Indulge your passion for figuring out the inner workings of the human mind. As a psychology major, you’ll graduate with scientifically grounded knowledge about human behavior, useful problem-solving skills, strong human relations skills and emotional intelligence skills. Find yourself among the highly qualified Central psychology graduates who 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

  • Shelby Messerschmitt ’15, master’s program in counseling, Arizona State University
  • Emily Jackson ’15, master of social work program, University of Iowa, Des Moines
  • Mitchell Stearns ’14, data analyst, Magellan Health Services, master’s program in mental health counseling, Drake University
  • Ashley Buehler ’14, rehabilitation therapy technician, UnityPoint Health, Cedar Rapids
  • Lyssa Rasmussen ’14, client advocate, Community Support Advocates, Des Moines
  • Nick Rohner ’08, head tennis coach, Wittenberg University, Springfield, Ohio
  • Angie Applegate ’07, therapist, Orchard Place Child Guidance Center, Des Moines
  • Jon Sexton ’04, chief culture officer, Vibrant Credit Union, Des Moines
  • Kathleen Sikkema ’84, professor of psychology, neuroscience and global health, Duke University, Durham, N.C. 


  • 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.

Kelsey Stender

Kelsey Stender

"I am really interested in what makes people commit crimes and why."

Read More

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:
  • Karen Cleveland, Lecturer of Psychology
  • 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, character development, leadership, performance psychology, statistical analysis and how people learn during college
  • 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

Acquire Valuable Research and Presentation Skills

You’ll begin conducting advanced research during your junior year, with the opportunity to present your findings to your peers at the annual Central College Psychology Symposium. 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”

• “Social Influence on the Perception of Appearance and Body Image”

You’ll also have the opportunity to attend the Midwestern Psychological Association convention in Chicago — and possibly even present your research to an audience of professional psychologists.

Learn in Nationally Recognized Facilities

You’ll spend a lot of time in the three-story Roe Center, which houses 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 (LEED) rating from the United States Green Building Council.

Enhance Your Resume with Service-Learning Experiences

When you participate in service-learning opportunities with local agencies and organizations, you can begin building your resume while bringing your classroom course material to life. You can volunteer weekly, assisting with after-school programs, helping 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.

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.