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Psychology Course Descriptions

PY130 Introduction to Psychology (4). This course will focus on key conceptual areas for understanding human behavior that include: biological, cognitive, development, social and personality, and mental and physical health. Cross-cutting common themes in the field – cultural and social diversity, ethics, variations in human functioning, and applications – will be addressed for each topic included in the course. Students will also get to experience the integrative nature of contemporary psychology.

PY231 Developmental Psychology (4). This course introduces the study of developmental growth and behavior throughout the life span, from infancy to old age. Frameworks for understanding physical, cognitive, psychosocial, emotional, and moral development will be addressed. Major concepts, terms, and theories in developmental psychology will be presented and evaluated, paying particular attention to the range of cultural variation in child and adult development. [Prerequisite: PY130]

PY233 Career Preparation in Psychology (2). This course is designed for students who are interested in exploring career options available to them in the field of psychology. Students will also learn what elements are vital to academic and career success in the field. The course is centered on cultivating professional development. It will be taught in a seminar format with lectures, discussion, and activities. [Prerequisite: PY130]

PY235 History and Ethics in Psychology (2). This course is a two-fold exploration of the history of psychology and the ethical considerations inherent in psychological research and clinical practice. The course provides an overview of key figures who contributed to major theoretical developments and shaped the subdisciplines of psychology, and recognizes the role of women and people of color in this historical framework, both as researchers and as subjects of research. We will examine how ideas about what is “normal” shape and are shaped by psychology, and how cultural and political forces influenced the development of various psychological theories. Students will become familiar with the American psychological association (APA) and the standards it sets forth regarding ethics and conduct in research laboratories, professional practice, and clinical and educational settings. [Prerequisite: PY130]

PY331 Health Psychology (4). This course provides an introduction to the field of health psychology, which addresses the bidirectional roles of behavioral/lifestyle, physiological, psychological and social factors on health, illness and disease. [Prerequisite: PY130]

PY334 Personality Psychology (4). This course explores the science of personality from various perspectives including biological, psychoanalytic, humanistic, socio-cultural, cognitive/behavioral, and trait theory. The course discusses cultural variation of personality, critically evaluates the nature-nurture debate and the person-situation debate, and examines the ways in which personality can relate to healthy/unhealthy adaptation, including personality disorders. This course also provides an exploration of personality assessment and test construction. [Prerequisite: PY130]

PY336 Social Psychology (4). In this course, social thinking, social influence, and social relations will be explored. The way that we perceive ourselves and others; how people influence others; and what causes us to like, love, help, or hurt others will be examined. Students will also learn how social psychology is applied to address social problems in diverse fields. [Prerequisite: PY130]

PY342 Positive Psychology (4). This course is offered to students who are interested in learning about the scientific study of the qualities that enable individuals and communities to thrive. The course is designed to be challenging and interactive. It will be taught in a seminar format with lectures, discussion, and activities. [Prerequisite: PY130]

PY344G Psychology of Women (4). This course explores topics related to gender socialization and ideologies about gender that influence women’s lives and experiences in a variety of different contexts and cultures. This course utilizes an intersectional perspective to explore how different aspects of individuals’ social identities (e.g., race, class, sexuality, nationality, etc.) Intersect with gender to create different conditions of relative power and oppression in society. Throughout the course students will integrate course material on psychological research with their own personal reflections and community engagement. The intention is for students to develop a critical awareness of the manner through which gender is socially constructed, and in turn, how the construction of gender affects women’s lives. [Prerequisite: PY130]

PY350/G Topics in Psychology (4). This course explores areas of psychology in greater depth than in a general survey course. Potential topics include: cross-cultural psychology, applied social psychology, cognitive psychology, neuroscience, media psychology, etc. May be repeated when topics vary. [Prerequisite: PY130 or as specified]

PY433 Abnormal Psychology (4). This course surveys fundamental issues in abnormal psychology, focusing on serious mental disorders articulated by the diagnostic and statistical manual (DSM V) of the American Psychological Association. The course is interdisciplinary, examining biological, medical, psychological, social, cultural, and political aspects of mental illness. Frameworks for understanding maladaptive behavior, the history of psychopathology, its epidemiology, cultural stigma around mental illness, and a variety of treatment models are presented and evaluated. [Prerequisites: PY130, junior/senior standing]

PY496 Capstone in Psychology (4). This course is intended to integrate the information learned in psychology courses and to culminate the student’s liberal education. The capstone enables students to explore current issues in the field and to draw upon knowledge and skills of their discipline using methods appropriate to the field, including relevant communication skills. Students will compile a final assessment portfolio which will include artifacts documenting academic/professional growth and personal reflections. [Prerequisites: PY130, SS380, senior standing]