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Welcome to Psychology at USC Upstate!

The primary mission of the USC Upstate psychology program is to provide a quality baccalaureate education in the basic areas of psychology to the Upstate of South Carolina. The psychology curriculum is designed to meet the educational needs of students who are diverse in background, race, ethnicity, age, educational experience and career goals. Psychology is one of the largest majors on campus. Since 1976, 1,533 students have graduated from USC Upstate with a degree in psychology.

The Psychology Department at USC Upstate occupies part of the College of Arts and Sciences building. We offer a BS and a BA in psychology, a minor in psychology, a minor in Child Advocacy Studies and a post-baccalaureate certificate in Child Advocacy Studies. The psychology faculty conduct research on a wide range of topics within psychology, publish in top journals and present at national and international conferences. 

Our program is very student oriented. Each student is assigned their own advisor to help guide them through their college career and for life beyond USC Upstate. Small classes, independent study, internships and the distinction program provide opportunities for students to work closely with faculty, preparing them to move into the work force or to on to graduate study. The Psychology Club and Psi Chi, the national honor society of psychology, offer two other means for students to engage with faculty and with each other.  

Who Majors in Psychology?

Students who major in psychology are a diverse group. Some plan to pursue graduate work in psychology or related fields, while others are preparing for work in human services careers. Others haven’t yet settled on a career goal but enjoy learning about the science of psychology.  In order to meet the needs of these varied groups the psychology program is designed to be as flexible as possible while meeting the objectives of the program. These objectives include:

  • providing students with experiences in a wide variety of content areas such as cognitive psychology, personality theory, human development, neuroscience, abnormal psychology and social psychology
  • introducing students to the methodologies used to study human experience and action
  • facilitating development of oral and written communication skills
  • and providing experiences in critical thinking

Careers in Psychology

These objectives provide a strong foundation for students pursing graduate study and for students choosing to enter the work force after graduation. Some Upstate psychology majors continue on to graduate school to study different branches of psychology such as school psychology, clinical psychology, counseling psychology, cognitive psychology, neuropsychology, industrial and organizational psychology or human factors. Others branch out into fields such as neuroscience, social work, medical school, law school or the ministry. Other students choose to work after graduation and work as case workers for DSS or DJJ, as residential youth counselors, group home coordinators, as victim or patient advocates, in drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs, as employment counselors, in advertising agencies or market research or in college admissions as counselors or recruiters.  

Department Chair 
Dr. Kim Purdy

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USC Upstate
Department of Psychology
800 University Way
Spartanburg, SC 29303
Phone: 864-503-5779
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