Professors: Batsell, Boatwright, Érdi, Fletcher, Gregg, Hostetter (Chair), Langeland, Liu, Perry, Tan
Psychology, broadly defined, is the study of animal and human behavior as well as human experience. The discipline involves the use of scientific methods in the discovery of facts and confirmation of theory as well as applications to problems. The major, therefore, includes a focus on the understanding and use of research skills and techniques. Psychology is a diverse field with important connections to biology, education, philosophy, and sociology. Increasingly, psychologists may be found in business, industry, education, government, and medicine, as well as in the more traditional areas of research and mental health.
Given its diversity and connections to other disciplines, psychology is a reasonable choice of major for students who seek a broad liberal arts undergraduate education. Psychology is also a practical major for those who seek careers immediately after graduation in fields where interacting with other people is primary—management, criminal justice, or human services, for example.
Psychology majors may choose to pursue advanced degrees in three general directions: one, as scientists, leading to careers in higher education or research settings; two, as practitioners, leading to roles as clinicians, school psychologists, industrial psychologists, and health psychologists; and three, as professionals in other fields such as law, medicine, and business administration.
Students with an Advanced Placement (AP) score of 4 or 5 on the Psychology Exam will be granted credit in PSYC 101. This credit will satisfy the PSYC 101 prerequisite for upper-level psychology classes.
Requirements for the Major in Psychology
Number of Units
Nine psychology units are required (SIP units do not count towards the major in psychology)
Psychology majors must pass the Comprehensive Examination in Psychology
PSYC 101 General Psychology
PSYC 301 Introduction to Research Methods
PSYC 390 Experimental Methods
One course designated a diversity/inclusion course (chosen from PSYC 230, PSYC 238, PSYC 270, PSYC 295 Psychology of the African American Experience, PSYC340, PSYC 465)
Two courses at the 400 level (400 level courses can also count as the Diversity/Inclusion Course)
MATH 105 (Quantitative Reasoning & Statistical Analysis) or MATH 260 (Applied Statistics). MATH 260 is strongly recommended for those considering graduate study. Other statistics courses may also satisfy the cognate with departmental permission. Successful completion of the statistics cognate is a pre-requisite for PSYC 390 (Experimental Methods) which is taken in spring of the Junior year.
Requirements for the Minor in Psychology
Number of Units
Six units are required. Minors must pass the Comprehensive Examination. Students who plan to earn a minor in psychology must declare the minor by the fall quarter of their senior year.
PSYC 101 General Psychology
Five additional psychology electives, not including PSYC 301 or 390.
Please check on prerequisites for each course.
PSYC101General Psychology Survey of major theories, methods, and findings related to understanding mental processes, emotions, behavior, and experience; examination of such topics as the brain, learning, memory, perception, personality, and psychotherapy. This course (or completion of AP Psychology) is a prerequisite for all courses in the department.
PSYC200Research Practicum in Psychology Practicums are intended to provide opportunities for Psychology majors to become involved in ongoing research projects with faculty, either with the same faculty member for a number of quarters or with different faculty in different quarters. A minimum of 50 hours of work is expected for each quarter. The practicum may be repeated up to 5 times, to earn one full unit toward graduation and the Psychology major or minor. Students who are interested in enrolling should approach an individual faculty member in the Psychology department to ask about opportunities.
PSYC205Sports Psychology Survey of theories, research methods, and clinical techniques of psychology that focus on the mind-body problem in sports; investigation of issues relating to self discipline as well as improving individual and team performance. Prerequisite: PSYC-101
PSYC210Developmental Psychology The study of development from birth through early adolescence, examining concepts, theories, and research findings related to topics such as motor, perceptual, linguistic, artistic, cognitive, and identity development. Prerequisite: PSYC-101 Open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors
PSYC211Adolescent Development Research and theory regarding development between puberty and emerging adulthood including physical, cognitive, social, emotional, and personality development. Contexts of adolescence within the family and within the peer group including sexuality, dating and romantic relationships. Perspectives regarding gender and moral development.Prerequisite: PSYC-101; Junior Standing Required
PSYC220Health Psychology This course is designed to provide students with a comprehensive foundation in health psychology including the theories, concepts, methods and application of health psychology. The course will examine the interrelationship between health, illness, cognition, behavior and emotion. Emphasis will be placed on (1) the sociocultural factors that positively and negatively impact both physical and mental health (2) the biopsychosocial model of health (3) the biological pathways of stress and moderation of the stress response (4) the mind-body connection (5) Critical analysis of contemporary research that considers the relationship between mental health and chronic illness and disease (6) the relationship between adverse childhood experiences and health (7) the role of oppression in health outcomes.Prerequisite: Take PSYC-101
PSYC226Physiological Psychology An exploration of the neurochemical and neurological bases of behaviors/experiences such as pain, feeding, sex, learning, memory, and emotion. Prerequisite: PSYC-101
PSYC230Psychology of Prejudice Introduction to social psychological perspectives on ethnocentrism, including ethnic, religious, national, and gender prejudice. Examines case studies, laboratory experiments, sample surveys, and ethnographic observations to account for the development of stereotypes and violence.Prerequisite: PSYC-101
PSYC/SEMN238Culture and Psychology of Arab-Muslim Societies This course provides an introduction to Arab-Muslim societies and cultures. It draws on readings from multiple disciplines to cover social structure and family organization in tribal, village, and urban communities, core value systems associated with the etiquettes of honor-and-modesty and with the beliefs and practices of Islam, and influences on psychological development through the life-span. It also will examine the processes of "modernization" and "underdevelopment," the conflict between Westernization and authentic "tradition," the "Islamic revival," and the crisis of identity experienced by youth.Prerequisite: Take PSYC-101
PSYC250Social Psychology Social psychology examines how people's lives are influenced by their social surroundings and especially their perceptions of their surroundings. Students will challenge their own and others' presumptions of human psychology with topics such as conformity, attitudes, prejudice, attraction, and social cognition. Students will apply social psychological research and concepts to current events and their own experiences.Prerequisite: PSYC-101
PSYC/COMP265Cognitive Science Cognitive science is the interdisciplinary study of mind and the nature of intelligence. It is a rapidly evolving field that deals with information processing, intelligent systems, complex cognition, and large-scale computation. The scientific discipline lies in the overlapping areas of neuroscience, psychology, computer science, linguistics and philosophy. Students will learn the basic physiological and psychological mechanisms and computational algorithms underlying different cognitive phenomena. This course is designed mostly for psychology and computer science students, but other students interested in interdisciplinary thinking might take the course.Prerequisite: PSYC-101 or COMP-105 All course prerequisites must be met with a minimum grade of C-.
PSYC270Feminist Psychology of Women This course places women at the center of inquiry, both as researchers and participants. Specific topics include: silencing of women in the classroom, pathologizing of women, sex bias in diagnosing, feminist developmental theories, acquaintance rape, feminist response to Freud, myth of beauty in adolescence, leadership, women's sexuality, psychological consequences of incest, rape, and other forms of violence against women. Prerequisite: Take 2- Psychology courses. Course is Restricted to First-Year and Sophomores
PSYC275Introduction to Psychopathology This course provides a sociocultural understanding of common forms of human psychological distress. We will rely heavily on listening to the voices of people who have experienced psychological disruptions in their lives: we will rely on case studies, journal articles, books, weekly documentaries or films, small and large group class discussions, and panels. Prerequisite: Must have taken PSYC-101
PSYC280Cognition Study of information processing and utilization. Topics include attention, perception, imagery, memory, knowledge structures, language comprehension and production, problem solving, and decision making. Prerequisite: PSYC-101
PSYC285Psychology of Music An introduction to the psychology of music, providing an overview of research literature on such topics as the emergence of basic musical abilities, development of advanced skills (practice, sight-reading, performing, and conducting), and music perception and cognition. A general knowledge of musical terms and concepts will be assumed and not reviewed in the course.Prerequisite: PSYC-101 and at least 5 years of instrumental or vocal training. Open to Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors. Consult professor if you have questions.
PSYC290Animal Behavior with Lab The study of animal behavior seeks to describe and explain behavior on multiple levels - from underlying physiological causation to evolutionary origin. Using examples from barnacles and worms to birds and mammals, this course examines behaviors such as orientation, communication, foraging, territoriality, reproduction and sociality. Through lectures, research literature and laboratory studies students will build proficiency in designing, conducting, analyzing and evaluating behavioral studies and gain new appreciation for the subtlety and complexity of behavior and its application to fields such as animal welfare and conservation.Prerequisite: PSYC-101, or BIOL-112, or BIOL-123 All course prerequisites must be met with a minimum grade of C-
PSYC295Psychology of the African American Experience In this course, we will consider a range of theoretical and methodological approaches that scholars have developed to conceptualize the thoughts, styles, and behaviors of African Americans. We will begin by discussing the historical foundations and core tenets on which the field of African American psychology is based. We will then explore a range of topics that pertain to the psychological experiences of African Americans such as academic achievement, socialization, racial identity, religion/spirituality, gender, racism and discrimination and mental health. Our class discussions will integrate current topics and controversies that are at the forefront of the African American experiencePrerequisite: PSYC-101
PSYC301Introduction to Research Methods in Psychology This course is designed to provide you the skills necessary for designing, conducting, evaluating, and communicating psychological research. We will consider the theoretical and methodological basis for the generation of knowledge of human behavior, combining lectures, activity-based laboratory sessions, and independent research projects to accomplish this goal. You will have hands-on opportunities to observe human behavior, create measurement tools, conduct correlational studies, and analyze data using SPSS/PASW (a statistical software package). Finally, you will learn to write up scientific reports using the style of the American Psychological Association. Open to Sophomore Psychology Majors or by Instructor permission.Prerequisite: PSYC-101 and Sophomore Psychology Majors Only
PSYC330Interviewing and Narrative Analysis With Lab This course examines methods for investigating the narrative structures people use to interpret their experiences and integrate their lives. It will consider how "narrative knowing" differs from scientific theory, figurative language from literal, and symbolic representation from conceptual. Readings will cover the theory and practice of interviewing, psychological research on figurative language and narrative schemata, and plot-line and structuralist techniques of narrative analysis. Student assignments will consist of conducting, analyzing, and writing about interviews. Prerequisite: PSYC-101
PSYC340Cultural Psychology Theories of how culture shapes thought, feeling, and the development of personality. Critical survey of topics in cross-cultural psychology, including culture and personality, child rearing, psychopathology, cognition, modernization, and underdevelopment.Prerequisite: PSYC-101 and Sophomore standing or above or Instructor Permission
PSYC390Experimental Methods W/Lab Laboratory course emphasizing problems of experimental design and data collection, application of statistical techniques, and reporting of experimental findings in different content areas of psychology (e.g., social psychology, developmental psychology, learning, cognition, and biopsychology). Prerequisite: PSYC-101 and One of the following: MATH-105 MATH-260 MATH-261 or ECON-160. Junior Psychology Majors only.
PSYC410Theories of Personality Survey of contemporary theories of personality and related research. Prerequisite: PSYC-101 and one additional PSYC course and Junior Standing
PSYC411Psychology and Law The purpose of this course is to provide students with a broad overview of the conceptual and empirical issues involved in attempting to apply psychological knowledge within the legal system. The ways in which psychology applies to the legal system encompasses a wide array of topics, and we will focus on several key areas where psychological research intersects with the law. Topics include the use of scientific evidence in a legal setting (e.g. amicus briefs, expert testimony), eyewitness evidence (children and adults), interrogations and confessions, and jury decision making.Prerequisite: PSYC-101 and 2 other PSYC courses. Junior or Senior standing or by instructor permission.
PSYC/COMP415Computational Neuroscience Study of mathematical models, computational algorithms, and simulation methods that contribute to our understanding of neural mechanisms. Brief introduction to neurobiological concepts and mathematical techniques. Both normal and pathological behaviors will be analyzed by using neural models.Prerequisite: PSYC-101 and MATH-113 and one additional PSYC course. All course prerequisites must be met with a minimum grade of C-. Junior or Senior Standing.
PSYC420Learning Examination of the ways in which behavior changes as a result of experience in laboratory and natural settings. Surveys theories that account for these behavioral changes. Prerequisite: PSYC-101 and one additional PSYC course. Junior or Senior Standing only.
PSYC422Consciousness and Dreams This course examines consciousness and dreams from a variety of different psychological perspectives, including cross-cultural, psychoanalytic, biological and cognitive approaches. Using a range of scholarly works in combination with each student's recorded dreams and thought experiments. Students will develop their own understanding of their dreams and consciousness. Prerequisite: PSYC-101 and PSYC-226. Junior or Senior Standing only.
PSYC424Psychopharmacology This course will provide an overview of psychotropic drugs, both legal and illegal. An overview of psychopharmacology, behavioral pharmacology, physiological effects on the brain, social influences, and controversial issues related to drug use and abuse will be explored.Prerequisite: PSYC-101 and PSYC-226. Junior and Senior Standing only.
PSYC450Counseling Psychology: Theory and Practice The focus of this course is the application of eight counseling psychology theories.Prerequisite: PSYC-101 and one additional PSYC class. Senior Psychology majors only.
PSYC460Social Development Upper-level course exploring social development. The first module focuses on topics such as development of social skills, play and play environments, aggression, peer acceptance and peer rejection, and school bullying. The second module focuses on relationships from adulthood through old age.Prerequisite: PSYC-101, PSYC-210, and junior or senior standing
PSYC465Advanced Psychology of Sexuality In this course, we will consider the study of sexuality and sexual development from a psychological perspective. From this perspective, I will present ideas, theories, and concepts of gender and sexuality that are informed from the study of human behavior. The course aims to aid your critique of existing scholarship while creating your own framework for conceptualizing issues surrounding notions of sexuality. This course covers a wide variety of topics concerning the psychology of human sexuality. For example, we will consider sexual anatomy, communication about sexuality, queer identities, polyamory, and pornography.Prerequisite: PSYC-101 and one additional PSYC course. Junior or Senior Standing only.
PSYC480Psychology of Language and Mind Psycholinguistics is the study of the psychological processes that give rise to human language. This class will provide a primer to the field of psycholinguistics as well as explore the relationship between our capacity for language and other cognitive processes. What is language? Where does language come from? How do we learn a first and second language? Does the language we speak affect the way we think?Prerequisite: PSYC-101 and PSYC-280. Junior and Senior Standing only.
PSYC593Senior Individualized Project Each program or department sets its own requirements for Senior Individualized Projects done in that department, including the range of acceptable projects, the required background of students doing projects, the format of the SIP, and the expected scope and depth of projects. See the Kalamazoo Curriculum -> Curriculum Details and Policies section of the Academic Catalog for more details.Prerequisite: Permission of department and SIP supervisor required.