Psychology

The unifying theme and goal of psychology is the understanding of individual human behavior in the context of our social, cultural and physical environment. Thus, the subject matter of psychology is central to the goals of a liberal arts education.

With its historical roots in philosophy and physiology, psychology continues to be an inherently interdisciplinary field. Psychology includes the study of brain-behavior relationships and adheres to the scientific method in its emphasis on empirical research; thus, in both content and methodology, psychology is viewed as one of the natural sciences. Psychologists explore fundamental questions concerning human motivation and values and, in so doing, also have strong ties with the humanities. As social scientists, our investigations include but are not limited to the laboratory study of humans and other animals; systematic study of human behavior and interaction often occurs in the community, workplace and clinical settings.

Our curriculum includes courses that provide grounding in the basic theoretical approaches and research methodology of psychology as well as a variety of courses and seminars designed to meet more focused interests, especially in areas of applied psychology. Often cited as the most distinctive strength of our department is the "real life laboratory" available to students who wish to complete field research, gain practical experience and engage in internship programs at the Oregon State Hospital, Services for Children and Families, Hillcrest Youth Correctional Facility and many other human service agencies located in Salem. Comparable practicum and internship programs typically are available only at the graduate level of study.

The majority of psychology majors ultimately pursue advanced degrees in psychology or in professional schools (e.g., business, education, law, medicine, social work, and theology). Some graduates choose to work in entry-level positions in psychology and other human service fields before applying to graduate programs. Students who have successfully completed internships clearly improve their prospects for being hired in such positions. Students who have, in addition, gained experience in conducting research, either in conjunction with an internship or by writing a data-based thesis, have a considerable advantage when applying for Ph.D. programs in psychology.

Students interested in pursuing a major or minor in Psychology must complete PSYC 210, Introduction to Psychology, as their entry level course.

Requirements for the Psychology Major (44 semester hours)

Required courses for Psychology (24 semester hours)

  • PSYC 210 Introduction to Psychology (4)
  • PSYC 252W Research Methods and Analysis I (4)
  • PSYC 253 Research Methods and Analysis II (4)
  • PSYC 310 Professional and Career Planning in Psychology I (2)
  • PSYC 410 Professional and Career Planning in Psychology II (2)
  • PSYC 431W Topical Seminar in Psychology (4)
  • PSYC 497 Senior Research Internship in Psychology (4) or
  • PSYC 498 Senior Field Internship in Psychology (4)

Two courses in Category A (8 semester hours)

  • PSYC 330 Developmental Psychology: Lifespan (4)
  • PSYC 331 Developmental Psychology: Adolescence (4)
  • PSYC 332 Personality Psychology (4)
  • PSYC 335 Adult Psychopathology (4)
  • PSYC 336 Social Psychology (4)
  • PSYC 337 Diagnosis of "Abnormal" Child and Adolescent Behavior (4)
  • PSYC 370A Topics in Psychology (4)
  • PSYC 370D Topics in Psychology (4)

Two courses in Category B (8 semester hours)

Any 300-level Psychology course can be taken as electives but are not required

One Natural Sciences course outside of Psychology (4 semester hours)

 

Requirements for the Psychology Minor (20 semester hours)

  • PSYC 210 Introduction to Psychology (4)
  • PSYC 252W Research Methods and Analysis I (4)*
  • Three Psychology prefix courses selected in consultation with a faculty advisor in the Department of Psychology (12 semester hours) OR Four Psychology prefix electives if Methods course has been taken outside of Psychology (16 semester hours)

*PSYC 252W requirement will be waived if student has taken equivalent methods course in major discipline (for example: EXHS 256W, IDS 138, MATH 138)

Indicators of Achievement

The Psychology Department has identified the following four student learning outcomes and corresponding measures

  1. Knowledge Base of Psychology
    • Students will demonstrate knowledge of the major concepts, theoretical perspectives, empirical findings, and historical trends in Psychology. Measure used to assess whether goal is met: Psychology Major Field Test (MFT).
  2. Research Methods in Psychology
    • Students will understand and apply basic research methods in Psychology; they will demonstrate knowledge in research design and application, research ethics and the IRB process, data analysis, and data interpretation. Measure used to assess whether goal is met: Senior Seminar Paper.
  3. Critical Thinking Skills in Psychology
    • Students will demonstrate critical thinking skills, will explore underlying value assumptions, and will apply the scientific approach to analyze problems related to behavior and mental processes. Measures used to assess whether goal is met: Senior Seminar Paper; Psychology as Science (PAS) scale.
  4. Application of Psychology
    • Students will demonstrate skills in the ethical application of Psychology by successfully completing one of two possible senior level internships:
    • (a) a research internship in which students conduct original research under the direction of a faculty mentor or
    • (b) a field internship in which students work at a community agency or organization which engages in applied psychological work. Measures used to assess whether goal is met: Internship Supervisor Evaluation Form ; Internship Experiential Paper.

Faculty


Course Listings

PSYC 199 Topics in Psychology (1-4)

A semester-long study of topics in Psychology. Topics and emphases will vary according to the instructor. This course may be repeated for credit with different topics. See the New and Topics Courses page on the Registrar’s webpage for descriptions and applicability to majors/minors in other departments.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Topic dependent
  • Prerequisite: Topic dependent
  • Offering: Occasionally
  • Professor: Staff

PSYC 210 Introduction to Psychology (4)

Systematic exploration of traditional fields of psychology, including biopsychology, sensation and perception, cognitive, learning, developmental, social, personality, and clinical areas. Special attention will be given to the nature of evidence and its interpretation in behavioral science, as well as to ethical considerations and controversies arising in connection with the conduct and application of psychological research.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Natural Sciences, Social Sciences
  • Offering: Every semester
  • Instructor: Staff

PSYC 252W Research Methods and Analysis I (4)

An examination of the scientific method as applied to psychological research. This course will address issues in theory testing, measurement, experimental and correlational designs and research ethics. The course will also cover descriptive statistics and exploratory data analysis, including graphical and computer-based statistical analysis. Extensive laboratory and writing experience required, with coverage of library search methods and APA style.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing-centered; Natural Sciences
  • Prerequisite: PSYC 210; course is restricted to Psychology majors and minors
  • Offering: Every semester
  • Instructor: Staff

PSYC 253 Research Methods and Analysis II (4)

This course is a continuation of PSYC 252W. The course will cover basic and intermediate topics in inferential statistics, including coverage of correlation/regression analysis, ANOVA, effect size and power analysis. The course will emphasize the use of statistical software in the analysis of behavioral science data and will require the students to engage in technical writing of statistical reports.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Mathematical Sciences
  • Prerequisite: PSYC 252W with a C- or better. Writing-centered and Natural Science proficiency in PSYC 252W must be demonstrated prior to enrolling in this course.
  • Offering: Every semester
  • Instructor: Staff

PSYC 299 Topics in Psychology (1-4)

A semester-long study of topics in Psychology. Topics and emphases will vary according to the instructor. This course may be repeated for credit with different topics. See the New and Topics Courses page on the Registrar’s webpage for descriptions and applicability to majors/minors in other departments.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Topic dependent
  • Prerequisite: Topic dependent
  • Offering: Occasionally
  • Professor: Staff

PSYC 310 Professional and Career Planning in Psychology I (2)

This course is designed to help junior psychology majors begin their exploration of career interests and professional goals. Students will complete vocationally-relevant assessments on personal skills, values, interests, and professional goals. These assessments will be used both to consider possible career paths and to guide students to think intentionally about possible internships. In addition, speakers in various psychology-related careers will present information to students about internship opportunities and discuss the experiences, coursework and educational requirements necessary to pursue various psychology-related careers.

  • Course is offered as Credit/No Credit
  • Prerequisite: PSYC 210 and Junior standing with a declared major in Psychology, or instructor consent
  • Offering: Spring
  • Instructor: Staff

PSYC 330 Developmental Psychology: Lifespan (4)

This is an introductory course in developmental psychology, designed to introduce physical, cognitive, social and emotional changes throughout the life span., We will also discuss the roles of environment and context on development, as well as policy and other practical applications of these concepts.

  • General Education Requirement: Natural Sciences, Social Sciences
  • Prerequisite: PSYC 210
  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Witkow

PSYC 331 Development Psychology: Adolescence (4)

Developmentalists regard adolescence as a qualitatively special period/state of life which is different than prior childhood or future adult maturity. In contrast, some social historians see adolescence as a recent phenomenon shaped by industrialization and extended formal education which may be more apparent than real. Our interest is concerned with what adolescence means for our times. We will look at how general psychological theories interpret adolescence. We will also consider general issues young people deal with (family, school, employment, etc.), as well as special problems that some adolescents face (ethnic status, gender perspectives, and poverty).

  • General Education Requirement: Natural Sciences, Social Sciences
  • Prerequisite: PSYC 210
  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Witkow

PSYC 332 Personality Psychology (4)

An introduction to the major approaches to studying human personality (e.g., psychodynamic, behavioral, humanistic, cognitive) with emphasis on how traditional personality theories relate to existing and modern research. Assignments will offer opportunities for both self-reflection and analysis of course content.

  • General Education Requirement: Natural Sciences, Social Sciences
  • Prerequisite: PSYC 210
  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Noftle

PSYC 335 Adult Psychopathology (4)

This course provides an overview of psychological disorders of adults. Utilizing the current diagnostic framework, symptoms of major classes of mental illness such as anxiety disorders, mood disorders, personality disorders, and schizophrenia will be reviewed. Issues regarding etiology, assessment, and diagnosis will be discussed. The primary focus will be on understanding the nature of disorders, including an in-depth review of empirically-supported scientific theories regarding the development and maintenance of mental health problems. Only minor emphasis will be given to the treatment of disorders.

  • General Education Requirement: Natural Sciences, Social Sciences
  • Prerequisite: PSYC 210
  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Staff

PSYC 336 Social Psychology (4)

The study of individual thought and behavior in social contexts. Major content areas include the perception of oneself and others, social judgment and inference processes, attitude formation and change, conformity, altruism, aggression, prejudice and interpersonal attraction. The course emphasizes theory and findings from experimental laboratory research.

  • General Education Requirement: Natural Sciences, Social Sciences
  • Prerequisite: PSYC 210
  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Staff

PSYC 337 Diagnosis of "Abnormal" Child and Adolescent Behavior (4)

When diagnosing psychological disorders, clinicians rely on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). In this class, we will examine the scientific evidence regarding the reliability and validity of the DSM for diagnosing psychological disorders, particularly in children and adolescents. We will begin by considering the concepts of “abnormality” and mental illness as defined in the DSM and then examine child and adolescent disorders found in the DSM with regard to symptom presentation and etiology. Finally, we will evaluate the evidence regarding the reliability and validity of the DSM child and adolescent disorders we review.

  • General Education Requirement: Natural Sciences, Social Sciences
  • Prerequisite: PSYC 210
  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Goldberg Edelson

PSYC 340 Psychology of Learning (4)

A systematic introduction to the nature of the learning process, emphasizing a topical/theoretical orientation. Major topics covered include the historical legacy of neobehaviorism, classic and contemporary Pavlovian conditions, techniques of instrumental learning, the nature of reinforcement, aversive learning, generalization and discrimination, and recent developments in the field. A service learning component is included.

  • General Education Requirement: Natural Sciences, Social Sciences; World Engagement: Service Learning
  • Prerequisite: PSYC 210
  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Staff

PSYC 344 Animal Cognition and Behavior (4)

This course provides an introduction to the interdisciplinary study of animal cognition and behavior from an evolutionary perspective. Note that while humans are animals, this class will primarily focus on various other animal species. We will explore the evolution and function of several processes, including sensation and perception, emotion, concept formation, learning (classical and instrumental conditioning), remembering, reasoning, social cognition, and communication.

  • General Education Requirement: Natural Sciences
  • Prerequisite: PSYC 210
  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Staff

PSYC 345 Biopsychology (4)

The biological bases of animal behavior will be examined. Neuroanatomical and psychopharmacological techniques will be applied to processes including sleep, emotion, learning, and memory, as well as neuropsychological disorders.

  • General Education Requirement: Natural Sciences
  • Prerequisite: PSYC 210
  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Staff

PSYC 350 Cognitive Processes (4)

This course will consider the subjects of attention, concept formation, pattern recognition, language, memory, artificial intelligence, creative thinking, problem solving and other aspects of cognition.

  • General Education Requirement: Natural Sciences
  • Prerequisite: PSYC 210
  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Miller

PSYC 351 Sensation and Perception (4)

This course explores the processes and mechanisms involved in detecting stimuli from the environment and how we perceive information gathered through sensation. Topics include psychophysics, neurophysiology, the visual system, object perception, color vision, sound and audition, touch and pain, and chemosensation (gustation and olfaction).

  • General Education Requirement: Natural Sciences
  • Prerequisite: PSYC 210
  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Stewart

PSYC 355 Cognitive Neuroscience (4)

Much of our knowledge of cognitive processes is derived from cases in which something has "gone wrong" with normal brain activities, either through brain injury or disease. Students will receive an introduction to neurobiological techniques and their application to the study of cognition. Neurological, neuropsychological and developmental abnormalities will be emphasized.

  • General Education Requirement: Natural Sciences
  • Prerequisite: PSYC 210
  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Stevens

PSYC 360 Psychology and Law (4)

In this course, we will examine how psychology interfaces with legal issues. Topics we will explore include: criminal responsibility, eyewitness memory and testimony, jury selection and jury decision-making, the insanity defense, involuntary civil commitment, forensic evaluation in cases of child sexual abuse, false confessions, profiling, and child custody determinations.

  • Prerequisite: PSYC 210
  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Goldberg Edelson

PSYC 370 Topics in Psychology (4)

This course allows members of the Psychology Department to offer topical courses, in areas not already part of the curriculum, which can be tailored to meet student and faculty interests. May be repeated for credit.

Note: This course may count in one of the following foundation categories of the Psychology major depending on the topics offered.

PSYC 370A Topics in Psychology: Clinical and Applied

PSYC 370B Topics in Psychology: Biological and Psychophysical Processes

PSYC 370C Topics in Psychology: Cognitive and Learning

PSYC 370D Topics in Psychology: Social, Developmental, and Personality

  • General Education Requirement: Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, as indicated by course
  • Prerequisite: PSYC 210
  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Staff

PSYC 390 Independent Study in Psychology (1, 2 or 4)

This course is intended for students who wish to receive credit to work with faculty on research or to study with faculty. Students may earn 1, 2, or 4 semester hours.

  • Prerequisite: PSYC 210 and Instructor consent
  • Offering: Every semester
  • Instructor: Staff

PSYC 399 Topics in Psychology (1-4)

A semester-long study of topics in Psychology. Topics and emphases will vary according to the instructor. This course may be repeated for credit with different topics. See the New and Topics Courses page on the Registrar’s webpage for descriptions and applicability to majors/minors in other departments.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Topic dependent
  • Prerequisite: Topic dependent
  • Offering: Occasionally
  • Professor: Staff

PSYC 410 Professional and Career Planning in Psychology II (2)

This course is designed to help students continue their career exploration and professional planning that they began in PSYC 310. This will be done by having students complete personality assessments, by examining their own personal experiences and coursework that have led them to consider particular careers, and by considering in what ways their senior internship experiences provided information they can use to evaluate possible career paths. A main focus of the course is the completion of both a Career Exploration Project and a Career Fit Analysis to evaluate how well their career planning fits their values, skills, interests, professional goals, personality, and internship and other personal experiences.

  • Prerequisite: PSYC 310 and senior standing as a Psychology major
  • Offering: Fall semester
  • Instructor: Staff

PSYC 429 Topics in Psychology (1-4)

A semester-long study of topics in Psychology. Topics and emphases will vary according to the instructor. This course may be repeated for credit with different topics. See the New and Topics Courses page on the Registrar’s webpage for descriptions and applicability to majors/minors in other departments.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Topic dependent
  • Prerequisite: Topic dependent
  • Offering: Occasionally
  • Professor: Staff

PSYC 431W Topical Seminar in Psychology (4)

This course represents an opportunity to take a specialized, advanced-level class from a faculty member. Seminar students will complete the senior thesis paper for psychology.

  • General Education Requirement: Writing-centered; Natural Sciences, Social Sciences
  • Prerequisite: PSYC 252W and junior or senior standing; restricted to Psychology majors or by consent of instructor
  • Offering: Every Semester
  • Instructor: Staff

PSYC 493 Senior Independent Study (1-4)

The Senior level Independent Study can be taken as an extension of PSYC 498W for continued work on a research project or at a field internship site. Specifically, research interns may earn independent study credit for conducting advanced analyses on their research results and revising their empirical research reports, e.g., for potential publication. Field interns may earn independent study credit for continuing work at their internship site, in excess of the minimum requirement of 168 hours.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Natural Sciences, Social Sciences
  • Prerequisite: PSYC 210, PSYC 252W and Senior Standing
  • Offering: Spring Semester
  • Instructor: Staff

PSYC 497 Senior Research Internship in Psychology (4)

This course provides senior Psychology majors with applied psychological experience obtained through a research internship in which students conduct original research under faculty supervision. Students may not begin their internship hours prior to successful completion of, or concurrent enrollment with PSYC 253.


PSYC 498 Senior Field Internship in Psychology (4)

This course provides senior Psychology majors with applied psychological experience obtained through a field internship at an organization engaging in psychological or related work. Field internships completed at an off-campus site will count toward the World Engagement: Service Learning General Education requirement. Students may not begin their internship hours prior to successful completion of, or concurrent enrollment with PSYC 253.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Natural Sciences, Social Sciences; World Engagement-SL
  • Prerequisite: PSYC 252W and PSYC 300 and senior standing
  • Pre- or Corequisite: PSYC 253
  • Concurrent Enrollment: PSYC 410
  • Offering: Fall
  • Instructor: Staff

PSYC 499W Senior Honors in Psychology (1-4)

Continuation of PSYC 498 for Psychology Honors candidates to complete their scholarly thesis requirement under faculty supervision.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing-centered; Natural Sciences, Social Sciences
  • Prerequisite: PSYC 253 and PSYC 498
  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Staff

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