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Course Catalog

Psychology

Psychology is the scientific study of behavior and mental processes approached from physiological, cognitive, behavioral, social and applied perspectives. Majors in Psychology receive training in the scientific approach as it has been applied to the study of such topics as: brain function, perception, learning, motivation, memory, development, social influence, attitudes, organizational behavior and mental disorders and treatments. Understanding how these topics have been investigated scientifically requires the development of critical thinking skills, quantitative reasoning skills, and speaking and writing abilities necessary to communicate research knowledge to others, as well as an appreciation for the ethical issues involved in dealing with colleagues, clients and subjects. Although these skills are developed throughout the Psychology curriculum, demonstrated competence in the Statistics and Research Methods courses is essential. Psychology majors have gone on to successful careers in research, counseling and teaching, as well as such fields as medicine, business, journalism and law. A major and a minor are offered in Psychology. PSY 100 is a prerequisite for all courses in the department. Neuroscience Concentration The psychology and biology departments offer neuroscience concentrations for their majors. Each concentration (biology or psychology) consists of 4 or 5 credits in addition to the courses required for the majors. Interested students should contact their advisors or the chairs of the biology and psychology departments.


Requirements for a major

Psychology

Total courses required Ten
Core courses PSY 100, PSY 214, PSY 215
Other required courses The content area core requires four courses:
  • Two courses should be chosen from PSY 280, PSY 300 or PSY 301, PSY 330 or PSY 331, PSY 380 or PSY 381, PSY 350
  • Two courses should be chosen from PSY 260 or PSY 261, PSY 290, PSY 232, PSY 360.

The laboratory component requires two psychology laboratory courses at the 200-level or above, in addition to PSY 215 (Research Methods).

Number 300 and 400 level courses Four
Senior requirement and capstone experience Majors must satisfy their senior requirement by completing the thesis for either PSY 493 (one-semester thesis) or PSY 495 and PSY 496 (two-semester empirical research and thesis) with a C- or better.

The major also requires successful completion of a departmental comprehensive examination. The exam is administered in sections to senior majors in PSY 493 and PSY 495. Performance on the exam is part of the grade in PSY 493 or PSY 495. To certify for graduation with a major in psychology, students must earn a 70 percent or better on all sections of the exam.

The senior capstone experience in psychology has two basic components: breadth of knowledge and focused in-depth investigation. You will demonstrate breadth of knowledge by successfully completing a comprehensive exam, given in three parts that cover major areas of the field (e.g., cognitive, developmental, learning, personality, physiological, social). You will also have the opportunity to pursue an area of psychology in greater depth by completing a senior thesis. One thesis option allows you to perform an empirical investigation of a research problem (review background evidence, design and carry out a study, and write up the findings) over both semesters of your senior year. The other thesis option is a one-semester in-depth, integrative review of the scientific literature on a topic in psychology. All students will publicly present their work. Both options allow you to apply the skills and knowledge that you have acquired over your first three years, and pursue a topic in which you are most interested.

Additional information Psychology majors must complete a total of two courses in the natural sciences, computer science, and/or mathematics outside of psychology. MATH 135 does not meet this requirement.
Recent changes in major The senior requirement was changed from completing the seminar with a C- or better to completing the seminar thesis with a C- or better. Effective Fall 2010.
Writing in the Major

Writing in the psychology major is accomplished in many ways, using multiple methods. As a science that engages in active communication with colleagues at the regional, national, and international level, in conference presentations and peer-reviewed publications, psychology requires critical reading of the literature and writing in the major, using discipline-specific (APA) style. In courses spanning the curriculum from Introductory Psychology to the upper 300-level courses, students write short opinion papers, critical reviews of popular media, reviews of research articles, and reports of empirical findings. Special focus on the mechanics of formal writing assignments as appropriate in our discipline is a critical part of a required core course in the major, Research Methods (PSY 215). In addition, each student major is required to take two additional laboratory courses that provide significant experience writing laboratory reports and major project papers. In these courses and others (e.g., the senior capstone experience), development of writing skills includes a mix of one or more of the following: feedback on multiple drafts, conference meetings with faculty advisors, and collaborative writing with peers and peer review. Finally, the senior capstone experience (PSY 493/495) includes a thesis on a topic chosen by the student. One thesis option allows students to perform an empirical investigation of a research problem (review background evidence, design and carry out a study, and write up the findings) over both semesters of your senior year. The other thesis option is a one-semester in-depth, integrative review of the scientific literature on a topic in psychology. Both options of the APA thesis represent a culmination of skill-building for writing in the major that prepares students for graduate work in any area of psychology and other careers such as law, medicine, social service, and business. The thesis is certified by the department and deposited in the departmental archives. Thesis findings are sometimes presented at regional or national conferences, or even published in peer-reviewed journals.


Requirements for a minor

Psychology

Total courses required Five
Core courses PSY 100
Other required courses The department will consider PSY 214 or PSY 215 to be a 300-level course for the minor (if a student so chooses).
Number 300 and 400 level courses Two

Courses in Psychology

PSY 100

Introductory Psychology

This course is a thorough survey of the major areas and approaches in psychology. As a discipline, psychology examines how humans and other organisms develop, function and adapt, including such topics as: how the brain and nervous system function; how we sense and perceive information from our environment; how we learn, remember, think about and interact with the world and each other; how we change during development from birth to old age; why we are motivated to act as we do; the factors that make each of us distinct individuals; what causes psychological disorders; and how those disorders are treated. The course places particular emphasis on scientific methodologies within the discipline. This course is a prerequisite for all other courses in the psychology department.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Science and Mathematics None 1 course

PSY 197

First-Year Seminar in Psychology

A seminar focused on a theme related to the study of psychology. Open only to first-year students.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

PSY 214

Statistics for Behavioral Sciences

Application of descriptive and inferential statistics to the behavioral sciences. Includes measures of central tendency, variability and correlation, estimation and tests of significance, including chi square, t-test and analysis of variance. Prerequisite: PSY 100. Required of Psychology majors as a prerequisite for PSY 215. May not be taken pass/fail.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
PSY 100. Required of Psychology majors as a prerequisite for PSY 215. 1 course

PSY 215

Research Methods

A course in methods of research, experimental design and statistical applications. Lab includes collection of data on human and animal behavior for analysis and report writing. Prerequisite: PSY 100 and PSY 214. Required of Psychology majors. May not be taken pass/fail.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
PSY 100 and PSY 214. 1 course

PSY 232

Abnormal Psychology

An introductory survey of maladaptive and disordered behaviors and thought processes in humans. The objectives of this course include developing an understanding of the definition of abnormality and the historical and social values that play a role in this definition. In addition, the contributions of clinical research on abnormal behavior are considered, as are different theoretical approaches that attempt to explain the onset of abnormal behavior. Finally, issues related to the assessment and diagnosis of abnormality and defining characteristics of each of the major diagnostic categories are covered. Prerequisite: PSY 100.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
PSY 100 1 course

PSY 246

Topics in Psychology

Prerequisite: PSY 100. May be repeated for credit with different topics.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
PSY 100 1/2-1 course

PSY 252

Drugs, Brain and Behavior

This course is an introduction to the major psychoactive drugs and how they act on the brain to influence behavior. The course begins with basic principles of pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, neural transmission, tolerance, sensitization, and mechanisms of addiction. The course presents a survey of major drugs of abuse, their mechanism of action, and their behavioral effects, both acute and chronic. Drugs for the treatment of psychological disorders are also addressed. Issues of drugs, behavior, and society are emphasized throughout the course. Prerequisite: PSY 100.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
PSY 100 1 course

PSY 254

Consumer Psychology

The concepts, findings, theory and methods of research in consumer behavior. Psychological data, consumer differentiation, market segmentation, environmental influences and consumer differences are covered. Prerequisite: PSY 100. May not be taken pass/fail.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
PSY 100 1 course

PSY 260

Social Psychology

An examination of the effects of the presence and influence of others on human behavior. Topics to be covered include conformity, persuasion, aggression, prejudice, interpersonal attraction and behavior within groups. Prerequisite: PSY 100. Not open to students with credit in SOC 319 or PSY 261.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
PSY 100. Not open to students with credit in SOC 319 or PSY 261. 1 course

PSY 261

Social Psychology with Lab

An examination of the effects of the presence and influence of others on human behavior. Topics covered include conformity, persuasion, aggression, prejudice, interpersonal attraction and behavior within groups. Lab includes collection of data on human participants using a variety of empirical techniques, including observation, content analysis, field studies and lab experiments. Prerequisite: PSY 100. Not open to students with credit in PSY 260 or SOC 319.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
PSY 100. Not open to students with credit in PSY 260 or SOC 319. 1 course

PSY 280

Cognitive Psychology

This course will examine the psychological structures and processes involved in the acquisition, retention and use of knowledge. Both historical and current research will be reviewed to provide students with an appreciation for how science provides a basis for our continued refinement of understanding mental processes. Topics covered include pattern recognition, attention, memory, language, problem solving and decision-making. Applications of the research to everyday experience will be emphasized. Prerequisite: PSY 100.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
PSY 100 1 course

PSY 281

Cognitive Psychology with Lab

This course examines the psychological structures and processes involved in the acquisition, retention and use of knowledge. Topics covered include pattern recognition, attention, memory, language, problem solving and decision-making. Lab includes designing experiments and collecting data from human participants to help understand cognitive processes in these topic areas. Prerequisite: PSY 100. Not open to students with credit in PSY 280.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
PSY 100. Not open to students with credit in PSY 280. 1 course

PSY 290

Developmental Psychology

This course centers on the scientific study of biosocial, cognitive, and psychosocial development across the lifespan. The fundamental issues in the field of development will be introduced and a person-context perspective will be emphasized throughout the course. Developmental principles that extend beyond specific domains or periods of psychological development will be underscored. Specific topics include the development of emotion, perception, gender, identity, cognition, language, psychopathology, and the brain.Prerequisite: PSY 100.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
PSY 100 1 course

PSY 300

Physiological Psychology

This course examines the interactions between physiology and behavior with an emphasis on the nervous and endocrine systems of both human and non-human animals. Fundamental concepts of neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, and psychopharmacology will provide the foundation for discussions of behavior. A wide variety of behaviors including: ingestive behaviors, sleep, sexual behavior, learning and memory, stress, drug abuse, and disordered behavior will be studied in relation to these physiological principles and systems. Prerequisite: PSY 100. Not open to students with credit in PSY 301.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
PSY 100. Not open to students with credit in PSY 301. 1 course

PSY 301

Physiological Psychology with Lab

This course examines the interactions between physiology and behavior with an emphasis on the nervous and endocrine systems of both human and non-human animals. Fundamental concepts of neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, and psychopharmacology will provide the foundation for discussions of behavior. A wide variety of behaviors including: ingestive behaviors, sleep, sexual behavior, learning and memory, stress, drug abuse, and disordered behavior will be studied in relation to these physiological principles and systems. The laboratory component will provide research experience with common procedures, behavioral measures, and organisms. Prerequisite: PSY 100. Not open to students with credit in PSY 300.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
PSY 100. Not open to students with credit in PSY 300. 1 course

PSY 305

History of Psychology

This course is a history of psychology in particular, but also of science more broadly. It is also a history of how psychology, other sciences and society have interacted. The course presents a view of the roots and origins of the modern science of psychology by examining past views on recurring issues and themes in historical context. The course begins with the ancient roots and early history of psychology and science in philosophy, medicine, mathematics and biology. It moves on to the more recent scientific and philosophical roots of psychology and then turns to early scientific psychology. The course concludes with recent approaches and schools of thought and how they developed into contemporary psychology. Prerequisite: PSY 100 or permission of instructor.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
PSY 100 or permission of instructor. 1 course

PSY 311

Psychology Assessment with Lab

This course reviews the principles of psychological assessment, including text development, psychometric principles, advanced statistics (e.g., factor analysis, multiple regression) and applications in clinical, industrial/organizational, and educational settings. A major portion of the course will be devoted towards development and validation of a test or measure that students will design themselves. This course provides excellent preparation for students interested in graduate school in psychology, education, and related fields. It is also useful for students interested in a career in Human Resources, where employee and customer surveys are constructed and measures are developed for assessing employee performance. Prerequisite: PSY 100 and PSY 214.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
PSY 100 and PSY 214 1 course

PSY 330

Human Perception

This course presents a survey of past and current research and theory concerning human acquisition of information from the environment through the senses. Emphasis will be placed on the evolution of perceptual processes in response to environmental stimuli, as well as the practical experiences that arise due to our perceptual limitations. Topics include the anatomy and neuroanatomy of the sensory systems (vision, hearing, smell, taste, touch), perceptual illusions (color, motion, time, music, and speech), and the psychology of pain. Prerequisite: PSY 100. Not open to students with credit in PSY 331.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
PSY 100. Not open to students with credit in PSY 331. 1 course

PSY 331

Human Perception with lab

This course presents a survey of past and current research and theory concerning human acquisition of information from the environment through the senses. Emphasis will be placed on the evolution of perceptual processes in response to environmental stimuli, as well as the practical experiences that arise due to our perceptual limitations. Topics include the anatomy and neuroanatomy of the sensory systems (vision, hearing, smell, taste, touch), perceptual illusions (color, motion, time, music, and speech), and the psychology of pain. The laboratory component of the course will give students the opportunity to experience research in perception by designing studies, collecting and analyzing data (using the statistical package SPSS), and writing their results in APA style. Prerequisite: PSY 100 and PSY 214. Not open to students with credit in PSY 330.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
PSY 100 and PSY 214. Not open to students with credit in PSY 330. 1 course

PSY 343

Health Psychology

(formerly PSY 253) Health psychology uses the biopsychosocial model to examine the interaction of physiological processes, thoughts, feelings and behaviors, and the social/cultural environment on health. Issues addressed include the effects of stress on health, health protective factors, patient-practitioner interactions, health behavior change, and coping with chronic illness. Prerequisite: PSY 100.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
PSY 100 1 course

PSY 346

Topics in Psychology

Prerequisite: PSY 100. May be repeated for credit with different topics.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
PSY 100 1/2-1 course

PSY 350

Evolutionary Psychology

This course examines how evolution has shaped behavioral, cognitive, and emotional mechanisms in humans and other animals. The course begins with coverage of evolutionary theory and then examines the nature of evidence for evolved mechanisms, including how evidence from other species may inform us about human characteristics. The course also examines why evolutionary approaches and explanations of human behavior are so controversial and the implications of evolutionary explanations for society. The course is interdisciplinary and draws on ideas and information from psychology, biology, anthropology and other fields. Prerequisite: PSY 100 or permission of instructor.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
PSY 100 or permission of instructor. 1 course

PSY 352

Psychotherapy and Behavioral Change

A survey of the major approaches to effecting cognitive and behavioral changes in both adults and children, including psychoanalysis, behavior modification, cognitive and cognitive-behavioral therapies, humanistic and existential therapies and others. Special attention is given to the development of the therapeutic relationship and the ethical guidelines followed by psychologists. Ethical, legal and moral dilemmas in the practice of therapy are also considered. Prerequisite: PSY 100.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
PSY 100 1 course

PSY 353

Intelligence and Creativity

This course concentrates on the topics of intelligence and creativity within a discussion-based format. The history of intelligence testing, examples of intelligence tests, and current theories in this area will be discussed, analyzed, and evaluated. Creativity will be examined by considering both empirical literature and popular writings. The impact in everyday life of current perspectives in both areas will form a central part of the course. Prerequisite: PSY 100.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
PSY 100 1/2 course

PSY 360

Psychology of Personality

A survey and evaluation of the major contemporary theories of personality. In addition, personality measurement and research on topics of current importance are covered. Prerequisite: PSY 100.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
PSY 100 1 course

PSY 364

Industrial and Organizational Psychology

This course examines the science of psychology applied to the workplace. The first half of the course examines the subfield of industrial psychology that focuses on the individual differences related to traditional business problems. Some of the topics in this field include job analysis, personnel selection, training, performance appraisal, and job performance. The second half of the course focuses on the organizational side of the field that emphasizes the psychological processes experienced by employees upon entering the workforce. Topics within this domain include motivation, leadership, stress, emotion, and job attitudes. Prerequisite: PSY 100. May not be taken pass/fail.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
PSY 100 1 course

PSY 370

Emotions Across the Lifespan

This course centers on the scientific study of emotion and its development, integrating research on biological, behavioral, cognitive, and cultural aspects of emotion systems. Developmental and evolutionary processes will be emphasized throughout the course. The methods used to study emotion, especially neuroscience methods, will also be stressed throughout the course. Prerequisite: PSY 100. Not open to students with credit in PSY 371. May not be taken pass/fail.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
PSY 100. Not open to students with credit in PSY 371. 1 course

PSY 371

Emotions Across the Lifespan with Lab

This course centers on the scientific study of emotion and its development, integrating research on biological, behavioral, cognitive, and cultural aspects of emotion systems. Developmental and evolutionary processes will be emphasized throughout the course. The methods used to study emotion, especially neuroscience methods, will also be stressed throughout the course. Prerequisite: PSY 100, PSY 214. Not open to students with credit in PSY 370. May not be taken pass/fail.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
PSY 100, PSY 214. Not open to students with credit in PSY 370. 1 course

PSY 375

Directed Research

Opportunity to work with faculty members on research in psychology. Contact individual faculty members to learn of their current research interests. Prerequisite: PSY 100. Directed research may be repeated to earn a total of one credit.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
PSY 100 1/4-1/2-1 course

PSY 380

Learning and Comparative Cognition

This course examines the mechanisms that allow organisms (humans and other animals) to adapt to environments based on experience. The course opens with evolved adaptive mechanisms and then focuses on how organisms acquire and store new information, and how that information guides action within environmental constraint. The course places particular emphasis on links between the study of learning and other areas of psychology (physiological, developmental, social, cognitive and abnormal), neuroscience, and biology. Prerequisite: PSY 100. Not open to students with credit in PSY 381.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
PSY 100. Not open to students with credit in PSY 381. 1 course

PSY 381

Learning and Comparative Cognition with Lab

This course examines the mechanisms that allow organisms (humans and other animals) to adapt to environments based on experience. The course opens with evolved adaptive mechanisms and then focuses on how organisms acquire and store new information, and how that information guides action within environmental constraint. The course places particular emphasis on links between the study of learning and other areas of psychology (physiological, developmental, social, cognitive and abnormal), neuroscience, and biology. The laboratory component will provide research experience with common procedures and organisms. Lab meets once a week for 2-3 hours.Prerequisite: PSY 100. Not open to students with credit in PSY 380.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
PSY 100. Not open to students with credit in PSY 380. 1 course

PSY 493

Senior Thesis

Individual work on selected topics with oral reports and a major literature survey and thesis. (Includes successful completion of a departmental examination; performance on the exam is part of the grade.) This course is designed for students who do not plan to take the PSY 495-496 Empirical Senior Thesis I & II sequence. Prerequisite: PSY 100, PSY 214, PSY 215 and a major in Psychology. This course or the PSY 495-496 sequence is required of Psychology majors in the senior year. May not be taken pass/fail.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
PSY 100, PSY 214, PSY 215 and a major in Psychology 1 course

PSY 495

Empirical Senior Thesis I

Extensive literature survey, oral reports and written proposal of a research design. (Includes successful completion of a departmental examination; performance on the exam is a part of the grade.) Prerequisite: PSY 100, minimum final course grades of B in PSY 214 and PSY 215, at least a 3.0 overall cumulative GPA, and a major in Psychology. Registration for PSY 496 in the second semester is required to complete the sequence. PSY 495/PSY 496 or PSY 493 are required of Psychology majors in the senior year. May not be taken pass/fail.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
PSY 100, minimum final course grades of B in PSY 214 and PSY 215, at least a 3.0 overall cumulative GPA, and a major in Psychology 1 course

PSY 496

Empirical Senior Thesis II

Each student is required to complete an individual research project (designed in PSY 495) under staff supervision and to submit a thesis. Prerequisite: PSY 495 and permission of research sponsor. This course sequence (PSY 495 and PSY 496) or PSY 493 is required of Psychology majors in the senior year. May not be taken pass/fail.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
PSY 495 and permission of research sponsor 1 course