Psychology is the scientific study of individual human and animal behavior. A student of psychology can expect to investigate the following topics: psychopathology, social influences, perception, cognition, neuroscience, human development, personality, and health. The study of psychology also involves learning how psychologists work, including the areas of experimental methods, statistical analysis, and clinical psychology. From the basic courses to the more advanced, students achieve a greater understanding of themselves and others that will serve them well in their relationships and in any careers they may pursue.
In addition to the basic skills in writing, critical thinking, and use of technology expected of all Western students, Psychology majors have the opportunity to be involved in laboratory work. As students advance in their experience and knowledge, they can become involved in individual projects under faculty supervision. There are also internship opportunities available outside the classroom with programs for at-risk children, in domestic victim advocacy, in substance abuse prevention, and in other social service agencies statewide and nationally.
As many careers in psychology require a graduate degree, the Psychology Major at Western not only contributes to a solid liberal education, but also provides excellent preparation for graduate study. Students interested in careers in applied psychology are encouraged to pursue the Clinical, Counseling and School Psychology Emphasis. The Experimental Psychology Emphasis provides students with a broad background in the biological bases of behavior and offers preparation for graduate studies in experimental psychology or the neurosciences. The General Psychology Emphasis allows Psychology majors the freedom to choose courses that meet individual needs and interests.
Capstone Course Requirement
The following courses in the Psychology Major fulfill the capstone course requirement: PSY 498 Capstone Seminar in Psychology, or PSY 499 Capstone Internship in Psychology (with a minimum grade of “C” ).
An introduction to psychology including research methodology, biological bases ofbehavior, human development, sensation, perception, intelligence, cognition, language, states of consciousness, learning, memory, motivation, emotion, personality, abnormal behavior and stress and health.
An introduction to statistical procedures often encountered in the analysis of data from behavioral science research. Statistical methods covered include measures of central tendency and variability, correlation, regression, t-tests and analysis of variance. Prerequisites: PSY 100; MATH 113 or MATH 140 with a minimum grade of C-, or instructor permission.
Introduces psychology majors to the philosophical underpinnings and historical context underlying the development of the discipline. Prerequisite: PSY 100.
An examination of the fundamental theories of personality including the psychoanalytic, trait, behavioral, social-learning, humanist and existential perspectives.
A critical look at the change and continuity that occurs throughout the life span, emphasizing the interrelationships among physical, cognitive and psychosocial realms of human development. Current research findings are emphasized.
An examination of experimental and non-experimental research methods, the design of research studies, measurement issues, research ethics, research reporting and advanced topics in data analysis using computer statistical software. Students design and conduct their own study and present the results following APA approved format. Prerequisite: PSY 200.
Research in the field of environmental psychology is intended to answer questions about the influence of environment on the human experience, what personal factors affect an individual’s unique experience of a certain setting, how human behaviors affect the environment, and how to increase pro-environmental behaviors. Students read current scientific literature in the field and engage in problem solving for current issues that can be informed by the study of the human-environment psychological interaction. Prerequisites: PSY 100 or ENVS 100.
An overview of the different tasks performed by forensic psychologists, includingassessment, civil commitment, jury selection, eyewitness testimony, behavioral profiling, provision of clinical services to incarcerated individuals, and custody evaluations. Prerequisites: PSY 100 or instructor permission.
An exploration of the relationship between behaviors and their consequences through the application of basic behavioral principles. Topics include classical conditioning, instrumental conditioning, stimulus control, aversive control, and the biological constraints on learning. Students conduct their own experiments to apply the behavioral principles discussed throughout the course. Additional course fee applies. Prerequisite: PSY 200 or instructor permission.
A theoretical and empirical investigation into the processes and outcomes of thinking. Topics such as memory and forgetting, problem solving and creativity, cognitive dissonance and consistency, defensive repression, language, optimism, and attribution are studied in relation to current scientific research findings. Prerequisites: PSY 100 and minimum sophomore standing or instructor permission.
An investigation of the physiological basis of human behavior. Topics include functional neuroanatomy, neurophysiology and the activity of the nervous system in relation to behaviors such as sexual behavior, drug effects, emotion, and memory. Additional course fee applies. Prerequisite: PSY 200.
A course designed to show how psychology is directly related to the student¿s career and the student¿s life as a job applicant, employee, manager, and consumer. Topics covered include worker morale, leadership, work climate, communication networks, and productivity.
An overview of the emerging, multidisciplinary field of health psychology, which synthesizes research from clinical psychology, behavioral medicine and alternative therapies. Psychological aspects of prevention, health promotion and wellness are addressed. Content is both theory and application-based.
Evolutionary psychology examines mental and psychological traits such as memory, perception, attraction, or aggression, as adaptations or functions of the natural selection process. Topics addressed include the nature and nurture conflict, relationships between the two sexes, group cooperation, crime, and racism. Prerequite: PSY100
An opportunity for psychology majors to obtain field experience through direct, supervised contact with professionals in psychology and related areas. GradedSatisfactory/Unsatisfactory only. Prerequisite: completion of a minimum of 18 credits in psychology, including six credits at Western.
A discussion of theories and research findings concerning the individual in social situations with an emphasis on their applications to current social issues. Included are such topics as interpersonal attraction, persuasion, altruism, morality, aggression, and intra-group relations.
An introduction to the profession of clinical/counseling psychology through the presentation and analysis of different theoretical orientations and their respective techniques. Students have in-class opportunities to practice basic skills. Professional ethics in the delivery of mental health services are addressed. Prerequisites: PSY 100, PSY 258, or PSY 270.
A seminar involving advanced reading, discussion, and research. Different areas of study are selected as student and faculty interests dictate. A goal of this course is to stimulate critical thinking and analysis.
An opportunity for detailed study and research for advanced students. Topics and course requirements are determined in consultation with the sponsoring faculty member.
This capstone course is required for all psychology majors, except those who opt tocomplete the capstone internship. It is intended to provide the opportunity for the synthesis of the ideas and concepts acquired during undergraduate education in psychology. The seminar includes a discussion of controversial issues and ethical considerations in both experimental and applied areas, the completion of a comprehensive literature review and a consideration of the future of the field. Prerequisites: completion of a minimum of 18 credits in psychology including PSY 210.
An opportunity for psychology majors to gain field experience through direct, supervised contact with professionals in psychology and related fields. In addition to on-site responsibilities, students write a comprehensive paper integrating the field experience and psychological theory and later formally present the paper in an open forum. Prerequisites: completion of a minimum of 18 credits in psychology, including six credits at Western.