Oberlin Psychology

Oberlin Psychology

Why Oberlin?

Psychology exemplifies the strengths of a strong liberal arts education.

Our students have strong analytic and quantitative skills, write well, hone their public speaking skills, and work in collaborative teams.

Our students do a lot of research

Over 90% of our students engage in research outside the classroom

Our faculty are actively engaged in their fields.

All of our students do research in the classroom, taking two full semesters of statistics and research methods and at least one advanced methods course.

More than 90% of our students work outside the classroom in faculty labs. Research ranges from understanding how metaphors shape our understanding to the neurological underpinnings of suicidality and self harm to understanding how peers can support academic success in underprivileged youth.

  • conference presentation

For students interested in graduate school, research experience is essential preparation.

For students interested in a career in business or the non-profit sector, working in a lab provides critical skills in teamwork, planning, analysis, statistics, and communication.

The opportunity to work closely with faculty is one of the real strengths of the department. Being in a lab allows you to take a project from conception to fruition. It allows you to collaborate with peers and move from novice to expert. It teaches you to write, to build and support arguments, and to present your ideas.

Participating in research allows you to grow, learn who you are, and become part of our community.

A strong curriculum

Oberlin’s program allows students to get a full sense of the field while developing their own interests.

The curriculum is organized around four areas: Clinical, Cognitive, Developmental, and Social.

Students get a strong grounding in statistics with a year of research methods and an additional advanced methods course in the area of their choosing.

Seminars focus on reading in depth, building analytic, oral presentation, and discussion skills.

How big are our courses?

  • Intro Psych: 40-50
  • 200 level breadth: 35-40
  • Research Methods: 35-40
  • Advanced Methods: 8-15
  • Seminars: 12-15

Our students change the world

Oberlin students are involved, ambitious, and eager to change the world for the better.

Psychology students have helped develop an app for adolescents living with chronic pain.

They’ve used social psychology to reduce energy use and to better understand implicit bias.

They’ve helped to learn why people vape and developed an intervention to prevent sexual misconduct.

They’ve used behavioral paradigms, computational techniques, and psychophysiology to understand suicide risk and self harm.

Students are have worked with faculty to use technology and robotics to deliver effective mental health services.

Do we do traditional work looking at memory, facial recognition, linguistics? Study how peer relations and social status affect achievement in middle childhood? Conduct observational research on adolescent romantic relationships? YES!

But one thing that makes Oberlin Psychology stand out is the extent to which we actively think about how good science can help change the world.

Oberlin’s Center for Innovation and Impact sponsors innovation workshops and pitch competitions where teams of Oberlin entrepreneurs workshop ideas and develop new businesses. In the last four years, teams of Psychology students and alums have been among the finalists. These new companies support youth living in chronic pain, facilitate peer support on college campuses, and reduce the negative effects of social media use. Oh yes, and one of them delivers great Chinese dumplings.

New initiatives focus on creating internships and career exploration for sophomores and juniors and newly invigorated coursework in entrepreneurship and business. Think one person can change the world? So do we.


The Liberal Arts in Miniature

Strong skills:
-writing & speaking

Research opportunities

Over 90% of our students do research outside the classroom.

Over 25% of our students publish or present at professional conferences.

The college and department provide financial support for student research and conference travel.

Small classes with top faculty

Our faculty works hard at their teaching and sees advising and engaging students in research as as core part of their teaching responsibilities.

Opportunities at home and abroad

Many of our students study away for a semester. Sometimes their travels focus on developing fluency in another language or culture. Sometimes they focus on new opportunities in Psychology.

More than 1/3 Psych students graduate with more than one major.