Michigan State University

Collection Development Policy Statement: Psychology

Purpose or Scope of Collection

This collection policy is intended to serve as both a planning tool for the development of the psychology collection and as a way of communicating information about the collection. With this policy, collection development librarians will work with consistency toward defined goals to create a strong collection. It should guide librarians and the MSU Community in making recommendations for additions to the collection.

Most psychology materials are located online or in the Main Library. The collection provides support for all undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs offered at the University.

A. Curricular/Research/Programmatic needs

The psychology collection serves the curricular and research needs of the faculty and students in psychology, psychiatry, education and other related disciplines. The Department of Psychology is affiliated with the Colleges of Social Sciences, Human Medicine, and Education. Most courses are provided to students in the colleges mentioned. The graduate program in Psychology emphasizes a Doctor of Philosophy degree.  No terminal Master degree is offered, however the College of Education offers a Master of Arts in Counseling. The Psychology Department offers graduate students an opportunity to work in an interest group most closely aligned with their major interest.

There are few MSU departments that do not have some cooperative interaction with the Department of Psychology. The library collection supports psychology material needs for related disciplines, please see the 'Factors Influencing Collection Policy' tab of this document for more information.

B. Existing strengths and emphases.

The collection is intended to support the particular emphases of the MSU Psychology department. These include Behavioral Neuroscience, Clinical science, Cognition & cognitive neuroscience, Ecological / Community psychology, Organizational psychology, and Social / personality psychology. 


C. Relationships to resources treated in other policy statements.

Psychology has a strong overlap with the field of Education. The Psychology Department's emphasis on organizational and industrial psychology results in a substantial overlap with the College of Business as well.

Within the social sciences, particularly sociology, and social work; and the sciences, particularly psychiatry and neuroscience, and also in gender studies, there is such a great degree of overlap of interest among faculty that firm collection lines are hard to draw. The Psychology selector retains primary responsibility for purchasing materials that classify in the library call number system as "BF" or "HM 251-291", but must also select materials in other classification areas that are vital to the research interests of Psychology Department faculty. This requires an ongoing collaborative relationship with several other selectors.

For the support of emotional and mental wellness on campus in general, MSU Libraries supports a Student Health & Wellness Collection.

Materials on the paranormal, witchcraft, palmistry and such topics classify in this area. While there is little curricular emphasis of these subjects, they remain of some interest to college students. The Popular Culture collection in Special Collections acquires some titles to meet this demand, but the psychology selector selects some materials to maintain a circulating collection. 


This Collection Development Policy was last reviewed and updated by Kathleen Weessies in April, 2023.