School of Psychology

Psychology is the scientific study of a vast array of phenomena related to the actions and experiences of organisms.  Psychologists study phenomena such as perception, memory, thought, behavior, and the psychological, social, physiological, and developmental processes that underlie these phenomena.

In addition to its commitment to scientific truth, psychology requires the application of knowledge and critical thinking/reasoning skills to assess, prevent, and resolve individual and social problems.

The study of psychology serves as a useful foundation for the pursuit of careers in business, law, medicine, social work, and other helping professions; or majors may pursue further study in psychology at the graduate level.  The School of Behavioral and Social Sciences features five academic options:

  • The 120-hour Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Psychology program, focusing on a psychological science core with content in clinical/counseling, developmental, social, physiological/neurological, and other fields in psychology.

  • The 45-hour Master of Arts Program in Interdisciplinary Behavioral Science (MIBS), focusing on the scientific study of the broadly defined intersection between law and the social and behavioral sciences (e.g., forensic psychology, psychology and law).

  • The 12-hour graduate certificate program in Interdisciplinary Intelligence Studies, focusing on the nexus between forensic psychology/psychology and law and the U.S. Intelligence and Security community (offered in conjunction with the MIBS program).

  • The 18-hour minor in Psychology.

  • The 18-hour minor in Interdisciplinary Intelligence Studies.

Psychology is defined as the study of the mind and human behavior.  Psychologists engage with human behavior on a broad spectrum, ranging from biological responses to stimuli in the environment to global interactions.  Psychology encompasses every academic discipline; all things are inherently psychological because humans interact with and create the environments, materials, cultures, societies, institutions, laws, and the very knowledge by which we understand and operate within our world.  Within this spectrum opportunities for rewarding careers abound.

The U.S. Department of Labor projects significant job growth in psychology.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, greater demand for psychological services in schools, hospitals, mental health centers, and social services agencies should drive employment growth.  The U.S. Department of Labor reports that the demand for clinical and counseling psychologists will continue to grow as people seek counseling in the areas of marriage and family problems, job stress, addiction, trauma, rehabilitation, and other areas.  A greater number of counselors and clinicians will be needed for the treatment of mental disorders and other areas in the health care industry, for interdisciplinary work on teams including doctors, social workers, and other health care professionals.  Psychologists will be needed to provide services to an aging population, helping people deal with the mental and physical changes that happen as they grow older. Through both research and practice, psychologists are helping other special groups, such as veterans suffering from war trauma, other trauma survivors, and individuals with autism.  Graduates with a 120-hour BS in Psychology from Kentucky State University can utilize their knowledge, skills, and abilities in diverse settings such as:

  • Academic advisor
  • Advanced practice psychiatric nurse
  • Advertising agent
  • Animal researcher
  • Animal trainer
  • Caseworker
  • Child psychologist
  • Childcare worker
  • Cognitive psychologist
  • College admissions counselor
  • College admissions officer
  • College recruiter
  • Community counselor
  • Comparative psychologist
  • Correctional treatment specialist
  • Counseling psychologist
  • Criminal investigator
  • Crisis counselor
  • Customer service agent
  • Developmental psychologist
  • Editor
  • Education administrator
  • Educational psychologist
  • Elementary school teacher
  • Employment interviewer
  • Employment recruiter
  • Environmental psychologist
  • Family and marriage therapist
  • Financial aid counselor
  • Grief counselor
  • Human factors psychologist
  • Human resources manager
  • Human resources specialist
  • Journalist
  • Lawyer
  • Library assistant
  • Literary agent
  • Market researcher
  • Mental health coordinator
  • Military psychologist
  • Music therapist
  • Neurologist
  • Neuropsychologist
  • Occupational therapist
  • Physician
  • Police officer
  • Probation officer
  • Psychiatric aide
  • Psychiatric social worker
  • Psychiatric technician
  • Psychiatrist (requires an MD)
  • Psychosocial rehabilitation worker
  • Public opinion surveyor
  • Public relations specialist
  • Recreational therapist
  • Rehabilitation counselor
  • Research assistant
  • School counselor
  • Science writer
  • Secondary school teacher
  • Social psychologist
  • Social services specialist
  • Social worker
  • Statistician
  • Substance abuse counselor
  • Technical writer
  • University psychology professor
  • Vocational rehabilitation counselor
  • Youth counselor

This information and other resources are available at:

Upon graduation, our students help shape the world as researchers, clinicians, and specialists in other areas including law and government, mental health, and teaching.  Through student effort and dedication and faculty mentoring, the B.S. degree in Psychology provides opportunities for professional development and growth, a good foundation for future graduate study, and a sound foundation for many career options. 

The mission of the 45-hour M.A. Program in Interdisciplinary Behavioral Science is to support Kentucky State University’s mission by preparing its diverse student population of traditional and non-traditional students to meet society’s growing need for psychological services in a variety of settings.  Students in this program will engage in a program of study based on rigorous coursework, research, and service activities founded on the scientist-practitioner model of education.  This program prepares students to pursue doctoral study in psychology, or to work in industry, government, mental health services, or other human service agencies, consistent with the Kentucky State University motto:  Come In to Learn—Go Out to Serve.

Psychologists are increasingly called upon to perform various evaluations and functions for the government, the courts, the criminal justice system, and the prison system.  Some of the many general and specific career paths that our graduates may choose to pursue include:

  • Teaching or research positions in academia
  • Administrative positions in local, state, and federal agencies
  • Positions within corrections and probation departments
  • Positions as a research assistant with various agencies
  • Positions at the local, state, and federal level in behavioral or social sciences
  • Clinical or research positions with human service agencies, mental health agencies, social agencies, and forensic agencies
  • Juvenile group homes
  • Domestic violence agencies
  • Immigrant and naturalization services
  • City police divisions
  • Positions such as Psychology Assistant, Court Administrator, Crime Analyst
  • Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
  • US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
  • US Secret Service (USSS)
  • US Marshal Services
  • National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC)
  • Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)
  • US Armed Forces
  • Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)
  • Postal Service (USPS)
  • US Department of Agriculture
  • US Border Patrol Services
  • US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
  • Victim Services organizations
  • Nursing homes
  • Hospice centers
  • Head Start programs
  • Adoption agencies
  • Drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers
  • Probation and parole offices
  • Courts
  • Foster care organizations
  • Mental health organizations
  • Employee assistance programs

The MIBS program takes a multidisciplinary approach to the area of behavioral and social science and law by providing students with background in theoretical perspectives from psychology, sociology, and criminology, basic and applied research methods, and statistical techniques.  Students develop competencies relevant to the science and practice of these various fields, and to the study of the intersection of behavioral and social science and law, forensics, intelligence, and security broadly defined.  This program is relevant to students with backgrounds in psychology, sociology, criminal justice, social work, history, or public administration. 

The Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences offers a 12-hour graduate certificate in Interdisciplinary Intelligence Studies to help KSU students prepare to meet the need for well-trained members of the Intelligence and Security fields.  Partnerships and collaborations with the Bluegrass State Intelligence Community-Center for Academic Excellence (BGS IC CAE) member institutions (Eastern Kentucky University, Kentucky State University, and the University of Kentucky Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce) and statewide and national intelligence and security agencies will help KSU to better serve its students by providing training for future intelligence and security workforce.

Students who participate in degree offerings in Interdisciplinary Intelligence Studies are eligible to receive numerous benefits, including free attendance at BGS-IC-CAE workshops and colloquia, opportunities to network with potential employers from intelligence and security agencies at the local, state, and national levels, and opportunities for students and faculty to present their research at a state-wide venue.

Graduates who have knowledge, training, and experience in intelligence- and security-related areas are more competitive for employment at local, regional, and national intelligence and security agencies.  These courses will increase KSU student preparation in an area in which graduates are highly sought after by agency employers who are seeking to diversify the workforce, thereby providing an opportunity for KSU to enhance important metrics related to funding and accreditation. 

KSU offers an 18-hour minor in Psychology.


Acting Chair

Mara Merlino, Ph.D.

(502) 597-5053

J.S. Hathaway Hall
Suite 229
204 University Drive
Frankfort, KY 40601