Psychology Courses by Topic Area
Information About General Education Codes
- Intercultural understanding (1 intensive (UU) plus 2 practice/exposure/intensive (U and UU))
- Creativity (1 intensive (CC) plus 2 practice/exposure/intensive (C and CC))
- Critical reading and analysis (1 intensive (RR) plus 2 practice/exposure/intensive (R and RR))
- Information literacy and technological competency (1 intensive in each topic (LL and TT) plus 1 practice/exposure/intensive in either topic (TT, LL, T, and L)
- Quantitative thinking (1 intensive (QQ) plus 2 practice/exposure/intensive (Q and QQ))
- Oral communication (1 intensive (OO) plus 2 practice/exposure/intensive (O and OO)
- Written communication (courses in the First-Year Program and Senior Learning Community plus 1 intensive (WW) and 2 practice/exposure/intensive (WC and WW))
Updated September 2023
One unit. A survey course dealing with the major fields of psychology, including learning, perception, memory, motivation, development, social behavior, disorders of psychological functioning, and physiology of behavior. An introduction to the methodology, frameworks, and principles of contemporary scientific psychology. No prerequisites. Offered fall and spring semesters.
One unit. An examination of the biological, emotional, social, cognitive, and familial factors that affect personality development and adjustment during the first decade of life. Prerequisite: PS 101. Offered fall and spring semesters.
One unit. A study of the psychological reactions to the changes at puberty. Topics include body image, identity consolidation, and the role of the adolescent in American society. Discussion of the interactions between the adolescent and the family and peers, and their effects on personality development. Prerequisite: PS 101. Offered as required.
One unit. This course introduces the basic principles of experimental design, how to write papers using APA style, and how to use the statistical techniques employed in psychological research, including descriptive statistics, t-tests, ANOVA, correlation, and regression. The course includes a required, weekly 3-hour laboratory section where students learn statistical computer applications. Prerequisite: PS 101. Offered fall and spring semesters.
One unit. Are religious “truths” divinely given or are they created by humans under the impact of cultural considerations? We will unravel this issue by approaching the question from various perspectives. We will consider, for example, the psychological approach of Freud as well as the anthropological approach of Malinowski. We will also consider the manner in which Biblical scenarios are conditioned—if not determined—by historical and cultural circumstances. Also considered will be the psychology of Jung and his contention that religious symbols are the inevitable products of a “collective unconsciousness.” We will conclude the course with an investigation of how religious symbolism is self-consciously employed—even manipulated—in the arts. The creative use of symbolism will be illustrated through an examination of various novels and movies. Cross-listed with RE 204. No prerequisites. Offered as required.
One unit. A discussion of current assumptions about the nature and causes of psychological disorders based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychological Disorders (DSM) used by mental health practitioners. Basic concepts and prevailing theoretical approaches are discussed and evaluated. Description and discussion of the major psychological disturbances, their etiology, and treatment are presented. Prerequisite: PS 101. Offered annually.
One unit. A presentation and discussion of the basic issues and techniques in the construction, use, and evaluation of psychological assessments. Professional assessment of intelligence, personality, vocation, and mental health will be reviewed. Students will create and administer an original psychological assessment as part of a larger course project. Prerequisite: PS 201. Offered annually.
One unit. Every life has, at one point or another, been touched by loss. The decisions we make about how we will respond to these losses have major psychological ramifications. Do we respond differently to different losses? Are some methods of coping better than others? What does disturbed grief look like? From Freud through more recent research by Kubler-Ross psychologists have been fascinated by issues surrounding death and dying. This course will explore some of those issues from the perspectives of both the dying and the bereaved. We will cover topics such as child bereavement, grief and grieving in response to specific life losses and the needs of the dying and palliative care. Emphasis will be placed on the developmental differences in responses to loss, coping strategies and effectiveness of outside interventions. Prerequisite: PS 101. Offered annually.
One unit. In this class students will learn about child and adolescent psychological disorders and will be able to identify normal versus abnormal behaviors. Students will be able to identify DSM criteria for diagnosis and will discuss etiological theories and treatment methods for various psychological disorders. Students will learn to identify symptoms of a child with an applicable psychological disorder. Prerequisite: PS 101. Offered as needed.
This course will examine the essential role of play across aspects of cognitive and social-emotional development in children. Particular emphasis will be placed on the creative aspect of play and its relationship to fantasy, emotional expression, and the structured experiences of children. Offered as required.
One unit. An exploration of the applications of psychological research in the criminal justice and civil legal systems. Among the topics covered are understanding criminal and other antisocial behavior, selection and support of law enforcement officers, profiling techniques, trial consultation in jury selection and child custody cases, and the impact of psychological research on public policy legislation. Prerequisite: PS 101 or permission of the instructor. Offered as required.
Applied sport psychology is concerned with (1) psychological factors that influence participation and performance, (2) psychological effects derived from participation, and (3) theories and interventions about enhancing performance and participation. You will learn how professional athletes use psychological principles to distinguish themselves from other hard-working, talented athletes. More importantly, you will learn how to use these principles in your life. Prerequisite: PS 101 or permission of the instructor. Offered as required.
One unit. The course will be organized around three principal themes: sweetness, hunger, and our microbiomes. Why were people so driven to obtain sugar and to use it to satisfy such a high percentage of their caloric needs? Psychological and historical research reveals much about this. Furthermore, we now see sugar regarded almost as a toxin! Was the fasting of a medieval saint the psychological equivalent of “anorexia nervosa,” a disease first described by late Victorian doctors? And how does medieval fasting and Victorian anorexia compare to our contemporary understanding of eating disorders? We are alarmed by stories of food contamination but is our fear well founded? In our zeal for “clean” food and bodies have we overlooked the need to “feed” the microbes that live inside us? We will explore why there’s so much anxiety about eating. This course is offered only as an Intermediate Learning Community with HI 239.
One unit. An examination of the debates on the roles of biology, family, culture, development, and economic opportunity in generating prejudice. This course will explore classic and contemporary works in the areas of stigma, prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination. Empirical research will be examined to evaluate theoretical explanations for these phenomena. Prerequisite: PS 101 or permission of the instructor. Offered as required.
One unit. This course examines the similarities and differences between men and women from a psychological perspective, with emphasis on the following themes: major theories of gender development, including the psychoanalytic, cognitive, and behavioral models; the development of gender roles across the life span; application of schema theory to the understanding of gender; examination of biological and psychological sources of gender awareness; and exploration of gender issues in film and media. Offered as required.
One unit. In this course, we will explore violence and aggression as emotional, economic, historical and sociocultural phenomena. Violence and aggression both shape our individual lives and social world, and happen within a social, psychological and historical context. In this course, we will make use of a variety of texts in exploring violence and aggression—with a focus on diverse groups’ experiences. We will also look at cultural notions about which groups are violent, and social realities of where violence actually happens in our relationships, homes, workplaces, streets and popular culture. Throughout the term, we will focus on differences and similarities in people’s experiences of violence and aggression across lines of class, race, gender and sexuality. We will explore the influence of media on aggression, violence in the meat industry, relational and physical aggression common in our homes, schools and workplaces, and understandings of conflict resolution. Offered as needed.
One unit. This course explains the psychology of social cognition, social influence, and how leadership intersects with American diversity. Factors that influence decisions are examined from the perspective of behavioral economics. Persuasion is studied from a perspective of identifying common triggers that prompt compliance, as well as ways to harness social influence to promote stronger societies. Students are challenged to apply theoretical ideas and empirical research to real-world problems, to explore diversity within America, and to practice critical thinking skills. Offered as required.
One unit. An investigation of the impact on the public of the mass communication of printed and electronically mediated information and entertainment. Students will study the psychological effects on target audiences of media ranging from newspapers, magazines, and books to film, television, and the Internet. Topics include the psychology of advertising and propaganda, the relation of medium and message, and the application of psychological concepts to the production of mass media. Prerequisite: PS 101 or permission the instructor. Offered as required.
One unit. Health psychology is the area of psychology that focuses on how biological, psychological and social factors are related to the prevention of illness and the promotion of health and well-being. Health psychology includes such topics as relaxation and understanding stress, perfectionism, self-esteem, effective communication, anger management, diet, sleep habits and patterns, and regular exercise. Students will be challenged to think critically about their personal health and engage in a personal health improvement project. Prerequisite: PS 101. Offered as required.
One unit. Positive psychology is a relatively new field of study that emphasizes and explores human strengths, positive emotions, and well-being. In this course, specific emphasis will be placed on the science and practical applications of increasing human strengths and happiness. Some questions that will be answered throughout the semester include: “What is happiness? What helps determine it? What can be done to increase it?” Other related topics that will be explored in the course include gratitude, resilience, coping, friendship and love, forgiveness, mindfulness, flow, and positive development across the lifespan. Students will engage in a series of experiential exercises throughout the semester that will help them better understand concepts in positive psychology, and potentially increase personal subjective well-being.
One unit. All of psychology ultimately comes together in the actions a person takes. If they play a sport, play a musical instrument, send text messages, or drive a car, they generate actions. In generating actions, they confront issues in the psychology of action. The psychology of action is essentially about the mind-body connection: How do we get from thoughts to actions? By better understanding the psychology of action, we may be able to design better systems for rehabilitation and education, we may be able to design better computers, automobiles, and other devices, and we may be able to read each other’s emotions and thoughts more effectively. Prerequisite: PS 101. Offered as required.
One unit. Discussion and analysis of areas not covered in regular courses. The content is determined by the instructor and the department based upon student interest and faculty research. Offered as required. May be taken more than once.
One unit. This course explores the application of psychology to the field of Child Life. A Child Life Specialist is a medical professional who helps children and their families cope with stress related to illness, injury, hospitalization, or disability. A Child Life Specialist promotes age appropriate coping through play, medical preparation, and education. Students will learn about Child Life and its relationship to child development, clinical psychology and health psychology. This course will also examine the history of Child Life and core principles of Child Life including family-centered care, characteristics of the hospitalized child, loss, grief/bereavement in children, play techniques, and expectations regarding preparation, professionalism, and coping. Alternative careers in psychology in hospital settings will be compared to Child Life. Prerequisite: PS 101 or permission of the instructor. Offered only in summer session.
One unit. An examination of the principal theories of the origin, structure, and dynamics of the personality, including the psychoanalytic, trait, existential, and behavioristic schools of thought. Theorists studied include Freud, Jung, Adler, Skinner, Horney, Erikson, Bandura, Rogers, and May. A comparative and critical approach is taken. Prerequisite: PS 101. Offered as required.
One unit. A discussion of the seven areas of specialization within the field of industrial/organizational psychology and their relation to other areas of psychology. Applications of psychological principles and methods in business and industry are illustrated, particularly in personnel selection and human relations. Prerequisite: PS 101. Offered as required.
One unit. The course deals with various schools of counseling and psychotherapy, including the psychoanalytic, existential-humanistic, client-centered, Gestalt, behavioral, transactional, rational- emotive, and reality therapy approaches. Basic issues discussed are the goals, function and role of the therapist, the therapist-client relationship, communication strategies, transference, and countertransference. Prerequisite: PS 101. PS 212 is recommended, but not required. Offered as required.
One unit. This course examines the diagnostic criteria of Substance Use Disorders, introduces students to assessment tools used to quantify addiction and the practical application of evidence-based treatment when working with population. This course will explore specific techniques used in individual and group settings based on various theoretical orientations such as, but not limited to, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing and Solution Focused Therapy. It will analyze the process from addiction to recovery including the role of detoxification, rehabilitation and outpatient facilities. This course will also explore Medication Assistance Treatment (MAT) and provide an overview of related psychopharmacology used in addiction treatment. Prerequisite: PS 101. Offered as required.
One unit. A survey of the clinical and recreational uses of psychoactive compounds. Topics include the anthropological perspective on drug use, issues of dosage and administration, the pharmacological models of psychopathology and the use of drugs in the treatment of psychiatric disorders, and the psychopharmacology of drug addiction. Emphasis is placed on research that reveals the brain mechanisms underlying the therapeutic, euphoric, and addictive characteristics of drugs. Prerequisite: PS 101 or permission of the instructor. Offered Spring Semester.
One unit. Psychoanalysis remains one of a very few perspectives on human reality which continue to exert a major theoretical and practical influence around the world. The course examines a variety of topics and controversies introduced by Freud, his followers, and his critics such as: the doctrine of unconscious mind; the object of desire (sexuality, aggression, love); the meaning of relationship; the extent of freedom; dreams and fantasy; narcissism; and madness, as well as issues pertaining to the nature of science and the foundations of psychology. Cross-listed with PH 302. Offered as required.
Zero or one unit. Supervised internship at an approved institution or agency outside of the college under the supervision of a psychology department faculty member. Prerequisites: PS 101 and permission of the instructor. Offered fall and spring semesters. May be taken twice. This course is not part of the senior LC.
One unit. An introduction to the biological approach to the experimental study of behavior. Includes consideration of the types of biological data relevant to psychology and examines the principles governing brain activity, and the role of neurotransmitter systems in memory and motivational processes. Topics include the nervous system mechanisms underlying perceptual, emotional, and behavioral processes, and brain dysfunctions that may underlie schizophrenia and depression. Prerequisite: PS 101. Offered fall semester of even-numbered years.
Zero or Two units. Supervised field experience at an approved institution or agency outside of the college under the supervision of a psychology department faculty member. Prerequisites: PS 101 and permission of the instructor. Offered fall and spring semesters. This course is not part of the senior LC.
One unit. Supervised independent research developed by the student and a faculty mentor. Limited to advanced majors. Offered fall and spring semesters. May be taken twice.
Experimental Psychology Courses. Labs are project-based.
One unit. An examination of historical and contemporary learning theories including those of Pavlov, Watson, Hull, and Skinner. Emphasis is placed on the application of these theories to topics including Pavlovian and operant conditioning, habit formation, reinforcement and reward, punishment, motivation, and stimulus control of behavior. Students will be introduced to the measurement and experimental analysis of behavior by conducting laboratory experiments. The use of these techniques in various areas of psychological research and application (such as behavior modification) are discussed. Prerequisites: PS 201. Offered fall semesters of even-numbered years.
One unit. Students are introduced to research methods in perceptual psychology. Topics include psychophysical methods, neural mechanisms of seeing and hearing, illusions, distance perception, and schools of perceptual psychology. Some laboratory work is required. Prerequisites: PS 201. Offered as required.
One unit. A survey of classic and current issues, theory, and research in the area of human cognition. Topics considered include memory and attention processes, problems of representation of information, hemispheric specialization, and the structure of categories and creativity. Some experimental work is required. Prerequisites: PS 201. Offered as required.
One unit. An in-depth review of classic and contemporary theory and research on human development. Emphasis is placed on core issues in developmental psychology, research methodology with human subjects, and ethical issues in the investigation of human development. Topics covered include perceptual, cognitive, social, emotional, and moral elements of personality development. Some experimental work is required. Prerequisites: PS 201. Offered as required.
One unit. A survey of theory, research, history, and research methods used by social psychologists. Topics include social cognition, social perception, self-justification, social influence, conformity, interpersonal attraction, pro-social behavior, aggression, and prejudice. Basic and applied research in the laboratory and the field will be evaluated. Students will work independently or in small groups on a research project. Prerequisites: PS 201. Offered spring semester.
One unit. A seminar required of all senior psychology majors which includes a field placement. The seminar is linked with Psychology 441, History of Psychology, and is taken concurrently with that course. Students meet to discuss current issues in psychological research and application, and their relation to the history of psychology. Prerequisite: Must be taken in conjunction with PS 441. Offered fall and spring semesters.
Zero units. This is the experiential component of the senior learning community and is taken in conjunction with the senior reflective tutorial (PS 400). The experiential component entails a 100-hour internship that occurs in the same semester as PS 400. In seeking experiential opportunities, students work in close consultation with their professor to find the most appropriate placement in an organization. Offered in Fall and Spring. Must be taken with PS 400.
One unit. An historical survey of the development of modern psychology, with particular emphasis on the growth of the science of psychology in the United States. For students with a dual major whose first major is psychology, this course is linked with PS 400, the senior reflective tutorial and taken concurrently with that course. Prerequisites: Senior status, PS 201. Offered fall and spring semesters.