Professional Career Track Program Components
The professional career track for the B.S. in Psychology consists of these components:
An underlying strength of the PCT program is the addition of faculty mentors for each incoming class of PCT students. The mentor becomes an integral part of the PCT cohort, advising students about scheduling, and generally being available for questions and concerns throughout the individual's stay at ACU.
First Summer: Research Component
The first summer consists of either classes during Summer I and II or classes during Maymester and Summer I, with either option entailing roughly 2 months of schooling during that summer, with approximately 7 weeks off.
The research core (Psychological Tests and Measurements, Experimental Psychology, and Statistics in Psychological Research) are team-taught during this summer in an integrated format. Hands-on learning is encouraged through a research project conducted by the students; this project is submitted for presentation in a regional conference during the following semester.
Second Summer: International Experience
After completing a number of classes in the field of psychology, opportunities for application are provided in an international setting. Historically, the PCT program has traveled to Montevideo, Uruguay, or Liepzig, Germany, where several opportunities for service and in-depth study exist.
In Montevideo, the general format for the summer consists of an 150-hour internship (6 credit hours), a 3-hour Spanish class at the appropriate level, and a 3-hour Uruguayan Culture class presented at the Universidad de Catholica in Montevideo. Students serve and research in various venues: some choose to work with street children through an organization called El Abrojo, while conducting research through a local depression clinic. Other students pursue a heavily research oriented program through Alianza, an organization that teaches English to Uruguayans. Students may also travel to Buenos Aires, Argentina, the Interior of Uruguay, and Iguazu Falls in Brazil.
In Liepzig, students explore the rich spiritual, moral, political and scientific heritage of Germany. Group excursions take students to Berlin, Wittenburg, and other nearby towns to see where Luther, Einstein, Bonhoeffer and Marx lived and worked. Courses focus on the psychology involved in WWII and the Cold War. Visits to Nazi concentration camps also provide discussion concerning the psychology of evil. Students also engage in service-learning opportunities in Liepzig.
The length of each summer abroad experience is generally 5 weeks.
On top of the structured opportunities presented to students in the PCT program, many students create their opportunities for service learning and research through research teams, interaction with local congregations, employment, and community organizations.
However, the PCT program is not merely about developing psychological skills in individuals. It is also structured to allow students the flexibility to pursue other goals, interests, and opportunities. Students have participated to varying degrees in spring break campaigns, social clubs, student government, and other organizations. Students have enjoyed leadership opportunities though Black Students Association, the Students Association, and other groups. The purpose of the program is not to force students into an overwhelming schedule, but rather to provide the structure to move students in challenging way through their coursework, while still allowing for participation in the areas of Christian development available at ACU.
Students must make a "C" or better in all psychology courses and maintain an overall GPA and psychology GPA of 3.3 in order to stay in the PCT program. If a student's GPA falls below the requirement, he or she is placed on probation for one semester for the opportunity to raise his or her GPA. If the student's GPA remains below 3.3 after that probationary semester, he or she must leave the PCT program. A student may not be on probation for more than one semester--neither consecutive nor non-consecutive semester.