• Heather Macalister, department head
    Kimberly Craig, Louise Freeman, Jenna Holt, Chandra Mason, Patricia Murphy

  • Requirements for the Bachelor of Arts in Psychology

    39 semester hours
    PSYC 101
    PSYC 150
    PSYC 111 or PSYC 231 or PSYC 275, or a social/personality psychology related colloquium approved by the department head
    PSYC 203 or PSYC 205
    PSYC 210 or PSYC 211
    PSYC 220
    PSYC 241 or PSYC/BIOL 305
    PSYC 212 or 310
    PSYC 250
    PSYC 360
    PSYC 400 or PSYC 401 and PSYC 402

    Two additional elective courses selected from the following:
    PSYC 111 Psychology as a Social Science
    PSYC 203 Abnormal Psychology
    PSYC 205 Techniques of Counseling and Psychotherapy
    PSYC 214 Psychology of Women
    PSYC 216 Multicultural Psychology
    PSYC 218 Psychology of Relationships
    PSYC 231 Psychology of Personality
    PSYC 232 Educational Psychology
    PSYC 245 Industrial/Organizational Psychology
    PSYC 248 Forensic Psychology
    PSYC 275 Social Psychology
    PSYC 277 Psychology Colloquium
    PSYC 302 Psychological Testing and Measurement
    PSYC 306 Human Morality (Honors Colloquium)
    PSYC 307 Drugs and Behavior
    PSYC 311 Adult Development
    PSYC 313 Applied Behavior Analysis

    Majors must take a standardized achievement test in psychology during their senior year.

    Requirements for the Bachelor of Science in Psychology

    All of the requirements listed for the BA, plus the following:
    Two mathematics courses at the 200 level or above.
    One additional lab science course at the 200 level

    Senior Requirement: Satisfactory completion of PSYC 401

    Requirements for the Minor in Psychology

    20 semester hours, with at least 3 semester hours at the 300+ level
    PSYC 101 and PSYC 220
    One of the following: PSYC 111, PSYC 210, PSYC 211, PSYC 231 or PSYC 275
    One of the following: PSYC 203, PSYC 205, or PSYC 313
    One of the following: PSYC 212, PSYC 241, PSYC/BIOL 305, PSYC 307, or PSYC 310
    One other psychology course (3–4 hrs.) of the student’s choice, at the 200 level or higher, excluding PSYC 287, PSYC 387, and PSYC 380.

    Emphasis Areas

    Child Psychology:
    Majors who plan an elementary teaching license, a career in child care, or to enter a graduate program in developmental psychology, educational psychology, or a related field should take: PSYC 203, PSYC 210, PSYC 302, and PSYC 310. PSYC 232 is also recommended.

    Mental Health Work:
    Students who plan to work in a mental health setting or enter a graduate program in clinical or counseling psychology or a related field should take: PSYC 203; PSYC 205; PSYC 231 or 307; PSYC 302; PSYC 313; and an internship in mental health.

    Physical/Occupational Therapy:
    Students interested in graduate studies in physical or occupational therapy should take: PSYC 305, PSYC 310, PSYC 313, BIOL 111, BIOL 264, BIOL 265, EXLD 251 and an internship in a PT or OT setting. (Note: this is an emphasis within the psychology major; it does not include all pre-requisite courses for admission to a graduate program in PT or OT.)

    Elder Care:
    Students interested in working with the elderly or graduate work in gerontology should take: PSYC 111, PSYC 212, PSYC 307, PSYC 311, BIOL 151, HCA 240, SOWK 124, and an internship in an elder care setting. SOC 205 is also recommended.

    Forensic Psychology:
    Students interested in graduate studies in forensic psychology should take: PSYC 203, PSYC 205, PSYC 248, PSYC 249, PSYC 302, PSYC 307, and an internship in a forensic or criminal justice setting (PSYC 287 or CJ 287).

  • Civic Engagement and International Opportunities

    • Long-established internships and volunteer opportunities with agencies such as Western State Hospital, Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center, and area service agencies
    • Extra credit for meaningful volunteer efforts outside the classroom
  • 101 Introduction to Psychology as a Natural Science (4 s.h.) (N*)
    A course with a required laboratory applied component emphasizing the experimental method as a procedure for discovering the principles of behavior and mental processes. Subject areas include psychobiology, sensation and perception, consciousness, learning and memory, intelligence, motivation, emotion, and stress. Weekly labs enable students to explore a wide variety of psychological phenomena by replicating classic experiments and collecting and analyzing behavioral data.  Must earn at least a C- to declare the Psychology major.
    (*Does not meet VA DOE licensure requirement for Natural Science)

    111 Introduction to Psychology as a Social Science (3 s.h.) (S)
    This course is designed to introduce students to the study of psychology as a social science. Content areas: the major theoretical approaches to the study of psychology, developmental processes, personality and its assessment, abnormal psychology, therapy, and social influences on behavior.

    150 Survival Skills for the Psychology Major (1 s.h.)
    Required for declared psychology majors. The course fosters an understanding of the career field and the acquisition of the basic learning and professional skills necessary to succeed in the field. Topics include vocational assessment, tools for academic success, writing a literature review and an empirical paper, occupational choices, and preparing for and applying to graduate school.

    203 Abnormal Psychology (3 s.h.) (S)
    A study of the major forms of abnormal behavior focusing on adult psychopathology. Topics include the definition and history of abnormal behavior, research methods, current theoretical perspectives classification, symptomatology and treatment of mental disorders, psychological health. Of special interest to prospective human service workers, including social workers, counselors, and teachers. *Prerequisite: PSYC 101 or PSYC 111.

    205 Techniques of Counseling and Psychotherapy (3 s.h.)
    An overview of current approaches to counseling and psychotherapy including psychodynamic, phenomenological, behavioral, cognitive, and feminist orientations, and family therapy and therapy with children. Ethical and multicultural issues pertaining to therapy are also considered. Of special interest to prospective human service workers, including mental health workers, social workers, teachers, and personnel workers. *Prerequisite: PSYC 101 or PSYC 111.

    210 Child Psychology (3 s.h.) (S)
    Examines cognitive, socio-emotional, language, and gender development from infancy through late childhood from different theoretical perspectives. Environmental and biological influences on children’s behavior are considered. Implications for parents, teachers, and others who work with children are discussed. * Prerequisite: PSYC 101 or PSYC 111 or Sophomore standing.

    211 Adolescent Psychology (3 s.h.) (S)
    This course focuses on the neurological, socio-emotional, cognitive, and transitional aspects of adolescent development. Topics include identity formation; sexuality; work and leisure; and family, peer, and school influences on development. Students learn how culture, generation, gender roles, and other psychological factors affect adolescent behavior. * Prerequisite: PSYC 101 or PSYC 111 or Sophomore standing.

    212 Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience (3 s.h.) (R)
    An examination of the operations of the human mind, as well as the neural processes that support the mind. Classic cognitive findings are integrated with current research methods to more fully explore the link between mind and brain. Topics covered include the nature of consciousness, attention, memory, motor control, language, emotion, problem solving, and cognitive control.  Emphasis is placed on critical thinking and current methodological approaches. *Prerequisite: PSYC101 or BIOL111.

    214 Psychology of Women (3 s.h.) (G)
    This course takes a psychosocial developmental feminist approach to understanding psychological and social phenomena that pertain to women. We will examine theoretical perspectives on women’s psychology; cultural and societal images of women; women in adolescence, young adulthood, midlife, and late adulthood; and issues of relationships, lifestyles, sexuality, parenting, family, and work. Includes opportunity for community activism that benefits girls and women.

    216 Multicultural Psychology (3 s.h.) (W)
    In this class you will be studying human behavior with respect to culture. It is becoming more broadly understood that one’s culture impacts development, personality, perceptions, cognition, social behavior and views of “abnormality.” In order to scientifically study psychology and/or be more effective in interacting with others, we must understand cultural differences and how we each are affected by them. Some of the premises formed early in our discipline’s history now need to evolve to retain truth and relevance in our world. We will look at some of these as a way to understand our own biases. As well as studying racial, ethnic, and national cultural diversity, we will also gain knowledge of the impact of differences in religion, class, age, gender, and sexual orientation. Offered online only.

    218 Psychology of Relationships (3 s.h.)
    This course discusses and evaluates recent data, emphasizing heterosexual relationships, but including data on other intrapersonal and family relationships. It focuses on how relationships have evolved and the adaptive significance of the roles of the individuals within them. Examines the psychological principles that result in different behavioral strategies in response to changing societal demands, and addresses principles that underlie adaptive, destructive, and abnormal behaviors within relationships.

    220 Experimental Psychology (4 s.h.)
    Lecture/laboratory course focuses on why and how experiments are conducted in psychology. Students learn how to critically evaluate published psychological research, design and conduct experiments, use computers for statistical analysis of results. Uses significant research to investigate variables, methods, problems peculiar to psychological research. In lab students participate in data collection, design and conduct experiments, analyze results with computer-generated statistics. *Prerequisite: minimum grade of C- in PSYC 101.

    231 Psychology of Personality (3 s.h.) (S)
    This course introduces each of the major theories of personality: psychoanalytic, phenomenological, biological, behavioral, social learning, humanistic, existential, and positive. Each is critically examined with respect to its ability to explain human nature and generate strategies for assessing and modifying personality. Considers findings relating to conflict, stress, aggression, self-concept, and multicultural influences on personality. *Prerequisite: PSYC 101 or PSYC 111.

    232 Educational Psychology (3 s.h.)
    The application of psychological principles and theories to educational settings, including elementary, middle, and secondary schools, colleges, and other institutions (e.g., businesses and industries) in which education or training is a goal. Students will learn how to write educational objectives, analyze learning tasks, devise instructional strategies for accomplishing educational objectives, and evaluate the outcomes of such strategies.

    241 Sensation and Perception (3 s.h.) (N)
    Introduces principles of sensation and their involvement in our perception of the world. Examines all sensory systems as to how they translate physical stimuli into information useful for processing by the brain. Investigates roles of experience, context, attribution, and other perceptual variables in the interpretation of these stimuli. Personally conducted and computer generated demonstrations involving sensation and perception phenomena allow students to experience principles firsthand. *Prerequisite: PSYC 101, BIOL 111, or BIOL 151, or permission of instructor.

    245 Industrial/Organizational Psychology (3 s.h.)
    Students survey topics related to industrial and organizational psychology, including motivation, job satisfaction and values, groups in organizations, decision-making, leadership, job analysis and evaluation, and models and methods of employee selection. The requirements cover theory and conceptual information as well as practical applications.

    248 Forensic Psychology (3 s.h.) (D)
    Application of psychological principles and research to legal issues. This course addresses police training in interrogation, profile generation, and how to deal with special victims. Trial issues such as pre-trial publicity effects, jury composition, and assisting lawyers with their presentation and cross-examination techniques are addressed. Special attention to how the legal system influences and is influenced by race, ethnic, religious, and cultural differences. Alternate years.

    249 Forensic Psychology II (3 s.h.)
    This is the second forensic psychology course in a two-part series. This second course focuses on the applied side of the discipline; students will learn about the complex roles that forensic psychologists frequently play within the legal system. They will learn how to interpret criminal behavior, how forensics assessments are conducted, and how to protect the rights of victims and special groups.

    250 Behavioral Statistics (3 s.h.) (Q)
    Required of all psychology majors. Overview of the basic concepts and principles of parametric and non-parametric statistics and how they are used in the behavioral sciences. Students learn to conduct statistical tests on data sets and to thoughtfully critique the conclusions of others. Topics include descriptive and inferential statistics, probability, correlation, linear regression, the z-test, the t-test, analysis of variance, and chi-square. *Prerequisites: PSYC 220 and MATH 159 or equivalent.

    275 Social Psychology (3 s.h.)
    This course examines the way our environment (or situation) influences our thoughts and  behaviors. The course will focus on how individuals think about, relate to and influence one another — the good, the bad, and the ugly. Students will examine how we form our attitudes and judgments and how this can ultimately affect our behavior. Specific topics to be examined are: social roles, conformity, persuasion, group influence, prejudice, aggression, attraction, helping behavior, and conflict resolution. How all these phenomena impact our daily lives and our institutions will be discussed. This course is not interchangeable with SOC 254, also called Social Psychology.

    287 Internship: Career Exploration in Psychology (1–3 s.h.)
    This course provides the opportunity to observe and participate with professionals performing psychology-related jobs in widely varied employment settings. Students must apply for an internship to a member of the psychology faculty who will serve as the supervisor. The two negotiate the terms of the internship with the on-site supervisor.

    302 Psychological Testing and Measurement (3 s.h.)
    An examination of the basic principles of psychological assessment and a critical survey of the instruments used in schools, clinics, and hospitals, including intelligence, aptitude, achievement, vocational interest, and personality tests. Practice is given in administering, scoring, and interpreting representative tests. *Prerequisite: PSYC 220 or PSYC 250. Alternate years.

    305 Physiological Psychology (3 s.h.) (W)
    Current concepts regarding the relationship between brain function and behavior. Includes the gross anatomical characteristics of the nervous system, functional characteristics of neurons, research techniques used in neurophysiology, and the functional role of the nervous system with respect to arousal, pain, sensory processes, sleep, sexual behavior, brain disorders, emotion, learning, and motivation. Cross listed as BIOL 305. *Prerequisites: PSYC 101 and three semester hours in biology or permission of the instructor. Alternate years.

    306 Human Morality: Nature and Nurture (3 s.h.) (T)
    This Honors colloquium focuses on the cross-disciplinary debate about the implications of research in evolutionary psychology, neuroscience, and social sciences for our understanding of human morality. Students will move beyond the classic nature vs. nurture debates to understand newly merging models of the complex interaction between evolutionary accounts of human morality and diverse perspectives in ethical theory. Cross listed as PHIL 306. Alternate years.

    307 Drugs and Behavior (3 s.h.) (T)
    Examines drugs and their effects on human and animal behavior, with particular emphasis on the neural mechanisms underlying drug actions. Topics include the current clinical uses of drugs, drug abuse, addiction, and the effects of drugs on motivation, memory, and learning. Drugs studied include alcohol, antidepressants, antipsychotics, barbiturates, hallucinogens, narcotics, sedatives, and stimulants. *Prerequisite: PSYC 101, BIOL 111, or BIOL 151 or permission of instructor. Alternate years.

    310 Learning and Memory (3 s.h.) (R)
    An in-depth look at how both humans and animals learn and retain information. Behaviorist and cognitive approaches will be covered, including classical and operant conditioning, working memory, semantic and episodic memory, memory for skills and actions, as well as forgetting. Attention will also be paid to emotional and social influences on memory, and how memories change across the lifespan. Focus is given to empirical articles and communication of empirical findings. *Prerequisite: PSYC101 and PSYC220, or permission of instructor. 

    311 Psychology of Adult Development (3 s.h.)
    This course is an advanced developmental psychology seminar, focusing on psychosocial, cognitive, and physiological development and issues of young adulthood, midlife, and late adulthood, with an emphasis on women. Students will critique traditional theories and perspectives on adulthood and apply contemporary feminist theory and research. Topics include research methodology; work and retirement; intimate relationships, family, friendships, and caregiving; physical changes and sexuality; cognitive functioning and intelligence; identity, generativity, and integrity. *Prerequisite: PSYC 210 or PSYC 211.

    313 Applied Behavior Analysis (3 s.h.)
    Procedures for treating a variety of problems, ranging from personal behavior problems to abnormal behavior will be considered. Students will learn to design, conduct, and evaluate programs for behavior change for themselves and others. Considers procedures for establishing desirable behaviors and eliminating or reducing undesirable behaviors, maladaptive anxiety, and other unwanted emotions.

    360 History and Systems of Psychology (3 s.h.)
    This course for senior psychology majors examines the historical antecedents of contemporary psychology and the major systems of psychology from 1850 to the present. Emphasis is placed on the historical development leading to currently held positions on topic areas including development, learning, motivation, sensation, perception, and cognition.

    387 Internship: Professional Experience in Psychology (2–3 s.h.)
    Culminates a student’s preparation for entry-level employment in a psychology-related career by providing practical experience working with professionals in a chosen career specialty. Students work closely with a faculty member and negotiate the terms of the internship with the on-site supervisor. Credit is awarded on the basis of three semester hours per 150 hours of observation. Must be taken P/NC.

    400 Senior Thesis Critical Literature Review (3 s.h.) (O, M)
    Senior thesis students integrate their learning in the major by conducting a critical analysis of a comprehensive body of literature on a contemporary topic in psychology under the mentorship of a psychology faculty member.  All students make a formal oral presentation of their results and present a final written thesis. *Prerequisites: PSYC 220 and PSYC 250.

    401 and 402 Senior Thesis Data Collection (1.5 s.h. each ; 3 s.h. total across two semesters) (O, M)
    Senior thesis students integrate their learning in the major by conducting a data collection project  over two semesters on a contemporary topic in psychology under the mentorship of a psychology faculty member.  All students make a formal oral presentation of their results and present a final written thesis. *Prerequisites: PSYC 220 and PSYC 250 with at least a B average.

    Note: Teaching assistantships in psychology can be arranged on an individual basis.