Psychology Professor Presenting to Students.

Psychology

Explore the "how" and "why" behind human behavior, thought, motivation and more as a psychology major.

Why Study Psychology?

As a psychology major at USD, you will develop research, critical thinking and problem solving skills as you expand your understanding of the human mind and behavior. Here, you'll find many opportunities to follow your curiosity and get involved; from getting to know your peers in Psychology Club to working alongside expert faculty in research labs, the experiences available to psychology students extend far beyond the classroom. You'll graduate with a variety of skills and experiences that will set you up for success in your career or for medical or professional school. Psychology students like you go on to become psychologists, counselors, medical doctors, business managers, physical therapists, occupational therapists, public relations specialists, optometrists, chiropractors and attorneys.

Take on the challenges of tomorrow with a thoughtful and social scientific understanding of humans as a psychology major.


Degrees & Offerings

Psychology (B.A., B.S.)

Bachelor’s
  Vermillion Main Campus and Sioux Falls

Learn more about the mind and human behavior by studying psychology. A degree in psychology prepares you for a number of careers and graduate study fields in child development, biology, communications, criminal justice, health care, law, theology and more. The flexibility of this program makes it a great fit for students interested in double majoring or studying abroad.

Psychology: Disaster Response (B.A., B.S.)

Bachelor’s
  Vermillion Main Campus

Psychology

Minor
  Vermillion Main Campus, Sioux Falls and Online

Through the minor in psychology, you will learn about the mind and human behavior as you develop transferable skills that will serve you in any career. This program is a great complement to a variety of majors, including neuroscience, communication studies and philosophy.

Program Details

Undergraduate

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Department

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Admissions

Known for Excellence

With qualities like small class sizes, specialized programs and incredible student opportunities, USD is not your typical university. What makes us unique is what makes your education exceptional.

STUDENT OPPORTUNITIES

As a student at USD, the opportunities available to you extend beyond the classroom. Explore your interests, find your community and experience your education to the fullest extent through the following opportunities.

Two Students Utilizing a Research Lab.

In the USD Department of Psychology, students have access to valuable undergraduate research opportunities, studying everything from video games to alcohol use and personality to prejudice.

Our department is home to a dozen research labs – including brain-monitoring equipment, driving/flight simulators and an instrumented research vehicle. We also run a fully functioning mental health clinic and the Disaster Mental Health Institute — a world-class service and research center. The DMHI has trained professionals at organizations all over the world, such as the International Red Cross and the World Health Organization, teaching them how to respond to disasters to minimize the psychological effects. In fact, a graduate of the DMHI recently headed up the Red Cross disaster response in both Houston and Florida.

Psychology is much more than just laboratory research. Students have traveled the world, studying everything from cross-cultural psychology in London to evolutionary psychology in the Galapagos. The USD psychology major is flexible enough that you can study abroad while continuing progress toward your degree.
USD is home to more than 170 student organizations, including a club housed in the Department of Psychology.

Psychology Club

Psychology Club (also called Psi Chi) holds both social and educational events throughout the school year, including a kick-off ice cream social open to all students interested in psychology. 

Psi Chi is a local chapter of the National Honor Society for Psychology, promoting student involvement in ongoing department research and in developing their own research projects and sponsoring psychology-related events throughout the year. Christopher Berghoff, Ph.D., serves as the faculty advisor.

Explore Student Organizations

USD offers a range of scholarships for students, including scholarships specifically for communication studies majors. The Department of Psychology strives to recognize and reward outstanding students for their accomplishments and potential through scholarships and funding.

Learn More

Departments & Facilities

Explore the departments, facilities and centers that contribute to your education in psychology.
students looking at a laptop having a discussion with their professor

Psychology

Expand your understanding of the human mind and behavior as you develop strengths in research, critical thinking, advocacy and service.

A meeting in progress at the psychological services center between a faculty member and student.

Psychological Services Center

The Clinical Psychology program is committed to the scientist-practitioner model of training.

Faculty & Staff

Get to know your professors in the Department of Psychology. Our faculty serve as experts in their fields and maintain active research involving laboratory-based research, survey studies and/or community-based field research.
Bio Image for Faculty Member Douglas Peterson

Douglas Peterson

Chair-Psychology
Bio Image for Faculty Member Beth Boyd

Beth Boyd

Director-Clinical Psychology Program
Bio Image for Faculty Member Jan Berkhout

Jan Berkhout

Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Brianna Byllesby

Brianna Byllesby

Assistant Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member BreAnne Danzi

BreAnne Danzi

Assistant Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Michael Granaas

Michael Granaas

Director-Human Factors
Bio Image for Faculty Member Logan Hale

Logan Hale

Visiting Instructor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Timothy Ricker

Timothy Ricker

Assistant Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Raluca Simons

Raluca Simons

Director-DMHI, Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Gemma Skillman

Gemma Skillman

Senior Lecturer
Bio Image for Faculty Member Jong Sung Yoon

Jong Sung Yoon

Assistant Professor
Two Students Utilizing on of the Psychology Research Labs.

Access Exceptional Research Opportunities

One exciting aspect of your USD education is access to research opportunities as an undergraduate student. 

In the Department of Psychology, you'll find expert, world-renowned faculty who serve as mentors for psychology students like you. You'll learn in a space that is designed for exceptional research and service – boasting 12 research labs, the world-class Disaster Mental Health Institute and a psychological services center.
Psychology students talking in class.

Join a Legacy of Excellence

USD is home to the largest and most diverse psychology department in the state. We have the opportunities of a world-class psychology program while offering the flexibility and individualized attention of a smaller, specialized department.

We offer South Dakota’s only APA-accredited clinical psychology program and one of the longest running human factors programs in the country. The Department of Psychology has a long history of mentoring students for careers in clinical psychology, health professions, industry, law and government – and we are excited for you to find your home and your future here.​

Surprisingly Affordable

USD offers low tuition rates for in-state and out-of-state students, as well as scholarships, financial aid and employment opportunities to help make your education even more affordable.

Undergraduate Tuition & Costs

Learn more about tuition and fees for undergraduate students and see how your out-of-pocket costs at USD compare to those at other colleges and universities. Visit the Undergraduate Tuition & Costs Detailed page for program specific costs and fees. 

Financial Aid

Navigating options for how to pay for college can be challenging, but you are not alone. The Office of Financial Aid will work with you and your family to explore how you can make your college education even more affordable.

Scholarships

USD awards nearly $9.5 million in scholarships each year. View our scholarships to see which ones you may qualify for and how you can apply.



student success story

Josh Hayes smiling.
My degree in psychology was a deep dive into the intricate world of human cognition, behavior and societal dynamics. It sparked a curiosity to understand the underpinnings of human nature. The varied curriculum and specially chosen electives, provided a holistic educational experience. This experience culminated in a presentation at a national conference showcasing our 'ground-breaking' undergraduate research conducted at USD. My psychology degree empowered me with the knowledge and skills to apply psychological principles practically.

Josh Hayes

M.S. Technology for Education and Training '22
B.A. Psychology & Strategic Communication '18
Learning & Development Specialist, Sanford Health
Sioux Falls, South Dakota

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