Psyched to be at Central

Central College’s three-track psychology program integrates core requirements, psychology electives and research flexibly so students can adapt the program to fit their unique goals. Psychology majors at Central graduate with scientifically grounded knowledge about human behavior, useful problem-solving skills, strong human relations skills and emotional intelligence skills. Central psychology graduates often report they are better prepared for graduate school than most of their first-year colleagues from other universities.

of psychology students conduct either solo or group research or both
of Central Psychology graduates go on to earn master’s degrees
Psychology majors present at the Midwestern Psychological Association convention annually, on average

The Central Difference

Open the Door to Research Opportunities

  • Psychology majors begin conducting advanced research during junior year, with the opportunity to present findings to peers at the annual Central College Psychology Symposium.
  • There is also the possibility of attending the Midwestern Psychological Association convention in Chicago—and potentially even presenting research to an audience of professional psychologists.

Connections Beyond the Classroom

Relationships with Central College faculty steer students like Lilly Bracy ’23 to their full potential.

Learn in Nationally Recognized Facilities

  • Psychology students spend a lot of time in the three-story Roe Center, which houses classroom, office and instructional space for the psychology, education and communication studies departments.
  • The building features energy conservation and environmental responsibility, and was awarded a platinum Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating from the United States Green Building Council.

Off-Campus Experiences

Central students can study off-campus — both internationally or domestically in the United States. These opportunities give students the chance to prepare to be global citizens, equipped to compete in the global job market. Students can check out experiences led by Central faculty or attend select academic programs across the world that provide opportunities for study, service, internships and other types of experiential learning. Options include experiences in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Central America, Ghana, England, the Scottish Highlands and more.

Beyond Central

Putting the “Hire” in Higher Education

Central College graduates have found success in psychology careers.

  • Georgia Illa ’21, Behavior Technician, Caravel Autism Health
  • Devin Dilley ’19, Alcohol and Drug Counselor, Polk County Jail
  • Holly Vander Pol ’18, Wish Manager, Make-A-Wish Iowa
  • KateLynn Steen Dean ’16, Director of Community and Youth Services, Homeward Bound
  • Lucas Hamilton ’16, Postdoctoral Researcher, Indiana University Bloomington
  • Shelby Messerschmidt Coen ’15, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Central College

Central College Honors Retiring Administrators

Central celebrates the careers of two longstanding administrators — Carol Williamson and Peggy Fitch.

Graduate School Placement

  • Arizona State University, Master of Social Work
  • Bangor University, Master of Criminal Justice
  • Cleveland State University, Doctorate of Adult Development and Aging
  • Creighton University, Doctor of Occupational Therapy; law
  • Drake University, Master of Counseling Psychology
  • Indiana University, Doctor of Clinical Psychology
  • Oklahoma State University, Doctor of School Psychology
  • The Ohio State University, Doctor of Counseling Psychology
  • University of Alabama, Master of Criminal Justice
  • University of Iowa, Doctor of Educational Psychology; law
  • University of Memphis, law
  • University of South Dakota, Doctor of Occupational Therapy
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison, Master of Social Work

Internships/Research Opportunities

  • Orchard Place, Des Moines, Iowa
  • Crisis Intervention Services, Knoxville, Iowa; Des Moines, Iowa
  • Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services, Pella, Iowa
  • Children & Family Urban Movement, Des Moines, Iowa
  • Iowa Department of Corrections, Des Moines, Iowa
  • Iowa Correctional Institution for Women, Mitchellville, Iowa

Other Opportunities


  • Psychology Club
  • Psi Chi (national honor society of the American Psychological Association)

No matter what your interests are, Central opens the door to student involvement with more than 100 on-campus groups. Learn how to get involved with groups and organizations at Central.

Central College student

Courses & Faculty

Indulge your passion for figuring out the inner workings of the human mind as a psychology major at Central College.

General psychology, the introductory course, is the foundation for psychology majors as well as many other majors because of its versatility in understanding human behavior and its adaptability to many lifelong learning environments.

Learn more about this discipline in the course catalog.

Meet the Faculty

  • Shelby Messerschmitt-Coen, B.A., M.C., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychology
  • Andrew Green, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., Professor of Political Science
  • Keith Jones, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., Mark and Kay De Cook Endowed Chair in Character and Leadership Development and Professor of Psychology
  • Randall Renstrom, B.S., M.A., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology
  • Ashley Scolaro, B.S., M.S., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology

Sample Coursework

First Year

  • General Psychology
  • Core courses and/or electives

Sophomore Year

  • Psychological Investigations
  • Psychology electives
  • Core courses and/or electives

Junior Year

  • Fundamentals of Statistics
  • Experimental Psychology
  • SPSS for Psychological Research
  • Advanced Research in Psychology

Senior Year

  • Psychology electives, including internship
  • Core courses and/or electives


Learn More

Want to find out more about Psychology at Central? Contact us to learn more about this discipline and our other strong academic programs.

Visit campus to observe classes and experience The Central Difference firsthand.


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