Psychology Course Descriptions

University Seminar Courses (US) 

220 Education Stories: Films About Schools and What They Teach Us (4 credits; Spring) Films depicting exemplary teachers and principals and their successful students have long provided many Americans their sense of how quality educational environments are created. But how much can one really learn about education from these cinematic treatments? In this University Seminar, students screen and discuss numerous films to probe them for their major themes relating to innovative teaching techniques, genuine concern and respect for students, and students’ responses in the form of high achievement and improved personal behavior. Students compare and contrast these films with the latest scholarly research investigating the factors and influences that correlate with successful schools and students and review and critique key educational and psychological theories of education. Written assignments, participation in classroom discussions, and small groups oral classroom reporting help students develop written and oral communication skills. Note:US 220 can count toward the Psychology major and minor.

240 Look Who’s Talking: Early Languages in Toddlers, Monkeys, Bilingual and Hearing Impaired Children (4 credits) An interdisciplinary study of the development of early language in toddlers, feral children, monkeys, bilingual, and hearing impaired youngsters. Early language is seen as a neurological and developmental sequence and as a cultural phenomenon. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or above. Note: US 240 can count toward the Psychology major and minor.

247 Montessori: Her World, Work & Wisdom (4 credits) This University Seminar focuses on the life and work of Maria Montessori in order to make connections among the fields of education, psychology, sociology, and history. Exploring the development and application of Montessori’s educational ideas, students integrate the history and social movements of late 19th and early 20th century Italy and the United States, emphasizing changes in educational philosophy and practice. Students compare and contrast her theories with the psychological theories of Freud, Erikson, Piaget, and Vygotsky. And the course includes empirical evidence investigating basic Montessori practice and the incorporation of Montessori’s concepts into contemporary education and parenting. Note: US 247 can count toward the Psychology major and minor.

Psychology Courses (PY)

111 Introduction to Psychology (4 credits; Fall, Spring) An introduction to the science of psychology. Presents major psychological concepts, theories, research methods, findings, and applications. Covers basic statistics, behavioral neuroscience, sensation and perception, learning, memory, cognition, human development, motivation, emotion, social psychology, personality, psychological disorders, therapy, and stress and coping. Includes all topics normally covered in a course in educational psychology. Fulfills the requirements of both elementary psychology and educational psychology for students preparing to teach.

142 Research Methods (4 credits; Fall, Spring) This course introduces students to a range of research techniques used in psychology. Topics include observational and experimental research design, sampling, assignment to groups, assessment, the logic of causation, and data analysis. Prerequisite: MA 141. To be taken prior to or concurrently with PY 222. Under some circumstances, PY142 may be taken concurrently with MA 141.

153 Social Psychology (4 credits, day; Fall, Spring) (3 credits, evening; Fall, Spring) Study of the effect of the social situation on the individual: social interaction, conformity, group processes, attitude, attitude change, stereotyping, prejudice, aggression and environmental psychology. Includes class discussions, readings and research projects. Prerequisite: An introductory course in one of the social sciences; or permission of the instructor. Open to Psychology minors and Sport Psychology majors; not open to Psychology majors.

202 Cross-Cultural Psychology (4 credits; Fall; Online Course) Survey course examines how culture influences behavior, evaluates current psychological theories and literature with regards to understanding human behavior from different global cultural regions and ethnic backgrounds, and introduces research methodology and anthropological cases to fully appreciate human diversity in the world today. Prerequisite: PY 111 or equivalent.

203 Health Psychology (4 credits; Fall, Spring) An introduction to the basic principles, research findings, practical applications, and important issues in the field of health psychology. The course emphasizes the scientific basis of health psychology in empirical research and application to everyday life. Prerequisite: PY111 or equivalent.

205 Adult Psychopathology (4 credits; Fall, Spring) Survey of data and theory concerning assessment, classification, and treatment of psychological disorders in adults. Students will develop basic knowledge of the categories, symptoms, and treatments of selected disorders found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. They will become familiar with various theoretical interpretations and scientific data regarding the causes of abnormal behavior. They also will become aware of some of the ethical issues involved in diagnosing and treating mental disorders. Prerequisites: PY 111 or equivalent.

209 Developmental Psychology of the Black Child (4 credits, Spring) The developmental experience of the black child. Includes social and cultural factors uniquely affecting his or her development. Special attention to physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development. Prerequisite: PY 111 or equivalent.

212 Developmental Psychology (4 credits; Fall, Spring) Study of growth and behavior of children from infancy through adult. Includes individual and environmental factors affecting normal cognitive, emotional, physical and social development. Prerequisites: PY 111; or permission of the instructor.

215 Developmental Psychopathology (4 credits; Spring) Developmental Psychopathology focuses on disorders with childhood onset. Students will explore research and theory that provide current understanding of the characteristics of the disorders, risk factors, treatments and prognosis for those who are diagnosed with these challenging psychopathologies. Prerequisites: PY 111; completion of or concurrent enrollment in PY 212 or equivalent Education course.

221 Psychology as a Natural Science:Learning and Cognition (4 credits; Fall) Study of the facts, principles and theories associated with basic learning and cognitive phenomena, including human and animal learning, cognition, and memory. Offers practical experience in both classical and contemporary research methods. Includes lectures, laboratory exercises and an independent project. Three class hours and two laboratory hours weekly. Required of all Psychology majors and open to other qualified students. Prerequisites: PY 111 or equivalent; completion of or concurrent registration in MA 141.

222 Psychology as a Natural Science: Behavioral Neuroscience (4 credits; Spring) Study of the biological bases of behavior. Includes facts, principles, and theories associated with behavioral genetics, the neuron, and the brain. Offers practical experience in both classical and contemporary research methods. Includes lectures, laboratory exercises and an independent project. Three class hours and two laboratory hours weekly. Required of all Psychology majors and open to other qualified students. Prerequisites: PY 111 or equivalent, PY 221; MA141; completion of or concurrent registration in PY 142.

238 Adolescence (4 credits; Spring) Examination of psychological, emotional, cognitive, peer, familial and social institutional forces on American adolescents. Considers adolescent reactions to these forces as they try to develop coherent, meaningful lives. Emphasizes “the sense of self” and the transitional nature of adolescence. Also examines learning problems, separation from family, delinquency, drug abuse, sexual behavior, vocational choices and the development of values. Requires weekly field placement with an adolescent. Encourages use of own life material. Prerequisites: PY 111; or permission of the instructor.

261 Psychology of Work Behavior (4 credits; Fall) Study of the basis in social science research and theory for the practice of human resource administration. Includes selection and training, performance appraisal, motivation and morale, interpersonal and group processes in business and industry, causes and effects of work-related stress, workplace issues related to women and minority-group members. Lecture-discussion format. Prerequisites: PY111.

270 Forensic Psychology (4 credits; Fall) Survey of the diverse tasks faced by the legal system to which psychological knowledge or methods are applied. Review of research on human behavior related to the legal process and the professional practice of psychology where it interacts with the legal system. Prerequisite: PY 111 or SO 101.

280 Evolutionary Psychology (4 credits; Fall) This class introduces students to an evolutionary perspective on human behavior. Students learn about evolutionary perspectives on cognition, cooperation, language, development, disease, emotions, mating and more. This class incorporates both lecture and seminar discussion. For the seminar component, students read journal articles and are asked to critique the research methodology. Prerequisites: PY111 and PY142.

281 Psychology Journal Club: Learning and Memory (1 credit; Fall) In this seminar, students will read, present, and discuss classic and current research papers in the psychology of learning and memory. Class meetings will focus on critiquing primary source journal articles. Students will take turns leading the class discussion. Graded “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory” based on participation, which is mandatory. Prerequisite: Students must be concurrently enrolled in the associated core course, PY 221.

282 Psychology Journal Club: Behavioral Neuroscience (1 credit; Spring) In this seminar, students will read, present, and discuss classic and current research papers in behavioral neuroscience. Class meetings will focus on critiquing primary source journal articles. Students will take turns leading the class discussion. Graded “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory” based on participation, which is mandatory. Prerequisite: Students must be concurrently enrolled in the associated core course, PY 222.

283 Psychology Journal Club: Social Psychology (1 credit; Fall) In this seminar, students will read, present, and discuss classic and current research papers in social psychology. Class meetings will focus on critiquing primary source journal articles. Students will take turns leading the class discussion. Graded “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory” based on participation, which is mandatory. Prerequisite: Students must be concurrently enrolled in the associated core course, PY 331.

284 Psychology Journal Club: Personality Psychology (1 credit; Spring) In this seminar, students will read, present, and discuss classic and current research papers in personality psychology. Class meetings will focus on critiquing primary source journal articles. Students will take turns leading the class discussion. Graded “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory” based on participation, which is mandatory. Prerequisite: Students must be concurrently enrolled in the associated core course, PY 332.

285 Special Topics in Psychology (1, 2, 3 or 4 credits) The content, credit hours and prerequisites for this course vary depending on the nature of the topic covered. 331 Psychology as a Social Science: Social Psychology (4 credits; Fall) This course considers the influence of social situations on the individual. Topics include conformity, group behavior, attitudes, attitude change, prejudice, aggression, conflict resolution, close relationships and cultural influences on the self. Three class hours and two laboratory hours weekly. Required of all Psychology majors. Prerequisites: MA 141, PY 142, PY 221, 222.

332 Psychology as a Social Science: Personality Psychology (4 credits; Spring) This course presents an overview of the scientific study of individual differences and how people come to be similar or different. Topics include personality trait theory and factors that shape personal identity including genetics, brain function, cognition, motivation, and other factors. Three class hours and two laboratory hours weekly. Required of all Psychology majors. Prerequisites: MA 141, PY 142, PY 221, 222. PY 331.

340 History of Psychology (4 credits) This lecture course presents the historical context of psychology, most notably its origins in philosophy and physiology. The course discusses the lives and social-political context of major contributors to the development of psychology, intellectual schools of psychology, fields of psychology, theories of psychology, controversies in psychology, and the transition from theory to application. Prerequisite: PY111 389 Independent Study Independent research or field experience under the direction of faculty members. Prerequisite: Permission of the chair.

420 Clinical Psychopharmacology (4 credits; Summer, Online course; Offered alternate years) This course is intended to provide counseling students and other students in the mental health professions with a basic understanding of how psychiatric medications work in the brain and modify behavior. Students will learn about the relationship between DSM IV diagnoses and the choice of psychiatric medications that are prescribed by physicians. Finally, students will be trained to use reference material to evaluate key characteristics of psychiatric medications and evaluate the clinical efficacy of medications. Prerequisite: Senior status or students who have completed PY 205 and PY 221-222 with permission of the instructor.

422 Psychology of Women (4 credits; Spring) Examination of psychological and sociological theories that pertain to women. Topics include myths and stereotypes, the nature versus nurture controversy, the male/female dichotomy, research pertaining to intelligence, personality, motivation, achievement, mothering and a variety of other interesting issues. Prerequisites: Four courses in Psychology or equivalent social science; or permission of the instructor.

430 Seminar in Theories of Cognitive Behavior Therapy (3 credits; Summer) Introduction to theories, principles and techniques used in cognitive behavior therapy. Students will read and analyze empirical and theoretical research reports examining the application of various cognitive and behavioral treatments to psychopathology. Students will be required to act as discussion leaders on selected topics in the literature. Prerequisites: PY 221 and PY 222, or equivalent.

490, 491 Senior Course (4 credits each; 490 Fall, 491 Spring) Capstone course with three components: the seminar, independent research or internship, and a senior thesis. The seminar includes reading and discussion of original literature on selected topics in psychology. Requires periodic seminar presentations and oral reports on research or internship projects. Meets two hours weekly. Students interested in research and who have maintained a GPA of 3.0 in Psychology may pursue an independent research project under the guidance of a Psychology faculty member. Students interested in applications of psychology may pursue an internship. Such internships are served in the community or in the University in activities designed to meet career goals. Requires a minimum of eight hours per week. All students complete and present a senior thesis and poster based upon either their research or a question from the internship. Prerequisites: MA 141, PY 142, PY 221, 222, 331, 332. Under some circumstances PY 331, 332 may be taken concurrently. PY 490 is a prerequisite to PY 491.

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