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Psychology Courses

Course information found here includes all permanent offerings and is updated regularly whenever Academic Senate approves changes. For historical information, see the Course Catalogs. For actual course availability in any given term, use Course Search in the Portal.

PSYC 100. Introduction to Psychology (1). This course introduces students to psychological issues and phenomena. A wide range of representative topics acquaints students with the methods and content of the field. (3B) Offered each semester.

PSYC 127. Mindfulness Workshop (.25). Stress in college can become quite intense. This course—based on the pioneering work of Jon Kabat-Zinn and the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Movement—is for students willing to face these stresses directly and embrace the simple yet profoundly challenging work of being mindful: aware in the present moment, in an intentionally open, accepting, and nonjudgmental way. Developed patiently over time and moment to moment, mindfulness is a way of “resting in awareness’ that is clear, focused, and emotionally flexible. It has been positively linked by research to academic success, increased self-control and subjective vitality, and reduced stress due to physical and/or emotional pain. Graded credit/no credit. Offered each semester. IMPORTANT NOTES: The first class session will be a mandatory orientation session, after which the instructor will decide privately with each student whether or not it is appropriate for the student to take the class at this time; a signed Informed Consent Form will be required. Also, in addition to regular class sessions, students will attend a “half-day of mindfulness” on a Saturday afternoon. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing

PSYC 161. Research Methods and Statistics I (1). This is the first course in a two-course sequence designed to examine the statistical concepts and research strategies used by psychologists. Students learn how to (a) analyze and interpret psychological data, (b) design and conduct psychological studies, (c) evaluate the validity of claims made by researchers, and (d) communicate research procedures and findings. This course emphasizes topics including ways of knowing, research ethics, observational and survey methods, descriptive statistics, graphing, and the concepts of reliability and validity. Students are introduced to the data analysis software SPSS and to writing with APA style. Offered each semester. Prerequisite: Psychology 100 and sophomore standing or permission of instructor.

PSYC 162. Research Methods and Statistics II (1). This is the second course in a two-course sequence designed to examine the statistical concepts and research strategies used by psychologists. Students learn how to (a) analyze and interpret psychological data, (b) design and conduct psychological studies, (c) evaluate the validity of claims made by researchers, and (d) communicate research procedures and findings. In this course, students review key concepts from Psychology 161 and examine new topics such as experimental and quasi-experimental designs, and inferential statistics. They also continue to develop their skills in using SPSS and writing in APA style. Offered each semester. Prerequisite: Psychology 100, and Psychology 161 or Biology 247; or permission of the instructor.

PSYC 210. Life-Span Developmental Psychology (1). This course examines the physical, social, and cognitive changes that occur between conception and older adulthood. A wide range of issues will be addressed, such as the contributions of genetics and the environment, gender differences, family and interpersonal relations, career development, retirement, and death. Includes at least 15 hours of field experience. (3B) Offered each year. Prerequisite: Psychology 100.

PSYC 215. Child Growth and Development (1). This course examines growth and development from conception through adolescence. Differing theoretical perspectives in developmental psychology (e.g., cognitive, psychodynamic, social contexts, etc.) are addressed. Includes at least 15 hours of field experience. (3B) Offered each year. Prerequisite: Psychology 100 and sophomore standing.

PSYC 225. Psychology of Women (1). This course examines theoretical viewpoints on the development of gender identification and gender-typed behavior; research evidence for the existence/non-existence of gender differences; female social development across the life span; psychological aspects of women’s roles in the family and in the workplace; clinical issues relevant to women, such as depression and eating disorders; and additional topics selected by class members. Includes at least 15 hours of field experience. (Also listed as Critical Identity Studies 225.) (3B) Offered once every three years. Prerequisite: Psychology 100 and any Critical Identity Studies course, or consent of instructor.

PSYC 230. Biological Psychology (1). This course is an introduction to the biological bases of behavior. Students develop a basic knowledge of brain anatomy, physiology, and pharmacology. This knowledge is then integrated and applied to many topics, such as sleep and arousal, food and water intake, learning and memory, aggression, sexual behavior, and psychological disorders. Offered occasionally. Prerequisite: Psychology 100.

PSYC 235. Sensation and Perception (1). This course examines the anatomy and function of human sense organs. Different theories of perception are presented, and the interrelationships between physical stimuli, physiological events, and psychological perceptions are addressed. (3B) Offered occasionally. Prerequisite: Psychology 100.

PSYC 239. Psychology and Law (1). This course examines the ways in which psychology can enhance our understanding of the American legal system, assist in the solution of legal problems, and contribute to the development of a more humane and just legal system. Topics considered include criminal responsibility, mental health law, eyewitness identification, children’s testimony, prediction of violence, jury decision-making, psychological consequences of incarceration, and capital punishment. Contributions of other disciplines (e.g., sociology, politics, communications) also will be addressed. (Also listed as Interdisciplinary Studies 239.) Prerequisite: sophomore standing.

PSYC 240. Memory and Cognition (1). This course examines some of the mental processes involved in human behavior. General issues to be covered include the accuracy of memory, problem solving, decision making, and the rationality of thought processes. Specific topics such as selective attention, subliminal perception, neurological bases of memory, and effects of aging will be discussed. (Also listed as Cognitive Science 240.) (3B) Offered occasionally. Prerequisite: Psychology 100.

PSYC 250. Personality Psychology (1). This course investigates different empirical approaches to the study and understanding of human personality, including historically important and current conceptualizations of personality. Topics include the definition and measurement of personality; biological and cultural aspects of personality; psychoanalytic, cognitive, and behavioral perspectives; gender differences; and personality disorders. (3B) Offered each year. Prerequisite: Psychology 100.

PSYC 252. Psychological Disorders (1). This course examines psychological disorders from the four major theoretical perspectives: biological, psychodynamic, cognitive, and behavioral. It also explores the etiology, diagnosis, and treatment of mental illness and the role of the mental health professional. Other topics include the definition of mental illness, cross-cultural issues in diagnosis, and ethical issues. (3B) Offered each year. Prerequisite: Psychology 100.

PSYC 260. Principles of Social Psychology (1). This course examines the ways in which an individual’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by social situations. Topics include social perception and attribution processes, attitude formation and change, majority and minority influence, altruism, aggression, interpersonal attraction, small group dynamics, and intergroup relations. (3B) Offered each year. Prerequisite: Psychology 100 or Sociology 100.

PSYC 265. Cross-Cultural Psychology (1). This course investigates universal and culturally-variable features of psychological phenomena. Topics include cross-cultural research strategies, perception and cognition, psychosocial development and parenting styles, moral reasoning, intercultural communication, emotional experiences, and psychopathology. (3B) Offered each year. Prerequisite: sophomore standing and either Psychology 100 or Anthropology 100.

PSYC 285. Selected Topics in Psychology (.5, 1). This course examines selected topics in psychology that reflect particular interests and experience of the instructor. May be repeated for credit if topic is different. Prerequisite: Psychology 100. Other courses may be required, depending on the topic.

PSYC 300. Perspectives in Psychology, Past and Present (1). Psychological theories, methods, and knowledge are generated within a particular historical and cultural context. They also change and evolve over time. In this capstone course, students investigate major theoretical approaches, controversial issues, and new developments in the discipline of psychology, from the time of Descartes to the present day. They come to understand how disparate subfields within psychology are connected to each other by common historical roots—and how contemporary psychological knowledge has been shaped by forces and individuals inside and outside of psychology. Students also become familiar with psychology’s heroes, scoundrels, intellectual achievements, and costly errors. Offered most years. (CP) Prerequisite: Psychology 162, two 200-level courses, and junior or senior standing.

PSYC 310. Developmental Psychopathology (1). This capstone course focuses on the etiology, future course, and treatment of many childhood psychological disorders (e.g., attachment disorders, autism, conduct disorder, depression). Participants apply a developmental perspective to the processes of adaptive and maladaptive behavior. Both research-theoretical and clinical-practical approaches to understanding psychopathology are emphasized. May include some field experience. Offered occasionally. (CP) Prerequisite: Psychology 100, 162, and 210 or 215; Psychology 250 or 252 strongly recommended.

PSYC 315. Pediatric Psychology (1). This capstone course focuses on the application of developmental and clinical psychology in applied interdisciplinary settings such as children’s hospitals, developmental clinics, pediatric/medical and psychiatric group practices, and schools. Participants apply a developmental perspective to processes of adaptive and maladaptive behaviors within the health care system. Both research-theoretical and clinical-practical approaches to pediatric psychology are emphasized. May include some field experience. Offered occasionally. (CP) Prerequisite: Psychology 100, 162, and 210 or 215; Psychology 252 or a health and society course strongly recommended.

PSYC 325. Psychology Practicum (1). Through hands-on engagement and academic reflection, this course provides students with the opportunity to further develop and apply their psychological knowledge in an area of personal and community interest. With the help of the instructor and community partners, students will complete a project or internship involving approximately six hours a week (approximately 70 hours over the course of the semester) working with and/or at an assigned field site in the local community. In addition, class meetings will focus on the development of professional skills and career planning, as well as discussion of the opportunities and challenges of putting psychology into practice. Offered most years. Prerequisite: Psychology 162 and senior standing; approval of department.

PSYC 360. Advanced Social Psychology (1). This capstone seminar is intended for juniors and seniors who have some background in social or cultural psychology and wish to gain a deeper understanding of major issues in the field. Students read and discuss classic and contemporary theory and research in social psychology, with special attention given to how ideas develop. They also design and put into action a strategy that aims to eradicate a specific problem or enhance the quality of life on campus. Offered occasionally. (CP) Prerequisite: Psychology 100, 162 (or a course in research methods), and either 260 or 265.

PSYC 375. Psychotherapy and Psychological Testing (1). In this advanced capstone seminar, students and the instructor investigate the major types of psychological tests (personality, intelligence, and neuropsychological), with particular attention to test construction (including statistical concerns) and the use of tests in school, clinical, and personnel settings. Following this, students and the instructor examine the practice of psychotherapy, especially cognitive and behavioral therapies, including those specifically designed for criminal offenders and college populations. In this section of the seminar, students read, analyze, and critique scientific studies of therapeutic efficacy. (CP) Offered approximately once every three semesters. Prerequisite: Psychology 162 and either Psychology 250 or Psychology 252 or permission of instructor.

PSYC 380. Senior Thesis (.5). Independent research by a superior student under faculty supervision. Prerequisite: by invitation.

PSYC 385. Advanced Topics in Psychology (.5, 1). This course examines advanced topics in psychology that reflect the particular interests and expertise of the instructor. May be repeated for credit if topic is different. (CP) Prerequisite: Psychology 100 and 162 (or a course in research methods). Other courses may be required, depending on the topic.

PSYC 390. Special Project (.25 - 1). Individual study under faculty supervision and/or research on a psychological topic selected by the student. Prerequisite: sophomore standing.

PSYC 395. Teaching Assistant (.5). Work with faculty in classroom instruction. Graded credit/no credit.

PSYC 396. Teaching Assistant Research (.5). Course and curriculum development projects with faculty.