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Information for First-Year Students

Courses Recommended for First-Year Students

First Course

PSY 100 Introductory Psychology (offered both semesters)
[Counts toward the university distribution requirement for Group 1]

Psychology is the science that studies how humans, and other animals:

  1. gather and interpret information about the world;
  2. how we learn, remember, think about, and interact with the world and each other;
  3. how we develop and change from birth to death;
  4. the factors that make each of us distinct individuals;
  5. why we are motivated to act as we do;
  6. what happens when things go wrong--psychological disorders and treatments;
  7. how our brains and nervous systems function in all of the above areas.

As you might guess from looking at the topics listed above, Introductory Psychology is one of the most popular courses offered at the university. The introductory course is a prerequisite for all other courses in the psychology department, so if you plan on taking other psychology courses, it is usually best to take Introductory Psychology as early in your college career as possible. The introductory course is a thorough survey of the major areas and approaches in psychology that attempt to address the issues listed above, including Physiological Psychology, Sensation and Perception, Learning, Cognition, Memory, Social Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Psychopathology, and Psychotherapies. The course places particular emphasis on scientific methodologies in the discipline.

Several sections of the course require some form of laboratories/demonstrations, including computer simulations, and some sections require some form of lab reports. Examinations in most sections are a mixture of multiple choice and essay questions; some sections also require a paper and/or group projects.

Second Course

PSY 232 Abnormal Psychology (usually offered both semesters)
PSY 246 Topics in Psychology (offered on intermittent basis)
PSY 252 Drugs, Brain and Behavior (typically offered yearly)
PSY 260 Social Psychology (usually offered both semesters)
PSY 280 Cognitive Psychology (usually offered both semesters)
PSY 290 Developmental Psychology (usually offered both semesters) 

After taking the introductory course, students may register for any of the above courses, although in some semesters high demand may make it difficult for first-year students to enroll in Social Psychology, Developmental Psychology, and Abnormal Psychology. During these courses, students will learn how to discuss research designs and interpret research results in verbal and graphic form. Some courses will also require group projects/presentations and/or papers. Some sections of the above courses will be taught with an accompanying laboratory. Examinations in most courses are a mixture of objective and essay questions.