Course Types

Introductory Courses

The introductory-level courses, numbered from 100 to 109, are designed as entries into the field by discussing psychological principles and applications in the context of a particular sub-area. None assume previous exposure to psychology; none have prerequisites. PSYCH 110 is meant to provide a foundation in the field that later required courses can build on. The 100-109 level courses generally are geared to enrollments of 35. Style of teaching in these courses includes lecture with discussion, with exams that combine objective items with some written component, as well as short papers.

Core Courses

The core courses, numbered 150-200 are also designed to provide an entry to psychology, by focusing on major sub-areas. The foundation they provide in respective sub-areas is meant to be a basis for more advanced courses. The requirement for majors to take one from each category is intended to provide breadth. None of these courses has a prerequisite, and any of the courses can be taken as a first course in psychology. Laboratory courses (PSYCH 150’s) have an enrollment limit of 25 while enrollments are 35 for the others. The style of teaching is the same as for the 100-109 level courses.

Methodology and Statistics

Majors are required to take the two-course sequence (PSYCH 206 and PSYCH 207). Although both courses will discuss research methodology and statistics, PSYCH 206 focuses on research design while PSYCH 207 emphasizes statistics. Students must pass 206 with a minimum of C- to enroll in PSYCH 207. It is recommended that students take PSYCH 207 the semester immediately following PSYCH 206. Minors are only required to take PSYCH 206. Course enrollment is limited to approximately 20 students for PSYCH 206 and 18 students for PSYCH 207.


Although the topics for each section will vary, all will include an examination of the evolution of the research and theory on a specific topic in psychology. Through an examination of the relevant research and theory, the course will demonstrate how questions prompting research on a specific topic, as well as research methodologies, have evolved. Effective writing and speaking in psychology will be emphasized as well as evaluating original source materials.

In addition, all sections of the course will include:

  •  Instruction and graded exercise on the use of PsycINFO
  • Instruction and graded exercise(s) on APA format for citation and references.
  • Assignments relevant to different types of papers in psychology (the research paper, the analysis, the literature review, the application, etc.).

Advanced Topics Courses

Advanced courses are numbered 300-490. These courses are intended primarily for junior and senior psychology majors and minors, although majors from other departments often take them. PSYCH 206 is required for many of these courses. Beyond those requirements, advanced courses in cognate areas accept as a prerequisite any core course from the corresponding core category (e.g., Developmental, Social, or Cognitive ==> Human Processes category). Individual instructors can set requirements they deem appropriate, although overly restrictive requirements tend to create bottlenecks. Advanced courses are limited to enrollments of approximately 18 students. Pedagogically, they are based on broad content within the sub-area, make use of a mixture of original research and texts, and emphasize discussion over lecturing. Evaluation includes more and longer papers and essay exams. There is more emphasis on synthesis, abstraction, inference, critical thinking.


Seminars are numbered from 550-580, and reflect the same content sub-areas as the advanced topics courses. Enrollment is limited to about 12. Seminars focus on more limited content areas than advanced topics courses. The small class size is designed to accomplish somewhat different objectives– in particular, increased emphasis on discussion. Students in both advanced topics and seminars are expected to take more responsibility– for example, by leading discussions. This expectation is increased for seminars. Seminars make almost exclusive use of original research and focus on developing the ability to critically analyze research articles. All seminars require a research proposal and individual presentation to the class of the proposed research. This research proposal may serve as the beginnings of the senior comp.


Courses numbered 500 to 549 provide opportunities for students to experience psychology in an applied setting. Two of these internships are in research related areas, Psychology 505, Internship in Psychological Research and Psychology 506, Internship in Survey and Data Analysis. Psychology 530, Internship in the Teaching of Psychology, involves working with a faculty member in a particular psychology course.

The other internships are related to various applied areas such as child care or aging. Psychology 540, Internship Seminar, is a co-requisite for any of these internships.

Consult the catalogue for the liaison for Psychology 505, 506, or 530. Professor Paulson serves as the liaison for all of the applied internships.

Senior Comp

Because they have varied interests and expertise, faculty in the Psychology Department have listed the topics that they feel comfortable supervising as senior projects. Some faculty have also indicated their preference for how the project might be organized, i.e., one or two semesters, etc. Details on the senior project are also available on-line.