2023-2024 Catalog

Psychology Department

  • Associate of Arts Degree (A.A.) (94 credits)
  • Bachelor of Arts Degree (B.A.) (184 credits)

Program Description

The SKC Psychology program was developed in conjunction with the UM Psychology Department to help fill the need for mental health workers in Indian Country. The primary goal of the SKC Psychology program is to train students in a manner consistent with traditional cultures, while meeting core requirements of structured degree programs in psychology. The degree is designed with the Native American student who wishes to live and work in rural or reservation settings in mind. The curriculum provides coursework and training in psychology and counseling in the context of a broad understanding and appreciation of human behavior. Developed through a collaboration of Montana Tribal Colleges with the UM Psychology Department, the SKC Psychology program follows APA guidelines for psychology undergraduate degree programs.

Two Psychology degrees are offered, the Associate of Arts degree and the Bachelor of Arts degree. These programs are organized in a 2-plus-2 format, which means that students complete the two-year Associate of Arts degree before entering the Bachelor of Arts program for two more years. 

The 4C's (Cultural competency, Citizenship, Communication, Critical/Clear thinking) are integrated into degree objectives, drawing upon Western and Indigenous models of learning. Goals of the 4C's are to:

  • Improve written and spoken communication skills, active listening skills, and skills in communicating within and across cultures
  • Develop skills in accessing, understanding and using written materials in psychology subject areas
  • Increase awareness of how psychology is related to citizenship, both individually (exploring values, beliefs and actions that contribute to a sense of self) and collectively (exploring connections among family, community, culture and world)
  • Increase awareness of own cultural values, beliefs, norms, history and attitudes
  • Gain understanding of psychological dimensions across which cultures vary (and tend to misunderstand one another), and identify how specific cultures fit these patterns
  • Develop the ability to function flexibly across multiple cultural settings, with respect for differences and openness to new ways
  • Increase knowledge of S&K cultures and apply the dimensions of culture to interactions among Native American and other U.S. cultures

Career Outlook

A Bachelor’s degree in Psychology leads to graduate school, or to a variety of careers that involve interpersonal, analytical, writing and/or research skills. A psychology AA or BA is an excellent background for Administration, Management, Human Resources, Law Enforcement, Social Services, Advocacy, Coordination of Services, or Chemical Dependency counseling. At the Master’s or PhD level, psychology graduates specialize in areas such as Adult or Child Counseling, Clinical Psychology, Forensics, School Psychology, Research or Law. Entry into graduate programs is competitive, but because of the need for mental health practitioners in Indian Country, there are many opportunities for Native American students who obtain a degree in psychology.

Special Admissions Requirements

  1. Students may need to strengthen math, English and writing skills with additional coursework prior to entering the Psychology program.
  2. Entry into the Junior Year of the Psychology Bachelor of Arts program includes submitting a Placement Application and completing one writing placement activity.
  3. Students may need to take psychology coursework in the A.A. program before entering the Junior Year of the B.A. Program.
  4. Students should be aware that some careers in psychology require a Federal Background Check.
  5. Note: Students with a history of criminal convictions (whether felony or misdemeanor) relating to crimes such as, but not limited to, physical assault, use of a dangerous weapon, sexual abuse or assault, abuse of children, the elderly or infirm and crimes against property, including robbery, burglary and felony theft, may not be eligible for licensure in some psychology careers. Students with concerns in this area should consult with the program director.