2013–2014 Psychology Courses


PSYC 105 Introduction to Psychology, LE (4)
Introductory course to acquaint students with the scientific study of mind and behavior. A broad survey of historical developments and current dimensions of the field.
PSYC 200/300 Special Topics in Psychology (1–4)
A special topics course highlighting specific areas or themes in psychology. Recent topics have included Family Violence, Parenting, American Families and Divorce, Seminar in Child Development, Behavioral Pharmacology, Topics on Aging, Childhood Psychopathology, the Physiological Basis of Mental Illness, Psychology and Literature, and Death and Dying. Prerequisites may vary with course content.
PSYC 203 Life Span Developmental Psychology (3)
The psychological study of human development from conception to death. Current theories, research, and social issues relevant to development are addressed.
PSYC 205 Introduction to Brain and Behavior (4)
This class will serve as an introductory course for students interested in the biological bases of human behavior. Topics will include an overview of central nervous system structure, function, and development, and will also include an introduction to emotional and cognitive processing in the brain. This course serves as a prerequisite for PSYC 406 and PSYC 408. In addition, the course may be used to fulfill the distribution requirement in the Brain and Behavior concentration.
PSYC 209 Cognitive Psychology and Lab (4)
Examines the branch of psychology that studies how people perceive, remember, think, speak, and solve problems. Cognitive psychology utilizes experimental methodology to better understand the components of complex cognitive behaviors. The lab portion of the class will utilize computerized simulations and experiments to recreate classic experiments in cognitive psychology and to illustrate key concepts. This course serves as a prerequisite for Psych 408, and may be used to fulfill distribution requirements in the Brain and Behavior concentration. Note: Neuroscience majors must take this course as a Part II elective if they wish to take PSYC 408, Cognitive Neuroscience. Prerequisite: PSYC 105.
PSYC 216 Social Psychology (4)
An investigation of how people interact with and think about others. Areas of focus include research methodology, person perception, attitudes, prejudice, interpersonal attraction, aggression, and group behavior. Prerequisite: PSYC 105.
PSYC 252 Personality Theories (4)
Exploration of the biological, psychological, cultural, and social factors affecting personality, including a survey of the major schools of thought of personality and personality development . Prerequisite: PSYC 105 or consent of instructor.
PSYC 301 Child Development (4)
Physical, psychosocial, and cognitive development of the individual from birth through 12 years of age. Course includes discussion of current research in child development and an integration of course content with field experience at schools and/or community agencies that serve children. Prerequisite: (Pre 2011 – PSYC 105) PSYC 105, 203 or consent of instructor.
PSYC 305 Adolescent Development (4)
Physical, psychosocial, and cognitive development of the individual from puberty to adulthood. Common adolescent problems are considered from research and clinical perspectives. Course includes discussion of current research in adolescent development and an integration of course content with field experience at community agencies that serve adolescents. Required for secondary education majors. Prerequisite: (Pre 2011 – PSYC 105) PSYC 105, 203 or consent of instructor.PSYC 105.
PSYC 306 Physiological Psychology and Lab (4)
An upper division course in the psychobiology of behavior. Course emphasizes neural pathways, structure and function of sensation, perception and movement, hormones and homeostasis, sleep, and other behaviors present in both animals and humans. Lab will consist of demonstrations and field trips to learn more about fundamental methodologies in physiological psychology. Students may be required to travel off campus periodically for lab. Prerequisites: PSYC 105, 205.
PSYC 307 Child Abuse and Neglect (2)
This course covers the etiology, incidence, effects, treatment, and prevention of child abuse and neglect. Drawing from current research, theory, practice and available community resources, students will learn about the legal, sociological, and psychological perspectives of child maltreatment. Prerequisite: PSYC 105.
PSYC 308 Childhood Psychopathology (4)
This course examines the common psychological problems and disorders that occur in childhood and adolescence. Theoretical models, research findings, and typical treatment approaches for these problems will be presented. Prerequisite: (Pre 2011 - PSYC 105, 301) PSYC 105, 252, or consent of instructor. PSYC 301 is strongly recommended.
PSYC 310 Measuring Human Traits and Behavior (4)
Many variables of interest in psychology, such as mood, personality, and cognitive abilities, are intangible and cannot be measured the way physical items can be weighed on a scale. This course addresses how researchers and practitioners approach assessing the degree to which individuals possess these attributes, including principles of consistency and meaning. Focuses on concepts of measurement and the development of psychological tests and other forms of assessment. Students are introduced to intellectual, career interest, achievement, and personality tests. Students also learn to define a test, select a scaling method, construct and revise test items, and examine essential issues in test administration. Prerequisites: PSYC 105; MATH 150 or MATH 240.
PSYC 314 Adult Development and Human Relationships (4)
Who is old? What psychological processes change after an individual reaches her biological maturation, and which do not? This course focuses on changes and continuities in psychological development after adolescence. We will consider both theory and research concerning adult development and aging in the physical, cognitive, and socioemotional domains. We will also evaluate what it means to age unsuccessfully as well as how individuals may age successfully, from psychological perspectives. Thus, we will consider outcomes ranging from optimal aging, to average or usual aging, to diseased aging. There will be a strong emphasis on the ways in which close relationship processes interact with other biological and psychological factors to influence the process and experience of aging. Prerequisites: (Pre 2011 – PSYC 105) PSYC 105, 203 or consent of instructor.
PSYC 318 Health Psychology (4)
This course will serve as a general introduction to health psychology. The main goals of the course are (a) to provide an overview of substantive areas of basic research in health psychology, (b) to examine specific contributions of health psychology to understanding acute and chronic diseases, and (c) to illustrate how principles of health psychology may be applied to everyday life. We will become familiar with the biopsychosocial model of health, and begin thinking about health and illness from multiple perspectives, including that of the patient, the caregiver, the health professional, and of course, the scientist/researcher. We will learn not only the psychological approaches to studying health, but also the psychological aspects of being ill, caring for the ill, and the psychological dimensions of health promotion and self-care. (Pre 2011 – PSYC 105) PSYC 105, 216 or consent of instructor.
PSYC 325 Multicultural Psychology (4)
A general introduction to multicultural psychology. The main goals of the course are to help students (a) gain a greater self-awareness of their own cultural heritage, (b) identify personal cultural attitudes, values, and beliefs about diverse populations, (c) become knowledgeable about people who make up U.S. society and the global society, and (d) be aware of hidden biases and discriminations prevalent in the current society. We will become familiar with dimensions of culture, dimensions of worldview, cultural identity development models, and sociopolitical issues of psychology. We will learn not only the issues of individual psychology among diverse populations, but also the social psychological aspects related to the cross-cultural encounter in the society. Prerequisite: PSYC 105.
PSYC 330 Interpersonal Communication Skills, LE (3)
An experiential group learning situation leading to increased understanding of interpersonal communication skills such as self-disclosure, listening, conflict resolution, and assertiveness. The interactive focus allows students to understand the effects and meaning of their interpersonal styles.
PSYC 335 Psychology of Women (4)
An overview of major theories of women’s development, applications of feminist theory, gender-related research and women’s health issues across the life span. Psychological issues important to women during childhood, adolescence, adulthood and old age are discussed, such as gender role acquisition, pay inequities in the work force, adjustment to menopause and violence against women. Focus is given to research on women in relation to diverse socioeconomic classes, ethnic backgrounds and cultures. Prerequisite: (Pre 2011 - PSYC 105 or SOC 105) PSYC 105 or SOC 105, PSYC 216 or consent of instructor.
PSYC 362 Abnormal Psychology (4)
Eclectic introduction to abnormal human behavior; source materials from psychology, sociology, and biology. Prerequisite: PSYC 105.
PSYC 363 Exploring Addictions (3)
This course provides students with the opportunity to explore the many issues related to the process of addiction. The course will focus on etiological, assessment, treatment, and legal issues with regard to drug use. Students will also have the opportunity to learn about community resources and fellowship meetings. Prerequisite: PSYC 105 and 252.
PSYC 390 Quantitative Research Methods (4)
A survey of the scientific methods of data collection as a means of approaching problems in anthropology, political science, psychology, and sociology. Laboratory exercises illustrating the various methods are required. For psychology majors, this course must be completed by the end of the junior year or graduation will be delayed. Prerequisites: PSYC 105, MATH 150 or MATH 240.
PSYC 401 Directed Studies (1–4)
A tutorial-based course used only for student-initiated proposals for intensive individual study of topics not otherwise offered in the Psychology Program. Prerequisite: consent of instructor and school dean.
PSYC 404 Pediatric Psychology (4)
A specialized area of clinical child psychology that deals with health, wellness, and adaptation to illness among children and adolescents. This course explores the relationship between mind and body in children. We study several different disease processes in detail and examine factors that promote psychological adjustment to illness and analyze interventions that support well-being. This is a seminar style course designed for upper level students. Prerequisites: (Pre 2011 – PSYC 105, 301; 308 & 390 are recommended) PSYC 105, 252, or consent of instructor. PSYC 301 is recommended.
PSYC 405 Methods of Counseling (4)
Applications of counseling approaches are explored. Emphasis is placed on critical analysis of the variables that contribute to effective or ineffective counseling. Opportunity is provided to practice and refine counseling skills. Course is well suited for students interested in pursuing a counseling related profession. Prerequisites: PSYC 105, 252, 362, junior or senior status, or consent of instructor.
PSYC 408 Cognitive Neuroscience and Lab (4)
Cognitive neuroscience, as a field, seeks to discover how the brain enables the mind and embraces methods and knowledge from such fields as physiological psychology, neuropsychology, neuroscience and cognitive psychology, along with multiple techniques of neuroimaging, to attempt an understanding of human brain processes. Brain activity involved in such higher level processes as language, memory, and executive functions is explored via a review of current literature. Students will participate in (and design) experiments appropriate for use with the methods of cognitive neuroscience. In addition, students will gain experience using EEG equipment to study brain function. Prerequisite: PSYC 105, 205, 209, 390; MATH 150 or MATH 240.
PSYC 415 History and Systems of Psychology (4)
The influence of great individuals and societal change on the evolution of psychology. A survey of how psychology grew from its ancient roots into a modern science. Especially useful for seniors or students considering graduate training. Prerequisites: PSYC 105, junior or senior standing, or consent of instructor. This course is recommended to students who may pursue graduate studies in psychology.
PSYC 420 Community Psychology (4)
Community Psychology is concerned with understanding how society affects individual and community functioning, with a focus on the strengths (as compared to the “deficits”) of people living in adverse situations. We will explore (1) key values of Community Psychology (e.g. empowerment, prevention, inclusion), (2) tools for action (e.g. community organizing, policy development, community research), and (3) addressing inequities that result from racism, sexism, heterosexism, classism, and ableism. This class may be useful for those interested in careers in social psychology, social work, public policy development, child advocacy, among others. Prerequisite: (Pre 2011-PSYC 105 or SOC 105). PSYC 105 or SOC 105, PSYC 216 or consent of instructor.
PSYC 440 Internship (1–8)
Offers students the opportunity to integrate classroom knowledge with practical experience. Prerequisites: junior or senior standing (for transfer students, at least 15 hours completed at Westminster or permission of instructor), minimum 2.5 GPA, and consent of program director and Career Center internship coordinator.
PSYC 470 Senior Capstone I, II (2–2)
The Senior Capstone experience is a 2-semester small seminar class in which students solidify knowledge in the field of psychology, develop a theoretical paper and research proposal within a theme selected by the seminar instructor, and explore the ways in which a psychology degree creates a foundation for future careers. Individual research projects and community placement options for the capstone require prior planning with a faculty member and an application to the department. Prerequisites: PSYC 390; senior standing; a declared major in psychology; and interest form submitted to the department chair one month prior to registration.