Psychology is the study of human behavior and mental processes. It is one of the social sciences that utilizes research methods to systematically study the causes of behavior and the circumstances under which behaviors occur. An important issue in psychology is to determine to what extent behavior is influenced by Nature, which are biological and genetic factors, or Nurture, which are environmental factors, and how these two set of factors interact with each other.
All students are required to take General Psychology before they can take an upper level psychology course. General Psychology introduces students to the terminology of psychology, research methods used to gather data, theories that explain the behaviors and areas of study in psychology, e.g.. emotions, personality, psychotherapy approaches, or memory processes. Advanced psychology courses are numerous and reflect specialized interest and research areas. OCC offers standard upper level courses in child, adolescent, adult, developmental and abnormal psychology, in addition to specialized areas of: Psychology and the Law; Personality Theories; Positive Psychology; Psychology of Disabilities; Psychology of Leadership and Work; and both Psychology of Men, and Women.
Psychology courses are one of the Social Sciences options students can take as part of the Humanities/Social Sciences AA degree. They are often also required courses in a variety of Bachelor's programs at four year institutions. For example, either child or adolescent psychology is required for NYS teacher certification. Psychology majors typically continue on to graduate school for a Master's of Arts or PhD, but those with a bachelor's degree may pursue a variety of job opportunities.
Undergraduates with interests in being a psychology major can also choose to become a student affiliate of the American Psychological Association, which is the main governing body of psychologist in the United States.