Undergraduate Degree Program


PY 111 Introduction to Psychology
Introduction to the major areas, theories, concepts, and methods of contemporary psychology. Topics may include ways of perceiving, learning, and thinking about the world; emotions; motivation; the relationship between brain events and inner experience; child development and adult personality; self-concept; attitudes toward others and behavior in social situations; stress, coping, and the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders. Special attention will be paid to the application of scientific methods to the study of human cognition and behavior. General Education Choice for Part B. Offered every semester. 3 credits

PY 131 Development of Art in Childhood
Children naturally begin producing works of art by the preschool years, and their mental growth is mirrored in their art. This course examines the typical developmental sequence of children’s art, the meaning of art to the child, and the ways in which art can inform us about children’s cognition. Attention also will be paid to the facilitation of artistic development by educators and the use of art in child psychotherapy. P: PY111. Offered every other year. 1.5 credits

PY 132 Development of Play in Childhood
Play, a universal behavior among young mammals, not only represents their abundant energy but also serves as an important form of enactive learning. Children’s play helps them to master and make sense of the physical and social worlds in which they live. Human play takes many forms, some of which emerge in a developmental sequence. This course reviews the major forms of play at different stages of childhood as well as their significance for understanding the child. Attention also will be paid to the facilitation of desirable play behavior and the use of play in child psychotherapy. P: PY111. Offered every other year. 1.5 credits

PY 133 Reasoning and Numeracy in Childhood
Examines the development of reasoning in childhood, from its beginnings in infancy through the maturation of abstract thinking in adolescence. The classic stage model proposed by Jean Piaget and his followers will be evaluated in terms of more recent research that has led to revisions in our underastanding of children’s cognitive abilities. Special attention will be paid to the development of quantitative reasoning, beginning with basic numeracy and progressing to more complex operations. Methods of facilitating reasoning and mathematical competence also will be considered. P: PY111. Offered every other year. 1.5 credits

PY 134 Attachment and Relationships in Childhood
Humans, like other mammals, form attachment bonds with important caregivers early in life. As social beings, humans also may generalize lessons learned from our interactions with caregivers to other relationships, such as friendships with peers. This course examines the considerable body of theory and research concerning attachment in childhood as well as the development of children’s friendships and other important relationships. Attention also will be paid to the clinical manifestations of attachment disorders. P: PY111. Offered every other year. 1.5 credits

PY 210 Behavior Modification
Application of learning principles to human behavior and its modification in clinical settings, business environments, the classroom, and everyday life. Examines methods of determining the triggers for problem behaviors and the role of rewards. A number of approaches to changing old behaviors and establishing new behaviors will be discussed, such as token economies, self-monitoring, contracts, cognitive-behavioral techniques, shaping, differential reinforcement, and extinction. P: PY111. Offered annually. 3 credits

PY 211 Abnormal Psychology
Psychological functioning is said to be abnormal when it is atypical and causes distress to the individual or to other members of that person’s community. Viewed through a medical lens, these behaviors are regarded as signs of psychopathology (mental illness). This course provides a thorough grounding in the psychiatric diagnostic classification system, covering most of the major categories of mental disorder: anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, and more. Theories explaining the various forms of mental disorder, research findings on their social, psychological, and biological correlates, and treatment options are also considered. P: PY111. Offered annually. 3 credits

PY 218 Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences (same as SO 218)
Addresses basic concepts and methods of statistical data analysis as applied in psychology and other social/behavioral sciences, including organizing, analyzing, and interpreting data. The course will provide students with a foundation in descriptive and inferential statistics, touching on frequency distributions, probability sampling, and hypothesis testing. Analyses conducted by hand and using SPSS. P: Fulfillment of the Level A math requirement. Generally offered every semester. 3 credits

PY 222 Learning
Whenever experience changes our behavior in a lasting way, learning has taken place. Learning includes acquisition of knowledge, mastery of concepts, cultivation of skills, and development of habits. This course surveys what is known about key forms of learning, emphasizing classical conditioning, operant conditioning, observational learning, verbal learning, and information processing models of memory. Major theories that attempt to explain these processes and how these theories are applied to real world concepts, such as education, will be covered. Offered annually. P: PY 111. 3 credits

PY 229 Psychology of the Exceptional Child (same as ED 229)
Not all children develop along ‘typical’ lines. For some, cognitive and/or social-emotional development differs sharply from what is considered normative. This course concerns the psychology of such children, especially insofar as their differences may produce problems in living (e.g., academic failure or social stigmatization). Assessment and diagnostic procedures (e.g., psychological tests) as well as intervention strategies (e.g., behavior modification) will be covered. Specific language and academic skills disorders, autistic-spectrum disorders, mental retardation, selected medical conditions, disruptive behavior disorders, ‘internalizing’ disorders (e.g., separation anxiety), and the consequences of neglect and abuse will be considered. Some attention will also be paid to the issues raised by giftedness and special talents. In addition to describing the various disorders clinically and phenomenologically, we will try to understand their origins, nature, and developmental implications, and how they can be recognized and effectively addressed in specialized settings (e.g., clinics), in regular classrooms, and in the home. A field experience in a classroom serving ‘special needs’ students is available as part of this course. This experiential component is required for students pursuing teacher certification. P: PY 111 and PY 330 or PY 211. Offered annually. 3 credits

PY 231 Personnel Psychology
An introduction to the psychology behind personnel selection, recruitment, job analysis, job design, training, performance evaluations, and more. Students will learn how psychology plays a role in the effective selection, recruitment, and retention of employees in the workplace. P: PY111. Generally offered every other year. 3 credits

PY 232 Organizational Psychology
Concerns the application of psychological principles in organizational settings. Some topics which will be explored include: decision making, group and team dynamics, leadership, motivation, and stress in the workplace. Students will learn what makes for an effective workforce and how to best encourage it. P: PY 111. Generally offered every other year. 3 credits

PY 234 Brain and Behavior
The study of the anatomy and physiology of the brain and peripheral nervous system and their relation to behavior. Topics will include the neural basis of sensation, motivation, and learning, and the effects of traumatic brain injury and neurological disorders. P: PY 111 or BI 111. Offered every other year. 3 credits

PY 235 Drug and Alcohol Abuse
An introductory survey covering a variety of issues in the addiction arena, including the psychology of addiction, biological issues, the impact of addiction on families, identification of addictions, and methods of intervention. P: PY 111. Offered every other year. 3 credits

PY 236 Motivation
An exploration of human and animal motivation and factors influencing the direction and magnitude of behavioral responses. The course considers the roles played by instincts, drives, arousal modulation, and incentives, while emphasizing behavioral and social learning approaches to reinforcement. Both lower-level biological motives (e.g., hunger) and higher-level acquired motives (e.g., achievement) will be covered. The distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic motives and the applied topic of work motivation will receive special attention. Offered every other year. P: PY111. 3 credits

PY 237 Cognitive Psychology
This course is the study of how humans think, how we represent and process information in the mind/brain. Topics that may be covered include sensation and perception, attention, the representation of knowledge, memory, the nature and development of expertise, mental imagery, problem solving, creativity, language and reading, and individual differences. The course will have an applied focus where theories of how we represent and process information will be used to help solve real world problems in diverse areas such as education, medicine, sports, and law. Another focus will be to have students develop their understanding of the types of questions that cognitive psychologists ask and how they answer those questions; this will be developed through reading primary literature, in class demonstrations, and individual and/or group experiments and/or presentations. Offered every other year. P: PY 111. 3 credits

PY 239 Close Relationships
This course examines intimacy and how relationships (romantic, familial, platonic) develop. The theories and research findings reviewed are based on the empirical study of behavior and cognition as they relate to our interpersonal relationships. Topics such as what is love, attraction, communication in relationships, satisfaction, jealousy, and relationship dissolution, will be addressed. Upon completion of this course you should have a better understanding of how relationships work, and how to succeed in them. General Education Choice for Part C. Generally offered every other year. 3 credits

PY 242 Educational Psychology (same as ED 242)
This course is a study of the assumptions about learning and development that underlie various educational practices by acquainting students with different theories in both of these areas. It will provide students with opportunities to develop their problem solving skills in the context of education and psychology. Some of the topics the course will cover are development and individual differences, learning theories, problem solving, instructional objectives and methods, motivation, behavior management, and assessment. This is a required class for students seeking teacher certification. P: PY 111. Offered every other year. 3 credits

PY 248 Cultural Psychology
This course examines the importance of cultural factors in explaining and understanding human behavior, providing students with a cross-cultural framework to evaluate the relevance of traditionally held beliefs and theories to different cultural groups. Students will explore the role of culture in development, cognition, gender, emotion, language and communication, personality, abnormal psychology, development of self and identity, and interpersonal and intergroup relations. To develop a better understanding of self in relation to the world, students will research their own cultural background and norms in comparison to mainstream society in the United States. Finally, students will develop a deeper, more complex understanding of the nature of culture, its relationship to the psychological processes, and the differences and similarities between cultures in our increasingly globalized world. General Education Choice for Part C. P: PY111. 3 credits

PY 250 Community Psychology
A multidisciplinary approach emphasizing the prevention and treatment of psychological problems in a community setting. Offered every other year. P: PY 111. 3 credits

PY 251 Special Topics in Psychology
In-depth study of selected topics in psychology. P: PY 111. 1 to 3 credits

PY 280 Practicum (all concentrations)
A three-credit field-based experiential practicum involving approximately 8–10 hours per week on site. Sites may include schools, clinics, community agencies, corporations, or laboratories depending on the student’s interest and area of concentration. Offered every semester. P: Senior status or second semester Junior status and permission of Department Chair. 3 credits

PY 290 Independent Study
Opportunity for a student to work independently and in-depth on a special topic or area of interest. P: PY 111 and departmental permission. 1 to 3 credits

PY 311 History and Systems of Psychology
A study of the philosophical and scientific antecedents of contemporary psychology, the major theorists and research methods in the early years of psychological science, and their influence on current developments and controversies in the field. Fulfills Writing requirement. Offered every other year. P: PY 111. 3 credits

PY 312 Psychotherapy
Psychotherapy involves the treatment of mental illness and/or the facilitation of people’s coping with life problems using psychological (as opposed to biomedical) methods. Evidence indicates that a variety of psychotherapeutic approaches can be effective, depending in part on the nature of the presenting problems. This course surveys the principal schools of thought in psychotherapy, including psychodynamic, humanistic, behavioral, and cognitive therapies. Offered annually. P: PY 111, PY 211. 3 credits

PY 321 Personality
Personality involves the study of the consistent patterning underlying the day-to-day variability in human thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Influential personality theories will be critically evaluated and applied, testing their abilities to cast light on individual differences in self-concept and relational style. General Education Choice for Part C and Writing requirement. Offered annually. P: PY 111. 3 credits

PY 323 Social Psychology
The study of individual and group behavior, this course addresses classical and contemporary issues and research on a number of topics, including person perception, social cognition, attitudes and attitude change, conformity, obedience, prejudice, gender, and interpersonal relationships and attraction. General Education Choice for Part C and Writing requirement. Offered every other year. P: PY111. 3 credits

PY 325W Experimental Methods and Research Design
An introduction to experimental methods and research design in psychological research. Includes hands-on experience with design, implementation of data collection, data coding and analysis, and the interpretation and communication of results. Students will learn and use APA style format in a research paper describing their research findings. P: PY 111, PY 218, plus 3 additional credits in psychology. Fulfills major Writing require­ment. Offered annually. 3 credits

PY 330 Child Psychology (same as ED 330)
An examination of the major theories, issues, and research regarding the developing child from conception to puberty, with emphasis on emotional, cognitive, and social development. Current issues, such as the effects of drugs on the fetus, child abuse, and day care centers will be discussed. Offered annually. P: PY 111. 3 credits

PY 340 Psychological Assessment
Psychological assessment involves the systematic appraisal of cognitive abilities, personality traits, social attitudes, interests, values, and other characteristics. Methods include interviews, self-report measures, projective techniques, and performance appraisals. This course covers the basic principles of test construction and validation used by psychologists and educational measurement specialists. It also covers the administration, scoring, and interpretation of selected psychological tests along with a critical evaluation of their qualities. P: PY 218 and open only to psychology majors with Senior status. Offered annually. 3 credits

PY 341 Adolescent Psychology (same as ED 341)
This course examines the development of the individual during the period of transition from childhood to adulthood, including physical changes, personality development, and the influence of family, school, and culture on adolescents. Offered annually. P: PY 111. General Education Choice for Part C. 3 credits

PY 350 Adulthood and Aging
An overview of adulthood, maturity, and old age from both physical and psychological perspectives. Personal adjustment and psychological changes over the chronology of adult experience will be emphasized. Topics will include family, career, personality continuity and change, sexuality, and the processes of aging, death, and bereavement. P: PY 111. Offered every other year (in evening only). 3 credits

PY 371 Introduction to Art Therapy
The role of art therapy in the psychotherapeutic process as a diagnostic, developmental, and remedial tool, including the theoretical bases of this modality. Offered annually (in evening only). P: PY 111, and either PY 211 or PY 321. 3 credits

PY 372 Theory and Practice of Art Therapy
Continued study of various psychological theories, concepts, and methods of psychotherapeutic art. Focus on actual case materials and workshop experiences. P: PY 111, PY 211, PY 371, and either PY 312 or PY 321. Offered annually (in evening only). 3 credits

PY 380 Internship
A field-based experiential internship in the Child Development and Counseling, and Mental Health concentrations requiring a commitment of 16–24 hours per week to the placement site. P: PY 280 and departmental permission. May, with special permission of the Department Chair, be taken over the course of two semesters. Upon registering for PY 380, students should immediately meet with the internship coordinator. This should be done by the middle of the semester prior to actually completing the placement. Offered every semester. 9 credits

PY 391 Senior Seminar
In-depth study of selected topics in psychology. Generally offered every other year. P: Open only to psychology majors with senior status. 3 credits