May 18, 2024  
University Catalog 2023-2024 
University Catalog 2023-2024

Department of Psychology

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King Hall C3104
Phone: (323) 343-2250
Fax: (323) 343-2281


Gaithri Fernando
(323) 343-2250


Psychology is the scientific study of behavior and the mind. The field also encompasses the methods, procedures, and instruments necessary for the study of these processes. As the American Psychological Association puts it, “The discipline embraces all aspects of the human experience - from the functions of the brain to the actions of nations, from child development to care for the aged” (APA, 2021). By describing, measuring, and analyzing behavior, psychologists attempt to predict that behavior reliably and to change or enhance it in ways beneficial to individuals and their communities.

The mission of the Cal State LA Psychology Department aligns with those of the College of Natural & Social Sciences and the University. Our mission is to provide students with the opportunity to excel academically and professionally by using a teacher-scholar mentoring model to teach psychology as a scientific discipline that accurately reflects the diversity of life and human experience. The department is committed to excellence in teaching, research, practice, and scholarship. Our program learning outcomes focus on acquisition of knowledge, enhancing communication and critical thinking skills, and professional development, including ethical and responsible behavior in one’s chosen profession. Students gain a sense of community through their participation in Psi Chi, the psychology honor society. The undergraduate program provides basic training for students planning a professional career in psychology, as well as for those who need a general background in human behavior for fields such as law, medicine, religion, government, management, sales, marketing, or industrial relations.  With an undergraduate degree in psychology you can be employed in numerous and varied settings, including in local, state, and federal service organizations, community organizations, social service agencies, business and industrial companies, personnel and public relations firms, hospitals, and research centers. Many students also volunteer their time while in school and find positions relating to their volunteer work after graduation. A significant number of students go on to earn a post-graduate degree and/or certifications in specialized fields such as drug and alcohol abuse counseling and applied behavior analysis. Having these degrees and certifications will enhance employability in higher positions. Currently the department offers ‘course clusters’ in behavior analysis and child development that will facilitate students’ entry into these specializations and certificate programs.

The Department of Psychology offers programs leading to Bachelor of Arts, Master of Science, and Master of Arts degrees. The graduate degrees are described in the Graduate Programs section.

The Faculty

Professors:  Ramani S. Durvasula, Mitchell Eisen, Joel Ellwanger, Gaithri Fernando (Chair), Senqi Hu, Robert Kennison, Eric Kohatsu, Pamela C. Regan, Heidi Riggio, Henry Schlinger, Ji Son, Douglas Stenstrom, Kaveri Subrahmanyam.

Assistant Professors: . Daisy Camacho-Thompson, Steven Frenda, Matthew Jackson, Karen Wu.

Emeriti: Burton L. Alperson, Theodore S. Bell, Desdemona Cardoza, Nancy Cobb, Annette Ehrlich, Herbert Goldberg, Harold J. Gottlieb, Thomas M. Graham, Jean P. LaCour, Anson J. Levine, Robert T. Lewis, Brigitte Matthies, David R. Perrott, Jean S. Phinney, Michael W. Roffe, Gloria J. Romero, Judith E. Stevens-Long, David J. Weiss.

The Graduate Program

The Department of Psychology offers both Master of Arts and Master of Science degrees. The Master of Arts degree in Psychology is a mentor-based, rigorous graduate program designed to develop research and conceptual skills for students whose primary interest is in continuing their education in a doctoral program. Students are encouraged to contact a faculty member in the area of research in which they are interested before applying to the program. Positions in the department are limited and acceptance into the program depends on students finding someone on the faculty who will agree to serve as a mentor.  The Master of Science in Forensic Psychology prepares students to work in the criminal justice system, or to continue their education in doctoral programs in applied psychology. 


    Degree - UndergraduateDegree - MinorDegree - Graduate


      Psychology (Graduate)Psychology (Undergraduate)

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