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Psychology

Requirements for the Bachelor of Arts Degree. The department offers Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degree programs. Majors pursuing the Bachelor of Arts complete 41 semester hours in psychology with a grade of C- or better and with at least a 2.00 psychology GPA. Students complete the following required courses from each of five content areas:

Semester Hours View Full Course Catalog >>

12      Psychology Core (all are required)

PSYC-101 Principles of Psychology
PSYC-223 Research Methods in Psychology
PSYC-421 Directed Research

4          Developmental Psychology (choose one of the following):

PSYC-238 Developmental Psychology: Conception Through Childhood
PSYC-239 Developmental Psychology: Adolescence
PSYC-240 Developmental Psychology: Adulthood and Aging

4          Interpersonal and Intrapersonal Psychology (choose one of the following):

PSYC-230 Social Psychology
PSYC-245 Personality
PSYC-320 Abnormal Psychology

8          Fundamental Paradigms in Psychology (choose two of the following):

PSYC-340 Cognitive Psychology
PSYC-342 Behavioral Neuroscience
PSYC-344 Learning Processes
PSYC-346 Sensation and Perception

1          Laboratory Proficiency (choose one of the following):

PSYC-360 Laboratory in Behavioral Neuroscience
PSYC-361 Laboratory in Cognitive Psychology
PSYC-362 Laboratory in Learning Processes
PSYC-363 Laboratory in Sensation and Perception

12        Psychology Electives

12 hours of electives selected with faculty adviser guidance

Majors must also complete a comprehensive psychology examination during the junior or senior year. Questions cover courses in the psychology core, developmental psychology, interpersonal and intrapersonal psychology, and fundamental paradigms in psychology content areas but not courses in the laboratory proficiency area. Students have up to four opportunities to take the comprehensive examination; only the highest score is recorded on the transcript. Performance on the comprehensive examination is reported on the transcript as high pass, pass or fail.

The department also recommends additional courses in other areas, depending on specific career goals. Frequent choices are biology, health care studies, sociology, anthropology, philosophy, business, prelaw and communications.

Additional Requirements for the Bachelor of Science Degree. Candidates for the Bachelor of Science degree will complete all requirements for the Bachelor of Arts in psychology. Bachelor of Science candidates also complete two additional courses (at least one of which must be selected from outside the psychology department) from among the following four options:

  • A course (together with its corresponding lab) from the natural sciences (biology, chemistry, ecology, earth and environmental sciences, health care studies, or physics) that does not fulfill the student's Scientific Explanations requirement1

  • Any four-semester-hour math course numbered 111 or higher (except statistics) that does not fulfill the student's Analytic Thought requirement1

  • A third course from the fundamental paradigms content area of the psychology major2

  • PSYC-323 Advanced Research Design and Analysis2

1 A student may take two of these courses to meet their B.S. course requirements

2 This course may also be counted as a psychology B.A. elective 

Minor in Psychology. The minor is designed to acquaint students with important areas in the field while offering flexible options based on their career goals. Students consult with a psychology department adviser to select minor courses. The minor requires 24 semester hours in psychology with a grade of C- or better and a minimum 2.0 grade point average in their psychology classes. Required courses include PSYC-101 Principles of Psychology, 12 semester hours at the 200 level (only one of which may be from the developmental psychology sequence), and eight semester hours in courses numbered 300 or above. Psychology laboratory courses may be applied to the minor. Substitution of 300-level courses for 200-level courses is possible with permission of the minor adviser. Students may not apply the following courses to the minor: PSYC-123 Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences; PSYC-421 Directed Research; PSYC-505 Research Apprenticeship; PSYC-525, 526 Independent Research; and PSYC-527, 528 Practicum. 

PSYC-101 Principles of Psychology

Introduces principles and theories of behavior. Topics include biopsychology, sensation and perception, learning and memory, and physical and behavioral development. Also covers personality theory and assessment, social and cultural influences on behavior, and behavior pathology and treatment. 4 SH. CC: Social Interactions.

PSYC-123 Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences

Methods in collecting, organizing, summarizing, analyzing and interpreting numerical data. Topics include organizing data in table and graph formats; measures of central tendency, dispersion, relative standing and correlation; probability; and hypothesis testing. Students may earn credit for only one of the introductory statistics courses offered by the departments of management, psychology and mathematical sciences. 4 SH. CC: Analytical Thought.

PSYC-201 Topics in Psychology

Examines selected topics in psychology, depending on student and instructor interest. Course may be repeated for credit if topic is different. 2-4 SH.

PSYC-223 Research Methods in Psychology

Basic research methods. Covers naturalistic observation, surveys and experimental and quasi-experimental designs. Lecture and lab. Prerequisites: Sophomore standing, PSYC-101 and either PSYC-123 or MATH-180. 4 SH. CC: Writing Intensive.

PSYC-230 Social Psychology

The study of how individuals are influenced by social interactions. Examines social phenomena, such as attitude change, conformity, impression formation, stereotyping, aggression and helping. Emphasizes scientific methods and results, explanatory theories and application to practical problems. Prerequisite: PSYC-101. 4 SH.

PSYC-232 Environmental Psychology

The study of how people interact with the environment-both natural and built. Topics covered include environmental perception and cognition; worldviews and attitudes toward nature; impact of environmental factors, such as weather, on behavior and mood; reactions to natural and technological disasters; personal space, territoriality and crowding; and psychological factors in urban planning and in residential, educational and commercial design. Prerequisite: PSYC-101. 4 SH.

PSYC-238 Developmental Psychology: Conception Through Childhood

Human development during infancy and childhood. Emphasizes development and behavioral changes in the biological, cognitive and social cognitive domains. Includes physical, cognitive, emotional, language, moral, social and self-concept development. Examines culture as a context for development and behavior. Requires 12 hours of field experience. Prerequisite: PSYC-101. 4 SH.

PSYC-239 Developmental Psychology: Adolescence

Human development through adolescence. Emphasizes development and behavioral changes in the biological, cognitive and social cognitive domains. Includes pubertal, intellectual, emotional, communicative, moral, social and identity development. Examines culture as a context for development and behavior. Prerequisite: PSYC-101. 4 SH.

PSYC-240 Developmental Psychology: Adulthood

Human development from the adult years through death. Emphasizes development and behavioral changes in the biological, cognitive and social cognitive domains. Includes physical and hormonal changes, intelligence, emotions, communication, career and retirement issues, family changes, relationships and marriage, and death and dying. Examines culture as a context for development and behavior. Prerequisite: PSYC-101. 4 SH.

PSYC-242 Health Psychology

Reviews important topics in this field from both the psychological and biomedical perspective. Topics covered include stress and its management, health-related decision making, chronic disease, and the involvement of psychosocial factors in medical care settings. Emphasis is placed on evaluating the impact of these areas upon everyday life and in clinical settings. Prerequisite: PSYC-101 and sophomore standing. 4 SH. CC: Interdisciplinary.

PSYC-243 Drugs, Society, and Behavior

Examines the physiological and psychological effects of a wide variety of legal and illegal drugs, as well as patterns of drug use. Includes behavioral, pharmacological and neurological points of view. Stresses factual and unbiased information, which is presented in a nonjudgmental fashion. 4 SH. CC: Team Intensive.

PSYC-245 Personality

Covers major theoretical perspectives on personality structure and development, with an emphasis on supporting research and practical applications. Prerequisite: PSYC-101. 4 SH.

PSYC-320 Abnormal Psychology

Examines the causes, symptoms and treatment of mental disorders. Also addresses theoretical perspectives, research methodology, the diagnostic process, assessment procedures and ethical issues associated with the field. Prerequisites: PSYC-101 and sophomore standing. 4 SH.

PSYC-322 Psychological Testing

Introduces the development, characteristics and use of psychological tests. Covers methods of constructing, administering and evaluating tests. Reviews tests of abilities, personality, interest and attitudes. Also explores technical problems and ethical issues common in psychological testing. Prerequisites: PSYC-101 and either PSYC-123 or MATH-180. 4 SH.

PSYC-323 Advanced Research Design and Analysis

Continues and expands topics introduced in PSYC-123 Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences. Emphasizes the design and analysis of multifactor experiments. Examines designs, including completely randomized, randomized block and split-plot factorial designs. Also covers Latin and Greco-Latin square designs and covariance designs. Prerequisites: PSYC-101, statistics, and PSYC-223. 4 SH.

PSYC-334 Psychology of Gender

Explores current theory and research in the development of gender and consequences of gender roles. Covers evolutionary, biological, psychoanalytic, cognitive, social learning and cross-cultural perspectives on gender, as well as approaches that seek to understand interactions among these influences. Prerequisites: Junior standing and either PSYC-101 or SOCI-101. Same as WMST-334. 4 SH. CC: Diversity, Writing Intensive.

PSYC-340 Cognitive Psychology

An examination of how the mind works through the mental processes underlying attention, perception, memory, language, reasoning and decision making, on both behavioral and physiological levels. Prerequisite: PSYC-101. 4 SH.

PSYC-342 Behavioral Neuroscience

Explores neurophysiological influences on behavior. Topics may include human communication, learning and memory, visual processing, ingestive behavior, sleep, emotion and stress, addiction, aggression, reproductive behavior, and neurological and neuropsychological disorders. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing and PSYC-101. 4 SH. CC: Interdisciplinary

PSYC-344 Learning Processes

Examines principle and theories of classical and instrumental conditioning, including the roles of contiguity and contingency, reinforcement, cognitive and behavioral models of classical conditioning and instrumental learning, and factors influencing learning. Prerequisite: PSYC-101. 4 SH.

PSYC-346 Sensation and Perception

Explores how individuals take in information from the environment and interpret it meaningfully. Focuses on the visual and auditory systems, but also covers olfaction, taste and touch. Covers the anatomy of human sensory systems and the neural and cognitive processes that turn sensations into perceptions of the world. Prerequisite: PSYC-101. 4 SH.

PSYC-348 Psycholinguistics

Examines how humans learn, represent, comprehend, and produce language. Focuses on research methodology, language acquisition, comprehension and production, neural representation of language, and language disorders. Prerequisites: PSYC-101 and sophomore standing or permission of the instructor. 4 SH. CC: Interdisciplinary.

PSYC-350 Psychology, Culture, and Ethnicity

A critical examination of the role of culture in human development and behavior. Explores (a) the universality and diversity of human biological, cognitive, social and emotional development and behavior within and across racial, ethnic and cultural groups; (b) the contexts in which multiple cultures intersect or interact with one another and the historical, institutional and personal factors that influence or regulate these interactions; and (c) the theoretical and methodological approaches psychologists use to explore these issues. Prerequisites: Junior standing and either PSYC-101 or SOCI-101. 4 SH. CC: Diversity, Writing Intensive.

PSYC-360 Laboratory in Behavioral Neuroscience

Using behavioral neuroscience methods and procedures to investigate action potential dynamics, neuroanatomy, visual processing, learning and memory processes, and emotion regulation. Prerequisite: PSYC-342 to be taken concurrently or as a prerequisite. 1 SH. 

PSYC-361 Laboratory in Cognitive Psychology

Investigates cognitive phenomena including attention, memory and problem solving using appropriate experimental methodology and techniques. Prerequisite: PSYC-340 to be taken concurrently or as a prerequisite. 1 SH.

PSYC-362 Laboratory in Learning Processes

This course provides an experience with the experimental methods employed in the study of learning. The course utilizes laboratory techniques to examine the principles and theories of classical and instrumental conditioning. Prerequisite: PSYC-344 to be taken concurrently or as a prerequisite. 1 SH. 

PSYC-363 Laboratory in Sensation and Perception

Accompanies PSYC-346 Sensation and Perception. Provides direct experience with this topic area through participation in perception studies, collection and analysis of data, and reading and discussion of relevant source literature. Prerequisite: PSYC-346 to be taken concurrently or as a prerequisite. 1 SH. 

PSYC-400 Advanced Topics in Psychology

Examines selected advanced topics in psychology, depending on student and instructor interest. Course may be repeated for credit if topic is different. Prerequisites: Any 200-level or higher psychology course and junior or senior standing. 2-4 SH.

PSYC-421 Directed Research

Student/faculty collaborative research in the student's area of interest. Introduces the methodologies and problems of doing original research in psychology. Lecture and lab. Prerequisites: PSYC-223 and instructor's permission. 4 SH. Capstone. CC: Writing Intensive, Team Intensive.

PSYC-450 Introduction to Counseling

An introduction to the counseling profession. Includes basic helping skills, selected intervention techniques, issues in counseling special client populations and professional ethics. Prerequisites: PSYC-320 and junior standing. 4 SH. CC: Ethics Intensive.

PSYC-500 Internship in Psychology

Practical experience in an approved supervised work setting. The student is responsible for arranging the internship and completing a learning contract with the faculty supervisor. May be repeated once for a maximum of six semester hours. 2-4 SH.

PSYC-505 Research Apprenticeship

Provides an opportunity to collaborate on a faculty research project as part of a close mentoring relationship where students learn advanced research methods and data management in a one-on-one setting. Involves a commitment of five hours per week per semester hour of course credit. Open only to students who meet criteria set by supervisor and only when positions are available. May be taken multiple times to a total of 4 semester hours. Prerequisite: Faculty supervisor's permission. 1-4 SH.

PSYC-510 Independent Study

Provides an opportunity to work individually with the instructor for focused reading, study and reflection about a particular topic area. Prerequisite: Instructor's permission. 1-4 SH.

PSYC-525 Independent Research

Students complete an individual research project in their area of interest working closely with a faculty supervisor. Prerequisites: PSYC-421, supervisor's permission. 2-4 SH.

PSYC-526 Independent Research

Students complete an individual research project in their area of interest working closely with a faculty supervisor. Prerequisites: PSYC-421, supervisor's permission. 2-4 SH.

PSYC-527 Practicum

Supervised field experience in student-selected applied settings. Includes related writing assignments. PSYC-527 and 528 may be taken consecutively or concurrently. Prerequisites: Junior or senior standing, PSYC-320, PSYC-450, minimum 2.80 GPA, and instructor's permission. 4 SH.

PSYC-528 Practicum

Supervised field experience in student-selected applied settings. Includes related writing assignments. PSYC-527 and 528 may be taken consecutively or concurrently. Prerequisites: Junior or senior standing, PSYC-320, PSYC-450, minimum 2.80 GPA, and instructor's permission. 4 SH.

Secondary Teaching Certification. Coursework required by the state of Pennsylvania for admission to the teacher certification program includes successful completion of ENGL-100 Writing and Thinking or equivalent course, at least 3 semester hours in British or American literature, at least 6 semester hours of mathematics coursework (or other courses which satisfy the Central Curriculum Analytic Thought requirement), and at least one 40-hour externship.

Education course requirements for secondary education are EDUC-101 Introduction to Education and Society, EDUC-102 Historical and Philosophical Foundations of Education, EDUC-250 Educational Psychology, EDUC-260 Introduction to Special Education, EDUC-270 Instruction of Exceptional Students, EDUC-330 Technology in Education, EDUC-350 English Language Learners: Theory and Instruction, EDUC-380 Instructional Design, EDUC-479 Principles of Learning and Teaching in Secondary Education, EDUC-483 Differentiated Instruction and Classroom Management in Secondary Education, and the EDUC-500 Student Teaching package (EDUC-501, EDUC-502, EDUC-503, and EDUC-600).

In addition to completing the psychology major and the courses listed above, secondary education psychology students must complete certification in social studies.  The requirements for certification in social studies are EDUC-425 Methods of Curriculum Instruction and Assessment in Teaching Social Studies, SOCI-101 Principles of Sociology, ANTH-162 Introduction to Anthropology, ECON-105 Elements of Economics, POLI-111 American Government and Politics, POLI-121 Comparative Government and Politics, HIST-322 Pennsylvania History or HIST-324 Pennsylvania's Pasts and Their Publics, 1 course in U. S. history (HIST-111, HIST-112 or HIST-115), 1 course in European history (HIST-131 or HIST-132), and 1 course in non-Western history (HIST-151, HIST-152, HIST-171, HIST-172, HIST-180, or HIST-181).