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 cognition, human development, learning, neuroscience, 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) and are considering majoring in psychology 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.
Students majoring in psychology must earn at least 5.5 units of credit in the Psychology Department, with a minimum 2.5 major GPA.
The foundation courses required of students include:
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:
NEUR 212 Introduction to Neuroscience
NEUR 302 Neuroethology and Comparative Psychology
NEUR 305 Behavioral Neuroscience
NEUR 307 Sensory Processes
PSYC 308 Drugs and Behavior
PSYC 310 Cognitive Neuroscience
Cognitive Processes and Learning:
PSYC 301 Cognitive Psychology
PSYC 303 Learning and Motivation
PSYC 306 Psychology of Language
PSYC 310 Cognitive Neuroscience
PSYC 322 Adult Development
PSYC 323 Child Development
PSYC 324 Educational Psychology
PSYC 326 Theories of Personality
PSYC 348 Adolescence
Clinical Issues and Health:
NEUR 304 Neuropsychology
NEUR 347 Psychopharmacology
PSYC 321 Abnormal Psychology
PSYC 330 Health Psychology
PSYC 342 Clinical Psychology
PSYC 325 Social Psychology
PSYC 327 Cross-Cultural Psychology
PSYC 328 Latino Psychology
PSYC 344 Human Sexual Behavior
PSYC 346 Psychology of Women
PSYC 350 Psychology In Context
Students also are expected to get more advanced research experience by taking either an upper-level research methods course or two semesters of advanced research (PSYC 450) in psychology with the same instructor.
Current Research Methods Courses:
NEUR 405 Research Methods in Behavioral Neuroscience
NEUR 406 Research Methods in Sensory Processes
PSYC 402 Research Methods in Cognition
PSYC 403 Research Methods in Learning and Motivation
PSYC 410 Research Methods in Human Neuroscience
PSYC 421 Research Methods in Developmental Psychology
PSYC 422 Research Methods in Personality
PSYC 423 Research Methods in Social Psychology
PSYC 424 Research Methods in Cross-Cultural Psychology
PSYC 425 Research Methods to Study Gender
PSYC 450 Advanced 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 October or November of their senior year. Also, students will prepare a poster to communicate their knowledge of a research question they studied during the senior seminar. The posters will be displayed during a student research day in January 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
Additional information about the senior exercise in psychology is available through the department website.
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 also is reviewed periodically by all members of the department prior to an oral examination by an outside examiner in the spring.
More information about honors work in psychology is available through the department website.