Department of Psychology and Communication Studies

Todd J. Thorsteinson, Dept. Chair (206 Student Health Ctr. 83844-3043; phone 208-885-6324; Faculty: Benjamin K. Barton, Diane L. Carter, Rajal G. Cohen, Traci Y. Craig, Jamie C. Derrick, Brian P. Dyre, Annette L. Folwell, Russell E. Jackson, Kenneth D. Locke, Mikaela L. Marlow, Steven E. Meier, Kacy N. Pula, Richard E. Reardon, Todd J. Thorsteinson, Steffen Werner, Mark F. Yama. Affiliate Faculty: Martha A. Kitzrow, Charles R. Morrison, Diane L. Phillips-Miller, Joan Pulakos, Steve Saladin. Adjunct Faculty: Ronald L. Boring, Curt C. Braun, David I. Gertman, Susan G. Hill, Justin G. Hollands, Margaret Jelinek Lewis, Eric F. Shaver.

Psychology is the scientific study of thinking, emotion, and behavior. It is a diverse field, and can be applied to almost all aspects of everyday life: interpersonal relationships, school and lifelong learning, family, and the work environment. Psychology uses scientific research methods to develop and test theories, and to explain or predict behavior. Undergraduate study in psychology provides a broad coverage of the field; whereas graduate study focuses more narrowly on a particular discipline, preparing students for professional work as researchers and/or practitioners.

Communication Studies is a social science discipline that considers how people verbally and nonverbally communicate at the individual, societal, and cultural levels. It can be seen as the discipline that links other disciplines, a discipline that is vital if people, organizations, and governments are to cope with today’s complex world. Students with degrees in Communication Studies pursue careers as communication specialists in the fields of communication education, business, government and politics, high technology industries, health, and social and human services. Graduates may also pursue advanced degrees in communication and other fields.

The Department of Psychology and Communication Studies offers a B.S. or B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Communication Studies. The psychology degree requires students to take a wide variety of courses in areas such as developmental processes, social psychology, learning and memory, personality, clinical psychology, biological processes, and sensation/perception. Depending on their interests, students also select from more specialized subjects such as human factors, industrial/organizational psychology, aging, and the psychology of emotion. The Communication Studies minor requires students to take courses in the fields of speech, interpersonal and organizational communication. Students choose additional coursework from the areas of conflict management, intercultural communication, persuasion, gender, and aging.

Currently, graduate training in the department is available only in Psychology. The department offers an M.S. in psychology with an emphasis in human factors psychology. The master’s degree in psychology prepares students for careers in government and industry, teaching at the junior college level, or for continued study at the doctoral level. The Ph.D. in experimental psychology prepares students for a research career that may involve applied research in industry or an academic position. An applicant to the graduate program must possess an undergraduate degree in psychology or a related field, such as engineering, computer science, or business. In addition, applicants should have completed a course in introductory statistics, a course in experimental psychology or research methods, and a course in computer programming. Additional coursework in cognitive psychology and sensation/perception is recommended. All applicants will be considered even if recommended coursework has not been taken.


See the course description section for courses in Psychology (PSYC) and Communication Studies (COMM).