1. Four 100-level courses
One course from each group and one elective from any group or PSYC 185. Group 1: 110, 125, 130. Group 2: 155, 165, 175. Group 3: 135, 140, 145, 150. Psychology 180 courses are designated by the chair as an elective or as belonging in Group 1, 2 or 3.
2. 201 and 202
3. Two 300-level courses
One 300-level course must be taken from 310 to 375; the other may be a 380.
4. Two 400-level courses
5. One Additional Advanced Psychology Course
An additional 300-level course (from 310 to 375), OR
An additional 400-level course (from 410 to 475; must have the matching 100-level course), OR
500 independent study in psychology, OR
550 independent research in psychology, OR
560 student/faculty collaboration research
Students are eligible to declare the psychology major after successful completion of 201.
All courses above the 100-level must be taken in the department. Exceptions to this rule may be granted to students who study at approved overseas programs and/or who petition the department chair.
Six courses, including 201 and 202 and a course from the 300-level group of research methods classes. Normally, four of the six courses (including the 201, 202 sequence and the 300-level course) must be completed in the department.
Suggested curricular flow through the major
First-Year students are encouraged to take at least one 100-level Psychology course their first year. Once a student completes at least one 100-level Psychology course, then the student is eligible for entrance into Psychology 201 (Research Methods in Psychology), a “gateway” course for the major. Generally speaking, Psychology 201 is taken during a student’s second year and the student can declare the major after the successful completion of Psychology 201. Thus, students interested in majoring in Psychology should focus on taking 100- and 200-level Psychology courses their first and second years. Once a student completes Psychology 202 (Analysis of Psychological Data), then the student is ready for upper-level (300- and 400-level) Psychology courses. Generally speaking, students complete 300- and 400-level Psychology courses during their third and fourth years. Below is an example of Psychology courses taken during a student’s four years at Dickinson College:
At least one 100-level courses
PSYC 201(if possible)
At least two 100-level courses
PSYC 201 and 202
At least one 100-level and 300-level course
400-level seminar (if appropriate)
Complete all remaining requirements
For specific information regarding requirements for majoring in Psychology, please consult the Psychology Department’s website. Students also are encouraged to speak with the Department Chair, Professor Skelton (firstname.lastname@example.org), or any faculty member within the department to discuss navigating the major.
Independent study and independent research
Exceptional students may participate in traditional internships, independent study, and independent research projects (see Bulletin section entitled Special Approaches to Study).
Honors are granted to graduating seniors who demonstrate excellence in developing and conducting empirical research. Candidates for honors must earn a GPA of at least 3.5 in courses taken in Psychology and 3.25 in all other courses taken at the college by the beginning of the Senior year. They must earn at least one credit for independent study and/or independent research during each semester of the Senior year, under the supervision of an Honors Committee, and their work must be endorsed for honors on behalf of the department and presented publicly no later than the week of final exams. Students interested in honors should consult the document "Honors in the Psychology Major," which is available from the department and at the department's web site.
Opportunities for off-campus study
Students who are interested in study abroad are urged to plan their programs carefully and begin the major early. An advising session is offered each semester that addresses this topic.
110 Animal Learning and Cognition
In this introductory course, we examine how fundamental principles, derived from the field of animal learning, govern simple and complex human behavior. Topics such as classical and operant conditioning, stimulus control, extinction and avoidance are discussed.
125 Brain and Behavior w/Lab
This course will introduce the structure and function of the brain as it influences human behavior. The level of study will be from a molar viewpoint, and findings from such fields as neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, and endocrinology will be considered in their relation to a number of behavioral processes. In the laboratory, students will engage in hand-on activities to explore brain anatomy, behavioral analysis and brain-behavior relationships.
Three hours classroom and three hours laboratory a week. This course fulfills the DIV III lab science distribution requirement.
130 Perception, Memory & Thought
This introduction to cognitive psychology will cover such topics as: How do you recognize your grandmother? Can you do more than one thing at a time? Why can't you remember the names of people you just met? More formally, we will examine the processes of perception, attention, representation, and retrieval in children, adults, and machines.
135 Psychology of Women and Gender
Using a feminist social psychological framework, we will examine theory and research related to the psychology of women and the psychology of gender. We will analyze gender as a system that influences men's and women's lives, and consider the ongoing significance of gender role socialization across the lifespan. Througthout the semester, we will consider the social and political implications of putting women at the center of psychological analysis. In addition, we will develop tools to critically analyze traditional psychological theory and research to expose sexist bias, and we will examine alternative research methodologies that provide ways to study the richness of women's lives in context.
This course is cross-listed as WGST 135. This course fulfills the US Diversity graduation requirement.
140 Social Psychology
In this introduction to psychological aspects of human social behavior, we discuss such topics as the relationship between attitudes and behavior, how people judge one another, interpersonal and group influence processes, and relations between individuals and groups, with strong emphasis on real-world applications. We also introduce scientific methods and formal theories for studying social behavior.
145 Psychology of Human Sexuality
This course is a study of human sexuality emphasizing psychological aspects. We will cover sexual development from childhood to adulthood, sexual orientations, biological influences, sexual attitudes and behavior, gender, sex therapy, sexual coercion and abuse, sexually transmitted diseases and sexual health, and the development of sexual relationships. The study of human sexuality is inherently interdisciplinary in nature (drawing from such varied disciplines as sociology, women's studies, biology, anthropology, history, and others). Although we will cover some material from these disciplines, we will take an explicitly social psychological perspective, focusing on individual, personal, and social aspects of sexual behaviors, attitudes and beliefs.
150 Introduction to Cross-Cultural Psychology
This course takes the position that human behavior can best be understood only in the cultural context in which it occurs. Discussions focus on the impact of culture on human behavior including the nature of culture; political and religious elements of culture; perceptions, stereotypes and the realities of cultural differences; how nationalism and animosity between cultures grow; and sources of prejudice and cultural conflict, and how they may be reduced. Suitable for all students, regardless of prior background in psychology.
155 Child Development
This introduction to developmental psychology will cover such topics as: What are the processes of prenatal development and birth? How does an infant learn about the world around him or her? How do children develop as social beings? And, how do the cognitive abilities of thought, language, and memory develop?
An introduction to various psychological disorders and techniques of diagnosis and treatment. Relevant for students who anticipate careers in medicine, law, and the social or psychological services.
175 Introduction to Community Psychology
This course will provide an introduction to the field of community psychology--a field that focuses on persons-in-context and the ways that social issues, institutions, and settings impact individuals' mental health and wellbeing. In the course, we will: (a) review the historical underpinnings of community psychology; (b) examine the field's major tenets and theories, including its emphasis on understanding the role of the environment in human behavior; (c) explore the field's application to a range of clinical and social issues; and (d) emulate the field's commitment to the promotion of social change through research and action.
180 Topics in Psychology
Students gain an appreciation of psychological principles by reading about and discussing a topic of interest. Course topics range from contemporary issues and historic controversies to broad themes. Recent topics courses have included Health Psychology, Unconscious Processes, and Molecules and Mental Illness.
185 Survey of Psychology
A survey of areas of contemporary psychological study to acquaint students with viewpoints, findings, and techniques of investigation of the discipline.
201 Design of Psychological Research
Readings and laboratory exercises introduce students to bibliographic resources in psychology, rules of valid scientific inference, and techniques for conducting psychology experiments.
Three hours classroom plus three hours laboratory a week. Prerequisite: any 100-level course. NOTE: Completion of both 201 and 202 fulfills the WR graduation requirement.
202 Analysis of Psychological Data
In this course, one of the core requirements for the major, our focus is how to make sense of numerical information. Students learn to describe and analyze data. Three hours classroom plus three hours laboratory a week. NOTE: Completion of both 201 and 202 fulfills the WR requirement.
310 Research Methods in Animal Learning
Researchers in the field of animal learning have uncovered fundamental principles that govern the behavior of all organisms, including humans. This course examines the research methods that have assisted researchers in discovering such principles. Students conduct original experiments with animals and prepare written reports of their findings.
Three hours classroom plus three hours laboratory a week. Prerequisites: 110, 201, 202 OR 125, BIOL 124 and NRSC 200.
315 Research Methods in Drugs and Behavior
This integrated lecture-laboratory course will review the mechanisms by which various classes of drugs (e.g., antidepressants) interact with the central nervous system to alter behavior. In the laboratory component, methodologies employed by behavioral pharmacologists to study the effects of drugs on behavior will be reviewed. Several hands-on projects will be conducted throughout the semester. Three hours of lecture will be complemented by three hours of laboratory a week.
Prerequisites: PSYC 110, 125, 130 or 165 and PSYC 201 and 202, or BIOL 124, PSYC 125 and NRSC 200.
325 Research Methods in Biological Psychology
A comprehensive coverage of the research methods employed in the field of biopsychology. Students conduct research on the relationship between the nervous system and/or the endocrine system and human behavior.
Three hours classroom plus three hours laboratory a week. Prerequisites: either 125, 201, 202 OR 125, BIOL 124 and NRSC 200. This course fulfills the WR graduation requirement.
330 Research Methods in Cognitive Psychology
Students devise, conduct, analyze and prepare written reports of experiments on topics such as autobiographical memory, time management, techniques for improving learning, and decision-making.
Three hours classroom plus three hours laboratory a week. Prerequisites: either 130, 201, 202 OR 125, BIOL 124 and NRSC 200.
335 Research Methods in Gender and Sexuality
This course addresses the methodological principles underlying empirical psychological research on gender and sexuality. We will specifically consider qualitative methods as they are used within psychology. Because the study of gender in particular has been strongly guided by feminist theory, this course will focus on feminist epistmologies as related to social psychological research. Class and lab time will be spent developing the following skills: critical reading and analysis of published research, design of empirical research, data collection, and qualitative data analysis. This course will culminate in the design and implementation of an original research project in the area of psychology of gender or human sexuality.
Three hours classroom plus three hours laboratory a week. Prerequisites: 201 and 202, and either 135 or 145.
340 Research Methods in Social Psychology
We conduct empirical studies in order to become familiar with techniques for measuring attitudes and social behavior in the field and the lab, for analyzing and evaluating data, and for reporting findings and conclusions. Students gain direct experience in the process of conducting research studies by working as experimenters and data analysts.
Three hours classroom plus three hours laboratory a week. Prerequisites: 140, 201 and 202.
350 Research Methods in Cross-Cultural Psychology
Each culture is unique in its understanding and beliefs regarding human nature. These differences can lead to varied perceptions of self, in-group and out-group members, time, politics, social distance and social expectations. This course is designed to support student investigation into these cultural and subcultural differences as students generate, conduct, analyze and prepare written reports of observational, survey, correlational or experimental study designs on various topics in cross-cultural psychology, stereotypes and intercultural conflict.
Three hours lecture and three hours lab per week. Prerequisite: 150, 201 and 202.
355 Research Methods in Child Development
An advanced presentation of the research methods and statistical techniques used by developmental psychologists including cross-sectional, longitudinal, and sequential designs. Students conduct laboratory and field-based research and develop original research proposals in the area of child development.
Three hours classroom plus three hours laboratory a week. Prerequisites: 155, 201 and 202.
365 Research Methods in Clinical Psychology
This course will introduce various strategies used in empirical research of clinical phenomena. Practice in behavioral observation systems, structured clinical interviews, and assessment techniques will be gained as students conduct research and write research reports in the area of clinical psychology.
Three hours classroom plus three hours laboratory a week. Prerequisites: 165, 201 and 202.
375 Research Methods in Community Psychology
This course will emphasize gaining advanced knowledge and skills in the research methodologies of community psychology, answering the question: How does community psychology seek to scientifically understand relationships between enviornmental conditions and the development of health and well-being of all members of a community? Students will gain and practice skills in consultation and evaluation of programs to facilitate psychological competence and empowerment, and prevent disorder. Specifically, students will: (a) consider ways to assess and be responsive to the needs of people from marginalized populations with diverse socio-cultural, educational, and ethnic backgrounds; (b) become familiar with innovative programs and practices geared towards prevention and empowerment of disenfranchised groups; (c) apply learning (of theory and research strategies) to a problem in the community; and (d) develop skills in collaborating with Carlisle-area community members in identifying, designing, implementing, and interpreting community-based research.
Prerequisites: 175, 201 and 202.
380 Research Methods in Psychology: Special Topics
Students conduct empirical research in an area of psychological science, analyze data, and report findings and conclusions.
Three hours classroom plus three hours lab per week. Prerequisite: 202. NOTE: The prerequisites for Neuroscience majors for PSYC 380 (Research Methods in Drugs & Behavior) are 125 and BIOL 124.
410 Seminar in Learning
Elementary principles govern simple and complex human behavior. This seminar examines how such principles help us understand both typical, everyday behaviors (e.g., eating) and atypical or maladaptive behaviors (e.g., drub abuse). Formal theories of learning also are discussed.
Prerequisites: 201 and 202.
425 Seminar in Biological Psychology
An advanced seminar into the relationship between physiological systems and behavior. This course will include coverage of mammalian brain organization and function in terms of transmitter systems which are correlated with the interactions between anatomy, physiology, and behavior.
Prerequisites: 201 and 202 OR 125 and BIOL 124.
430 Seminar in Cognitive Psychology
Students will present and discuss one or more topics in human cognition using primary sources. Possible topics include, but are not limited to, intelligence and creativity, the development of physical and mental skills, changes in learning and memory as we age, and thought in humans and machines. Students will write several essays that explain and evaluate the concepts that are discussed.
Prerequisites: 201 and 202.
435 Gender and Sexual Identities
In this advanced discussion seminar, we will focus in depth on special topics in the field of psychology of gender and sexuality, particularly highlighting personal and social identities. We will discuss such topics as the development of heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer identities; gender conformity and socialization in childhood; the coming out process; the relationship between gender and sexual orientation; social pressures and compulsory heterosexuality; heterosexism, homophobia, and the stigma and prejudice surrounding sexual minority identity; gender nonconformity and transgender identity; and special issues facing GLBTQ individuals in intimate relationships. We will also discuss social and political activism, with an emphasis on collective action stemming from group identification. The course material will include some sexually explicit material; please carefully consider your degree of comfort in discussing this type material before enrolling in the course. Class participation will significantly contribute to your final grade.
Prerequisites: 202 or WGST 250. This course is cross-listed as WGST 305. This course fulfills the US Diversity graduation requirements.
440 Seminar in Social Psychology
In this seminar, we read and discuss primary sources in theoretical or applied social psychology. Previous seminars have looked at applications of social psychology principles in law, medicine, mental health, consumer behavior, conservation, and education, and theories of social construal, social influence, and social systems. Students are responsible for leading class sessions and contributing to a group document, such as an annotated bibliography or literature review.
Prerequisites: 201 and 202.
450 Intergroup Relations and Cultural Psychology
Investigates psychological perspectives related to the impact of culture in determining individual and social behavior, cross-cultural differences and similarities in human behavior, and the psychological sources of group conflict. Topics may include the impact of stereotypes on perceivers and targets, the psychological rationale for prejudice and discrimination, the benefits and difficulties of gender, racial, and cultural diversity, methods for prejudice and discrimination reduction, and an examination of human behavior beyond the traditional Euro-American psychological perspective.
Prerequisites: 201 and 202.
455 Seminar in Dev Psychopathology
Applying a developmental perspective in which clinical disorders are viewed as either quantitative deviations from normal development or qualitatively distinct disorders this course will study the history, methods, procedures, empirical facts, and theories that influence the conceptualization of and treatment of clinical disorders in children.
Prerequisites: 201 and 202.
465 Seminar in Clinical Psychology
Students read and discuss primary sources in theoretical and applied clinical psychology to gain a deeper understanding of the processes of assessment and treatment used with various psychopathological conditions.
Prerequisites: 201 and 202.
475 Seminar in Community Psychology
The practice of community psychology is typically directed toward the design and evaluation of strategies aimed at facilitating empowerment, preventing psychological disorders, and promoting social justice and change. The goal is to optimize the well-being of individuals and communities with innovative and alternative interventions designed in collaboration with affected community members and with other related disciplines inside and outside of psychology. This course is an advanced seminar that focuses in depth on special topics in the field of community psychology. Topics may include substance abuse and addiction, delinquency, stress and coping, prevention vs. intervention, social support, and program consultation and evaluation. Students will develop their understanding of topical issues by reading primary and secondary sources and participating in class discussions and applied exercises.
Prerequisites: 201 and 202.
480 Seminar in Advanced Topics
Advanced seminar in which students become actively engaged in reading about, reviewing, and discussing selected topics of importance in the discipline. Recent advanced topics courses have included The Psychology of Law and Medicine, Psychopharmacology, The Psychology of Groups, and Psychology of Identification.
Prerequisites: 201 and 202.