Aug 13, 2022  
2021-2022 Undergraduate Catalog 
2021-2022 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Psychology Department

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Douglas Peterson, Chairperson
South Dakota Union Building, Room 205
(605) 658-3700



Jan Berkhout, Ergonomics and Safety
Elizabeth Boyd, Family Systems, Native American Mental Health
Jeffrey Simons, Psychology of Alcohol and Substance Abuse
Raluca Simons, Stress, Military Personnel and Alcohol
Cindy Struckman-Johnson, Social Psychology, Sexual Coercion, Transportation Safety

Associate Professors:

S. Jean Caraway, Traumatic Victimization, Cross-Cultural Psychology
Michael Granaas, Quantitative Methods, Virtual Environments
Sara Lowmaster, Psychological Assessment, Personality
Douglas Peterson, User Experience/Usability, Mental Workload, Neuroscience

Assistant Professors:

Christopher Berghoff, Acceptance, Mindfulness, Anxiety, Trauma
BreAnne Danzi, Stress and Trauma, Children and Families, Disasters
Timothy Ricker, Working Memory, Attention, Vision, Multitasking
Jong-Sung Yoon, Usability and User Experience, Mental Workload, Aviation Psychology, Neuroergonomics


Gemma Skillman
Stephanie Fuller


Gerard Jacobs
Randal Quevillon
Frank Schieber
Holly Straub

Barbara Yutrzenka


Psychology, B.A., B.S.


Disaster Response


Disaster Response

Psychology is both a scientific discipline concerned with understanding, explaining and predicting behavior, and a profession dedicated to the application of this knowledge to the solution of practical human problems. The courses and independent study opportunities offered in the department are designed to expose our students to both aspects of the field. The Psychology Department at the University of South Dakota is the most comprehensive in the state and has won several national awards for excellence.

Our curriculum provides comprehensive coverage of the core areas of general and experimental psychology as well as exposure to psychological applications in several areas.  Students may choose to emphasize coursework in the human factors/applied industrial area or in the human services (clinical/counseling) area and can work with their advisors to ensure optimal course selection. Department facilities include a computer laboratory, the Heimstra Human Factors Laboratory, the Disaster Mental Health Institute and the Psychological Services Center. The Disaster Mental Health Institute conducts cutting-edge work in the developing field of disaster psychology. Advanced undergraduate students in Psychology are encouraged to participate with faculty in research projects to earn academic credit and gain valuable experience. More information is available at website listed above.


Please contact the department for additional information about available scholarships and awards. Also see College of Arts & Sciences  for college/school level scholarships.

  • Harold O. Fossler Scholarship
  • Joseph M. Malters & Kathryn Kirk-Malters Psychology Scholarship
  • Norman Heimstra Memorial Scholarship
  • Psi Chi Prize Scholarship
  • Psychology Department Scholarship Fund
  • Royal D. & Helen B. Doner Scholarship

Student Learning Outcomes for Neuroscience (B.S.)

  1. Understanding the cellular and molecular function of neurons.  
  2. Understanding of basic neuroanatomy.  
  3. Understanding of behavior and cognition, as they relate to neuroscience.   
  4. Understanding of sensory and motor systems, as they relate to neuroscience.  
  5. Understanding the development and plasticity of the nervous system.  

Student Learning Outcomes for Psychology (B.A., B.S.)

  1. Describe key concepts, principles, and overarching themes in psychology. Develop a working knowledge of psychology’s content domains. Describe applications of psychology. 
  2. Demonstrate competency in psychological information literacy; research methods and statistical results; critical evaluation of conclusions drawn from scientific inquiry. 
  3. Apply ethical standards to evaluate psychological science and practice. Build and enhance socio-culturally aware interpersonal relationships. Adopt values that build community at local, national and global levels 
  4. Psychology majors will demonstrate effective writing for different purposes; Demonstrate effective presentations skills; Interact effectively with others. 
  5. Apply psychological content and skills to career goals, exhibit self-efficacy and self-regulation, enhance teamwork capacity and develop meaningful professional direction for life after graduation. 
  6. Students will be able to systematically explore issues, objects or works through the collection and analysis of evidence that results in informed conclusions or judgments, and break down complex topics or issues into parts to gain a better understanding of them. 
  7. Students will comprehensively explore issues, ideas, artifacts and events before accepting or formulating an opinion or conclusion, and combine or synthesize existing ideas, images or expertise in original ways reflecting a high degree of innovation, divergent thinking, and risk taking. 
  8. Students will be able to demonstrate cognitive, effective, and behavioral skills that support effective and appropriate interaction in a variety of cultural contexts. 
  9. Students will design, evaluate, and implement a strategy to answer an open-ended question or achieve a desired goal. 
  10. Students will intentionally engage with diversity in ways that increase awareness, content knowledge, cognitive sophistication, and empathic understanding of the complex ways individuals interact within systems and institutions leading to opportunities for equal access to participation in educational and community programs for all members of society.


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