Requirements: Psychology

Natural Sciences Division

Psychology is taught as the scientific study of behavior and mental processes. The psychology curriculum provides an opportunity for students 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 through CEL classwork and the Office of Community Partnerships.

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New Students

Students should begin with PSYC 100 (Introduction to Psychology) or PSYC 110 (General Psychology), either of which is a prerequisite for all other psychology courses. These courses explore 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. PSYC 100 is open only to first-years and sophomores. PSYC 110 is open to all students.

Students who have completed PSYC 100 (or have a score of 5 on the PSYC AP exam) and are considering majoring in psychology should next take PSYC 200 (Statistical Analysis in Psychology). In this course, students acquire the basic statistical skills required to conduct and understand research in the field.

Students who elect to major in psychology will take statistics and research methods courses along with six intermediate (200- and 300-level) courses in the following areas of psychology:

  • Mind and brain
  • Clinical issues and health
  • Person and society

Finally, all majors enroll in a two-semester senior practicum, in which they collaborate with their peers and professor while developing expertise on a topic of their choice and developing independent senior projects.

Requirements for the Major

Students majoring in psychology must complete at least 11 courses in the psychology department, with a minimum 2.5 major GPA.

1. Foundations

The required foundation courses include: 

  • PSYC 100: Introduction to Psychology or PSYC 110: General Psychology
  • PSYC 200: Statistical Analysis in Psychology
  • PSYC 250: Research Methods in Psychology

Majors are strongly advised to complete PSYC 200 by the end of their sophomore year. A grade of C or higher in PSYC 200 and PSYC 250 is required for these classes to count toward the major.

2. Intermediate Courses

Students are required to have a balanced curriculum within the discipline. Students take at least one course in each of the three areas of psychology. Of the six intermediate courses taken, at least two must be at the 300 level.

Mind and Brain:
NEUR 212: Introduction to Neuroscience
PSYC 201: Cognitive Processes
PSYC 206: Psychology of Language
PSYC 208: Drugs and Behavior
PSYC 210: Social Mind, Social Brain
PSYC 275D: Animal Cognition
PSYC 303: Learning & Motivation
PSYC 307: Language Disorders
PSYC 310: Cognitive Neuroscience

Person and Society:
PSYC 223: Child Development
PSYC 224: Educational Psychology
PSYC 225: Social Psychology
PSYC 227: Cross Cultural Psychology
PSYC 228: Latino Psychology
PSYC 232: Environmental Psychology
PSYC 246: Women and Gender
PSYC 322: Adult Development
PSYC 327: Psychology of Immigration
PSYC 333: Media Psychology
PSYC 348: Adolescence
PSYC 350: Psychology in Context

Clinical Issues and Health:
PSYC 230: Health Psychology
PSYC 221: Abnormal Psychology
PSYC 226: Scientific Study of Personality
PSYC 231: Positive Psychology
PSYC 244: Human Sexual Behavior
PSYC 309: Emotions
PSYC 341: Disaster Psychology
PSYC 342: Clinical Psychology

3. Senior Practicum

All students are expected to take a two-semester senior practicum, PSYC 475-6, in which they focus on a topic of current research in psychology. In the fall semester, students develop expertise on a specific topic and propose an independent project to be completed during the spring semester. Independent projects may involve a research project, literature review or community service project, each with an accompanying paper.

Senior Capstone

In the context of the senior practicum, students complete a comprehensive project. Students present the results of these independent projects in a departmental research conference. Students present either a brief oral presentation or a research poster, which are judged via rubrics completed by faculty members in the department.

Additional information about the senior capstone in psychology is available on the department website.

Honors

Students who do excellent work are encouraged to apply to the department 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 primary 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 on the department website.