Psychology, B.A.

Program Overview

Are you fascinated by the complexities of the human mind? Can you imagine yourself in a rewarding career that allows you the opportunity to care for others?

If so, a degree in psychology could be the right choice for you. PLNU psychology majors explore contemporary theories of psychotherapy while developing an understanding of emotional and cognitive processes through a Christian lens. With a major in psychology, you will experience purposeful learning aimed at not only preparing you for your career, but also developing your capacity to care for those around you.

You can also look forward to our practicum program, in which you will acquire hands-on training through a community mental health or social service agency. Supervised by an agency representative and a psychology professor, this practicum is an effective way for you to complement coursework with real-world experience.

John Wu Head Shot


John T. Wu, Ed.D.

Professor of Psychology Dr. John Wu knows that manipulating a yo-yo takes a lot of skill. So does teaching psychology classes, doing outside research, and running a private-practice counseling center.

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Psychology majors have the opportunity to choose one of three concentrations:

  • General Psychology: Offers the most flexibility of the three concentrations, giving you a strong foundation in psychology’s core competencies with the option of supplementing your required courses with electives that most interest you.
  • Therapeutic & Community Psychology: This is a great concentration for those who want to pursue a career in mental health care or attend graduate school. Courses in family development, psychotherapy, community interventions, and more will prepare you for your life’s work.
  • Character, Morality & Culture: This is a unique concentration tailored to those interested in fields such as ministry, spiritual development, and childcare — careers that offer a significant level of demonstrated compassion and care. It offers a closer look into the many ways faith is enriched by the science of psychology, providing an opportunity for students to learn how to give beyond themselves and invest their lives into those of others.

Course List

For information about the courses required for the Psychology, B.A. program, view the PLNU Catalog. 

Course Information

Major Map

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Are you ready to take the next step to begin your PLNU journey? Whether you’re a high school senior, college transfer student, or international student, find out what we’re looking for in our applicants and how you can apply.

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Student Support

For most students, the transition into college life is one full of adjustments. There is the excitement of newfound freedoms, but also some uncertainty as you begin to make choices and take responsibility for your own future. 

At PLNU, we’re committed to supporting you — academically, professionally, spiritually, personally — so that you may be successful both in your time as a student and beyond. That’s why we offer a holistic support system that focuses on your unique experiences, particular needs, and personal and professional goals — resulting from our deep concern for you, our student.

With a focus on authentic relationships and personalized attention, our goal is to help transform you so you can follow your calling in your own career and life.

Student Support

The entire extension of my family consists of friends I made at Point Loma. I owe more to this place than words can express.

Katie Haeuser, Class of 2013
Childcare Provider

Career Opportunities

If you’re intrigued with exploring the human psyche, helping others in their journey to mental health awareness, and developing an understanding of emotional and cognitive processes, a psychology degree from Point Loma Nazarene University will take you far in both the professional field and in developing a greater understanding of your own inner processing.

At PLNU, our psychology program zeroes in on two goals:

  • Preparing you with applicable hands-on experience in the field with the support of an agency representative and a psychology professor.
  • Developing your capacity to care for those around you.

Job outlook for psychology careers

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “employment of psychologists is projected to grow 3% from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations.” 

What can you do with a psychology degree?

Many graduates of the psychology program have gone on to work at organizations such as the Center For Autism and Related Disorders, Inc., Community Research Foundation, Inc., Sharp Healthcare, Action Without Borders, Inc.. Kaiser Permanente, Eating Disorder Treatment Center, and the University of California.

Some of the positions our graduates currently hold include:

Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists

2020 Median annual salary: $82,180 

Psychologists study cognitive and behavioral processes in individuals for research or healthcare purposes. Ultimately, these interactions are intended to help the individuals better understand themselves, deal with trauma, or overcome mental illnesses. Psychologists use their findings to help improve processes and behaviors. Their research encompasses scientific studies of behavior and brain function and surveying individuals.

Necessary attributes and skills:

  • Ability to conduct scientific studies
  • Interviewing and surveying skills
  • Ability to identify psychological, emotional, behavioral, or organizational needs 
  • Research and identify behavioral or emotional patterns
  • Interpersonal skills 
  • Strong writing skills for articles, research papers, and reports
  • Supervise interns, clinicians, and counseling professionals

Social and Human Service Specialists

2020 Median annual salary: $49,600

Social and human service specialists are foundational in community engagement and outreach for human service organizations that serve a variety of communities. They help clients determine their eligibility for various social programs. Additionally, these specialists help develop the social programs based on agency funding. They try to understand what the community and their clients need and address it through programs and services.

Necessary attributes and skills:

  • Counseling and advising
  • Knowledge of grant writing or social program development
  • Interviewing skills
  • Data collection, analysis, and assessment

Behavioral Health and Substance Abuse Counselors

2020 Median annual salary: $47,660

Behavioral health and substance abuse counselors advise and support people living with alcoholism, drug addiction, eating disorders, mental illness, or other mental or behavioral disorders. They create a treatment plan to help clients recover from addiction or address problematic behaviors.

Necessary attributes and skills:

  • Ability to create unique treatment plans 
  • Assist clients in developing skills and behaviors necessary to recover from their addiction or modify their behavior
  • Ability to identify behaviors or situations that interfere with their recovery plans
  • Clear communication with clients and clients’ family members 
  • Ability to educate clients’ family members about addiction or behavior disorders
  • Creativity to conduct outreach programs to help people identify the signs of addiction and other destructive behavior

General and Operations Managers

2020 Median annual salary: $123,880

Operations managers, within context to the psychology degree, are responsible for managing activities that are part of the production of services in the wide ranging field of health and wellness. Operations managers' responsibilities include human resource management, asset management, and cost management. Their indirect responsibilities can include interacting with the managers in other functional areas within the organization whose roles have an impact on operations. 

Necessary attributes and skills:

  • Managing the operations process
  • Embracing design, planning, and control
  • Emphasizes performance improvement and operations strategy
  • Open communication with staff and constituents
  • Innovative thinking for improvement of programs and strategies

Stepping into your community with psychology 

Upon completion of PLNU’s Psychology B.A. you will be equipped with knowledge of how to provide unique and catered support in the realm of behavioral disorders and mental illness to help individuals grow in their wellness journey. You’ll also gain a greater understanding of how to engage with others' social dynamics in a deepened way. This program prepares you with a wide range of skills to flourish in a variety of settings whether that’s psychotherapy or managerial positions. 

If you are ready to make a difference in the PLNU community and beyond as you embark on a journey into the human mind with a psychology degree, head to our contact form and get connected with one of our counselors here to support and answer any questions you may have. Or, you can apply today!