The UIS Psychology Department has established the following 16 undergraduate learning goals for psychology majors, based upon faculty review of the APA Task Force recommendations (see below) and current curriculum.

Upon successful completion of the program, psychology majors should be able to:

  • describe the nature and historical development of psychology as a social science
  • explain the behavioral, biological, cognitive, humanistic, psychodynamic, and sociocultural perspectives within psychology
  • demonstrate knowledge in selected content and applied areas of psychology (e.g., biological bases of behavior, clinical and counseling, cognition and learning, developmental, educational, or social)
  • demonstrate an understanding of the APA Code of Ethics and describe relevant ethical issues within selected content areas
  • describe different research methods used by psychologists
  • recognize the proper application of descriptive and basic inferential statistical techniques for quantitative reasoning purposes
  • use computers to conduct information searches and data analyses
  • demonstrate informational competence by formulating a research topic, conducting a literature search, selecting valid and appropriate sources, and accurately summarizing selected literature
  • differentiate between ethical and unethical uses of information
  • evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of research reports
  • demonstrate critical thinking about psychological information
  • explain how psychological knowledge and techniques can be used to address personal and social issues
  • demonstrate tolerance for ambiguity and an appreciation for the psychological complexities of real-life problems
  • demonstrate effective writing and oral communication skills
  • recognize the importance of human diversity markers and explain their relevance to the science and practice of psychology
  • use knowledge of psychology and psychology-related careers to clarify and enhance personal career choices.

APA Guidelines for the Undergraduate Psychology Major:  Version 2.0. (2013)

This document provides details about the APA’s suggested learning goals and outcomes for undergraduate psychology majors. The five goals are:

Goal 1 – Knowledge Base in Psychology

  • Students should demonstrate fundamental knowledge and comprehension of the major concepts, theoretical perspectives, historical trends, and empirical findings to discuss how psychological principles apply to behavioral problems.

Goal 2 – Scientific Inquiry & Critical Thinking

  • The skills in this domain involve the development of scientific reasoning and problem solving, including research methods.

Goal 3 – Ethical & Social Responsibility in a Diverse World

  • Skills in this domain involve the development of ethically and socially responsible behaviors for professional and personal settings in a landscape that involves increasing diversity.

Goal 4 – Communication

  • Students should demonstrate competence in writing, oral, and interpersonal communication skills.

Goal 5 – Professional Development

  • The emphasis in this goal is on application of psychology-specific content and skills, effective self-reflection, project management skills, teamwork skills, and career preparation.


American Psychological Association. (2013). APA guidelines for the undergraduate psychology major:

Version 2.0. Retrieved from