The Psychology major is devoted to the systematic study of human
behavior with an emphasis on a scientific approach to real-life
Examining both theoretical models of behavior and the contexts in which
these models are applied, students become versed in the major theories
of psychology with an emphasis on hands-on absorption through research
Students will learn how to perform psychological research, discuss
ethical issues regarding therapy and research with human subjects, and
the core areas in Psychology.
This major lays the necessary groundwork for students to pursue graduate work in Psychology, Social Work or related fields.
The major also addresses intergroup relations and conflicts. Courses
focuse on the ways individuals and groups relate to each other, the
development of prejudice and intergroup conflict, and how to find
conflict resolution. Both psychological and sociological theories are
included to integrate individual and aggregate level analyses of these
Classes include such topics as: attitude formation, the development of
prejudice and hatred, how prejudice leads to genocide, intergroup
processes of consensus development and conformity, and methods of
changing prejudice and resolving intergroup conflicts.
This major gives students the necessary background to pursue graduate
work in Psychology (as well as other social science programs), teaching
in this content area, and working in more applied areas such as law or
non-governmental organizations (NGO’s).
DEPARTMENT CHAIR & ADVISOR
Sue Kapitanoff, Ph.D.
Phone // 310.476.9777 x295
Email // email@example.com
UCLA, B.A. (Psychology), 1980
CSU Northridge, M.A. (Social Psychology), 1984
UC Irvine, Ph.D. (Health Psychology), 1992
Dr. Sue Kapitanoff says she always wanted to be a psychologist – not the
kind who discusses personal issues with patients in an office with a
leather couch, framed art-museum posters, and book-lined shelves, but a
social psychologist, a person who studies the psyche of a society and
why people in different cultures behave the way they do. “Basically, I
wanted to understand why people hate each other,” she says in her usual
mild manner, belying the seriousness of the subject under discussion.
“As a youth, I was very aware that prejudice existed. And growing up in
a liberal, socially-conscious home, I wanted to know how to change
Since joining American Jewish University in 1992, Dr. Kapitanoff has
been an integral part of our university community. During her time at
AJU, Dr. Kapitanoff has worn several hats: Chair of the Behavioral
Sciences Department, lecturer in Psychology, and Dean of Students and
Dr. Kapitanoff’s desire to promote understanding and tolerance extends
well beyond the classroom. She has worked closely with students on the
Prejudice Awareness Summit. This important event brings hundreds of
middle school students from the Los Angeles Unified School District for a
day-long session on fostering tolerance among youth of various ethnic
Additionally, Dr. Kapitanoff heads-up American Jewish University’s
Sophomore Service Learning program. During this program, students learn
the history of various social issues, and then work directly with
affected populations and the agencies that help them. This program,
which is an important part of our Core Curriculum, deepens our students’
understanding of social challenges via hands-on experience in the
“For me, one of the greatest benefits of all of these activities has
been the amount I have learned from the students,” Dr. Kapitanoff noted.
“I grasped early-on that teaching is not lecturing. It’s a sharing of
information, a collaborative educational partnership, where we inspire