Psychology

Psychology is the science of behavior and mental processes. Psychology focuses both on explaining, predicting, and controlling behavior, and also on understanding inner experience and consciousness, including emotion, thoughts, memories, self-awareness, and perceptions. In addition, psychology considers the impact of social and cultural context on behavior and experience. Psychology has its origins in multiple disciplines such as philosophy and biology and in many countries, including Germany, England, and Austria. It has flourished in the United States, and both professional and research organizations have had dramatic increases in membership. The psychology program at Wesleyan emphasizes intensive training in psychological research that will prepare students for graduate study. Students who plan on entering the workforce after graduation will also benefit from an understanding of the role of research in their field. 

Major Program. A major in psychology provides a student with a foundation for graduate and/or professional study. There are numerous fields and specialties available in this discipline, including physiological, cognitive, developmental, social, personality, clinical, counseling, community, health, industrial/organizational, experimental, consumer, evolutionary, school, and forensic psychology. Interdisciplinary specialties such as psycholinguistics are also options. Some of these require more than a four-year degree, and some require graduate work at the doctoral level. But a major in psychology also enables one to enter the world of work without advanced study. A psychology major who plans to seek a position in the human services field after graduation should work with her advisor to select interdisciplinary courses that will complement the major courses. 

Major Requirements: Psychology

The curricular model on which the psychology major is organized is described as a "generalist" model which places psychology squarely in the liberal arts tradition. This model includes an introductory course, methods courses in statistics and research, content courses in several areas of psychology, and integrative or capstone courses. As the introductory course, general psychology is a survey of the field with emphasis on research findings and methods of research. The methods courses (statistical methods, preparing to conduct research, and research methods) enable students to read, evaluate, and conduct psychological research. Content courses include the knowledge base of the discipline. According to the generalist model used, students are required to take at least two psychology courses with a brain and cognition orientation, one course with a clinical/counseling orientation, and at least two psychology courses with an interpersonal orientation. These content courses and elective courses, as outlined below, enable students to sample several areas in building a sound, broad knowledge base.

Capstone work in the major is provided through a required course in psychological history and systems with a strong writing component. A required senior seminar with emphasis on producing or applying empirical findings, speaking, and writing fulfills the integrative experience requirement by linking the student's work in her major with her general education and by integrating other disciplinary approaches to the study of psychology. Also offered are integrative courses in internships or field studies and in independent studies.

The broad goals of the psychology major aim to provide a well-rounded education in psychology and to prepare students for advanced study or for employment in professional entry-level positions.

More specifically, the student learning outcomes of the psychology major are as follows:

I. to develop a scientific approach to understanding human behavior;

II. to develop a knowledge base (includes significant development in breadth and depth of knowledge in psychology; significant facts, theories, and issues are explored to help students develop a conceptual framework rather than isolated bits of knowledge);

III. to develop thinking skills (skills in critical thinking and reasoning required for optimum learning);

IV. to develop communication skills (written and oral skills appropriate to the language of the discipline);

V. to develop methodological competencies (a sophistication in statistics and research design);

VI. to develop interpersonal skills (interpersonal awareness, sensitivity, and expanded self-knowledge); and

VII. to develop ethics and values (a recognition, understanding, and appreciation of human diversity; an understanding and sensitivity to ethical issues and issues of gender, race, ethnicity, and class as promoted in psychological theory, research, and practice).

Required for a major in psychology are forty-one to forty-two semester hours.

I. Core Requirements: 19 hours

PSY 101 General Psychology 3 hours

MAT 220 Statistical Methods* 3 hours

PSY 230 Reading, Writing, and Review: Preparing to Conduct Research in Psychology* 3 hours

PSY 305 Research Methods in the Behavioral Sciences* 3 hours

PSY 306 Systems of Psychology 3 hours

PSY 441 Senior Seminar: Research* 3 hours

OR

PSY 442 Senior Seminar: Applied* 3 hours

PSY 447 Senior Seminar Lab* 1 hour

* Courses denoted with an asterisk should be taken sequentially. See course descriptions in Catalogue. MAT 220 and PSY 230 may be taken concurrently.
 

II. Content Requirements (Brain and Cognition): 7-8 hours

Select two:

PSY 207 Principles of Neuroscience 4 hours

PSY 310 Cognitive Psychology 3 hours

PSY 314 Learning and Memory 4 hours
 

III. Content Requirements (Clinical/Counseling): 3 hours

Select one:

PSY 304 Psychology of Personality 3 hours

PSY 340 Testing and Therapy 3 hours

PSY 325 Abnormal Psychology 3 hours
 

IV. Content Requirements (Interpersonal): 6 hours

PSY 203 Social Psychology 3 hours

PSY 240 Developmental Psychology 3 hours
 

V. Electives: 6 hours

Select two:

PSY 201 Psychology of Human Sexuality 3 hours

PSY 260 Drugs and Behavior 3 hours

PSY 301 Psychology of Women 3 hours

PSY 312 Industrial and Organizational Psychology 3 hours

PSY 330 Forensic Psychology 3 hours

PSY 396 Special Topics in Psychology 3 hours

PSY 451 Directed Independent Study

PSY 452 Field Study

(or other brain and cognition or clinical/counseling content courses not selected in Sections II and III.)
 

A suggested course schedule is as follows:

Fall                                                  Spring 

FIRST YEAR

WIS 101 or ENG 101                            Elective/General Education
MAT 130 or equivalent                        MAT 220                  

PSY 101                                             Elective/General Education  

Laboratory Science                            Elective/General Education  

Foreign Language Requirement           Foreign Language Requirement
 

SECOND YEAR

PSY 230                                            PSY 305 (or full PSY 230/305 sequence in Year 3)

Elective/General Education                 PSY 260 or General Education

PSY 203                                            PSY 240

PSY 207                                             Elective/General Education

Elective/General Education                  Elective/General Education
 

THIRD YEAR

PSY 340 or PSY 304                           PSY 310 or PSY 314

PSY 452 or Elective                            PSY 325 or PSY Elective

PSY Elective                                      Elective/General Education

Elective/General Education                 Elective/General Education

Elective/General Education                 Elective/General Education
 

FOURTH YEAR

PSY 441 or PSY 442                             PSY 447 

PSY 306                                             PSY Elective or Elective

Elective/General Education                  Elective/General Education

Elective/General Education                  Elective/General Education

Elective/General Education                  Elective/General Education

Integrative Experience. The Integrative Experience requirement is met through either PSY 441: Senior Seminar: Research or PSY 442 Senior Seminar: Applied. In these courses, psychology majors are encouraged to make connections between a specific content/research area within psychology and a focused content/research area in an academic discipline outside of psychology. This seminar allows students to broaden this focus and apply knowledge gained in psychology to other, relevant areas of study within the liberal arts.

Professional Development. Throughout her Wesleyan education each student is given opportunities to explore professional and career choices, and to develop and demonstrate the knowledge and skills essential for professional success. Each student will complete a PDE 400 Professional Development Experience and submit a PDE 401 Professional ePortfolio prior to graduation. Psychology majors gain professional experience through internships and field experiences, PSY 441 and/or PSY 442. Students who intend to work within the human services field are strongly encouraged to consider an internship as part of their major. 

Minor Requirements: Psychology. A minor in psychology requires 21-22 hours in psychology. Required are PSY 101, 203, 207, 240, 310, 325, and one additional psychology course (3-4 hours) at or above the 200 level.

Minor in Equine-Assisted Therapy. A minor in equine-assisted therapy allows students to explore a growing field in which mental health professional utilize horses in a therapy setting. Equine-assisted therapies differ from therapeutic riding in that the therapy setting is conducted on the ground rather than in the saddle, and the horse is part of a three-pronged therapy team (mental health specialist, equine specialist, and the horse). The EAT minor takes an interdisciplinary approach to therapy, giving students additional tools and experiences to carry into their professional roles upon graduation. The minor combines well with biology and psychology for students interested in veterinary studies or further study in equine-assisted therapy or with business for students who wish to pursue equine-related business opportunities. Students will have the option to become EAGALA certified through the program. See the Equine-Assisted Therapy catalog listing for full details. 

Minor in Neuroscience. The neuroscience minor allows students to explore the nervous system and its contributions to human and animal behavior. Students enrolled in this minor are encouraged to attain a solid understanding of the underlying concepts; to develop skills in experimental design and data analysis; to approach problems and tasks logically, creatively, and critically; to become knowledgeable of theory used in the current literature; and to become proficient in using methodology commonly employed in research in neuroscience. This minor takes an interdisciplinary approach to neuroscience and integrates information from both biology and psychology. The neuroscience minor coupled with a major in biology or psychology provides an excellent background to pursue varied career opportunities. See the Neuroscience catalog listing for full details.

Minor in Organizational Behavior. Combining content from business and psychology, the organizational behavior minor provides students with a more focused exploration of the impact of human behavior (both as individuals and in groups) on organizational practices. This minor would be an ideal option for a psychology or business major who plans to apply to related graduate programs. Students who plan on entering the workplace following graduation will benefit from increased knowledge relating to human resources, conflict management, and employer-employee relations in governmental, for-profit, and non-profit organizations in both public and private sectors. See the Organizational Behavior catalog listing for full details.

Postgraduate Opportunities. Approximately 47 percent of psychology graduates with a bachelor's degree enter the job market directly. Another 31 percent enroll in psychology-related graduate programs (12 percent at the doctoral level and 19 percent at the master's level); about 7 percent enroll in law or medicine. Approximately 14 percent go in directions such as social work. Educational institutions employ about 40 percent of all psychologists, while hospitals, clinics, or rehabilitation centers employ another 25 percent. And, about 20 percent of psychologists are employed in government agencies.

Resources for Non-Majors. The department has many resources for the non-major. The introductory course (PSY 101) provides a broad overview to the discipline and would be useful to all other majors on campus. In addition, it fulfills one of the social science divisional requirements for general education. Students interested in exploring the field of human services may enroll in Introduction to Human Services (PSY 106), which fulfills the speaking competency requirement for general education under the social sciences column. The Psychology of Women (PSY 301) fulfills the synthesizing requirement for general education. Many students in other disciplines, especially in business, education, and communications, find that Statistical Methods (PSY 220) is an invaluable tool, and it fulfills the quantitative reasoning requirement for general education. Nursing students and other non-majors would find Developmental Psychology (PSY 240) useful and interesting. Some of our courses also appeal to non-majors in terms of practical applications; examples include testing and therapy, abnormal psychology, and forensic psychology.

Psychology (PSY) Gen. Ed. Course Descriptions

101: General Psychology.

Goal: Understanding self and others, predicting behavior, and understanding and control of behavior. To be able to apply methods of research and application of psychological principles to everyday life.

Content: Research methods; child, adolescent, and adult psychology; psychological testing; personality, and abnormal psychology; psychotherapy; social psychology; applied psychology; history of psychology; and physiological processes, principles of learning and memory, human perception, and cognition.

Taught: Fall, Spring.

Gen. Ed. Category: Exploring; Individuals & Communities, (SBS/PS).

Credit: 3 hours.


106: Introduction to Human Services. 
Goal: 
To introduce students to the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to provide professional and ethical leadership in various human services settings. 
Content: Historical background, philosophies, purpose, organizational structures, funding, and management of human service agencies. PSY 106 is not a requirement for the Psychology major. 
Taught: Annually.
Prerequisite: None.
Gen. Ed. Category: Developing; Speaking Competency (SBS/PS).
Credit: 3 hours. 

220: Statistical Methods.

Goal: To introduce students to the logic of designing an experiment and interpreting the quantitative data derived from it.

Content: Study of binomial and normal distributions, measures of central tendency, and tests of hypotheses.

Taught: Fall, Spring.

Prerequisite(s): MAT 130, 140, 192 or equivalent placement.

Gen. Ed. Category: Developing; Quantitative Reasoning Competency, (SBS/PS).

Credit: 3 hours; cross-listed as MAT 220.

 

301: Psychology of Women.

Goal: To further students' understanding of psychological knowledge as it applies to women and gender issues.

Content: Exploration of the manner in which psychology provides a unique perspective on the study of women with emphasis on research methodologies, empirical findings, theory, and current and historical controversies.

Taught: Spring.

Prerequisites: PSY 101 or WST 200.

Gen. Ed. Category: Synthesizing.

Credit: 3 hours; cross-listed as WST 301.

Psychology (PSY) Other Course Descriptions

119: Service Learning. 
Goal:
 To engage students in supervised community service activities and to facilitate reflection on civic responsibility to the needs of the community. 
Content: Students participate in weekly sessions designed to prepare for, reflect on, and analyze their individual community service experiences. Students will select community service settings from a list of agencies in the Macon/Middle Georgia area provided through the Lane Center for Community Engagement and Service. PSY 119 is not a requirement for the Psychology major. 
Prerequisite: None.
Credit: 1-3 hours; Credit/No Credit grade option only. 

201: Psychology of Human Sexuality.

Goal: To explore biological, psychological, interpersonal and sociocultural aspects of human sexuality.

Content: Issues surrounding multiple and often contradictory elements that shape sexual attitudes and behaviors.

Taught: Fall. Alternate years.

Credit: 3 hours; cross-listed as WST 201.


203: Social Psychology.

Goal: To provide students with a scientific understanding of human social behavior in its various forms.

Content: Social perception, attitude formation and change, interpersonal attraction, aggression, group processes, health, gender and other topics through examining contemporary social psychological theories and research.

Taught: Fall.

Prerequisite: PSY 101.

Credit: 3 hours.


207: Principles of Neuroscience.

Goal: To provide the student with an understanding of physiological processes that mediate psychological functioning.

Content: The biological bases of sensation, perception, learning, memory, cognition, motivation, emotion, and consciousness;

overview of recent and significant developments in this area.

Taught: Fall.

Prerequisite: PSY 101.

Credit: 4 hours; cross-listed as NSC 207.


230: Reading, Writing, & Review: Preparing to Conduct Research in Psychology.

Goal: To encourage students to acquire knowledge of an issue within psychology and critically analyze this topic using

appropriate research methodology.

Content: Provides students an opportunity for focused research in their area of interest. The class will function as a research group, providing each student with a place for discussion and critical review of her topic.

Taught: Fall.

Credit: 3 hours

235: Nature and Manifestation of Prejudice. 
Goal. This course will enhance the student's understanding of the roots of prejudice; it will also provide students with an opportunity to explore their personal attitudes, fears, and hopes concerning race, class, and gender. 
Content: Students will examine a variety of sources in their exploration of the nature of prejudice with an eye to context (race, class, and gender). They will also explore the social psychological impact of prejudice upon the quality of community life through selected community service projects. PSY 235 is not a requirement for the Psychology major. 
Taught: Occasionally.
Prerequisite: None.
Credit: 3 hours. 


240: Developmental Psychology.

Goal: To develop knowledge about the processes of growth and development throughout the entire lifespan. To understand theory, research methods, and major research findings of developmental psychology.

Content: Theories of development, prenatal development, physical, cognitive, language, emotional, and social development in infancy, childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, middle adulthood, and late adulthood.

Taught: Spring.

Prerequisites: None.

Credit: 3 hours.

260: Drugs and Behavior.

Goal: To examine the major classes of drugs which affect behavior, including drugs of abuse and drugs used in the treatment of mental disorders.

Content: The pharmacology of drugs of abuse and drugs used in treating mental disorders is explored. Exploration of historical background of drugs as well as social context.

Taught: Spring.

Prerequisites: None.
Credit: 3 hours; cross-listed as NSC 260.

 

304: Psychology of Personality.

Goal: To promote synthesized understanding of the person through an integration of theory and research.

Content: Exploration of environmental and inherited factors which produce a particular personality structure; includes

psychoanalytic, humanistic, existential, trait, behavioral, social learning, and cognitive theories.

Taught: Fall. Alternate years.

Prerequisite: PSY 101.

Credit: 3 hours.


305: Research Methods in the Behavioral Sciences.

Goal: To provide the student with a thorough review of the application of the scientific method to the study of human behavior. To become familiar with the philosophical roots of social science research, the nature of research materials and methods in the behavioral sciences, and the issues involved in their collection and interpretation. To evaluate critically research results and to be able to apply research methods appropriate to the level of measurement, theoretical issue, and sources of data involved in projects and assignments.

Content: An introduction to the application of the scientific method in the study of human behavior, focuses on the philosophy of science and measurement, experimental and quasi-experimental designs for research, survey construction, and analysis, and the interpretation and critical evaluation of research results.

Taught: Spring.

Prerequisites: PSY 101, MAT 220, and PSY 230.

Credit: 3 hours.


306: Systems of Psychology.

Goal: To acquaint the student with contemporary points of view in psychology through a survey of modern psychological schools, their historical development, special problems, and contributions to the field.

Content: Historical development and current position of structuralism functionalism, behaviorism, Gestalt psychology,

psychoanalysis, humanistic psychology, and cognitive psychology. Classical readings.

Taught: Fall.

Prerequisites: PSY 101, junior or senior standing.

Credit: 3 hours.


310: Cognitive Psychology.

Goal: To foster an understanding of the human mind and how it operates by discussing the major theories, concepts, and

research in cognitive psychology.

Content: Detailed examination of how humans encode, perceive, remember, and use the information encountered in daily life. Topics examined include pattern recognition, mental imagery, attention, memory, language, problem solving, creativity, and artificial intelligence.

Taught: Spring.

Prerequisites: PSY 101.

Credit: 3 hours; cross-listed as NSC 310.

 

312: Industrial and Organizational Psychology.

Goal: To understand the application of psychological principles to the workplace and business organizations.

Content: Organizational behavior, job culture, organizational change and leadership, personnel recruitment and evaluation, job safety, job satisfaction, productivity, and team behavior will be examined. Research methods in I/O psychology and global issues in I/O psychology will be explored.

Taught: Fall, alternating years.

Prerequisites: PSY 101.

Credit: 3 hours.


314: Learning and Memory.

Goal: To provide students with a clear and comprehensible integration of classic and contemporary achievements in the field

of learning and memory.

Content: Principles of respondent and operant conditioning as well as memory and cognition in terms of possible mechanisms, current research, the theory.

Taught: Spring.

Prerequisites: PSY 101 and MAT 220; PSY 305 or BIO 203; or permission of program director.

Credit: 4 hours; cross-listed as NSC 314.


325: Abnormal Psychology.

Goal: To lead students to a fuller understanding of abnormal behavior and the ways that psychologists study and attempt to treat it.

Content: Issues and controversies in defining psychological abnormality; classification and description of abnormal behaviors including physical symptoms and stress reactions, anxiety, addictive disorders, sexual dysfunction, personality disorders, schizophrenia and mood disorders; and theory and research on etiology, treatments and prevention of pathology.

Taught: Spring.

Prerequisite: PSY 101 and PSY 207 or PSY 304.

Credit: 3 hours.


330: Forensic Psychology.

Goal: To understand the application of psychological principles to forensic psychology.

Content: Forensic Psychology involves the application of psychological knowledge or methods to a task faced by the legal

system. Both the production and application of the knowledge and methods of psychology to the civil and criminal justice

system are explored (e.g., eyewitness memory and testimony, criminal behavior, jury decision making, and competency evaluations).

Taught: Fall.

Prerequisite: PSY 101.

Credit: 3 hours.


331: Child Psychology.

Goal: To study behavior and development from conception to adolescence with emphasis on infancy and early childhood. To understand theory, research methods, and major findings of developmental psychology.

Content: Genetic influences, prenatal influences, physical development, language, cognitive development, and social-emotional development.

Taught: Occasionally.

Prerequisite: PSY 101.

Credit: 3 hours.

 

 

340: Testing and Therapy.

 

Goal: To study the value, uses, and limitations of many types of tests including general and special abilities, interests, personality surveys, projectives, and aptitudes. To study the value, uses and limitations of many types of psychotherapies, including individual, family, and couples interventions.

Content: Study of testing ethics, reliability and validity determination, specific test uses and misuses, statistical analysis of test results, the therapeutic alliance, ethics in psychotherapy, models of intervention, and effectiveness of various therapeutic approaches.

Taught: Fall, alternate years.

Prerequisites: PSY 101.

Credit: 3 hours.


396: Special Topics in Psychology.

Goal: To understand psychological topics not covered in-depth in other courses offered in the department.

Content: Topics vary. A student may take no more than two such special topics courses. Representative topics include

counseling techniques, psychology of sports, applied psychology, forensic psychology, and psychology of health.

Taught: Offered occasionally.

Prerequisites: PSY 101 and permission of instructor.

Credit: 3 hours; cross-listed as NSC (if content applies). A student may take a maximum of six to eight semester hours (two courses) of special topics in any one field.


441: Senior Seminar: Research.

Goal: To encourage the senior student to apply accumulated knowledge to critical analysis of a selected issue or problem in psychology. Seniors in psychology should have developed an interest in a given area and mastered the methodological skills central to the science of psychology. This senior seminar provides each student with the opportunity for focused research in her area of interest. As an integrative component within the psychology major, the seminar requires the student to connect her own research to other areas of the liberal arts.

Content: Students, either individually or in pairs, complete a research project and submit a written report of the literature, methods, results, and discussion of findings.

Taught: Fall.

Prerequisites: PSY 101, MAT 220, PSY 230, PSY 305 and senior standing.

Credit: 3 hours.


442: Senior Seminar: Applied.

Goal: To encourage the senior student to make connections between a specific content/research area within psychology and a focused content/research area in an academic discipline outside of psychology. Seniors in psychology should already have focused research interests within psychology. This seminar allows students to broaden this focus and apply knowledge gained in psychology to other, relevant areas of study within the liberal arts. Inherently integrative, this course serves as a option for the integrative component within the psychology major.

Content: Students complete an interdisciplinary independent research project in which they design a detailed program that addresses a pressing social problem, such as teenage pregnancy, school violence, or homelessness.

Taught: Fall.

Prerequisites: PSY 101, MAT 220, PSY 230, PSY 305 and senior standing.

Credit: 3 hours.


447: Senior Seminar Lab.

Goal: To consolidate the senior student's knowledge of the field of psychology.

Content: Students will review all the major areas of psychology.

Taught: Spring.

Prerequisites: PSY 101, MAT 220, PSY 230, PSY 305, PSY 441 or 442, senior standing.

Credit: 1 hour.


451: Directed Independent Study.

Goal: To provide opportunities to engage in faculty-supervised or student-controlled research projects. To study a topic in-

depth not ordinarily offered by the department.

Content: Topics vary; examples: AIDS research project; abortion attitudes; projective techniques; analysis of childhood fairy tales.

Taught: Fall, Spring.

Prerequisites: Major of senior standing, and consent of instructor.

Credit: 3 hours.


452: Field Study.

Goal: To gain experience in application of psychological findings to community settings including psychiatric hospitals, social service agencies, and crisis lines, etc.

Content: Varies with instructor.

Taught: Fall, Spring.

Prerequisites: Appropriate background and permission of intern supervisor.

Credit: 1-12 hours.


499: Honors Thesis. (Fee required)

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