At Kenyon, psychology is taught as the scientific study of behavior and mental processes. The psychology curriculum provides an opportunity for majors and non-majors to examine diverse theoretical views and findings in such areas as physiological psychology, cognition, human development, perception, personality, social psychology, and abnormal psychology. At all levels of study, the department gives students the opportunity to pursue research and to become involved in the work of local educational and mental-health agencies that are affiliated with the Off-Campus Activities in Psychology Program (OAPP).
Students should begin with PSYC 100 Introduction to Psychology, the department's introductory course and a prerequisite for all of the other psychology courses. This course explores a variety of areas in which psychologists conduct research, including the biological foundations of behavior, sensory and perceptual processes, cognition, learning and memory, developmental psychology, personality and social psychology, psychological disorders, and variability in behavior related to culture. Students who have completed PSYC 100 (or who have taken psychology AP and earned a score of 5 on the exam) should next take PSYC 150, Introduction to Research Methods in Psychology. In this course students will learn the basics of research in the field. They will participate in research projects conducted across different areas of psychology, using techniques such as observation and interviewing, psychological tests and measures, physiological measures, and computerized tasks.
Students who elect to major in psychology will take statistics and an advanced research methods course along with at least one course in each of the following areas of psychology: biological bases of behavior; learning and cognition; developmental perspectives; clinical and health issues; and sociocultural perspectives. Finally, all majors enroll in a senior seminar, in which they collaborate with their peers and professor while developing expertise on a topic of their choice.
Requirements for the Major (Beginning Fall 2011/Class of 2015)
Students majoring in psychology must earn at least 5.5 units of credit in the Psychology Department.
The foundation courses required of students include PSYC 100, PSYC 150, and PSYC 200. Majors are strongly advised to complete PSYC 200 by the end of their sophomore year. A grade of C- or higher in PSYC 150 and PSYC 200 is required to declare a major in psychology.
At the intermediate level, students are required to have a balanced curriculum within the discipline. Students take at least one course in each of the following general areas of psychology:
Cognitive Processes and Learning
Clinical Issues and Health
Note on Intermediate Courses for Class of 2014
Members of the Class of 2014 who took both PSYC 101 and 102 may elect to follow the new grouping of intermediate courses or the old one, after careful consultation with the faculty advisor and department chair.
Students are also expected to get more advanced research experience by either taking an upper-level research methods course or taking two semesters of advanced research (PSYC 450) in psychology with the same instructor.
Current Research Methods Courses
All students are expected to take a one-semester senior seminar in which they will focus on a topic of current research in psychology.
The psychology Senior Exercise will consist of a standardized test designed for undergraduate psychology majors, to measure their knowledge of core concepts in the field. It will be administered to students in November of their senior year. Also, students will prepare a poster to communicate their knowledge of a variable they studied during the senior seminar. The posters will be displayed during a student research day in February of the senior year, when students must be available to discuss the contents of their poster. Students' posters and their poster presentations will be judged via rubrics filled out by faculty members in the department. The poster represents a unique assignment for which students will have done some background work during the senior seminar, and which they will complete independently during the spring semester.
Students who do excellent work are encouraged to apply to the department chair during the second semester of their junior year if they are interested in admission to the Honors Program. Participants complete a large-scale research project on an approved topic during their senior year. Each project is supervised by a single faculty member, but is also reviewed periodically by all members of the department prior to an oral examination by an outside examiner in the spring.