Undergraduate Studies

Psychology Courses

All undergraduate courses except PSY 101 and PSY 111 offered by this department are cross-listed as CSP and PSY. Some courses in the department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences are also cross-listed as BCS and PSY. Click on the following links learn more about them.

Interested in taking courses during the Summer? Be sure to visit our informative page detailing our current roster of Summer courses!

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General Course Information

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An Introduction to Psychology course is a prerequisite for declaring the major and a requirement in the minors in psychology. A score of 4 or 5 on that examination will result in 4.0 semester hours of credit and waiving the requirement for PSY 101. To earn transfer credit, an introductory course must be taught as a college by regular college faculty. There is also a placement examination offered through the College Center for Academic Support. Any PSY 101 prerequisites or requirement is waived upon passing this exam.

Students taking psychology courses as part of a Psychology degree should register for those courses under PSY rather than CSP or BCS.

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The Introductory Course

PSY 101. Introduction to Psychology is a balanced and integrated survey of psychology with coverage of both social and natural science domains. Sections of PSY 101 vary, but most consist of lectures, readings, discussions, and demonstrations. One Fall section is limited to Freshmen only. (Fall and Spring)

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Core Courses

Core Courses in Psychology present surveys of their specific areas. They enter into the requirements for the major and the minors in psychology. The natural science psychology core courses are PSY 110, Neural Foundations of Behavior; PSY 112, Cognitive Psychology; PSY 113, Biopsychology of Social and Clinical Behaviors. The social science psychology core courses are PSY 161, Social Psychology and Individual Differences; PSY 171, Social and Emotional Development; and PSY 181, Theories of Personality and Psychotherapy. (See item 3, a, page 3, for information about core changes and course re-numbering.)

PSY 110. Neural Foundations of Behavior. Introduces the structure and organization of the brain, and its role in perception, movement, thinking, and other behavior. Topics include the brain as a special kind of computer, localization of function, effects of brain damage and disorders, differences between human and animal brains, sex differences, perception and control of movement, sleep, regulation of body states and emotions, and development and aging. No prerequisites. (Fall)

PSY 111 Foundations of Cognitive Science.  This course provides an introduction to basic concepts in modern cognitive science, adopting the perspective of modern cognitive psychology. The course is divided into three sections.  The first section introduces central cognitive processes, such as pattern recognition, attention and memory, and concepts and categories. The second section focuses on natural language, using language comprehension and language production as a domain for introducing more detailed models of cognitive processes. The third section examines higher-level thinking, focusing on reasoning and decision-making. No prerequisites. (Fall and Spring)

PSY 161. Social Psychology and Individual Differences. An introduction to the field of social psychology and an overview of research on individual differences in personality. Topics include the self, attitudes, social cognition, emotion, interpersonal attraction, relationships, helping, social influence, group behavior, and dispositional differences among people. Students will complete several individual difference measures and receive individualized feedback at the end of the course. Format is lectures augmented with discussions and demonstrations. (Spring)

PSY 171. Social and Emotional Development. An examination of the interpersonal, emotional, cognitive, and environmental factors that influence children's social and emotional development from early infancy through late adolescence. (Fall)

PSY 181. Theories of Personality and Psychotherapy. A survey of personality, emphasizing modern theoretical approaches, basic methods of investigation, and the relations of these theories to psychotherapy and behavioral change. (Fall)

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Special Courses, Including Honors Courses

PSY 309. Honors Seminar. A survey of the range of research conducted by department faculty. Involves planning for engaging in thesis research and the consideration of research design and presentation issues. (Spring)

PSY 310-311. Honors Research I & II. Development and conduct of research leading to the Honors Thesis. (Fall, Spring)

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Lecture Courses

PSY 151. Perception and Action. Explores how the biology of our senses shapes perceptual experiences of reality. Emphasizes sense of sight primarily and hearing secondarily. An important theme is that our sensory systems play a crucial role in the execution of coordinated movements of our bodies, as we navigate in, and interact with, the environment. Prerequisites: PSY 110, or BCS 111, or PSY 112, or equivalent background. (Fall)

PSY 153. Cognition. Considers human cognitive processes, including behavioral and computational methods used to understand the nature of cognition. Explores how concepts and categories are formed, how information is encoded, stored and retrieved, how people reason and solve problems, and considers the mechanisms underlying the acquisition, production and comprehension of language. Prerequisites: PSY 110, or BCS 111, or PSY 112, or equivalent background. (Spring)

PSY 172. Development of Mind and Brain. Introduces human development, focusing on the ability to perceive objects and sounds, to think and reason, and to learn and remember language and other significant patterned stimulation. Includes the nature and mechanisms of development in humans and an overview of what is known about brain and behavioral development in other species. No prerequisites. (Spring)

PSY 209. Psychology of Human Sexuality. Survey course on understanding sexuality. Includes such topics as biological sexual differentiation, gender role, gender-linked social behaviors, reproduction issues, intimacy, and the role of social and personal factors in psychosexual development. (Spring)

PSY 221. Auditory Perception. This course considers how we comprehend the auditory environment. Topics include the physical stimulus for hearing, the physiology of the auditory system  (both at the periphery and in the central nervous system), the psychophysics of basic auditory perception (e.g., hearing thresholds),  higher level auditory perception (including auditory scene analysis and the perception of complex auditory events such as speech and music), and hearing disorders. Considers research from a diverse range of perspectives including behavioral research, cognitive neuroscience, studies of individual differences, and research that adopts a comparative perspective. (Spring)

PSY 242. Neuropsychology. Examines clinical neuropsychology, which bridges neurology, neuroscience, and clinical psychology. Covers history of clinical neuropsychology, principles of neuropsychological assessment and the interpretation of cognition and behavior as they relate to brain dysfunction. Considers specific neurological syndromes including: neurodegenerative, cerebrovascular, toxic and memory disorders; epilepsy; head trauma; toxic disorders; infectious processes; pediatric neuropsychology; psychiatric syndromes; and forensic neuropsychology. Patient presentations (videotape and in-person interviews) supplement lectures. Prerequisite: PSY 110 or equivalent background (Fall)

PSY 246. Biology of Mental Disorders. Remarkable changes have taken place over the past decades in the approach to and understanding of disorders generally termed "psychiatric disorders" or "mental disorders". Even in the mid-twentieth century, such disorders were viewed in social and psychological terms and there was virtually no effective medications to treat these disorders. Today, there is an increasing appreciation of the biological basis of mental disorders, and patients with these disorders benefit from a wide availability of medical treatments. The working concept of this course is that disorders that arise from malfunctioning brain cells are neurobiologic disorders.

The first part of the course will overview basic neurobiology. In the remainder of the course, basic concepts of neurobiology will be presented coincidentally with clinical presentations and a discussion of the clinical management of various disorders: major psychoses, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, addictive disorders, neurodegenerative disorders, and childhood onset disorders.

The understanding of the pathology of these disorders is undergoing rapid change. Therefore, while a text is used, it must be considered a progress report and text readings will be supplemented with readings from the primary literature. BCS 110 is a minimum prerequisite for this course. (Spring)

PSY 259. Language Development. Introduces children's language development, including the acquisition of phonology, syntax, and semantics. Focuses on the acquisition of a first language by young children, comparing the acquisition of a variety of spoken and signed languages to find possible universal principles of language learning. Prerequisites: One of the following: PSY 101, PSY 110, BCS 111 PSY 112, PSY 172, LIN 110, or equivalent background. (Spring)

PSY 262. Human Motivation and Emotion. This course provides a review of the theoretical and empirical development of a contemporary approach to human motivation, namely, Self-Determination Theory, which originated at the University of Rochester and is currently researched by scholars around the world. Topics will also include applications of Self-Determination Theory to such domains as psychopathology and psychological health, work, education, sport, and culture. (Spring)

PSY 264. Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Applications of psychological theory and research to work settings. Topics include personnel selection, training and appraisal; organizational structure and transformation; performance in work groups; motivation and satisfaction; leadership; work conditions; and cross-cultural issues. (Fall)

PSY 267. Psychology of Gender. Exploration of the ways males and females differ in interaction, theories of development of sex differences, consequences for social change. (Fall)

PSY 278. Adolescent Development. This course surveys theory and research relating to normal development during adolescence. Adolescent development is examined in a variety of contexts, including families, peer groups, and schools, and issues pertaining to biological, social, and cognitive development are discussed. (Spring)

PSY 280. Clinical Psychology. An introduction to the field of clinical psychology. Students are exposed to prevalent theoretical and research models, as well as approaches and research findings to assessment and diagnosis, and treatment modalities. Prerequisites: PSY 101, PSY 282 or PSY 289. (Spring)

PSY 282. Abnormal Psychology. Etiological factors, clinical descriptions, and treatment of personality aberrations, emphasizing the more serious forms of mental disorder. (Spring)

PSY 283. Behavioral Medicine. An overview of the application of behavior/lifestyle change approaches to the treatment of medical disorders, and the examination of interfaces between behavior and physiology. Topics include diabetes, cardiovascular risk factors, chronic pain, and cancer. (Spring)

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Research Methodology and Laboratory or Practicum Courses

PSY 205. Laboratory in Development and Learning. Introduces behavioral methods used to study the development of perception, cognition, and language, and computational and neuroscientific methods used to study mechanisms of development, learning, and experiential change. Emphasizes methods for testing human infants and children. Includes observation of these experimental methods as well as opportunities for individual projects. Prerequisites: PSY 200 and one of the BCS core courses (PSY 150, PSY 151, PSY 153) or PSY 172, or equivalent background. (Spring)

PSY 211. Introduction to Statistical Methods in Psychology. Introduction to the use of statistics in psychological research. Topics include descriptive statistics, correlation and regression, and inferential statistics. Examples are drawn from social and personality psychology. Logic of statistical inference and proper interpretation of research findings are emphasized. (Fall & Spring)

PSY 219W. Research Methods in Psychology. Hands-on introduction to the process of conducting research in personality and social psychology. Topics include measurement techniques, correlational methods and experimental design, data analysis, and ethical issues. Laboratory reports emphasize proper interpretation and presentation of research findings. Fulfills upper level writing requirement. Prerequisite: introductory statistics. (Fall)

PSY 373 & 374. Exploring Research in Social Psychology. First-hand team experience with ongoing research in social psychology areas. May be repeated. (Fall & Spring)

PSY 384. Practicum in Developmental Disabilities. Explores educational, therapeutic, and social challenges in developmental disabilities. Students will spend approximately 8 hours per week in a supervised educational or treatment setting as well as participate in weekly meetings to review and discuss general issues in the field.(Fall, spring)

PSY 390. Supervised Teaching in Psychology. Teaching of topics in psychology within a regular course under an instructor's supervision.(Fall, Spring)

PSY 391. Independent Studies in Psychology. Supervised research on topics in psychology. May be repeated. An Independent Studies Fair is held at the beginning of each semester to facilitate linkages between students and researchers.(Fall, Spring)

PSY 392. Practicum in Psychology. Supervised reading and experience in an applied setting. Essential supervision by a University instructor only. (Fall, Spring)

PSY 394. Internship in Psychology. Experience in an applied setting supervised on site. Approved and overseen by a University instructor. Limit: two internships in program. (Fall, Spring)

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Seminar Courses

Prerequisites typically include prior course work in the sub area or permission of the instructor.

PSY 301W. Teaching Psychology. In-depth consideration of topics in psychology and their communication. PSY 101 is a lab for this course. Permission of instructor is required. (Fall)

PSY 364. Achievement and Motivation. Seminar on achievement motivation, including achievement motives (e.g., fear of failure), achievement goals, and the strategies individuals use in achievement settings. (Fall)

PSY 368W. Seminar in Humanistic Psychology. Humanistic psychology theory and its application to one's life experiences. Requires active participation. (Fall)

PSY 376. Seminar in Self-Determination. Deals with the field of human motivation with particular emphasis on intrinsic motivation and the meaning of self-determination in human functioning. A theoretically oriented course that reviews a range of research projects.

PSY 380. Theoretical Perspectives on Psychotherapy. This course will focus on foundational perspectives concerning human behavior change, including psychoanalytic, humanistic, behavioral and social-cognitive approaches. Theoretical and practical issues concerning processes of motivation and behavior change in the contexts of child development, psychotherapy, medicine and other applied fields will be addressed.

PSY 383. Moral Development. This seminar focuses on the psychological study of moral development. Different theoretical approaches to morality and related empirical research will be discussed. The primary focus is from a developmental psychology perspective, but philosophical and educational issues also will be considered. (Fall)

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