The Department of Psychology at the University of West Georgia is unique in that our theoretical roots are in humanistic, critical, and transpersonal psychology. Our courses range from classically humanistic concerns - like the centrality of human subjective experience in psychology, holistic approaches to psychological understanding, human growth and development, and the enhancement of human potential - to contemporary attention to transpersonal and spiritual horizons. Themes such as the meaning of genuine community, sociality, understanding oneself and others, and the myriad of ways through which we grow and develop are central to our academic learning environment.
For several decades, the Department of Psychology at the University of West Georgia has drawn international attention for its unique set of programs reclaiming psychology as the holistic study of human experience. Historically grounded in humanistic and transpersonal psychology, our department has integrated these traditions with critical and psychodynamic perspectives. The result is an interdisciplinary approach that incorporates literature, history, art, sociology, anthropology, religious studies, global studies, neuroscience, and Western and Asian philosophy.
We believe that to understand psychology effectively and help others, a holistic approach is essential. We emphasize what has been called "psychology as a human science" and encourage students to explore people's lived experiences as primary sources of psychological data. In addition to traditional classes in psychological theory and research, we expose our students to a variety of experiences that foster rigorous and creative scholarship.
We support the University’s stated aim to foster "educational excellence in a personal environment" and emphasis on scholarship, critical thinking, vocational discernment, personal growth, and creativity. The department favors characteristics such as: theoretical dexterity; judicious employment of psychological concepts in everyday life; attention to the ways culture and history shape the discipline and its practitioners; personal awareness of one’s subjective position; identity, values, and vocational inclinations; and knowledge of the major career areas in psychology.
Our Department has been recognized as a center for Humanistic Psychology and is considered to be on psychology's leading edge as it moves from a mechanistic to a holistic view of the person. This vision inspires three programs of study:
- a Bachelor of Science degree,
- a Master of Arts program (with thesis or non-thesis track option), and
- a Doctoral Program (Ph.D.) in Consciousness and Society.
Our faculty boasts a wide-range of national and international publications and appointments as well as a national profile in several Divisions of the American Psychological Association and related professional organizations. In sum, we are highly active in framing the future of humanistic psychology and related critical perspectives. We invite you to join us in this effort.