General Psychology Emphasis

Psychology professor

Committed to preparing skilled Christian helping professionals.

The psychology program at Cornerstone University equips students to influence the world for Christ by supporting and encouraging the health and development of children, adults and families in a variety of workplace and ministry environments. Our students examine, explore, and critique psychological ideas, theories and applications from a Christian perspective. They apply what they learn in the classroom through practical work, volunteer, internship and professional experiences throughout West Michigan.

What distinguishes Cornerstone's Psychology Program?

Hillary Marker '16 | Majors: Psychology & Family Studies | Minor: Music

"As a double major, I have had the opportunity to learn and discover aspects of being an effective Christian counselor through the courses I have taken on different theories of personality and counseling. Next fall, I hope to study abroad in Lithuania in order to obtain a better understanding of interacting with and helping individuals of other cultures and ethnicities. My time at Cornerstone has dramatically shaped not only who I am as a person, but also as a Christian professional."

Program Distinctives:

  • Faculty with decades of experience in counseling, school-based practice, and research.
  • Students complete an original research project and APA research paper, with the opportunity to present at local, state and national conferences.
  • Students from our program consistently score above the 90th percentile on the Major Field Assessment Test, a national standardized test of psychology majors in all different types of college and university settings.

What can I do with this major?

Psychology offers concentrations in the following fields:

  • Child & Adolescent Services
  • Counseling
  • Marriage & Family Studies
  • General Psychology

Psychology is a discipline that has applicability in nearly every profession. Many psychology majors go on to graduate school to prepare for careers in counseling within private practices, agencies, schools and hospitals. Others who pursue advanced study in psychology go on to work as mental health consultants, professors, researchers and administrators. Due to students’ preparation in understanding and working with diverse people, a psychology background is also appealing to employers in diverse areas such as professional ministry, medicine/health care, business (such as human resources and marketing) and nonprofit work.

What are some interesting classes I may take?

Theories of Counseling - This course offers an overview of current approaches to counseling and psychotherapy, including psychodynamic, person centered, cognitive-behavioral, and narrative therapy. Major Christian approaches to counseling are also examined with emphasis on theory and application.
Introduction to Relationships - This course studies the formation, maintenance, and termination of relationships before marriage. Issues such as self in relationship, family background, gender, and personality differences are examined in friendships, dating, and marriage.
Theories of Personality -  This course examines what makes up an individual's personality, what motivates and drives a person, how one is similar and different from others, and what causes some people to develop disordered personalities, whereas others grow toward psychological health. 
Adult Psychology - Students research about general characteristics and the expected changes in life, from early adulthood to the end of life. This includes such topics of focus as health limitations, maturation and growth, and different tasks and challenges faced at various phases of adult life.  

What internships or partnerships are offered in this program?

Every psychology major at Cornerstone University completes a 3-credit internship in the field, where they are able to connect what they have learned in their studies to real-world challenges and problems. Students work with a faculty advisor to identify, plan and complete their internship experience according to each student’s interests and goals. Students may work in one of the following settings or can work with their adviser to plan an individualized internship in a setting that allows them to pursue their professional goals.

Wedgewood Christian Services - Direct Intervention, Education Services
Pine Rest - Residential Specialists, Assessment, ADHD Clinic
DeVos Children’s Hospital - Child Assessment, Child Life
Grand Rapids Children’s Museum - Child and Family Programming
Bethany Christian Services - Variety
Alpha Women’s Center - Counselor

What are grads doing now?

Cornerstone grads have seen consistent placement in psychology and related graduate programs including Michigan State University, University of Michigan, Central Michigan University, Wheaton College, Western Michigan University, Spring Arbor College. An increasing number of our students are going on to pursue and complete doctoral degrees in psychology and related fields.

Examples of where Cornerstone University psychology program graduates are currently working:

  • Pine Rest
  • Wedgewood Christian Services
  • Pediatric Psychologists of West Michigan
  • The Veteran’s Administration
  • Bucknell University Counseling Center
  • Meier Clinics-Chicago
  • Grand Valley State University Admissions
  • Grand Rapids Theological Seminary Admissions
  • Private Counseling Practice
  • Kent County Juvenile Detention Center

Faculty, Student, Alumni Testimonials

I cannot begin to tell you how practical and worthwhile the psychology classes were for my education. Cornerstone prepared me to understand and grasp the concepts quickly, easily and much of what I learned in my masters program was taught or at least introduced in my classes at CU. I was able to enter into my masters program with confidence because of the excellent teachings and practical experience that I gained in my undergraduate work. I have been in private practice for 10 years and attribute many of my skills and expertise to excellent role models that I had while at Cornerstone. The professors were approachable, passionate and very knowledgeable about their field of study, therefore, I gained an excitement for learning and knew I could be successful in this field! I know I would not be the person I am today without the impact and influence of my professors. They not only cared about my education, but they cared about me as a person.
-Kelly (Powers) Griffin, Professional Counselor, Pediatric Psychologists of West Michigan

Through the Cornerstone psychology program I have not only gained a solid education, I have gained a foundational understanding of humanity. I have seen faith and psychology uniquely woven together for a more holistic view of how God created us. From this, I took my knowledge to Focus on the Family institute, one of the Cornerstone off-campus study programs, and gained firsthand experience in the field of counseling. Whether it be the faculty, the classroom, or the internship experience, my time at Cornerstone has been invaluable and I would not trade it for anything.
-Ashley Nichols, Admissions Counselor, Grand Rapids Theological Seminary

As a transfer student, I have had the opportunity to experience and observe the differences between Cornerstone's Psychology and Family Studies departments in relation to those of other schools. To me, one of the most valuable characteristics of these departments at Cornerstone is the undeniable integration of academics and faith. Not only have I had the opportunity to grow intellectually, I have been taught how to apply my faith and beliefs in valuable and practical ways. I am also continually struck by the investment and guidance of the faculty. In addition to teaching students knowledge in a specific area, they are regularly willing to share their wisdom and experience.
-Krista Ipple

It is simultaneously a blessing and a challenge for me to be able to teach in the Cornerstone University psychology program. Bonds of friendship and mentorship are formed as, together, we think critically about the dominant ideas, trends and practices in the helping professions, holding each idea up to the light of God’s word. I have found many of the psychology students here to be committed to intellectual growth and Christian stewardship in a way that sets our students apart from others graduating into the profession. I often find that students’ ideas, perspectives, and creative solutions challenge me to learn and grow right along with them. Cornerstone University inspires me to continue to grow, create, and thrive as a teacher, learner and Christ-follower.
-Nicole McDonald, Professor of Psychology

How can I complete my degree program in four years?

Download a sample degree plan for a major in Psychology.

4 Year Psychology Degree Plan