Course Descriptions

Note: Not all courses are taught every semester.

PSYC 108 – Psychology of Gender

In this course, we will examine psychological research and practice through the lens of gender. We will explore gender as a psychological and social construct that influences our experiences in a number of contexts. The course will address how gender, as a social identity, relates to privilege, oppression, and emotional well-being. Sample topics include: gender roles, stereotypes, gender socialization, and gender inequality. Moreover, we will take an intersectional perspective, attending to the complex ways that gender combines with race and other social identities. As we engage with a broad survey of scholarship on the psychology of gender, we will grapple with controversial issues confronting the field of psychology and consider both personal and professional applications.

PSYC 111 – Introductory Psychology

Prerequisite to all upper-division psychology courses. Survey of the major content areas of psychology, introducing the basic vocabulary, concepts, principles, and theories of the discipline. Specific topics include history and methods of psychology; biological bases of behavior; sensation and perception; learning and memory; cognition, language, and intelligence; motivation and emotion; lifespan development; personality; psychological disorders; psychological treatment/psychotherapy; and social psychology. Multiple sections offered every semester.

PSYC 200 – Empirical Research Project

Supervised study including an empirical data-based research project. Requires permission of instructor and department chair and completion and/or concurrent registration of less than 12 credits within the department. Students with 12 or more credits should enroll in PSYC 300 Empirical Research Project.

PSYC 221 – Applied Behavioral Statistics

Understanding and analyzing data in psychology research; descriptive statistics, inferential statistics, appropriate use of statistics, use of computer to do necessary computations and data analysis. Prerequisite: PSYC 111 and Math Proficiency, QSI or MATH 115 or 111 with a grade of C or better. Multiple sections offered every semester.

PSYC 235 – Research Methods

This course is designed to introduce students to the principles of research in psychology. In addition to learning how to design and conduct research projects of high quality, students will develop the skills necessary to interpret and critique others' research. Emphasis will be placed on the strengths and weaknesses of the various research designs so that students will be able to choose the appropriate methodologies to address particular research questions. The course will provide students with hands-on experience in all aspects of empirical research in psychology. This includes designing, conducting, analyzing, interpreting, and reporting their own research, as well as evaluating the research of others. Prerequisite: 221.

PSYC 300 – Empirical Research Project

Supervised study including an empirical data-based research project. Requires permission of instructor and department chair and completion and/or concurrent registration of 12 or more credits within the department.

PSYC 302 – Reading in Psychology

Reading and discussion of classic or contemporary works in psychology, moderated by a member of the Psychology Department. Interested faculty and students in other areas are welcome to participate as well. Each section of this course is typically devoted to a single work, but occasionally a group of smaller works by a single author may be selected. S/U grading only. May be repeated for credit.

PSYC 304 – Industrial/Organizational

The study and application of the principles of psychology to workplace behavior in a wide variety of organizations (e.g., industrial/profit making, governmental, human service, non-profit, etc.). Industrial/organizational psychology attempts to answer two major questions: Why do people behave the way they do within organizations? How can we use this information to improve the effectiveness of the organization and lives of its members? Topics include selecting and evaluating employees, training and development, organizational culture, job satisfaction and motivation, leadership, communication, decision making, quality of work life, work stress and health. Prerequisite: 111 and SO, JN, or SR standing. Note: This course may also be fulfilled in the management department as MGMT 301. Typically offered every other year.

PSYC 309 – Selected Topics in Psychology

Topics in psychology of particular relevance to the interests and needs of psychology majors and/or students in psychology. The topics for the course will be announced each semester. Prerequisite: announced with course listing. One or more sections typically offered each semester.

The following special topics courses are offered frequently:

PSYC 309C – Cross-Cultural Psychology

Cross-cultural psychology examines traditional topics in the field of psychology (for example, research methods, cognition, development, emotion, psychopathology, social behavior, etc.) with a special emphasis on the comparison of these topics across different cultural groups. We will explore these topics with a particular emphasis on the methodological challenges associated with developing a scientific understanding of the influence of culture on human behavior and mental processes. Prerequisite: PSYC 111

PSYC 309K – The Amazing Brain

In the realm of neuroscience, truth is often stranger than fiction. Much has been learned from bizarre and unfortunate cases of brain damage, such as the historic account of Phineas Gage, a railroad worker whose brain was penetrated by a 3’ 7” iron rod during an accidental explosion. Amazingly, Gage survived the trauma, but his personality was never the same. This course implements a cooperative learning approach to exploring what we have learned about the human brain from accidents, disease states, and other twists of fate, as well as from the study of healthy brains. Possible topics may include phantom limb syndrome, locked-in syndrome, brain death, autism, epilepsy, sleep disorders, and electrical injury. Neuroscience-related film and literature may also be explored. Finally, students will implement strategies for improving their own brain health. Student learning will be assessed in a variety of ways including in-class assignments, quizzes, discussions, group projects, papers, presentations, and exams. Prerequisite: PSYC 111 and SO, JN or JR standing.

PSYC 309L – Forensic & Legal Psychology

The general aim of this course is to learn about psychological knowledge as it applies to law. The course offers an overview of contemporary psychological theories, research, principles, concepts, and practices pertinent to the legal system. Although students will gain an appreciation for the culture and traditions of law, this is not a law course. The emphasis is on human behavior and mental processes and the interaction of psychology with the legal and criminal justice systems. Specific topics include psychological assessment, testing, and the law; psychology and the courts; mental health law (competencies, criminal responsibility, civil commitment; the psychology of the jury (procedural considerations and jury decision making; the psychology of evidence (eyewitness testimony, the polygraph, hypnosis, facial composites, profiling, pretrial publicity); correctional psychology; family law; juvenile delinquency and justice; criminal behavior; and the psychology of law enforcement. Prerequisite: PSYC 111

PSYC 310 – Community Psychology

Community Psychology is an applied field that uses psychology and other social science research to develop community interventions for the purpose of preventing psychological disorder, promoting mental health, and enhancing the quality of life for individuals and communities. As a result, community psychologists are actively involved in the community and within community organizations. Sample topics include: Collaborative community research, the psychological sense of community, psychological stress and social support, community and social change, citizen participation and empowerment, and intervention in schools, human service organizations, and the mental health system. Prerequisites: 111 and junior/senior standing. Typically offered every other year.

PSYC 311 – Sport and Exercise Psychology

The scientific study of the behavioral, affective, and cognitive reactions of participants and spectators to various sport settings, with emphasis on the potential of sport to contribute to psychological health and wellbeing, as well as the potential for sport to increase anxiety, aggression, violence, and injury. The role of the sports and exercise psychologist is examined, including increasing the level of athletic performance, dealing with the emotional problems of athletes, educating athletes, coaches, and spectators, and studying human behavior and mental processes in sports settings. Prerequisite: 111 and sophomore, junior, or senior standing. Typically offered every other year.

PSYC 320 – Principles of Learning and Behavior

An exploration of the basic principles of conditioning and learning. The course covers the phenomena of Pavlovian and Operant conditioning as well as their place in the larger theoretical framework of psychology. The course also covers application of these principles to understanding social and individual behavior. Prerequisite: 111. Typically offered every semester.

PSYC 330 – Sensation and Perception

An exploration of the ways in which we construct a world of things and events from the flow of stimulus energy. Covers such topics as color vision, form perception, perception of space and movement, perceptual constancies, and music and speech perception. Prerequisite: 111. Typically offered every year.

PSYC 331 – Cognitive Processes

The study of the higher mental processes. Special emphasis is given to perception, memory, attention, imagery, problem solving, decision making, and language. Prerequisite: 111. Typically offered every semester.

PSYC 340 – Physiological Psychology

A survey of psychological topics from the biological perspective. Topics may include neuroanatomy, neurodevelopment, sensation and perception, sleep, learning and memory, emotion, language, brain damage/neuroplasticity, drug addiction, and psychological disorders. Depending on instructor, course may also include a hands-on laboratory component such as sheep brain anatomy. Prerequisite: 111 & SO, JN or SR standing. Typically offered every semester.

PSYC 342 – Psychopharmacology

This course is designed to familiarize students with current drugs including antipsychotics, antidepressants, antianxiety agents, and drugs of abuse. An emphasis will be placed on the action of these drugs at the synaptic level, indications and contraindications for their use, and potential side effects. Prerequisite: 111. Typically offered every other year.

PSYC 343 – Health Psychology

This course will survey various models of the mind-body interaction as related to physical health. Topics may include: psychoneuroimmunology, the role of stress on mental and physical health, psychosomatic disorders, behavioral medicine, and the psychology of illness and wellness. Recommended for pre-med, pre-physical therapy, and pre-occupational therapy majors. Prerequisite: 111. Typically offered every other year.

PSYC 347 – Advanced Statistics and Measurement

Develops the most basic concepts of evaluating psychological measures: reliability, validity, and normative data and then proceeds to show how these principles can be used to evaluate new and existing measures. Topics covered include basic review of descriptive statistics, ability and achievement assessment, personality assessment, and factor analysis. Prerequisite: 221. Typically offered every other year.

PSYC 349 – Motivation and Emotion

The words “ motivation” and “ emotion” come from the same root: both refer to the psychological “forces underlying action (behavior). This course will examine the biological, psychological, and social bases that consciously or unconsciously direct our behavior. Topics may include: the physiology of emotion, moral development, attachment and “free will.   Prerequisite: 111. Typically offered every other year.

PSYC 350 – Social Psychology

This course reviews the major theories and methodologies in social psychology, the scientific study of how people think about, are influenced by, and behave in relation to others. The course will examine how people view themselves and others and the accuracy of those thoughts, the social forces that impact people's behavior and attitudes, and how people relate to each other (prejudice, aggression, attraction, and helping). Prerequisite: 111. Typically offered every semester.

PSYC 360 – Developmental Psychology

The study of age-related changes that occur as the individual moves through life. Major theoretical perspectives, concepts, and research methods for examining physical, cognitive, moral and social-emotional development. Prerequisite: 111. Multiple sections offered every semester.

PSYC 370 – Clinical and Counseling Psychology

The purpose of this course is to provide an introduction to the fields of clinical and counseling psychology. Major topics covered include: the historical backgrounds of these fields, the educational requirements for professionals, the use of assessment techniques and professional issues and issues related to clientele. Basic helping skills, which are useful in any form of communication, are developed. In addition, the theories most representative of the various schools of psychotherapy are explained. Prerequisite: 111. Offered every year.

PSYC 371 – Individual Learning Project

Supervised reading or research at the upper-division level. Approval of department chair and completion and/or concurrent registration of 12 credits within the department required. Not available to first year students.

PSYC 380 – Personality Psychology

Foundational issues in personality psychology, including the personality construct, levels of analysis in personality psychology, the nature and purpose of personality theories, and criteria for evaluating the adequacy of psychological theories. Major domains of knowledge and theoretical perspectives on the psychology of personality, including biological, psychodynamic, dispositional (trait), cognitive, affective, and social/cultural approaches. Consideration of psychological adjustment and psychopathology in relation to personality psychology. Prerequisite: 111. Typically offered every year.

PSYC 381 – Psychological Disorders

This course provides an overview of various forms of psychological disorders. Students will become familiar with the major categories, signs, and symptoms of psychological disorders according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental disorders, as well as cultural conceptualizations of distress and how etiology, symptoms, and treatment may differ across cultural groups. Students will explore how symptoms of mental illness may be viewed from a holistic perspective and how to consider the impact of stigma in the classification of disorders. They will be encouraged to seek to understand and empathize with the varied experiences and perspectives of individuals suffering from psychological distress, particularly through case studies. Prerequisite: PSYC 111. Offered every semester.

PSYC 382 – Neuropsychology

This course explores one of the fastest growing areas of psychology. Neuropsychology is the study of brain-behavior relationships in health and disease. This course will cover assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of various difficulties from infancy through old age. Central to this will be a working understanding of the central nervous system. Prerequisite: 111. Typically offered every other year.

PSYC 392 – History of Psychology

Historical analysis of psychology from the field’s beginnings in philosophy and the natural sciences through the 1980s. Students will give presentations and engage in other activities (e.g., class discussion) based on their own research on the history of psychology. Prerequisites: PSYC major, Senior standing and 20 credits in psychology. Offered every year.

PSYC 393 – Psychology Seminar

Detailed consideration of special topic; library research and possible laboratory work included; participants will prepare and present a major paper to seminar participants. Prerequisites: PSYC major and Junior or Senior standing. Typically offered every semester.

PSYC 396 – Senior Thesis

Limited study examining a student’s own researchable hypothesis in consultation with one or more department members. Prerequisites: Senior standing and 20 credits in psychology. Students typically enroll for 3 credits in Fall and for 1 credit in Spring of their senior year.

PSYC 397 – Psychology Internship

Internship in an approved setting. Work experience in an area of applied psychology supervised by agency personnel and department coordinator. Prerequisites: Senior standing, 20 credits in psychology and approval of department chair.

COLG 398 – Distinguished Thesis

Student will work closely with a faculty advisor from the student’s major department writing a thesis, often in an area closely related to the advisor’s own research or creative work. This research will typically take place over the course of one academic year or longer, and includes a prerequisite for a proposal (COLG 396). Student will form a committee comprised of 1 advisor and 2 readers. The thesis culminates in a 60-minute defense. Senior standing is required to enroll in All College Thesis. May be split between semesters. Offered for A-F grading only. Prerequisites for Psychology: GPA of 3.4 or above and approval of the department chair. Students are encouraged to enroll for 3 credits in the Fall and for 1 credit in the Spring of their senior year.