned thus far in the course.

Policy Statements:

Use of Electronic Devices in the Classroom: Please respect others in the class by turning off all cell phones before entering the room. Text messaging during class is not acceptable. Laptops may be used in class but are only to be utilized for class related activities (e.g., taking notes). If it becomes apparent you are using the computer for non-class activities (e.g., checking your email, Facebook, playing games) then you may be asked to turn off your computer and refrain from bringing it into class in the future. Laptop use is restricted to the back or sides of the classroom so that other students are not distracted during lecture. Please be aware that according to research published in Psychological Science has demonstrated that taking hand-written notes leads to better processing of information and higher exam scores!

Plagiarism (attempting to pass off the work of another as one's own) is not acceptable. Plagiarism includes copying all or part of another's writings (even a single sentence), inappropriate paraphrasing, using another student's paper as your own, submitting a paper for more than one class. All papers will be submitted to the university's plagiarism database for review. Plagiarism, either intentional or unintentional, will result in a grade of 0 for that assignment but also may be turned over to the appropriate university source for disciplinary action and a grade of F for the course. In addition, cheating on exams will also result in the same fate.

Here are some Web sites that will help you avoid the problem of plagiarism particularly plagiarism resulting from paraphrasing too closely to the original source. -

Students with disabilities who believe that they may need accommodations in this class are encouraged to contact me or the Director of the Academic Resource Center, as soon as possible to ensure that such accommodations can be implemented in a timely fashion.

Late withdraws from this class will not be approved by the instructor except in cases of emergency discussed with the instructor. No late withdraws will be approved on the basis of poor class performance.

This syllabus is subject to change at the instructor's discretion. All changes concerning course requirements will be provided in writing. Changes concerning exam dates may be made at the instructor's discretion and communicated verbally to the class.

It is understood that remaining in this course (not dropping or withdrawing from this course) constitutes an agreement to abide by the terms outlined in this syllabus and an acceptance of the requirements outlined in this document. No grade of Incomplete will be issued for this course.



Topic and Readings

Week One Introduction to the Class

Resumes, CVs, Social Media presence, Personal Statements, Oh My!

Reading: Chapter 12
Week Two Choosing a Major and Career

What can Psychology do for You!

Should I go to Graduate School?

Reading: Chapter 1, 13, 14
Week ThreeCareer Options - Presentations

Final Discussion/Questions

Reading: Chapters 2-11