2014–2015 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 270 Thinking and Writing for Psychology (2)
In this course, students will hone the foundational skills of argument-based thinking, scientific writing, and proper use of citation in APA style.  These skills support students’ preparation and serve as a prerequisite for most upper division work in the major.  Prerequisite:  PSYC 105; sophomore standing
       
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. Prerequisites: PSYC 105, 203, and 270, 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: PSYC 105 and 203,or consent of instructor.  PSYC 270 is a prerequisite for students who begin at Westminster Fall 2014 or later.
       
PSYC 306 Behavioral Neuroscience 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, or consent of instructor. PSYC 270 is a prerequisite for students who begin at Westminster Fall 2014 or later.
       
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, 252, or consent of instructor. PSYC 270 is a prerequisite for students who begin at Westminster Fall 2014 or later.

       
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: PSYC 105, 252, or consent of instructor. PSYC 270 is a prerequisite for students who begin at Westminster Fall 2014 or later. 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. Prerequisites: PSYC 105 and MATH 150 or 240, or consent of instructor. PSYC 270 is a prerequisite for students who begin at Westminster Fall 2014 or later.
       
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: PSYC 105, 203,  or consent of instructor. PSYC 270 is a prerequisite for students who begin at Westminster Fall 2014 or later.
       
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. PSYC 105, PSYC 216 or JUST 216,  or consent of instructor. PSYC 270 is a prerequisite for students who begin at Westminster Fall 2014 or later.
       
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 216 or JUST 216, or consent of instructor. PSYC 270 is a prerequisite for students who begin at Westminster Fall 2014 or later.
       
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: PSYC 105 or SOC 105, PSYC 203 or PSYC 216 or JUST 216, or consent of instructor. PSYC 270 is a prerequisite for students who begin at Westminster Fall 2014 or later.
       
PSYC 340 Psychology Field Experience (1–8)

This course offers students the opportunity to integrate classroom knowledge with practical experience.  An average of three hours of work for the organization per week are required per each credit hour. 

Prerequisites:  sophomore standing (for transfer students, at least 15 hours completed at Westminster or permission of instructor), minimum 2.5 GPA, completion of the Career Resource Center Internship Workshop, and consent of program director and Career Internship Coordinator. 
       
PSYC 356 Sources of Social Influence (4)
This course will examine the many sources of social influence. These include, but are not limited to the media, politics, persuasion, compliance, obedience, conformity, and culture. We will also take an in-depth look into some of the early social psychological studies that examined social influence. These include the Milgram obedience studies, the Stanford Prison study, and the Robber's Cave study. Students will participate in field experiences that will explore sources of social influence in our own society. Prerequisites:  PSYC 105, PSYC 216 or JUST 216, or consent of instructor. PSYC 270 is a prerequisite for students who begin at Westminster Fall 2014 or later.
       
PSYC 362 Abnormal Psychology (4)
This course will provide an overview of psychological disorders, including diagnosis, etiology, typical treatment approaches. Drawing from clinical research in mental health, students will discuss the relative treatment efficacy of various intervention strategies. Students will explore the cultural and societal contexts of psychopathology. PSYC 270 is a prerequisite for students who begin at Westminster Fall 2014 or later.
       
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, PSYC 252, and PSYC 270 or consent of instructor.  PSYC 270 is a prerequisite for students who begin at Westminster Fall 2014 or later.
       
PSYC 370 Career Exploration (2)
Students will engage in a process of self-assessment followed by informed exploration of multiple career options for which a psychology major forms a good foundation.  Coursework includes skills and practice in writing cover letters and resumes for career-oriented jobs and statements of purpose for graduate programs. Prerequisites:  PSYC 105 and sophomore standing
       
PSYC 380 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 388 Environmental Psychology (4)
In this course, students will explore theory and research on select topics pertaining to human-environment interactions from a psychological perspective.  Through assigned readings, discussions, experiential activities, group projects, occasional lectures, and multi-media presentations students will learn about how people are influenced by and shape their physical surroundings, both in natural and built environments.  Students will gain a broad exposure to classic and contemporary topics environmental psychologists study, including: how individuals think about and navigate physical spaces, how urban design and architecture influences behavior, why some individuals are more environmentally proactive than others, whether time spent in natural settings has restorative benefits for health and well-being, and how personal space, territoriality, crowding, and privacy concerns affect how we interact with other people in everyday situations. Prerequisites:  PSYC 105, PSYC 216 or JUST 216, and PSYC 270 or consent of instructor.
       
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. Prerequisites: PSYC 105, MATH 150 or MATH 240. PSYC 270 is a prerequisite for students who begin at Westminster Fall 2014 or later.
       
PSYC 402 Behavioral Endocrinology (4)
This course explores the role of hormones in complex behaviors.  Topics covered include biological contributions to reproductive, parenting, aggressive, and stress related behaviors in both animals and humans.   Prerequisite:  NEUR 390 or PSYC 390 or consent of instructor
       
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 270 and PSYC 390 are prerequisites for students who begin at Westminster Fall 2014 or later.
       
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 270 and PSYC 390 are prerequisites for students who begin at Westminster Fall 2014 or later.
       
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 270 is a prerequisite for students who begin at Westminster Fall 2014 or later.
       
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 270 and PSYC 390 are prerequisites for students who begin at Westminster Fall 2014 or later.
       
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: PSYC 105 or SOC 105, PSYC 216 or JUST 216 or consent of instructor. PSYC 270 and PSYC 390 are prerequisites for students who begin at Westminster Fall 2014 or later.
       
PSYC 430 Independent Research Thesis (2-4)
Students undertake a portion of a research project and learn aspects of scientific inquiry appropriate to the field of psychology.  Students write sections of an APA-style research paper appropriate to the scope of the project conducted.  Prior planning with and permission of a faculty mentor is required.  Prerequisites:  PSYC 390; senior standing, a declared major in psychology, and consent of instructor
       
PSYC 431 Community Placement Thesis (2-4)
Students develop a thesis topic through experience volunteering in the field.  The placement experience culminates in an APA-style theoretical paper that includes an extensive literature review and analysis of thesis statement based on literature and field experience.  Requires prior planning with and permission of a faculty mentor. Prerequisites:  PSYC 390; senior standing; a declared major in psychology, and consent of instructor
       
PSYC 440 Psychology Field Experience (1–8)

This course offers students the opportunity to integrate classroom knowledge with practical experience.  An average of three hours of work for the organization per week are required per each credit hour. 

Prerequisites:  sophomore standing (for transfer students, at least 15 hours completed at Westminster or permission of instructor), minimum 2.5 GPA, completion of the Career Resource Center Internship Workshop, and consent of program director and Career Internship Coordinator.