Psychology is the scientific study of behavior and mental processes, with application to many human concerns. Students with a liberal arts education should develop an understanding of themselves and others that allows them to function effectively in diverse situations, interpersonally and intellectually.

The Psychology Department offers a strong curriculum aimed at providing its students  with a comprehensive base from a variety of perspectives. Emphasis is placed on critical reading and thinking, understanding of the theoretical framework of psychology, and the methodology used in research. Students majoring in psychology are afforded an opportunity to be involved in research as well as to participate in local educational and mental health agencies. Many psychology majors continue their education in graduate school and the department strives to prepare them toward that goal. Should a student choose not to attend graduate school, the study of psychology successfully prepares graduates for a variety of career options. The department sponsors two student organizations, Psi Chi which is the national Psychology honor society and Psi Alpha Omega which is open to all students who have an interest in the discipline.

The Psychology Department has identified specific learning outcomes for our students. After completing the requirements for a psychology major, students should be able to:

  • demonstrate familiarity with the major concepts, theoretical perspectives, empirical findings, and historical trends in psychology;
  • master practical understanding of basic statistical procedures using calculations and gain an introductory knowledge of the SPSS computer software program;
  • master the design and implementation of a student-led research project;
  • engage in critical thinking about psychology as a science and the ethical issues that arise in psychological research;
  • demonstrate information and technological literacy as applied to scientific literature and use of APA format;
  • demonstrate effective writing skills and oral communication skills.

Successful completion of these learning outcomes will be assessed by various assignments in the required components of our psychology curriculum.

Major

(B.A. degree) Thirty-three hours required. Thirty-three semester hours in Psychology including PSY 111, 211, 311, and 411. Required electives (choose six hours from each group): Group I: PSY 313, PSY 315, PSY 323, PSY 328, PSY 333, PSY 425, PSY 433. Group II: PSY 242, PSY 260, PSY 340, PSY 343, PSY 355. Choose nine additional hours from other course work.

Minor

Eighteen semester hours required, including PSY 111.

Note: Students seeking certification in teaching should consult with the department chair. Also, students can only count two developmental courses (PSY 240, 242, 340) toward the PSY major or minor.

Courses.

111. General Psychology. (3 hours) Introduction to psychology as a science, using the scientific approach to study many areas of behavior such as motivation, emotion, perception, thinking, learning, abnormal, personality, and social. Fall and Spring

163. Life above Zero: An Introduction to Positive Psychology. (3 hours) This course is designed to introduce students to the field of psychology with an emphasis on positive psychology, which is the scientific study of happiness and the good life. This course will educate students on research methodology by examining topics like happiness, optimism, and character strengths. In addition, the course will infuse opportunities for self-examination and reflection by incorporating self-report assessments and applied exercises. This course will be offered only as a Foundations 112 course. Spring

211. Statistics for the Social Sciences. (3 hours) Study of both descriptive and inferential statistics with emphasis on their use in psychological research. Prerequisite: PSY 111. Fall and Spring

240. Lifespan Development. (3 hours) Study of human developmental processes from prenatal stages through later adulthood with an examination of the biological, psychological, social, and contextual factors influencing behavior across the lifespan. Registration for this class requires the permission of the instructor. Odd Falls

242. Adolescence and Adulthood. (3 hours) This course is designed as an overview of adolescent and adult development. Readings and class activities cover issues from adolescence through adulthood, examining research in physical, perceptual, cognitive, personality, and social development. A particular emphasis of this course is an integration of biological, psychological, social, and cultural contributions to human development. Spring

260. Social Psychology. (3 hours) Study of how the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of individuals are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of others. Topics to be covered include the self, conformity, obedience, gender, attitudes, prejudice, liking & love, aggression, helping, and group behavior. Fall and Spring

311. Experimental Psychology. (3 hours) Design and interpretation of psychological experiments; advanced study in selected areas of experimental psychology. Prerequisite: PSY 211. Fall

313. Psychology of Motivation. (3 hours) The study of biological, behavioral, and cognitive dimensions of what motivates people in their thoughts and actions. Prerequisite: PSY 111. Fall

315. Health Psychology. (3 hours) The study of the biological, psychological, and social dimensions involved in health and illness, with emphasis on immune functions, stress, drugs, alcohol, cardiovascular disease, diet, and sexually-transmitted disease. Prerequisite: PSY 111. Spring

323. Sensation and Perception. (3 hours) The study of sensory systems and the higher-order cognitive processes involved with interpreting sensory information. Prerequisite: PSY 111. Odd Springs

328. Learning. (3 hours) This course is an introductory level survey of the major classic and contemporary psychological theories and research in learning. Learning will be examined from biological, psychological and sociocultural perspectives. Prerequisite: PSY 111. Fall

333. Cognitive Psychology. (3 hours) The study of attention, memory, thinking, concept formation, language, intelligence, and emotions. Prerequisite: PSY 111. Fall

337. Psychology of Women. (3 hours) This course will provide an overview of classical and contemporary psychological research pertaining to women. It will explore biological and cultural similarities and differences within topics such as behavior, language, emotion, motivation, mental health, and development. The course will include a special focus on women of different ethnic backgrounds. Prerequisite: PSY 111. Fall and Even Springs

340. Child Development. (3 hours) This course provides an overview of growth and development from conception through middle childhood including ten total hours of observation (i.e. one hour per week) in an early childhood center. Prerequisite: PSY 111. Fall

343. Personality. (3 hours) This course is an introductory level survey of the major classic and contemporary psychological theories and research in personality. We will cover major theories including psychoanalysis, humanistic, cognitive, social learning, and biological perspectives. Various traits and their importance in predicting health, achievement, and adjustment will also be covered. Prerequisite: PSY 111. Spring

350. Relationships. (3 hours) Application of psychological methods and principles to intimate relationships. Topics to be covered include attraction, dating, friendship, love, passion, commitment, marriage, jealousy, conflict, and divorce. Prerequisite: PSY 111 or 260. Spring

355. Abnormal Psychology. (3 hours) Study of classification, assessment, and causes of psychological disorders, reviewing contemporary issues in the study and treatment of psychopathology. Prerequisite: PSY 111. Fall 175

360. Field Work in Applied Psychology. (3 hours) This course is designed to provide advanced psychology students with the opportunity to work in applied field placements in the community. The course is also designed to provide a foundation for professional and career development for entry level positions in human service fields as well as preparation for graduate school. Students will be given the opportunity to learn in diverse ways (e.g., exposure to special topics, issues relevant to the placement, different supervisory styles, etc.) through practical experience and guidance from the instructor and site supervisor. Prerequisite: Consent of Instructor . Fall

363. Positive Psychology. (3 hours) The focus of this course is the science of positive subjective experiences, positive traits, and positive institutions. This course will present psychological perspectives and research findings on topics such as happiness, life satisfaction, optimism, as well as character strengths and virtues. The course will also encourage self-exploration of students’ own strengths and virtues and investigate empirically-based strategies for enhancing one’s life. Prerequisite: PSY 111. Even Falls

365. Industrial/Organizational Psychology. (3 hours) Application of psychological methods and principles to organizational settings. Topics to be covered include motivation, psychological testing, job satisfaction, training, leadership, employee selection, stress, and performance appraisal. Prerequisite: PSY 111. Spring

367. Dying, Grieving, and Coping. (3 hours) This course examines the concept of death and our psychological responses to death. This subject is explored across cultures and through history from many viewpoints. The class also has many outside speakers to address multiple views on death and dying. Prerequisite: PSY 111. Even Falls

380. Psychology and the Law. (3 hours) Application of psychological methods and principles to the legal system. Topics to be covered include eyewitness testimony, confessions, the insanity defense, polygraphs, jury selection, profiling, serial killers, and victims. Prerequisite: PSY 111 or 260. Fall

411. Senior Capstone in Psychology. (3 hours) This course is designed to guide Senior Psychology majors as they examine enduring issues in Psychology from the earliest beginnings in the history of psychology to contemporary research and application. Class readings, assignments, and discussions will synthesize material from previous psychology course work and facilitate the development of each student’s conceptual framework to guide his/her career or graduate school decision-making. The class will culminate in the application of the theoretical principles and empirical research findings to a Senior poster project which must be orally defended before departmental faculty. Prerequisites: Senior standing, major in department, PSY 311. Spring

413. Appraisal and Assessment. (3 hours) Study of the appraisal and assessment techniques used in clinical settings. Topics covered include effective interviewing strategies, test theory, test development, and administration of tests involving intelligence,  achievement, adaptive functions, neuropsychology, clinical symptoms, personality, and vocation/interest. Emphasis will be placed on ethical standards in interviewing and testing. Prerequisite: PSY 111. Odd Springs

415. Counseling Skills. (3 hours) Study of current approaches used in counseling and psychotherapy. Topics covered include basic counseling and psychotherapy skills, various theoretical models of psychological intervention, and a review of the most current, empirically supported treatment approaches. Emphasis will be placed on ethical standards as they apply to psychotherapy. Prerequisite: PSY 355. Spring

417. Developmental Psychopathology. (3 hours) This course is an examination of the most recent literature devoted to research in disorders of childhood. This class is designed as a seminar examining diagnostic categories and critical issues of child psychopathology and identifying empirically effective interventions. Readings and class materials cover diagnostic categories, causal theories of childhood disorders and a survey of the intervention literature. Prerequisite: PSY 242 or 340. Odd Springs

419. School Psychology. (3 hours) This course is designed to introduce students to the field of School Psychology from its influential place in the history of psychology to contemporary “best practices”. Readings and assignments will direct the student to examine the roles school psychologists play in the school system as a whole, including: individual assessment and intervention with young children; individual, class-wide and system-wide consultation for learning and behavioral issues; and program development in the areas of crisis prevention and intervention. Prerequisite: PSY 242 or 340. Even Springs

425. Brain and Behavior. (3 hours) The study of the interaction of the brain and behavior from physiological, genetic and evolutionary perspectives. The course will include current research and examine the disease/disorder continuum as well as effects of psychotropic substances on behavior. Prerequisites: PSY 111 and BIO 100 or BIO 111. Odd Springs

433. Animal Cognition. (3 hours) Animal cognition provides a bridge between the extensive literature on animal learning and behavior and a similarly extensive literature on human cognition. We will take an analytic approach with Morgan’s Canon as a premise: Do not attribute to an animal a higher cognitive ability when a lower cognitive ability will do. Conversely, we will ask what evidence would be required to rule out alternative accounts of behavior in terms of simpler associative mechanisms. Even Springs and As needed

440. Independent Study. (1-3 hours) Emphasis on independent research. Prerequisite: Consent of professor. As needed

460. Undergraduate Research. (3 hours) Implementation of psychological research processes using topics chosen by individuals or small groups of students. Tutorial teaching will replace classroom teaching for most of the semester.Research methods will involve computer and/or paper and pencil techniques. Prerequisites: PSY 311 and consent of instructor. As needed

470. Special Topics in Psychology. (3 hours) The study of special areas of psychology deemed of value to Psychology majors and minors. As needed