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Success as a Psychology Major

Success as a Psychology Major

First Edition

February 2020 | 432 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Success as a Psychology Major, First Edition by David E. Copeland and Jeremy A. Houska is an essential resource for any student interested in pursuing an undergraduate degree in psychology. Built from the ground up with input from hundreds of psychology students, this First Edition answers every question a trepidatious undergraduate may have. Success as a Psychology Major opens with practical tools on how to be a successful student, walks readers through the psychology curriculum, highlights key skills to develop, and presents the various academic and career paths to take after graduation. Unique chapters on joining a research lab, professional organizations and clubs, documenting students' accomplishments, and practical tools for managing time and money provide students with resources they will use throughout their academic career. Presented in a modular format with a student-friendly narrative, this text is a step-by-step road map to a fulfilling and meaningful experience as a student of psychology.

About the Authors
Chapter 1: Welcome to Psychology . . . Now Let’s Get Stuff Done
(1.0) Meet Kris

(1.1) The Good (and Bad) About the Psychology Major

(1.2) Does a College Degree Guarantee Success?

(1.3) Superstar Psychology Students

(1.4) Motivation for College Success—What is Your “Why”?

(1.5) Setting Goals and Creating Systems to Achieve Them

(1.6) Overcoming Procrastination and Getting Stuff Done

(1.7) Living the “Getting Stuff Done” (GSD) Lifestyle

Chapter 2: Practical Student Tips
(2.0) Meet Nicole

(2.1) Due Dates? Grading Policy? It’s in the Syllabus!

(2.2) Classroom and Note-Taking Tips

(2.3) Study Skills—Study Like a Champion!

(2.4) Quiz and Exam Tips

(2.5) Learning From Graded Activities

(2.6) Advantages and Disadvantages of Being an Online Student

Chapter 3: Adopting the Right Mindsets—Deep Learning, Critical Thinking, and Ethics
(3.0) Meet Emerson

(3.1) Approaches to Learning

(3.2) Adopting a Critical Thinking Mindset

(3.3) Regrets, Failure, and Luck—Challenge Yourself!

(3.4) Thinking About Ethics in College and in Psychology

Chapter 4: Navigating the Psychology Curriculum and Meeting Your Professors
(4.0) Meet P.J.

(4.1) Typical Psychology Courses

(4.2) Skills You Develop as a Psychology Major

(4.3) Double-Majoring or Picking Up a Minor

(4.4) Meet Your Professors

(4.5) Communicating With Professors (and Others)

(4.6) Meeting Others at Your Institution

Chapter 5: Research, Teaching, and Service Opportunities
(5.0) Meet Trinity

(5.1) Succeeding With Research

(5.2) The Life of a Research Assistant

(5.3) How to Become a Psychology Research Assistant

(5.4) Become a Teaching Assistant

(5.5) Another Type of Experiential Learning—Service Learning

Chapter 6: Finding, Reading, and Thinking About Psychology Research
(6.0) Meet Hayley

(6.1) Library Skills, Part 1—Evaluating Sources

(6.2) Library Skills, Part 2—Using Databases to Find Sources

(6.3) A (Relatively Painless) Introduction to APA-Style Formatting

(6.4) Practical Advice for Reading Psychology Research Papers

(6.5) Understanding the Methods and Results

(6.6) Critically Thinking About Psychological Research

Chapter 7: Writing Papers and Presenting
(7.0) Meet Alex

(7.1) Writing a Research Paper

(7.2) Plagiarism—Do Not Do It!

(7.3) APA Citations and References

(7.4) Create Your Own APA Template

(7.5) Computer Skills That You Need to Know

(7.6) Presentation and Poster Tips

Chapter 8: Student Clubs, Professional Organizations, and Conferences
(8.0) Meet Dhruv

(8.1) Student Clubs and Organizations—The Importance of the Co-Curricular

(8.2) Psi Chi—The International Honor Society in Psychology

(8.3) National and International Psychology Organizations

(8.4) Regional, Local, and Specialty Psychology Organizations

(8.5) Attending a Psychology Conference and Doing it Right

(8.6) Get Involved—Do More Than Sign Up!

(8.7) Other Co-Curricular Resources

Chapter 9: Career Search
(9.0) Meet Tia

(9.1) The Career Search—It Is Your Current Job

(9.2) Picking a Career and Plotting Your Career Path

(9.3) Jobs With a Psychology Degree

(9.4) The Helping Professions

(9.5) More Psychology Careers

(9.6) Choose Your Own Adventure—Design Your Own Career Path

(9.7) Resources for Finding Careers

Chapter 10: Career and Professional Development
(10.0) Meet Akira

(10.1) Networking for Careers

(10.2) Networking Myths

(10.3) Conduct an Informational Interview

(10.4) Internships—Why You Need One

(10.5) Preparing for Interviews

Chapter 11: Graduate School
(11.0) Meet Amirah

(11.1) Is Graduate School Right for You?

(11.2) Types of Degrees and Programs

(11.3) Finding Graduate Programs

(11.4) How Graduate School Differs From Undergraduate Studies

(11.5) Grad Students Describe Their Experiences

Chapter 12: Getting Into Graduate School
(12.0) Meet Jermaine

(12.1) What Do Graduate Programs Want?

(12.2) The Grad School Application Process

(12.3) Letters of Recommendation

(12.4) The Graduate Record Exam

(12.5) Personal Statements and Essays

(12.6) Interviews and the Acceptance or Rejection Decisions

Chapter 13: Documenting Your Accomplishments
(13.0) Meet Hannah

(13.1) Résumé Tips

(13.2) Constructing Your Curriculum Vitae (CV)

(13.3) Building a Portfolio

(13.4) Your Online Presence—Social Media (LinkedIn) and Personal Websites

Chapter 14: Money Issues for Psychology Students
(14.0) Meet Arianna and Brianna

(14.1) Why Are We Talking About Money?

(14.2) Scholarships

(14.3) Research Grants, Travel Grants, and Awards

(14.4) Money, Career, and Happiness

(14.5) Money and Graduate School

Chapter 15: Closing Advice
(15.0) Meet Jenny

(15.1) Are You Committed to Psychology or Considering Options?

(15.2) Advice From Employers and Career Counselors

(15.3) Get the Most Out of Summers

(15.4) Your Path to Being a Superstar Psychology Student

(15.5) Say Thank You to Those Who Helped You

(15.6) Final Advice From the Authors


I would say that it is more approachable and has information the other texts do not cover like money management, online presence, and how to learn. It has an impressive breadth of coverage without being overwhelming.

Rachel A. Ritchie
Florida International University

A book that answers all the questions Psych majors didn’t know to ask.

Alexandra K. Frazer
Muhlenberg College

This textbook offers students a pathway through the major with timely important steps to take along the way. It also works really well as a reference book to help students with specific problems they may be having.

Jason Whetten
Northern Arizona University

This text reviews the expectations of students in detail to increase the likelihood of your success. The authors are correct in their advice to psychology majors and if you follow their directives you will be successful in achieving a degree that has prepared you for the next step in your life.

Betty Dorr
Fort Lewis College

I am actually going to share my enthusiasm for this book with my colleagues. I will explain to them that the textbook covers all of the important content that we want our students to know when they join the major…and then some! The authors have anticipated all of the students’ questions and provided step-by-step action plans for students to discover their own place in the field.


I would explain to students that this is the kind of book they should keep on their desk over the next few years. When they have a question about any issue, they open the book to find the answer. They could also bring the book to an advising session and ask what their advisor thinks about the advice in the book and whether he or she has any additional suggestions or tips. 

Jamie L. Franco-Zamudio
Spring Hill College

This text shows students how the situations they face are normal while at the same time giving them the skills to change negative behaviors and thoughts into more helpful and functional behaviors and thoughts. It is also constructed in a modular format to allow you to pick and choose what to focus on and what to eliminate more easily. It can also be a resource that you recommend to students to hang onto after leaving your course.


[To Students]

It gives a student the skills to become more involved and intentional about their choices for succeeding as psychology major. It leads you along the pathway as you move from a first-year student throughout the remaining years in your undergraduate education. 

Brian A. Johnson
The University of Tennessee-Martin
Key features
  • Provides an overview of essential topics and questions for every psychology undergraduate, including career options for those pursuing bachelor's, masters, and doctoral degrees.
  • Content designed based on the feedback of hundreds of psychology students and what they wish they'd known earlier in their undergraduate careers.
  • Coverage of unique and practical chapters on joining a research lab, professional organizations and clubs, documenting students' accomplishments, and practical tools for managing time and money.
  • Flexible, modular format chunks content into manageable sections for students and allows instructors to jump around as needed.

Sage College Publishing

You can purchase this book and request an instructor sample on our US College site:

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