Psychology & Human Development BA

Signature Courses
Concepts in Critical Psychology
Psychology of Consumerism
Narrative Therapy: Theory & Practice

The Psychology and Human Development is dedicated to providing students with a foundational understanding of what it means to be human and how humans interact with each other and the non-human world. This program assists students in following their interests and passions as it relates to helping others through focusing on social justice, critical theory, and encouraging service learning in the community. Students are encouraged to develop self-awareness, emotional maturity, and a respect for both the human world and the non-human world by exploring cognitive, emotional, behavioral, social, and spiritual aspects of the human personality as well as an understanding of how larger systems influence individuals and communities. This kind of integration often requires a shift in attention beyond traditional Western views of human nature and a refocusing on the economic, political, and cultural aspects of our lives. At the advanced level, we offer unique opportunities to learn not only through courses offered across departments but also through supervised field experiences. Students select from cutting-edge foundational courses taught in our unique Prescott College way. We also offer advanced courses that help students develop proficiency and expertise in a number of emphasis areas. In addition to the emphasis areas listed below, creative and self-directed students are encouraged, with the help of faculty advisors, to create their own unique emphasis areas.

Areas of Emphasis

The primary foundational concepts, which strongly inform critical psychology (and which distinguishes critical psychology from mainstream psychology), are its emphasis on power, well-being, oppression, and liberation. Critical psychology is committed to promulgating social justice, the welfare of communities (particularly oppressed communities), and the eradication of injustices and inequalities proffered by current social, economic and political systems. Ultimately, critical psychological theories maintain that when collective factors such access to valued resources combined with a sense of community and personal empowerment, there is an increased likelihood that psychological and political well-being will result. Students of critical psychology question valued assumptions on which the field of psychology is based, and apply the concepts of critical psychology to psychological inquiry, research methods, and clinical practice. Students are NOT required to take a practicum course for this emphasis. 

The field of Gender and Sexuality Studies explores our gendered existence; what it means to be feminine and masculine and how this interacts with other aspects of our identity, such as race, ethnicity, class, and sexuality. Gender and Sexuality Studies focuses particular attention on those whom a society defines as "woman," on the meaning of that identity in different times and places, especially how women experience their lives and construct their own identities, and questions forms of inquiry, which place women as outsiders in society. It integrates women's questions and perspectives into the theoretical frameworks through which we approach the study of psychology, education, arts, literature, leadership development, history, and political science and moves toward a perspective where women’s experiences are central to the understanding of human society and behavior. Students will strengthen their critical thinking skills as they learn to challenge previously unquestioned epistemology and hegemonic principles and learn to identify the ethical implications of excluding gender from the arts, humanities, psychology, religion, culture, and history. Three of the four below are required for the emphasis: 

● The F-Word: Feminism, Women & Social Change 

● History of Gender & Sexuality 

● Sexuality & Sexual Outlaws 

The Expressive Arts Therapy is a multimodal approach to therapy that often incorporates art making, writing, poetry, drama, dance/movement, sandplay, music, and/or play therapy. People utilizing the Expressive Arts Therapy are encouraged to explore their responses, reactions, and insights through pictures, sounds, somatic explorations, and encounters with creative art processes. A person is not required to have artistic ability to use or benefit from expressive arts therapy. An Expressive Arts Therapy emphasis will encourage hands-on learning, creativity, interpersonal skills, effective communication, commitment, and self-responsibility. Students will explore the healing potential of the arts through self-reflective art directives, research and service learning in the community, and will develop an appreciation of multicultural and global perspectives in the expressive arts. The theory and practice of expressive arts may serve a vital role for students pursuing work in human services, counseling, wilderness leadership, and education.

A student with an Ecopsychology emphasis strives to integrate ecological principles and psychological wisdom into a unified field of study in order to develop a significant appreciation of humans as complex psychological beings acting within ecological systems. Depending on the specific interest of the student, coursework in either psychology or environmental studies may be emphasized. In either case, the student must develop a substantial foundation in each of these disciplines.

The Counseling emphasis intertwines theory and practice through small-group learning and the integration of specific, guided practicum experiences into the curriculum. Many students receiving a competence in Human Development with a Counseling emphasis move directly into entry-level positions in agencies before going on to complete advanced studies.



  • Students will demonstrate professional and ethical knowledge of the history and theories of the field, as well as the necessary dispositions with regard to their roles in the helping professions.
  • Students will engage in self-reflective practices designed to prepare them to be fit to practice within a therapeutic setting, this includes understanding one’s own positionality within power/privilege social structures.
  • Students will demonstrate professional oral and written communication skills including within class/course discussions, through submission of academic assignments, with instructor and peer interactions, within professional settings,and on social media.
  • Students will demonstrate the development of culturally-appropriate competence and socially-just practices and advocacy.


  • Case Manager
  • Child Care Worker
  • Laboratory Assistant
  • Market Researcher
  • Psychiatric Technician

Students interested in Psychology and Human Development engage in classes addressing the following competencies:  communication skills, social theory, practicum, and research methods.   Though course combinations are endless, students could earn a degree in Psychology and Human Development with the following sample list of classes.

Lower division - The starting points
 Interpersonal Communication
Counseling Skills
Group process and Ropes Course facilitation
History of Gender and Sexuality
Expressive Art Therapies
Ecopsychology: Choices for a Sustainable World
Intro to Ethnic Studies

Upper Division - Developing a deeper mastery
Critical Psychology
Yoga Teacher Training and Certification
Narrative Therapy: Theory & Practice
Community Mediation and Principled Negotiation
Core Curriculum 3: Inquiry & Analysis
Statistics for Research
Beyond Walls and Cages
Transpersonal Psychology
The Senior Project