The Central College psychology program has been launching graduates into successful careers in psychology, medicine, law, education, ministry, the corporate world, private ownership and other areas for more than 50 years. Psychology majors at Central graduate with scientifically grounded knowledge about human behavior, useful problem-solving skills, strong human relations skills and emotional intelligence skills. With this background, Central graduates are highly qualified and often report they are better prepared for graduate school than the majority of their first-year colleagues from other universities.

of Central psychology graduates earn master’s degrees
  • 15% of psychology graduates earn a doctorate or other terminal degree
  • On average, 25 psychology majors present at the Midwestern Psychological Association annually

The Real World


Successful Careers

  • Professor of public health, psychology and psychiatry, Duke Medical School, Durham, N.C.
  • Family advocate, Iowa City, Iowa
  • Career transition and leadership development consultant, Right Management Consultants, Fairfax, Va.
  • Resident adviser, Youth Emergency Services and Shelter, Des Moines, Iowa


  • Psychology Club
  • Psi Chi (national honor society of the American Psychological Association)

No matter what your interests are, Central has a student group for you! Learn how you can get involved with groups and organizations at Central.

Rebekah Docter

Rebekah Docter

Seeing room in her schedule, Rebekah Docter took her dream of being a youth counselor and added another major—French.

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Graduate Placement

Graduates from the last 10 years have been accepted into 59 different graduate programs at 37 universities in 16 states, the District of Columbia, England and Wales.

  • University of Utah, counseling psychology, doctorate
  • Colorado State University, student affairs, master's
  • University of Bangor, Wales, neuropsychology, master's
  • University of Memphis, law school, master's


Central psychology majors are encouraged to supplement coursework with application through internships–our students are able to work closely with people of all backgrounds. 

  • Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago
  • Department of Human Services, Knoxville
  • Orchard Place, Des Moines
  • Crisis Intervention Services, Knoxville & Des Moines
  • Christian Opportunity Center, Pella
  • MECCA Services, Iowa City & Des Moines

Courses & Faculty

General Psychology, the introductory course, is the foundation not only for the psychology major, but many other majors because of its versatility in understanding human behavior and its adaptability to many life-long learning environments.

By your junior and senior years, majors complete Capstone Research and Advanced Research projects which include presentations at departmental research symposia and the opportunity to present at professional meetings.

Learn more about psychology in the course catalog.

Psychology photo
Meet the faculty:
  • Peggy Fitch, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., Vice President for Student Development
  • Keith Jones, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., Mark & Kay DeCook Endowed Chair in Character and Leadership Development and Professor of Psychology, interest areas include aging and adult development, how people think about each other (e.g. stereotypes), character development, leadership, statistical analysis and how people learn during college
  • Taylor Newton, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychology, interest areas include psych of religion, moral decision making and coping with stress
  • Randall Renstrom, B.S., M.A., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychology, interest areas include political psychology, social cognition, attitude formation and metaphorical communication
  • Ashley Scolaro, B.S., M.S., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychology, interest areas include neurological underpinnings of prospective memory, applications of judgment and decision making to the medical and justice communities and child and adolescent development

Sample Schedule

First year
  • General Psychology
  • Core courses and/or electives
Sophomore year
  • Psychological Investigations
  • Psychology electives 
  • Core courses and/or electives
Junior year
  • Fundamentals of Statistics
  • Experimental Psychology
  • SPSS for Psychological Research
  • Advanced Research in Psychology
Senior year
  • Psychology electives, including internship
  • Core courses and/or electives

The Central Difference

Research Opportunities

A hallmark event for more than 40 years, psychology majors present the results of their advanced research projects at the Central College Psychology Symposium, held in the spring of each year. During the first weekend in May, the psychology faculty and dozens of psychology students attend the Midwestern Psychological Association convention in Chicago, where Central students present their research to an audience of professional psychologists. 

Service Learning

Psychology majors participate in service-learning opportunities with local agencies and organizations to enhance their learning of course material. Students can volunteer weekly, assisting with after-school programs, residents in assisted living facilities, analyzing data for community partners or working on special projects such as organizing fundraising events, surveying local students about use of tutoring programs and interviewing children about program services.


In the fall of 2009, the psychology department opened its doors in the Roe Center. The three-story building provides classroom, office and instructional space for the psychology and education departments, along with communication studies and Central’s nationally recognized community-based learning department. The building features energy conservation and environmental responsibility and was awarded a platinum Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating from the United States Green Building Council.

Student Research

Psychology majors start advanced research during their junior year—hundreds of students present their findings to their peers. Some examples of past student research include: "That Which Does Not Kill Us: Analyzing Predictors of Post-Traumatic Growth," "The Relationship between Recent Deployment, PTSD Symptoms, and Marital Satisfaction" and "Social Influence on the Perception of Appearance and Body Image."


Summer Research Crew

Summer Research Crew

Twenty-three students turned full-time researchers this summer. They investigated bats, bees, polymers, criminal sentencing and more — and received research grants to do it!

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Fresh Findings
Fresh Findings

After months exploring topics like sports analytics, Parkinson’s Disease, prairie grasses and consumer behavior, 182 Central students presented their research May 5-6.

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More Central psychology students present research than ever before
More Central psychology students present research than ever before

A record number of Central College psychology students will present at Midwestern Psychological Association (MPA) conference in Chicago April 30-May 2.

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Learn More

Want to find out more about psychology at Central? Contact us to learn more about this major and our other strong academic programs. Visit campus to observe classes and experience The Central Difference firsthand.