Margaret Sherrer, Professor
Patricia Shine, Professor
Lori Werdenschlag, Professor
Bachelor of Science in Applied Psychology and Human Services
Associate of Science in Human Services
Minors: Psychology, Human Services
In the Northern Vermont University-Lyndon Psychology and Human Services Department, we provide students with the coursework and practical field experience that prepare graduates for entry-level human service and psychology positions as well as continued study at the graduate level.
Our program provides students with a solid foundation in psychological and developmental theory along with an emphasis on experiential learning. This is a flexible program which prepares graduates for entry-level human services positions and for success in a variety of graduate programs such as social work, psychology, or counseling.
Upon graduation, students with a degree in Applied Psychology and Human Services are qualified for positions in a variety of settings including social services agencies, the correctional system, schools, hospitals, and research facilities. Graduates of our program are often employed as behavioral interventionists, substance abuse counselors, child protection case workers, or probation and parole officers. Students are well-prepared for graduate study to pursue careers as guidance counselors, social workers, psychologists, and in related fields such as medicine, nursing, public policy, law enforcement, and business administration.
Unique Program Features
This program emphasizes a strong foundation in theory. Students become well versed in the variety of psychological theories that help to explain human behavior in the social environment. They also develop analytic skills, problem-solving skills, professionalism, and ethical decision making which they can apply to “real-life” problems that arise in the field. Students are challenged to learn about themselves, their strengths, and their areas for continued growth and self-care. A systems perspective, how the larger society impacts their work, is also important. Particular attention is paid to issues of poverty, diversity, and oppression, and how to advocate for social justice in these areas. Students are encouraged to think of themselves as potential leaders in the fields of psychology and human services.
As early as sophomore year, students can be placed in the field where they complete 80 hours working in settings such as local elementary or high school guidance counselor offices, a teen drop-in center, or sexual and domestic violence prevention programs. During senior year, a 300-hour internship is completed. Internships take place locally and out-of-state and they have included work at the Department of Corrections, a Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program, camps for children with special needs, and a family outreach program for Vermont veterans. Students often have jobs when they graduate because of the contacts and the professional skills they develop at their internships.
To prepare students for specific career paths, specialized coursework can be chosen in the junior and senior years. Students can select tracks in Child and Adolescent Development, Corrections, Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse, Elder Populations, or General Psychology. For students not ready to specialize, a Generalist Track is available.
Acceptance to the Major
Approval for field work placement is contingent upon the student’s academic progress and potential for success in the fields of human services and psychology. Any student who has engaged in unprofessional or unethical practices may not be considered for field work placement, acceptance to the major, or continuation in the program. Prior to the completion of 60 credits students must successfully complete PSY 1040, PSY 2811, PSY 2812 and apply for acceptance to the major. Requirements for acceptance to the psychology major include a 2.3 GPA in Psychology/Human Services courses and a 2.0 GPA overall, satisfactory academic progress in the General Education Program, recommendation of two Psychology and Human Services Department faculty members as well as the development of interpersonal skills necessary for success in the profession.
Student Learning Outcomes
Graduates of the major in Applied Psychology and Human Services will be able to:
A. Demonstrate an understanding of and be able to articulate the research principles, concepts, and theories of
psychology and human services.
B. Synthesize and apply research and theory to the practice of psychology and human services.
C. Acquire skills and behaviors necessary for obtaining employment and succeeding in the professional world.
D. Demonstrate knowledge of and adhere to the ethical and legal standards of the psychology and human services
The NVU-Lyndon Psychology and Human Services Department assesses its programs in a variety of ways. Surveys are periodically sent to recent graduates, and the responses to the surveys guide program development and curricular change. Graduate school enrollment and job placement of alumni are also used as part of program assessment. Faculty members participate annually at national conferences for human services, psychology, and social work. Participation at such conferences allows faculty to stay informed about national standards and changes in respective fields. Faculty are also involved in research, private practice, and community service, all of which provide insights into the relationship between community needs and our program.