Professors: Batsell, Boatwright, Érdi, Fletcher (Chair), Gregg, Hostetter, Langeland, Liu, Perry, Tan, Webb

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.

Advanced Placement

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 (one unit of a Psychology SIP can count towards the major in psychology)

Required Courses

  • PSYC 101 General Psychology
  • PSYC 301 Introduction to Research Methods (taken in Spring of sophomore year; requires PSYC 101 and either MATH 105, MATH 260, or two PSYC courses beyond PSYC 101)
  • PSYC 390 Experimental Methods (taken in Spring of junior year; requires PSYC 101 and either MATH 105 or MATH 260)
  • One course designated a diversity/inclusion course (chosen from PSYC 230, PSYC 235, PSYC 238, PSYC 270, PSYC 340, PSYC 465)
  • Two courses at the 400 level (400 level courses can also count as the Diversity/Inclusion Course. Note that PSYC 490 does not count towards the Psychology major.)

Required Cognates

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 recommended before taking PSYC 301 (Introduction to Research Methods) in spring of the sophomore year and is required before taking PSYC 390 (Experimental Methods) in spring of the Junior year

Requirements for the Minor in Psychology

Number of Units

Six units are required. Students who plan to earn a minor in psychology must declare the minor by the fall quarter of their senior year.

Required Courses

  • PSYC 101 General Psychology
  • Five additional psychology electives, not including PSYC 301 or 390.

Please check on prerequisites for each course.

Psychology Courses

PSYC 101 General 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.
PSYC 200 Research 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.
PSYC 210 Developmental 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. Must have taken PSYC-101.
PSYC 211 Adolescent 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. Must have taken PSYC-101.
PSYC 220 Health 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. PSYC-101
PSYC 225 Sensation and Perception This course will focus on the way sensory information from the world is transmitted to the brain and how the brain uses experience and context to create our perceptions of the world. PSYC-101
PSYC 226 Physiological Psychology An exploration of the neurochemical and neurological bases of behaviors/experiences such as pain, feeding, sex, learning, memory, and emotion. PSYC-101
PSYC 230 Psychology 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. PSYC-101
PSYC 235 Psychology 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 experience PSYC-101
PSYC 238 Culture 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. PSYC-101
PSYC 240 Educational Psychology Applies the principles of psychology to the practice of teaching. In the course, we will analyze the dynamics of student-teacher interactions with particular reference to the ways in which concepts, skills, values, and attitudes are communicated. Some of the topics that will be covered include basic principles of learning and instruction, child and adolescent development, information processing, measurement and evaluation as applied to classroom situations, and methods of accommodating students with different needs. PSYC-101
PSYC 250 Social 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. PSYC-101
PSYC 265 Cognitive 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. PSYC-101 or COMP-105 All course prerequisites must be met with a minimum grade of C-.
PSYC 270 Feminist 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. PSYC-101 and 1 additional PSYC course
PSYC 275 Introduction to Psychopathology W/ Lab 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, personal stories, and panels. PSYC-101
PSYC 280 Cognition Study of information processing and utilization. Topics include attention, perception, imagery, memory, knowledge structures, language comprehension and production, problem solving, and decision making. PSYC-101
PSYC 301 Introduction 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. Must have taken PSYC-101 and either MATH-105, MATH-260, or 2 additional PSYC courses.
PSYC 330 Interviewing 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. PSYC-101 and 1 other PSYC course.
PSYC 340 Cultural 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. PSYC-101 and 2 additional PSYC courses. Sophomore standing or above or Instructor Permission required.
PSYC 390 Experimental 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). PSYC-101 and MATH-105 or MATH-260. Open to Junior Psychology Majors only.
PSYC 410 Theories of Personality Survey of contemporary theories of personality and related research. PSYC-101 and 1 additional PSYC courses. Junior and Senior PSYC Majors only
PSYC 411 Psychology 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. Take 2 PSYC courses. Open to Juniors and Seniors only.
PSYC 415 Computational 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. PSYC-101 and MATH-113 and one additional PSYC course. All course prerequisites must be met with a minimum grade of C-. Open to Juniors and Seniors only.
PSYC 420 Learning 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. PSYC-101 and 1 additional PSYC course.
PSYC 422 Consciousness 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. PSYC-101 and PSYC-226. Open to Juniors or Seniors only.
PSYC 424 Psychopharmacology 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. PSYC-101 and PSYC-226
PSYC 450 Counseling Psychology: Theory and Practice The focus of this course is the application of eight counseling psychology theories. PSYC-101. Senior PSYC majors only
PSYC 460 Social 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 emerging adulthood through old age. Open to Junior and Senior PSYC majors or minors only. PSYC-101 and PSYC-210
PSYC 465 Advanced 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. PSYC-101 and 2 additional PSYC courses.
PSYC 470 Adult Development This course introduces theory and research on adult development, including continuity and change in personality characteristics and identity in early adult (20s and 30s) and mid-life (40s and 50s) periods. It focuses on the life-span theories of Carl Jung, Erik Erikson and others, and critically examines Jon Arnett's theory of emerging adulthood and Dan McAdams' conception of generativity in light of social class, ethnicity, and cultural differences. PSYC-101 and 2 additional PSYC courses, or by permission of the instructor
PSYC 480 Psychology 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? PSYC-280. Junior and Senior standing only.
PSYC 490 Senior Seminar in Psychology This course applies Psychological concepts and skills towards preparing for life after K. The specific topic and focus of the course will vary from year-to-year based on instructor's preference, but themes may include "happiness", "relationships", or "leadership" course format involves discussion, project-based learning, and reflection. Note that this course does not count towards the Psychology major or minor, but does fulfill the college's senior seminar requirement. Psychology major and senior standing.
PSYC 495 Ranking As a Social Game Ranking of people, schools, products, countries and just about everything else is part of our daily life. We like to compare ourselves to others and see who is stronger, richer, better, cleverer. Our love for comparison led to our fad to make rankings. Ranking is about becoming more organized and we like the idea of being more organized! We are in a paradoxical relationship with ranking: ''ranking is good because it is informative and objective; ranking is bad because it is biased and subjective, and occasionally, even manipulated." The cognitive science and social psychology of ranking will be discussed. Take COMP-210 or PSYC-301
PSYC 593 Senior Integrated Project Each program or department sets its own requirements for Senior Integrated 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 -> Senior Integrated Project section of the Academic Catalog for more details. Permission of department and SIP supervisor required.
PSYC 600 Teaching Assistantship