A major in psychology will prepare you for positions in human services, research, and education-related fields. The program approaches psychology as an academic discipline, a profession, and a science.

The psychology major is available through the Social Sciences Department. Social science courses offer experience in project-based course work and opportunities for original scholarly research, incorporating field trips and off-campus study throughout the United States and abroad. In recent years, psychology faculty members and students researched topics such as parenting and personality, memory processes, and stress and adjustment. In addition, students assisted faculty in researching human rights, democratization studies, civil discourse, and service learning.

ATTENTION CURRENT STUDENTS: Dr. Graff is currently accepting applications for undergraduate research assistants. If you are interested in participating in the lab please click the following link and complete the online application form or email Dr. Graff at

Program Goals

The psychology program, part of the Social Sciences Department, approaches psychology as an academic discipline, a profession, and a science. Faculty present the field of psychology as one that is diverse and exciting. All faculty members hold a Ph.D. degree in a specialized area of psychology and actively pursue professional and research interests. Students can collaborate with faculty members on a variety of projects and programs. Students may work with professional service providers in an off-campus field experience, gaining job-relevant skills and knowledge in a clinical, educational, or human services setting.

Demonstrate command of theory, concepts, and methods in the core content areas of psychology (learning/memory, developmental, abnormal, clinical/counseling, and social/organizational).

Use critical thinking skills in evaluating psychological theory, research, and practice and apply accepted methods and principles of research in developing, conducting, and reporting an original psychology research project.

Appreciate the role of psychology as a science and practice aimed at improving human welfare and understand the professional/ethical responsibilities that accompany this role.

Demonstrate effective interpersonal relationship skills and a sense of professionalism in interactions with others (such as peers, clients, research participants, professionals, administrators).

Communicate written and oral information in accordance with professional and scholarly standards.


The Classroom Technology Center houses the Social Science Department and allows for personal interaction with faculty members and students.

Research with a faculty mentor. WORTH IT.



Amy Long ’10
Medical Staff and Outreach Manager

I am responsible for physician recruiting, negotiations, provider employment contracts, and onboarding of new providers, direct marketing to external physicians, and serve as physician relations specialist for the organization. I oversee implementation and oversight of visiting specialty clinics and research and evaluate needs for future availability of specialists. I also facilitate and coordinate professional peer review activities including ongoing and focused peer review evaluations of medical staff members.

Erin Swancutt ‘03
Psychology, Sociology
Admissions Advisor

After graduating from Wartburg in 2003, I was an AmeriCorpsVISTA volunteer for two years. In 2005, I started graduate school at UNI in the Postsecondary Education: Student Affairs program. After graduating in 2007, I was hired at Simpson College that summer as a Career Counselor.  A couple of years later, I moved up to Assistant Director of Career Services and became the orientation coordinator.  This past summer in 2013, I left Simpson to move back to the Cedar Valley and I am currently the Admissions Advisor at Upper Iowa University at the Waterloo Center.

Breanne Pleggenkuhle ’06
Psychology and Sociology
Assistant Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice

I am currently an assistant professor in the Criminology and Criminal Justice Department at Southern Illinois University (Carbondale, Illinois). I received my Ph.D. from the University of Missouri- St. Louis in 2012, after also completing my Masters degree there. I have had opportunity to engage in a wide variety of research projects that have allowed me to evaluate challenges offenders face after a felony conviction and the impact of community context on success.

Alumni Outcomes

Wartburg graduates find satisfying jobs and are admitted into top graduate and professional schools. Wartburg alumni can be found in all 50 U.S. states and over 70 foreign countries. Below is only a sample of the types of positions Wartburg graduates from the Social Science Department have had in the past.

Sample of Alumni Positions from the Past Five Years:

  • Admissions Representative, Ashford University, Clinton
  • Assistant Professor, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Ill.
  • Psychiatric Rehabilitation Service Coordinator, Fairview Nursing Plaza, Rockford, Ill.
  • Graduate Student-Law, University of Iowa, Iowa City
  • Government Affairs Analyst, Pioneer Hi-Bred International/Dupont, Johnston
  • Attorney, Bradshaw, Fowler, Proctor & Fairgrave, Des Moines

Sample Stand-out Alumni Positions:

  • Attorney/Partner, Best & Flanagan, LLP, Minneapolis, Minn.
  • Attorney/Partner, Merlo Kanofsky & Gregg, Ltd., Chicago, Ill.
  • Assistant Professor, Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, Tenn.
  • Higher Executive Officer/ Deputy Majority Leader, Norwegian Immigration Appeals Board, Oslo, Norway
  • Associate Professor of Psychology, Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio

Sample of Alumni Positions from the Past 10 Years:

  • Police Officer, Longmont, Colo.
  • Benefits Assistant, Go Wireless, Las Vegas, Nev.
  • Attorney, Sheridan & Murray, Philadelphia, Pa.
  • Human Resources Representative, Iowa Department of Human Services, Des Moines
  • Behavior Therapist, Behavior Dimensions, Inc. Minneapolis, Minn.
  • Counterterrorism/Acquisition, Air Force, Boston, Mass.
  • Director, Kessel Kids Childcare & Learning Center, Cresco


Cynthia Bane

Professor of Psychology

Andrea Eslick

Associate Professor of Psychology

Tyler Graff

Assistant Professor of Psychology

Shaheen Munir

Professor of Psychology

Todd Reiher

Professor of Psychology