Psychology Department

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Course Descriptions

101. Introductory Psychology (B)
A survey of all the major areas of psychology. Includes an orientation to the attitudes and methods of the psychologist, the physiological basis of behavior, growth and development, sensation, perception, conditioning, human learning, cognitive processes, social interaction, personality, conflict adjustment, methods of measurement, behavior disorders and applied psychology.
PSY 101 is a prerequisite for all other psychology courses. Offered every semester.

103. Psychological Statistics
Introduction to the role of statistical analyses in testing hypotheses in psychology. Students will learn both descriptive and inferential uses of statistics as they apply to a variety of research designs commonly used in psychology. This course also emphasizes scientific writing and the use of SPSS to conduct statistical analyses.
Prerequisites: PSY 101 and Math 104, 119, or 121. Offered every semester.

104. Research Methods in Psychology
An exploration of the methodological issues and strategies that are most germane to research in psychology. Topics include types of research designs, ethics, measurement, library resources, and a review of data analysis procedures. Scientific writing and oral presentations of research results will be emphasized. Five hours lecture/lab.
Prerequisites: Psychology 103. Offered every semester.


212. Learning and Behavior
An investigation of how our behavior is changed by experience. Topics will include the nature-nurture issue, conditioned reflexes, operant conditioning, observational learning, reinforcement schedules, punishment, and the stimulus-control of behavior.
Prerequisite: PSY 101. Typically offered every semester.

214. Sensation and Perception (S)
Exploration of the human sensory systems and perception. The course is focused on investigating the relationship between our conscious experience of the world and the anatomy and physiology of the sensory systems. We start with very basic sensory coding and work up to looking at individual differences and the influence of learning and development on perception. There is an emphasis on classroom demonstrations and laboratory experiences. All students run a perception experiment.
Prerequisite: PSY 101. Typically offered once per year.

215. Biological Psychology (S)
A study of the nervous system and physiological processes directly related to behavior in human beings and animals. The mechanisms underlying sensory and motor processes, learning, emotion and innate behavior patterns.
Prerequisite: PSY 101. Offered every semester.

311. Cognitive Processes
The study of human mental processes, including perception, attention, memory, problem solving, language, cognitive styles and gender differences. All students participate in classroom demonstrations and run a cognitive experiment. This is an upper level class and is not recommended for first year students. Recommended for teacher education candidates.
Prerequisites: PSY 101, and 2 additional psychology courses. Typically offered once per year in the Spring semester.

312. Psychopharmacology
An exploration of the key concepts and principles of how drugs and brain chemistry affect behavior. Topics will include basic pharmacology, research methods, states of consciousness, reinforcement and addiction, and the treatment of psychological disorders.
Prerequisite:  PSY 101, PSY 212 or BIO 151, and 1 additional psychology course, or permission of instructor. Typically offered once per year in the Spring semester.

410. Memory and Amnesia
This seminar will examine the broad categories of memory and amnesia. Readings will be based entirely on primary literature, and class meetings will follow a discussion-based format. Memory and amnesia will be examined via both psychological and biological perspectives, and will include topics such as memory modulation and malleability, consolidation and reconsolidation, various forms of amnesia (e.g., retrograde and anterograde amnesia), recovery of memory, and memory-based treatments for some forms of psychological pathology (e.g., PTSD).
Prerequisite: PSY 101, plus 1 additional psychology course. PSY 210 and/or PSY 212 or similar course recommended, but not required. Open only to Psychology or Neuroscience majors.


220. Social Psychology
The study of social influences on individual behavior, including topics in social cognition, attitude change, interpersonal behavior, social influence and small group behavior.
Prerequisite: PSY 101. Typically offered every semester.

221. Multicultural Psychology
This course will examine marginalized groups within the United States and will address the role of race, ethnicity, gender, class, disability status, and sexual orientation in psychological discourse. Psychological theory and research will serve as a basis to explore topics such as identity development, acculturation, and world views. This course also aims to examine privilege and the way various "isms" (e.g., sexism, racism, heterosexism, classism, ableism, and their intersections) inform psychological theory, research, and practice.
Prerequisite: PSY 101. Typically offered every semester.

320. History of Psychology
A review of the historical background and development of psychology with special attention given to the positions on controversial issues taken by different schools in the past and present. Primarily for upper-class majors to provide a perspective on the field of psychology.
Prerequisites: PSY 101 and at least 2 additional psychology courses, or permission of instructor. Typically offered in alternate years in the Fall.

322. Psychology of Women
This course will examine theory and research on gender differences, specifically female gender development, taking into consideration biological, cognitive, behavioral, and social influences. Emphasis will be placed on a critical analysis of the assumptions about human behavior and the methods used to test these ideas. Topics include gender-role development, achievement motivation, women and work, sexuality and health, and violence against women.
Prerequisite: PSY 101 and 2 additional psychology courses, or WST 101. Typically offered once per year.

425. Contemporary Racism
This seminar is an in-depth, psychological examination of the new and more subtle types of racism present in American society. Base primarily on research from social psychology, we will explore the manifestations and consequences of contemporary racism, and the challenges inherent in reducing this form of racism. We will focus predominantly on prejudice toward, and the experiences of, African-Americans. The seminar will include, among other assignments and activities, student-led discussions, primary source readings, and critical intrapersonal analysis recorded in student journals.
Prerequisite: PSY 221, PSY 322, SOC 224, SOC 235, or permission of instructor. Typically offered every other year.

426. Existential Psychology
This course will examine many classic existential questions from primarily an experimental social psychological perspective. Topics will include the human question for understanding the meaning of life and death, free will, morality, and the psychological functions of religious beliefs.
Prerequisite: PSY 101 and 2 additional psychology courses one of which must be PSY 220 or PSY 221 or PSY 232.


230. Child Development
This course examines the physical, psychological, and social aspects of human development from conception to middle childhood.  In particular, this course focuses on strengthening content knowledge of developmental psychology in conjunction with real-life examples of child growth and development.
Prerequisite: PSY 101. Typically offered every semester.

231. Adolescent Development
This course addresses human development throughout the adolescent years. In particular, the course focuses on making connections between theories of developmental psychology and real-life experiences of teenagers growing up in American society. This course is a service-learning course.
Prerequisite: Psychology 101. Typically offered once per year.

232. Personality Psychology
Historical and more contemporary approaches to personality are explored. Current research topics in the field of personality psychology are also addressed.
Prerequisite: PSY 101. Typically offered once per year.

330. Developmental Psychopathology
An exploration of emotional, behavioral, developmental, and learning disorders in children and adolescents. This course emphasizes the interdependence of biological, psychological, and social/cultural factors in the etiology, course and treatment of childhood disorders. Includes service learning.
Prerequisite: PSY 101, PSY 240 or EDU 201, and 1 additional psychology course. Typically offered once per year.

430. Development: Inclusion-Exclusion
All individuals have had experiences with the joys of being included and the disappointment of being excluded. This seminar course, grounded in developmental psychology, will explore how individuals, from young children to adults, reason about the dynamics of inclusion and exclusion, looking at how and why social reasoning about interrelationships changes with age.
Prerequisite: PSY 101, and 2 additional psychology courses including either PSY 230 or PSY 231.


240. Abnormal Psychology
An exploration of psychological problems ranging from the commonplace to the bizarre. The classification, assessment, causes, course, treatment, and prevention of the major types of abnormal behavior will be addressed. Pertinent scientific research, narrative approaches, and major theories will be emphasized.
Prerequisite: PSY 101. Offered every semester.

241. Interpersonal Psychology
This course will serve as an introduction to contemporary psychological theories of interpersonal communication, its nature, its functions, and its goals. This course will include both discussion of interdisciplinary theory and facilitation of the development of skills for communicating in a diverse and global world, in relationship both interpersonal and professional.
Prerequisite: PSY 101.

340. Psychotherapy and Counseling
An exploration of psychotherapy theories and intervention strategies, scientific research on therapy process and outcome, and the place of therapy in contemporary society, and a critical evaluation of therapeutic ideals. This course is not a practicum.
Prerequisites: PSY 101, and 2 additional psychology courses including either PSY 232 or PSY 240, or permission of instructor. Typically offered once per year.

341. Psychological Assessment
Introduction to the theory and application of psychological tests as measures of personality, intellectual functioning, and attitudes. This course considers the use, abuse, and limitations of such measures and focuses on topics such as validity and reliability of tests; construction of tests, rating scales and surveys; the administration of tests and the interpretation of test results.
Prerequisites: PSY 101, PSY 103, and one other psychology course. Recommended: PSY 104.

440. Clinical Case Studies
This course focuses on the construction of case conceptualization. Actual clinical cases from the private practices of the instructor(s) and a casebook will be presented. Students will explore cause, and the precipitating and maintaining influences of a person’s psychological, interpersonal and behavioral concerns. Conceptualization helps organize the complexities clients bring with them into counseling sessions. Emphasis will be on class discussion, deeper understanding of psychological disorders, and consideration of practical applications of psychotherapy.
Prerequisite: permission of instructor.

441. Health Psychology
An interdisciplinary course that examines how biological, psychological, and social factors interact and affect health and illness. Topics include: the development of health promotion programs, factors that affect patient adherence to prescribed treatments, psychoneuroimmunology, pain management, and the etiology, treatment, and adjustment to chronic illness (cancer, heart disease, HIV/AIDS). Includes required service learning.
Prerequisites: PSY 101, and 2 additional psychology courses, or permission of instructor.

960. Internship Seminar
This course provides psychology students with an opportunity to work in a professional setting and begin to connect their academic knowledge with experiences, expectations, values, and demands of the world outside the classroom. This class will meet weekly to discuss professional, psychological, ethical, and other issues relevant to the internship experience. Students are required to complete a minimum of ten hours a week at their internship, keep a professional journal, attend class meetings, and give a formal presentation about their experience. Pass-fail only.
Prerequisites: permission of instructor; students must arrange for an internship prior to enrolling in this class.


490. Advanced Research in Psychology
The Advanced Research in Psychology course is designed to be a culminating undergraduate experience (CUE) in which students apply and integrate skills and knowledge from the previous psychology courses they have taken. Each course includes an inquiry-driven project requiring students to: engage in a substantive literature review; explore novel hypotheses or theories; collect and analyze relevant evidence; synthesize and reflect upon the information gathered; and, generate an integrative paper and oral presentation about their work. The course emphasizes mastery of critical thinking, interpersonal, writing and presentation skills. A course may have a focal topic that varies by instructor. Past topics have included Stigma of Mental Illness, Stereotyping & Prejudice, Superstition, Family Engagement with Middle School Education, and Memory. Focal topics will be announced prior to registration each semester. Five hours per week, lecture/discussion and lab.
Prerequisites: junior/senior standing; PSY 103 and PSY 104 and at least 1 course in each of the 4 content areas.


28x; 38x; 48x: Special Topics in Psychology
Course descriptions and prerequisites vary by course and year. Special topics courses given a "Content Area" designation will count toward completion of the four Content Area requirements.


270. Research Apprenticeship (0.5 course units)
By working in a faculty member's on-going research program, students learn a variety of important research skills, and gain in-depth knowledge of a specialized topic in psychology. Experiences may include, but are not limited to, any of the following: gathering and analyzing information to develop proposals, stimulus development, data collection, statistical analysis, writing up results, presenting results. Topics and course availability will vary by professor. Interested students should consult with individual faculty for more information. This course can be repeated and does not count toward the requirements for the psychology major. It will count toward the 4 course units of individualized instruction that can be earned toward the 34 course unit degree requirement. Pass-fail only. Visit the department web site for more information about conducting research in the psychology department.
Pre-requisite: permission of instructor.

970. Independent Study/Research
Contact a professor in the psychology department for more information, and/or visit our departmental web site for more information about conducting independent research.

975. Thesis I
A student with a strong interest in, and intellectual curiosity about, a particular topic may elect to conduct a psychology thesis. Students who are accepted into the Thesis Program will conduct two semesters of independent and original research, write a thesis based on that empirical or theoretical work, and make an oral defense of the thesis at a colloquium attended by faculty and students. See the college catalog or the Psychology Department website for complete information about the requirements of the Thesis Program and how to apply. Successful completion of both semesters of the thesis program fulfills the required Culminating Undergraduate Experience and can take the place of PSY 490.
Prerequisites: Permission of instructor (thesis advisor). PSY 104, PSY 270 and/or PSY 970 strongly recommended.

976. Thesis II
This course is the second semester of the thesis sequence. Successful completion of both semesters of the thesis program fulfills the required Culminating Undergraduate Experience and can take the place of PSY 490.
Prerequisites: Psychology 975 and permission of instructor (thesis advisor).