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Psychology is the scientific discipline dedicated to the study of mental experience and behavior. The goal of the psychology major is to develop students’ understanding of the theories, methods, and professions within psychological science. This general goal is translated into specific objectives that concern the understanding of scientific methodology, the current state of psychological knowledge, and the application of methodology and knowledge to real-world problems and events.
The psychology major consists of four components. First, a required core of foundation courses introduces students to themes, research, and communication and professional skills within psychology. This core includes required methodology courses in writing, statistics, and research design. Second, students take breadth courses that enhance their knowledge of concepts and methods in subdisciplines of psychology. The breadth courses include upper-level laboratory courses where students develop skills in the design, analysis, evaluation and communication of psychological research. Third, students expand their knowledge of psychology with an upper-level elective. Fourth, every psychology major must complete a St. Mary’s Project.
- Students will explain key concepts within diverse content areas of psychology.
- Students will design and execute an empirical project/methodology within psychology.
- Students will effectively analyze and interpret data.
- Students will review, evaluate, and integrate findings from the primary literature.
- Students will demonstrate effective written communication of ideas in psychology.
- Students will demonstrate effective oral communication of ideas in psychology.
- Students will develop a professional identity informed by skills, behaviors, and dispositions reflected in psychological science and practice that supports the transition from the psychology major into multiple contexts.
Degree Requirements for the Psychology Major
General College Requirements
General College Requirements (see “Curriculum” section), including the following requirements to satisfy the major:
Foundation Courses (16 credit hours)
- PSYC 101. Introduction to Psychology
- PSYC 204. Psychological Research, Analysis, and Writing I
- PSYC 206. Psychological Research, Analysis, and Writing II
- PSYC 310. Scientific Writing and Professional Development
Breadth (20-22 credit hours)
- Five courses comprising:
- One course from each of the five breadth areas (Biological & Sensory Processes; Culture & Community; Development & Learning; Health & Counseling; Social & Cognitive Processes)
- At least two of five courses must be 200-level courses
- At least two of five courses must be 300-level courses in either of two formats:
- Lecture plus required laboratory section (5 credits)
- Laboratory seminar (4 credits)
Biological & Sensory Processes
- PSYC 235. Physiological and Sensory Psychology
- PSYC 236. Topics in Biological and Sensory Processes
- PSYC 322. + 322L. Biological Psychology plus Laboratory
- PSYC 323. Laboratory Seminar in Biological and Sensory Processes
- PSYC 414. Drugs, Brain, and Behavior
- PSYC 484. Advanced Topics in Biological and Sensory Processes
Culture & Community
- PSYC 263. Multicultural Psychology
- PSYC 264. Topics in Culture and Community
- PSYC 364. + 364L. Culture and Community plus Laboratory
- PSYC 365. Laboratory Seminar in Culture and Community
- PSYC 456. Psychology of Gender
- PSYC 487. Advanced Topics in Culture and Community
Development & Learning
- PSYC 211. Topics in Development and Learning
- PSYC 230. Lifespan Development
- PSYC 320. + 320L. Psychology of Learning plus Laboratory
- PSYC 321. Laboratory Seminar in Learning Theory
- PSYC 330. + 330L. Developmental Psychology plus Laboratory
- PSYC 332. Laboratory Seminar in Development
- PSYC 431. Infant and Child Development
- PSYC 483. Advanced Topics in Development and Learning
Health & Counseling
- PSYC 280. Counseling Theories and Methods
- PSYC 282. Topics in Health and Counseling Psychology
- PSYC 370. + 370L. Counseling Psychology plus Laboratory
- PSYC 371. Laboratory Seminar in Health and Counseling
- PSYC 475. Psychopathology
- PSYC 486. Advanced Topics in Health and Counseling
Social & Cognitive Processes
- PSYC 221. Cognitive Psychology
- PSYC 222. Topics in Social and Cognitive Psychology
- PSYC 250. Social Psychology
- PSYC 324. + 324L. Cognitive Psychology plus Laboratory
- PSYC 325. Laboratory Seminar in Cognitive Psychology
- PSYC 340. + 340L. Social Psychology plus Laboratory
- PSYC 341. Laboratory Seminar in Social Psychology
- PSYC 485. Advanced Topics in Social and Cognitive Processes
Upper Level Elective (4-5 credit hours)
One 300- or 400-level course not used to satisfy the Breadth or Capstone requirement. PSYC 396 Collaborative Research in Psychology satisfies this requirement. PSYC 397/497 Directed Research in Psychology satisfies this requirement (2 and 4 credit graded experiences only).
Capstone (8 credit hours)
Every psychology major must complete a St. Mary’s Project. This project may be in psychology or in another major discipline or study area. The Department website provides information about the SMP and mentor assignment process.
Minimum Grade and GPA Requirements
Students must earn a grade of C- or better, with a cumulative grade point average of 2.00, in courses used to satisfy the major. Courses taken for credit/no credit may not be used to satisfy requirements for the major.
Sequence of Study for 4-year students
The following sequence of courses is a typical model for fulfilling the requirements of the psychology major over four years:
Fall – PSYC 101
Spring – one or two 200-level breadth courses*
Fall – PSYC 204, one or two 200-level breadth courses* (*aim to have at least two 200-level breadth courses by the end of this semester)
Spring – PSYC 206
Fall – one 300-level laboratory breadth course, PSYC 310 or one 400-level breadth course
Spring – one 300-level laboratory breadth course, PSYC 310 or one 400-level breadth course
Fall – PSYC 493 (first half of St. Mary’s Project), one 300 or 400-level elective
Spring – PSYC 494 (second half of St. Mary’s Project)
Sequence of Study for Transfer Students
The following sequence of courses is a typical model for fulfilling the requirements of the psychology major over two years. Junior transfer students must take PSYC 204 in their first semester in order to complete the major in two years; if PSYC 204 sections are full, email the instructor(s).
Fall – PSYC 204; two 200-level breadth courses
Spring – PSYC 206; one 200 or 400-level breadth course or PSYC 310 (with permission of the department chair)
Fall – one 300-level laboratory breadth course, PSYC 310 or a 400-level breadth course, PSYC 493 (first half of St. Mary’s Project)
Spring – one 300-level laboratory breadth course, one 300- or 400-level elective, PSYC 494 (second half of St. Mary’s Project)
FACULTY Aileen Bailey, Torry Dennis, Anandi Ehman, Elizabeth Enright, Gina Fernandez, Gili Freedman, Kristina Howansky, Ayse Ikizler, James Mantell, Scott Mirabile, Richard Platt, Jennifer Tickle (department chair), Elizabeth Nutt Williams.