Psychology Courses

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Psychology

PSYC 105 Bust That Psych Myth (4)
This course provides a foundation and hands-on experience in the scientific study of human emotion, cognition and behavior. Through this exploration, the course presents students with opportunity to interact with material in ways that help them understand the context of psychology as a behavioral science among other fields that focus on human behavior (both individual and group) culture, and society, and the context of psychology among other sciences. Other issues discussed will be myths about popular psychology, the effect those myths have on the general public, and how broader society’s denial of research findings may be caused by deficits in scientific literacy. (WCore: WCSAM, RE)
PSYC 203 Life Span Developmental Psychology (2)
The psychological study of human development from conception to death. Current theories, research, and social issues relevant to development are addressed.
PSYC 209 Cognitive Psychology and Lab (4)
Examines the branch of psychology that studies how people perceive, remember, think, speak, and solve problems. Cognitive psychology utilizes experimental methodology to better understand the components of complex cognitive behaviors. The lab portion of the class will utilize computerized simulations and experiments to recreate classic experiments in cognitive psychology and to illustrate key concepts.
PSYC 216 Social Psychology (4)
An investigation of how people interact with and think about others. Areas of focus include research methodology, person perception, attitudes, prejudice, interpersonal attraction, aggression, and group behavior.
PSYC 252 Personality Theories (4)
Exploration of the biological, psychological, cultural, and social factors affecting personality, including a survey of the major schools of thought of personality and personality development.
PSYC 255 Career Exploration (2)
Students will engage in a process of self-assessment followed by informed exploration of multiple career options for which a psychology major forms a good foundation. Coursework includes skills and practice in writing cover letters and resumes for career-oriented jobs and statements of purpose for graduate programs.
PSYC 270 Thinking and Writing for Psychology (2)
In this course, students will hone the foundational skills of argument-based thinking, scientific writing, and proper use of citation in APA style. These skills support students’ preparation and serve as a prerequisite for most upper division work in the major.
PSYC 300 Special Topics in Psychology (1-4)
A special topics course highlighting specific areas or themes in psychology. Recent topics have included Family Violence, Parenting, American Families and Divorce, Seminar in Child Development, Behavioral Pharmacology, Topics on Aging, Childhood Psychopathology, the Physiological Basis of Mental Illness, Psychology and Literature, and Death and Dying. Prerequisites may vary with course content.
PSYC 301 Child Development (4)
Physical, psychosocial, and cognitive development of the individual from birth through 12 years of age. Course includes discussion of current research in child development and an integration of course content with field experience at schools and/or community agencies that serve children.
PSYC 305 Adolescent Development (4)
Physical, psychosocial, and cognitive development of the individual from puberty to adulthood. Common adolescent problems are considered from research and clinical perspectives. Course includes discussion of current research in adolescent development and an integration of course content with field experience at community agencies that serve adolescents. Required for secondary education majors.
PSYC 315 Human Services Practicum (4)
Students will engage in a structured practicum experience at a local human services agency (any structured organization with a staff that provides direct service delivery to community members) in order to apply psychological principles, experience working with help-seekers and providers, understand the functioning of human service agencies in a sociocultural context, and explore cultural identities. (WCore: EWRLD)
PSYC 318 Health Psychology (4)
This course will serve as a general introduction to health psychology. The main goals of the course are (a) to provide an overview of substantive areas of basic research in health psychology, (b) to examine specific contributions of health psychology to understanding acute and chronic diseases, and (c) to illustrate how principles of health psychology may be applied to everyday life. We will become familiar with the biopsychosocial model of health, and begin thinking about health and illness from multiple perspectives, including that of the patient, the caregiver, the health professional, and of course, the scientist/researcher. We will learn not only the psychological approaches to studying health, but also the psychological aspects of being ill, caring for the ill, and the psychological dimensions of health promotion and self-care.
PSYC 323 Service Learning in Psychology (4)
In this course, students will gain internship-like hands-on experience in the field from initial ideas and preferences to volunteering, to connecting experience with psychology concepts. Course topics will include how to use interests in psychology to find a place to volunteer, how to make contact with organizations of interest, how to connect volunteer experiences to past and/or present coursework for deeper understanding, how to be a successful volunteer, and how to understand and apply ideas from service learning as a discipline, including the ways service-learning differs from volunteering by itself.
PSYC 325 Multicultural Psychology (4)
A general introduction to multicultural psychology. The main goals of the course are to help students (a) gain a greater self-awareness of their own cultural heritage, (b) identify personal cultural attitudes, values, and beliefs about diverse populations, (c) become knowledgeable about people who make up U.S. society and the global society, and (d) be aware of hidden biases and discriminations prevalent in the current society. We will become familiar with dimensions of culture, dimensions of worldview, cultural identity development models, and sociopolitical issues of psychology. We will learn not only the issues of individual psychology among diverse populations, but also the social psychological aspects related to the cross-cultural encounter in the society.
PSYC 334 Psychology of Masculinities (4)
This course examines males’ diverse experiences as boys/men and public discourses about men and masculinities. The major goal of this course is to examine how the gendered social order influences men’s actions and the way men perceive themselves, other men, women, and social situations. We will also consider how masculinities are produced in various physical/social sites and will evaluate the prospects for social change in how men think, feel, and act. The course addresses issues such as: male socialization and boyhood/guyland culture, media representations of boys and men, male body image, male sexuality, male aggression and violence, men of color and their experiences, and the social construction of masculinities in different historical and cultural contexts.
PSYC 335 Psychology of Women (4)
An overview of major theories of women’s development, applications of feminist theory, gender-related research and women’s health issues across the life span. Psychological issues important to women during childhood, adolescence, adulthood and old age are discussed, such as gender role acquisition, pay inequities in the work force, adjustment to menopause and violence against women. Focus is given to research on women in relation to diverse socioeconomic classes, ethnic backgrounds and cultures.
PSYC 340 Psychology Field Experience (1-8)
This course offers students the opportunity to integrate academic learning in psychological science with practical, hands-on experience in the field, working with an organization, institute, company, laboratory, school, university, or other professional association. This field experience is recommended for students that have 2 demonstrated academic achievement in the major, effective interpersonal skills, and is encouraged for students that want to gain experience outside the classroom to further educational and career goals. An average of 3 hours of volunteer time per week is required to earn 1-credit hour toward program requirements. A maximum of 5-credit hours can be earned for fulfilling elective hour requirements in the psychology major. Requirements: Sophomore standing (for transfer students, at least 15 credit hours completed at Westminster or with faculty advisor and department approval); a minimum 2.5 GPA; faculty advisor and department approval; and, completion and approval of a field placement application from the Career Center. This course is repeatable for credit.
PSYC 345 Learning, Memory, and Motivation (4)
The class will emphasize applications of key concepts, models, and strategies related to different theories of learning. These will include behaviorist, cognitive, and socio-cultural perspectives. Students will examine frameworks, issues of transfer, social and cultural influences, as well as motivation and engagement. By looking at a variety of theories, we can identify a range of tools that may be useful in understanding learning and teaching in a variety of settings. My goal is that you are able to design and implement powerful learning experiences by the end of the course. Another facet of the course will focus on learning and memory. Therefore, we will examine the findings from laboratory research to gain a better understanding of the structure and organization of memory. Topics will include working memory, encoding and retrieval processes, implicit memory and multiple memory systems, reconstructive processes in memory, and developmental changes in memory.
PSYC 356 Sources of Social Influence (4)
This course will examine the many sources of social influence. These include, but are not limited to the media, politics, persuasion, compliance, obedience, conformity, and culture. We will also take an in-depth look into some of the early social psychological studies that examined social influence. These include the Milgram obedience studies, the Stanford Prison study, and the Robber’s Cave study. Students will participate in field experiences that will explore sources of social influence in our own society.
PSYC 358 Methods of Counseling (4)
Counseling is one of the most visible forms of applied psychology and the purpose of this course is to unveil the mystery behind the curtain of therapy. Students will learn and practice introductory counseling methods that are informed by psychological science and multicultural inclusion. This course is ideal for students who want to attend graduate school in a helping profession.
PSYC 362 Abnormal Psychology (4)
This course will provide an overview of psychological disorders, including diagnosis, etiology, typical treatment approaches. Drawing from clinical research in mental health, students will discuss the relative treatment efficacy of various intervention strategies. Students will explore the cultural and societal contexts of psychopathology.
PSYC 363 Exploring Addictions (3)
This course provides students with the opportunity to explore the many issues related to the process of addiction. The course will focus on etiological, assessment, treatment, and legal issues with regard to drug use. Students will also have the opportunity to learn about community resources and fellowship meetings.
PSYC 380 Directed Studies (1-4)
This course is intended for students that wish to pursue one or a combination of learning activities in order to further their studies and goals in the major. Three options are available: (1) Students can gain in-depth study of a particular research topic or area of the field by developing an intensive plan of study, through readings and a literature review, of a particular research topic that is of interest, and, that isn’t offered as part of the undergraduate curriculum; (2) Serve as an undergraduate Research Assistant (RA) on a faculty supervised project; and/or (3) Serve as a Course Assistant, aiding a faculty member with the teaching or other instructional aspects of a course. Each option requires faculty advisor, department, and dean approval, and the student must outline a list of learning outcomes, responsibilities, and a timeline for completing all required work for the experience. Depending on which option is pursued, students are required to write a substantial research paper or present other evidence of what was accomplished and learned from the experience (e.g., participating in a poster session or presentation as part of the annual Westminster Undergraduate Research Fair, presenting at a regional or national conference or other professional event). A maximum of 5 credit hours can be earned to fulfill elective requirements of the major. Requires consent of instructor, department, and school dean. This course is repeatable for credit.
PSYC 388 Environmental Psychology (4)
In this course, students will explore theory and research on select topics pertaining to human-environment interactions from a psychological perspective.  Through assigned readings, discussions, experiential activities, group projects, occasional lectures, and multi-media presentations students will learn about how people are influenced by and shape their physical surroundings, both in natural and built environments.  Students will gain a broad exposure to classic and contemporary topics environmental psychologists study, including: how individuals think about and navigate physical spaces, how urban design and architecture influences behavior, why some individuals are more environmentally proactive than others, whether time spent in natural settings has restorative benefits for health and well-being, and how personal space, territoriality, crowding, and privacy concerns affect how we interact with other people in everyday situations.
PSYC 390 Quantitative Research Methods (4)
A survey of scientific research methods used to investigate diverse aspects of human cognition, emotion, and behavior in the field of psychological science. Topics include experimental (causal) and non-experimental research designs (correlational, survey-based, and observational methods), basic descriptive and inferential statistics, data collection and analysis, and ethical issues surrounding research on human populations in laboratory and field settings. Assignments include developing and conducting experiments and studies to demonstrate understanding and applications of behavioral science research, gaining familiarity with data analysis approaches using statistical programs, and interpreting and communicating research findings. Development of an independent research proposal is also an important component of the course. (WCore: RE)
PSYC 400 Seminar in Psychology (4)
Informal group experience for advanced students to explore issues, problems, and innovations in psychology.
PSYC 415 History and Systems of Psychology (4)
The influence of great individuals and societal change on the evolution of psychology. A survey of how psychology grew from its ancient roots into a modern science. Especially useful for seniors or students considering graduate training. This course is recommended to students who may pursue graduate studies in psychology.
PSYC 430 Independent Research Thesis (2-4)
Students undertake a portion of a research project and learn aspects of scientific inquiry appropriate to the field of psychology.  Students write sections of an APA-style research paper appropriate to the scope of the project conducted.  Prior planning with and permission of a faculty mentor is required. Requires senior standing, a declared major in psychology, and consent of instructor. (WCore: RE)
PSYC 431 Community Placement Thesis (2-4)
Students develop a thesis topic through experience volunteering in the field.  The placement experience culminates in an APA-style theoretical paper that includes an extensive literature review and analysis of thesis statement based on literature and field experience.  Requires prior planning with and permission of a faculty mentor. Requires senior standing, a declared major in psychology, and consent of instructor.
PSYC 434 Social Neuroscience (4)
How is the brain involved in social processes and behavior, and how do our interactions with other people modify and shape the brain? In this course, students will learn about the interdisciplinary field of social neuroscience, the study of the neural bases of social behavior. This course will emphasize basic brain structures, functions, and mechanisms and processes implemented in social interactions, and how social behavior is shaped by biology and experience. Topics will include brain scanning technologies and methods, behavioral research methodologies, self and other representations in the brain, self-regulation, intergroup perceptions, emotion, motivation, attraction and interpersonal relationships, aggression, social rejection, and prosocial behavior.
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