Academic Program

The B.S. in Psychology is a program of study within the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences, and students can pursue an optional emphasis in Sport Psychology. The vision of the program is to equip graduates for continuing studies in various fields, and as practitioners and researchers dedicated to seeking, articulating, and disseminating truth. Courses include Theories of Personality, Abnormal Psychology, Advanced Research Methods, and Introduction to Neuroscience. All students in the program conduct original research, mentored by experienced researchers in the field. Students graduate from the program prepared as research consumers and practitioners with a distinctively biblical worldview. The Psychology program has adopted the 5 major learning objectives recommended by the American Psychological Association (August, 2013). The 6th objective supports the mission of Arizona Christian University to train students with a Christian worldview.

Psychology Program Objectives

  1. Knowledge Base in Psychology: Students will describe key concepts, principles, and overarching themes in psychology, develop knowledge of content domains, and describe applications of psychology.
  2. Scientific Inquiry and Critical Thinking: Students will use scientific reasoning to interpret psychological phenomena, demonstrate psychology information literacy, interpret design, and conduct basic psychological research.
  3. Ethical and Social Responsibility in a Diverse World: Students will apply ethical standards to evaluate psychological science and practice; apply psychology-based principles to ethical living, and community welfare, privileging scientific inquiry over popular and political agendas.
  4. Communication: Students will demonstrate effective writing and presentation skills for different purposes and demonstrate an understanding of influences of cultural differences on communication.
  5. Professional Development: Students will apply psychological content and skills to career goals, exhibit self-efficacy and self-regulation, and refine project-management skills.
  6. Biblical Integration: Students will evaluate psychological theories and processes in light of a biblical worldview.

APA Board of Educational Affairs Task Force on Psychology Major Competencies. (2012). APA Guidelines for the Undergraduate Psychology Major (Version 2.0). American Psychological Association: Washington, DC.

What Can I Do With This Degree?

An undergraduate psychology degree prepares students for jobs in the field of psychology, such as research assistant, mental or behavioral health technician, behavior analyst, child development specialist, caseworker, and career counselor. Additionally, according to the American Psychological Association, a degree in psychology can prepare graduates to be competitive in other job markets, such as human services, sales and marketing, university admissions, law enforcement, and a variety of other fields requiring the skills and knowledge obtained through completing a psychology degree. The psychology program at ACU also places a strong emphasis on preparing students for graduate school with a broad exposure to the latest trends in the field and through practical research experience.

Department Chair

Dr. Carolyn Pela

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Dr. Carolyn Pela, a native Phoenician, is the chair of the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences at Arizona Christian University. Her master’s degree is in marriage and family therapy, and she holds a doctorate in psychology. She is licensed in the State of Arizona as a Marriage and Family Therapist with 30 years of experience in the mental health field. She mentors doctoral dissertations, serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Human Sexuality, and is currently conducting two longitudinal clinical outcome studies. She also serves as the president of the Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity. Dr. Pela is a clinical member of the AAMFT, CAPS and the Society for the Teaching of Psychology. She is also nationally certified as a Family Life Educator by the National Council on Family Relations.


Degree Planners


For students who entered the program during the 2017-2018 academic year:

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Previous Years

For students who entered the program during the 2016-2017 academic year:

  B.S. Psychology
  B.S. Psychology / Sport Psychology Emphasis
  Behavioral and Social Sciences Minors

For students who entered the program during the 2015-2016 academic year:

  B.S. Psychology
  B.S. Psychology / Sport Psychology Emphasis

For students who entered the program during the 2014-2015 academic year:

  B.S. Psychology


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