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First Year Psychology Students


Welcome to the Department of Psychology at Gordon College! This page is a resource for first year students entering Gordon who wish to major in psychology. We are delighted that you plan to join us in the fall, and we hope that the following information will be helpful as you choose courses in advance of your arrival. If you have questions that we do not address below, please feel free to contact .


Your courses at Gordon will fall into three broad types:

  • MAJOR: We have psychology courses for you to take during each of the four years of college. You may start with a psychology course your very first semester, or wait until the spring, but during your first year at Gordon, majors take at least one psychology course.
  • CORE: The College has a set of courses that all students take, regardless of major. This is called the “core curriculum.” Some of these are specific courses, and for others you have some options. The goal is to help you explore the many disciplines taught at the College. Students generally take most of their core courses during the first two or three years, though there is no rush, and no harm in spreading these out across all four years.
  • ELECTIVES: These are free-choice courses, courses that you can take out of your own interest. Some students use these electives to complete a minor (or a second major), others use them to explore individual interests, and still others use them to take extra psychology.

In all, 124 credits (approximately 31 courses) are required to graduate from Gordon. Each of the three broad areas just outlined makes up roughly one-third of these credits. A “normal” course load is 16 credits (4 courses) each semester, which allows you to comfortably complete your degree in four years.




Over the summer before moving to campus, you are given the opportunity to select courses for the fall. Once the Registrar’s office organizes your requests and assigns courses, and once you actually arrive on campus for Orientation in August, you will meet with your academic advisor (one of the Psychology Faculty) to work out any concerns with the schedule. So this first selection process is a rough cut, and you should not be stressed about it. Among the courses you might consider for the fall are these:

  • COR107 The Great Conversation – required of all first-year students, fall or spring semester
  • PSY220 Person in Psychological Context – the first course in psychology, fall or spring semester
  • PED015 Discovery or PED016 La Vida – outdoor education, required of all first-year students
  • BCM101 Old Testament, OR
  • BCM103 New Testament – you must take both Old and New, but not at the same time!
  • PHI118 The Examined Life
  • HIS121 Historical Perspectives on Culture, Belief, and Civilization
  • Languages – 0, 4, or 8 credits are required in the core, based on your prior coursework and proficiency; placement testing will be offered during Orientation.

At some point during your career at Gordon, you will take all of the courses listed above; some must be completed during your first year (the first three listed), and the others often are completed then as well – they are coded with 100-level numbers to reflect that they are good for first-year students. If you are looking for some other possibilities, you might also consider the 100-level courses listed below, which are options in what is called the “thematic” part of the core. (This will all make sense eventually—for now, just trust us…) All have open seats at the time of this writing:

  • ENG146 Aesthetic Aspects of Literature
  • ENG147 Science and Literature
  • ENG148 Literature and Human Rights
  • MAT134 Survey of Calculus
  • MAT141 Calculus I

One final consideration: if you are coming into college with a variety of academic interests, feel free to explore broadly this year. It’s fine to select a 100-level course in any department that you like. The Psychology Department at Gordon is very open – we enjoy having students from other departments take our courses, and we like our majors to study broadly as well. Particularly if you are considering a minor or a second major, look at the introductory courses in that department, and consider putting one of those on your fall schedule.


You will arrive several days before classes begin for Orientation, and you will get a copy of your class schedule at that time. On the Monday before classes, all the new psychology majors and all the psychology faculty will meet together to talk about the major, address questions, and get to know each other. Then you’ll have some time to review your schedule individually with your academic advisor, who is one of the psychology faculty members. We look forward to this day—we met some of you when you visited the campus, but for the rest, it will be good to have faces to put with your names, and to see what sort of a class you will be!

Meanwhile, have a fun summer, with any questions (e-mail is most efficient), and do not worry. Every year hundreds of students make a successful transition to Gordon. It is a welcoming, supportive place, and we will help to make your path through college as smooth as possible.

Blessings of peace to each of you!