Department of Psychology

Learning Outcomes

The psychology department has developed 10 student learning goals which we believe will serve students well whether they pursue an advanced degree or move directly into the workforce. We also believe our goals will prepare students to become competent, informed and engaged global citizens.

FLC Psychology Department Learning Goals (2013 and beyond)
(modified from American Psychological Association. (2007). APA guidelines for the undergraduate psychology major. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved from

These 10 key goals are organized below under FLC’s 4 main outcomes (I-IV) of a liberal arts education.

I. Learning as Inquiry

GOAL 1: Knowledge Base of Psychology

Demonstrate familiarity with the major concepts, theoretical perspectives, empirical findings, and historical trends in psychology.

Specific Learning Outcomes

1.1  Characterize the nature of psychology as a discipline.

1.2  Demonstrate knowledge and understanding representing appropriate breadth and depth in core and elective content areas of psychology.

1.3  Use the concepts, language, and major theories of the discipline to account for psychological phenomena.

1.4  Explain major perspectives of psychology (e.g., behavioral, biological, cognitive, evolutionary, humanistic, psychodynamic, and sociocultural).

GOAL 2: Research Methods in Psychology

Understand and apply basic research methods in psychology, including research design, data analysis, and interpretation.

Specific Learning Outcomes

2.1  Describe the basic characteristics of the science of psychology.

2.2  Explain different research methods used by psychologists.

2.3  Evaluate the appropriateness of conclusions derived from psychological research.

2.4  Design and conduct basic studies to address psychological questions using appropriate research methods.

2.5  Follow the APA Ethics Code in the treatment of human and nonhuman participants in the design, data collection, interpretation, and reporting of psychological research.

GOAL 3: Values in Psychology

Value empirical evidence, tolerate ambiguity, act ethically, and reflect other values that are the underpinnings of psychology as a science.

Specific Learning Outcomes

3.1  Recognize the necessity of ethical behavior in all aspects of the science and practice of psychology.

3.2  Demonstrate reasonable skepticism and intellectual curiosity by asking questions about causes of behavior.

3.3  Seek and evaluate scientific evidence for psychological claims.

3.4  Tolerate ambiguity and realize that psychological explanations are often complex and tentative.

3.5  Recognize and respect human diversity.

3.6  Assess and justify their engagement with respect to civic, social, and global responsibilities.

II. Critical Thinking as Problem Solving

GOAL 4: Critical Thinking Skills in Psychology

Respect and use critical and creative thinking, skeptical inquiry, and, when possible, the scientific approach to solve problems related to behavior and mental processes.

Specific Learning Outcomes

4.1  Use critical thinking effectively.

4.2  Engage in creative thinking.

4.3  Use reasoning to recognize, develop, defend, and criticize arguments and other persuasive appeals.

                       III. Communication as Intellectual Contribution  


GOAL 5: Information and Technological Literacy

Demonstrate information competence and the ability to use computers and other technology for many purposes.

Specific Learning Outcomes          

5.1  Demonstrate information competence to locate and chose relevant sources from appropriate media and evaluate their suitability

5.2  Use appropriate software to produce understandable reports of the psychological literature, methods, and statistical and qualitative analyses in APA or other appropriate style, including graphic representations of data.

5.3  Use information and technology ethically and responsibly (i.e., academic integrity).

GOAL 6: Communication Skills

Communicate effectively in a variety of formats.

Specific Learning Outcomes

6.1  Demonstrate effective writing skills and use of APA style.

6.2  Demonstrate effective oral communication skills.

6.3  Exhibit the ability to collaborate effectively.

IV. Action as a Responsible Application of Academic Learning

GOAL 7: Application of Psychology

Understand and apply psychological principles to personal, social, and organizational issues.

Specific Learning Outcomes

7.1  Describe major applied areas (e.g., clinical, counseling, social work, etc.) and emerging (e.g., health, forensics, community, positive, etc.) applied areas of psychology.

7.2  Identify appropriate applications of psychology in solving real-world problems.

7.3  Articulate how psychological principles can be used to explain social issues and inform public policy.

7.4  Apply psychological concepts, theories, and research findings as these relate to everyday life.

GOAL 8: Sociocultural and International Awareness

Recognize, understand, and respect the complexity of sociocultural and international diversity.

Specific Learning Outcomes

8.1  Interact effectively and sensitively with people of diverse abilities, backgrounds, and cultural perspectives.

8.2  Examine the sociocultural and international contexts that influence individual differences.

GOAL 9: Personal Development

Develop insight into their own and others’ behavior and mental processes and apply effective strategies for self-management and self-improvement.

Specific Learning Outcomes

9.1  Reflect on their experiences and find meaning in them.

9.2  Apply psychological principles to promote personal development.

GOAL 10: Career Planning and Development

Pursue realistic ideas about how to implement their psychological knowledge, skills, and values in occupational pursuits in a variety of settings that meet personal goals and societal needs.

Specific Learning Outcomes

10.1  Identify the types of academic experience and performance in psychology and the liberal arts that will facilitate entry into the workforce, post-baccalaureate education, or both.

10.2  Describe preferred career paths based on accurate self-assessment of abilities, achievement, motivation, and work habits.

10.3  Identify and develop skills and experiences relevant to achieving selected career goals.

10.4  Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of lifelong learning and personal flexibility to sustain personal and professional development as the nature of work evolves.