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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 prepare for 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, 120 credits (approximately 30 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 will work with your summer advisor to select courses for the fall. Among the courses you might consider for the fall are these:

  • COR107, 108, 109, 110 The Great Conversation – required of all first-year students, fall or spring semester
  • PSY180 Person in Psychological Context – the first course in psychology, fall or spring semester
  • Discovery or 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!
  • HIS121 Historical Perspectives on Culture, Belief, and Civilization
  • Foreign Language – 0, 4, or 8 credits are required in the core, based on your prior coursework and proficiency.

At some point during your career at Gordon, you will take all of the courses listed above plus a philosophy course; 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 any 100-level course in any department you like. These courses count for general electives and may help you choose a major or minor. You will be given lots of information over the summer before you arrive. Take a look at the Core Curriculum page to learn more.

One final consideration: 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. 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, contact  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 and peace to each of you!

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