Psychology is a scientific discipline that seeks to understand and explain human and non-human behavior. Psychology is also a profession that requires both an empathetic understanding of people as individuals and an objective, clinical perspective that studies common characteristics of human behavior. To combine these two elements, the psychology department at Simpson University offers curriculum, research activities, and community resources to give students a balanced exposure to psychology. Professors teach several psychology courses seminar-style, an interactive teaching method that links interpersonal development and academic engagement, where talking and thinking produce struggle, growth and fun.

Psychology Department Mission

To promote human flourishing as informed by the discipline of psychology and Christian theology.

Psychology Major

The psychology major is designed to provide coursework and experience central to a basic understanding of the discipline and profession. Human behavior is examined from modern and historical perspectives in both the practical and theoretical realms. The purpose of the major is to prepare students for graduate education or vocational opportunities with a mature, uniquely Christian approach.

The psychology program at Simpson University is designed to meet the diverse needs of students and prepare them for a variety of career paths. Because of an increased demand for psychological services in schools, hospitals, mental health centers, social service agencies, substance abuse treatment clinics, and private companies, your degree from Simpson University can help you move toward a career you’ve always dreamed of. In addition to providing you with the foundation for graduate work that can lead to a career as a psychologist, your degree will also prepare you for a wide variety of careers within and beyond psychology.

Career Opportunities

  • Behavior specialist
  • Career counselor
  • Case manager
  • Child development specialist
  • College resident director
  • Correction officer
  • Family preservation caseworker
  • Psychiatric technician
  • Rehabilitation specialist

Careers beyond the Field of Psychology

  • Advertising
  • Business
  • Communications
  • Community Services
  • Consulting
  • Government
  • Human Resources
  • Labor Relations
  • Law Enforcement
  • Market Research
  • Media
  • Ministry
  • Relief / Aid Work
  • Teaching

*Also available for working adults and individuals wishing to complete their degree in Simpson University's convenient 16-month, Adult Studies (ASPIRE) program. Psychology - Adult Studies, ASPIRE program.

Danielle Beck, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Psychology
Psychology Department Chair


Dr. Danielle Beck is a developmental psychologist who joined Simpson University's faculty in 2008. Her broad research interest includes the development of executive function in young children.

Dr. Beck also coordinates and conducts research projects with undergraduate psychology students.

Educational Background:

  • Ph.D., University of Washington, Seattle
  • B.A., Pacific Lutheran University

Courses Taught:

  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Statistics and Research Methods
  • Child Development
  • Research Experience


Lori McKinney, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Psychology


Dr. Lori McKinney has a PhD in Social Psychology and over 20 years of experience teaching at the university level. Before joining Simpson University’s faculty in 2014 she held a tenured faculty position at Governors State University (south of Chicago) and had taught as an affiliate at Metropolitan State University and Colorado Christian University in the Denver metropolitan area.

Dr. McKinney’s areas of interest include social cognition, particularly in the areas of mentoring and coaching, cognitive change, and social influence.

Educational Background:

  • Ph.D., University of Illinois at Chicago
  • M.A., Governors State University
  • B.A., Governors State University

Courses Taught:

  • Statistics
  • Research
  • Social Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • History and Systems of Psychology
  • Graduate Seminar in Social Psychology
  • Thesis Preparation


Rebecca Carter , M.A., L.M.F.T.

Instructor of Psychology


Rebecca Carter is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the state of California who joined Simpson University's faculty in 2012. She has held several positions in higher education over the past ten years including Adjunct Instructor in the areas of Ministry and Psychology, Wellness Outreach Coordinator, Mental Health Counselor, Coordinator for Disability Services, Career Center Coordinator, Career Counselor, Assistant Athletic Coach, and Student Services Director.

Rebecca’s areas of clinical interest include eating disorders, survivors of abuse, emergent adult issues (individuation and differentiation), couples’ issues, and the integration of Christianity and psychology.

Educational Background:

  • M.A., National University
  • B.A., Simpson University
  • B.A., MidAmerica Nazarene University

Courses Taught:

  • Counseling Skills
  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Child Development
  • Adult Development
  • Lifespan Development
  • Field Experience
  • Family Therapy I


  • Ethic of service to others
  • Content base of psychology
  • Research and language skills
  • Self-monitoring, self-awareness, sensitivity to others