Academics > Curriculum

Academic Requirements

Psychology is the scientific study of behavior and mental processes-the basis for both a field of scientific knowledge and of professional application. Both required and elective courses in Psychology are grounded in the scientific approach. As an important tool for the understanding of both theory and data, the study of basic statistical and methodological concepts is included among courses required of all those majoring in Psychology.

Psychology majors will likely find the following documents useful as they proceed through the course requirements and prepare for advising meetings:

Psychology Major Checklist

Psychology Major

  1. PSY-115 Introductory Psychology
  2. PSY-200 Research Methods
  3. PSY-225 Introduction to Biopsychology
  4. PSY-301 Statistical Methods and Data Analysis
  5. PSY-405, -400 Memory and Cognition Laboratory
  6. One of the following:
    PSY-565 Advanced Experimental Psychology
    PSY-705 Seminar in Psychology
  7. Four additional psychology courses, three of which must be selected from the following:
    PSY-235 Abnormal Psychology
    PSY-305 Developmental Psychology
    PSY-335 Social Psychology
    PSY-385 Learning and Behavior
    PSY-410 Counseling Psychology
    PSY-465 Industrial Psychology
    PSY-475 Testing and Measurement
    PSY-485 Drugs and Behavior
    PSY-495 Personality
    PSY-525 Behavioral Neuroscience
    PSY-545 Origins of Contemporary Psychology

Secondary Education Certification in Psychology

Students seeking certification to teach psychology at the secondary level are encouraged to complete the requirements of the psychology major.

Courses in Psychology

PSY-115 Introductory Psychology
Basic concepts, theories, and methods in the study of behavior and mental processes. Provides a basic understanding of psychology for interested students, who may take this as their only course in psychology, as well as for future majors.

PSY-200 Research Methods
Discussion of and experience in designing research studies, collecting and analyzing data, and preparing research reports in psychology. Coverage includes descriptive, correlational, quasi-experimental, and experimental methods, and basic statistical analysis using SPSS. Prerequisite: Introductory Psychology (PSY-115).

PSY-208 Gender Psychology
Psychological perspectives on the differences and similarities between females and males. Examination of theory and research includes topics such as: hormones and brain structure, intelligence, education, social roles, stereotypes, emotion, health, employment, and relationships. Prerequisite: Introductory Psychology (PSY-115). (Offered on an occasional basis)

PSY-225 Introduction to Biopsychology
An introduction to the biological bases of behavior and mental processes. This course emphasizes the cell biology of neurons, neural communication, and the organization of the nervous system. The neurological basis of psychological processes such as sensation, learning, memory, and cognition are discussed. Appropriate for first-year students and sophomores. Prerequisite: Introductory Psychology (PSY-115).

PSY-235 Abnormal Psychology
Study of the diagnosis, etiology, explanation, and treatment of major mental disorders. Focus is on understanding the interplay of biological and psychological forces in the development and treatment of disorders, with emphasis on research findings. Appropriate for first-year students and sophomores. Prerequisite: Introductory Psychology (PSY-115).

PSY-237 Human Sexuality
See also Nursing (NUR-237), p. 119.
This course does not satisfy any of the requirements for a major in psychology.

PSY-300 Health Psychology
Introduction to scientific research and theory on the relationship between physical health and mental processes, emotion, and behavior. Topics include stress, compliance with medical advice, coping, pain, chronic illness (e.g., cardiovascular disease, cancer, AIDS), and health behaviors (e.g., smoking, diet, exercise). Prerequisites: Introductory Psychology (PSY-115) (Offered on an occasional basis)

PSY-301 Statistical Methods and Data Analysis
Core topics include the theoretical foundations of estimation, variability, and inferential statistics critical for statistical literacy. Focus is on the development of proficiency in data analysis using SPSS, interpretation of analyses, graphical representation of data, and written communication of results. Prerequisite: Research Methods (PSY-200).

PSY-305 Developmental Psychology
Consideration of the major principles of maturation from conception to death. Critical evaluation of contemporary theories in physical, sensory, cognitive, emotional, and social development. Special attention to empirical, experimental, and theoretical literature related to the developmental process. Prerequisite: Introductory Psychology (PSY-115).

PSY-335 Social Psychology
Examination of individual human behavior as it is influenced by social variables. Topics covered include person perception, conformity, attitudes, prejudice, persuasion, helping, aggression, and group processes. Experimental research methods and findings are given emphasis. Prerequisite: Research Methods (PSY-200) or consent of instructor.

PSY-365 Research Participation
Reserach and investigation of an area of interest supervised by a faculty member of the department.  The student must obtain approval of a specific plan and complete the necessary arrangements prior to the term of registration for the course.  S/U basis only.  Prerequisites: Research Methods (PSY-200) and consent of the instructor.

PSY-385 Learning and Behavior
Discussion of how behavior changes as a result of our experiences. The course focuses on the roles of respondent and operant learning in the development and expression of adaptive and maladaptive behaviors and emotional responses. Students are provided opportunities to discover how learning principles are applied in contemporary behavior modification and behavior therapy. The role of learning is discussed in contexts such as health-related behaviors, sex and love, self-control, drug addiction, and psychological disorders. Prerequisites: Introductory Psychology (PSY-115) and sophomore standing.

PSY-405 Memory and Cognition
Current theories, research findings, and laboratory applications in the areas of attention, perception, consciousness, knowledge representation, memory processes, language comprehension and production, inductive and deductive reasoning, evaluation and decision making, human and artificial intelligence, problem solving and creativity, and cross-cultural cognition. Three hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory per week. Prerequisite: Statistical Methods and Data Analysis (PSY-301).

PSY-400 Memory and Cognition Lab
Three hours per week.  Concurrent with Memory and Cognition (PSY-405).  (0.0 course credit)

PSY-410 Counseling Psychology
A general introduction to the field of counseling.Topics include ethical principles of the counseling profession, legal issues and licensing, counseling in a diverse and multicultural society, and the effectiveness of various forms of therapy. Major theoretical approaches including psychoanalystic, humanistic, existential, cognitive-behavioral, couples and family systems are covered. Prerequisite: Abnormal Psychology (PSY-235).

PSY-465 Industrial/Organizational Psychology
Application of psychological research and theories to workplace issues. Examines, from a psychological perspective, procedures aimed at improving productivity, employee well-being, and fairness in work settings. Major topics include job analysis, employee selection, performance evaluation, training, organizational justice, organizational behavior, motivation, and leadership. Prerequisite: Research Methods (PSY-200) or one term of college-level statistics.

PSY-475 Testing and Measurement
Investigation of classical measurement theory, focusing on issues of reliability, validity, and item characteristics, and of some of the most commonly used tests in educational, industrial, and clinical settings. Covers appropriate methods of constructing and evaluating classroom measurement instruments and explores ethical, legal, and financial issues in testing. Prerequisite: Research Methods (PSY-200) or one term of college-level statistics.

PSY-485 Drugs and Behavior
Explores how psychoactive drugs affect the nervous system.  Concepts particularly relevant to a wide variety of psychological, sociological, and health-related careers in which clients are commonly taking drugs, therapeutically or recreationally. Course focuses on factors that influence the variability of drug effects, including neural, pharmacological, and psychological mechanisms. Major topics include the problems and implications of categorizing drugs, basic neural function, principles of pharmacology, and physiological and psychological aspects of addiction. Selected psychotherapeutic drugs and legal and illegal drugs of abuse are surveyed.  Prerequisite: Introduction to Biopsychology (PSY-225) or Experimental Human Physiology (BIO-255).

PSY-495 Personality
The structure, development, and dynamic processes underlying individual differences in behavior. Examination of the relatively consistent differences between people in the way they act, think, and feel. Compares and contrasts different perspectives (e.g., trait, biological, psychodynamic, social learning, and phenomenological). Perspectives are considered in light of contemporary research (e.g., the ‘Big Five,’ genetics, unconscious processes, self-regulation, and perception). Prerequisites: Research Methods (PSY-200) and junior standing or consent of instructor.

PSY-525 Behavioral Neuroscience
Further explores the relationship between the nervous system and behavior begun in Introduction to Biopsychology (PSY-225). The course provides a more in-depth study of neural function and explores many new areas. Focuses on development of the nervous system, neural communication, neuroanatomy, hierarchical and parallel organization, neural plasticity, sensorimotor function, and neurohormonal influences on sexual development and behavior. Prerequisites: junior standing and either Introduction to Psychology (PSY-225) or Experimental Human Physiology (BIO-255).

PSY 545 Origins of Contemporary Psychology
Study of the antecedents of, influences upon, and trends within contemporary psychology, with emphasis on the development of modern experimental psychology. The course includes discussion of philosophical viewpoints and methodological developments that led to the establishment of psychology as a separate branch of science, and follows the progression of the discipline since then: eminent contributors, dominant topics and methods, and changing sociocultural contexts. Emphasis is placed on understanding the current state and future course of the discipline in light of its history. Prerequisites: Research Methods (PSY-200) and junior standing.

PSY-565 Advanced Experimental Psychology
A capstone course for students interested in conducting psychological research.  Topics include legal and ethical responsibilities in psychological research, conducting literature reviews, research design, use of statistical software (e.g., SPSS and SAS), interpretation of statistical results, and clear communication and presentation of scientific information.  Students also present their research findings in a public forum.  S/U basis only.  May be repeated for credit.  Maximum of one course credit of Advanced Experimental Psychology may be counted toward the major.  Prequisites: Research Methods (PSY-200) and a declared major in psychology.

PSY-705 Seminar in Psychology
Intensive study of a topic selected by the instructor. May be repeated for credit, provided the topics are substantially different. Prerequisites: Statistical Methods and Data Analysis (PSY-301) or consent of instructor.

PSY-815 Independent Study
Independent reading and the preparation of a proposal, with consent of psychology department faculty required prior to the term of registration. With permission of instructor prior to registration, may be taken for an X status grade.  Prerequisites: Research Methods (PSY-200), and a declared major in psychology and consent of instructor.

PSY-895 Internship in Psychology
On-site work experience in psychology under the direction of the on-site supervisor and a faculty member of the department. A minimum of 140 hours on-site experience is required.  S/U basis only.  One course credit of Internship in Psychology may be counted toward the major. Prerequisites: Introductory Psychology (PSY-115), a declared major in psychology, and consent of instructor.