Home to one of the nation’s first psychology departments, UChicago is the birthplace of the study of behaviorism and the empirical investigation of sleep and dreams. Originally founded as the Laboratory of Psychology in 1893, the Department of Psychology at the University of Chicago has been for a century a leading center of scholarship, research, and teaching in psychology and related fields. Among its distinguished faculty and students have been James Rowland Angell; John Dewey; George Herbert Mead; John B. Watson, the founder of behaviorism; L. L. Thurstone, a pioneer in psychological measurement; and Roger Sperry, Nobel Prize winner for his work in cerebral lateralization. Today, faculty members investigate such topics as the behavior of nonhuman primates, auditory space perception, and gesture and speech in children.
The requirements of the BA in Psychology, together with the department’s broad range of course offerings, allow students to tailor programs to their own talents and goals. For example, students can specialize in biopsychology, cognition and communication, developmental psychology, human development, mental health, research methodology and quantitative psychology, or social and organizational psychology. The program may serve as preparation for graduate work in psychology, in related fields (e.g., sociology, anthropology, linguistics), or in the communication and information sciences. Psychology courses are also suitable for Biological Sciences majors who are interested in the relations between physiology, mind, and behavior, as well as for mathematics majors who are interested in the applications of quantitative methods. Students who foresee a profession in law, public health, urban planning, personnel management, social work, education, or journalism also find the program valuable. Psychology may interest students who are still focusing their goals and are considering the social sciences or a public service profession. Students must satisfy a research requirement through an honors thesis, taking a research course, or working with a faculty member on a research project.