Course Descriptions

The course descriptions are listed below.
 

LOWER DIVISION

1 Introduction to Psychology

An introduction to the science of how people think, feel, and behave. We will explore such topics as cognition, personality, culture, social interaction, development, emotion, and psychopathology. Students will learn about classic and contemporary research, a range of methods, and discover how psychology informs our understanding of what it means to be human. This course satisfies the Social, Historical, and Cultural Understanding requirement of the Core Curriculum.

3 Psychological Methods and Analysis I

This course is the first part of a two-semester sequence of courses that presents a survey of the complementary methodologies frequently used within the field of psychology. An emphasis will be placed upon the collection and analysis of data, with a focus on nonexperimental methods and descriptive statistics. Students who enroll in this course must register for Psychology 103 in the following semester. Prerequisite: competence in basic algebra. 

11 Early Childhood Social-Emotional and Literacy Development

The course provides an overview of fundamental theories in early childhood socioemotional development as well as instruction on best practices in early childhood literacy education. The course is intended for Saint Mary’s undergraduate students who are Jumpstart Corps members.

12 Special Topics in Psychology*** 

Selected areas of psychology not covered by the regular department course offerings. Topics are announced prior to preregistration. Course may be repeated for credit as content varies. Potential topics include: psychology of racism; psychology in the courtroom; psychology of religion; sports psychology; environmental psychology.

13 Meditation (.25)

Students learn to use the Jose Silva theory of meditation to enhance performance and well being. Exercises are offered in stress reduction for the improvement of sports performance, for the enhancement of prayer life, and other areas of student interest. Course offered on a pass/fail basis only. Does not count toward the major.

14 Advanced Meditation (.25)

Building upon the skills and knowledge gained in Meditation 13, students continue with more advanced aspects of the theory and practice of meditation. Course offered on a pass/fail basis only. Does not count toward the major. Prerequisite: Psychology 13.

UPPER DIVISION

100 Seminar in Psychology

An investigation of the history and philosophical foundations of modern psychology. Emphasis is on basic issues of psychology, emerging in the long philosophical tradition of Western civilization, which ground psychology as an empirical human science. Prerequisite: Senior psychology major or consent of instructor.

103 Psychological Methods and Analysis II

This course is the second part of a two-semester sequence of courses that presents a survey of the complementary methodologies frequently used within the field of psychology. An emphasis will be placed upon the collection and analysis of data, with a focus on experimental methods and inferential statistics. Prerequisite: Psychology 3. This course satisfies the Writing in the Disciplines requirement of the Core Curriculum.

104 Special Topics in Assessment and Testing*

This course will offer an examination of testing topics such as norms, reliability, validity and item analysis within the context of an applied area of psychology such as forensic, counseling or cross-cultural. Special attention will be given to the use of tests and the role of testing in society. Course may be repeated for credit as content varies. Prerequisites: Psychology 3.

105 Advanced Psychological Statistics** 

Advanced research methods for evaluating psychological data utilizing SPSS. Topics generally include: theoretical sampling distribution, probability, decision theory, multiple analysis of variance, multiple regression analysis and factor analysis. Prerequisites: Psychology 3, 103. This course satisfies the Mathematical Understanding requirement of the Core Curriculum.

106 Experimental Research*

An examination of the logic of experimentation and the strength of the experiment as a research method used to address psychological questions. Topics include experimental designs, data collection and analysis, data interpretation, oral and poster presentations, and writing APA-style papers. Students will be involved in the stepby-step dissemination and critical analysis of published experimental research. Laboratory fee $50. Prerequisites: Psychology 1, 3, 103.

110 Psychobiology

The scientific study of the biology of behavior. Examines the neuroanatomical, neurochemical, and neurophysiological bases of behavior, including sensation, cognition, motivation, emotion, brain injury, and psychopathology. The course includes a laboratory component to reinforce and expand upon lecture material through the use of readings, computer models, and electrophysiology Laboratory fee $125. Prerequisites: Psychology 1 and sophomore standing.

115 Health Psychology

A study of the relationships among mental processes, behavior and physical health with an emphasis on the role of psychology in prevention and treatment of illness as well as promoting optimum health. Prerequisites: Psychology 1 or Biology 15 or 25. This course satisfies the Common Good requirement of the Core Curriculum.

126 Sensation and Perception

Examines the cognitive and physiological processes responsible for the acquisition and mental representation of sensory information. Prerequisite: Psychology 1 and sophomore standing.

127 Cognitive Science

An interdisciplinary approach to the study of the mind. What the mind is and its functions will be examined through diverse perspectives, including philosophy, cognitive psychology, neuroscience, linguistics, artificial intelligence, and robotics. Emphasis will be on cognition, with topics covering mental representation, vision, attention, memory, language, decision making, embodied cognition, and consciousness. Prerequisite: Psychology 1 and sophomore standing.

128 Neuropsychology

A comprehensive survey of the relation between behavior and brain activity across the human lifespan, examining theory and research on such topics as neurodevelopmental disorders; clinical neuropsychological assessment; and neuropharmacology, rehabilitation and functional neuroanatomy and physiology. Prerequisites: Psychology 1 and sophomore standing.

129 Cognitive Neurolinguistics

This course examines how human linguistic properties are acquired, developed, organized, and processed in our mind; and aims to pursue an inquiry about neural mechanisms that enable us to produce and comprehend language as a human communication tool. Prerequisites: Psychology 1 and sophomore standing.

131 Transpersonal Psychology

Transpersonal Psychology explores the boundaries between spirituality and modern psychology, transcending the self to include a broader sense of spirit and cosmos. We will be exploring the mystical experience as a psychological event. Readings will include psychologists such a Jung and Maslow, as well as works from mystical traditions (such as Judaism, Islam, Christianity, and Buddhist Psychology and Shamanism). Prerequisite: Psychology 1.

140 Human Development

An examination of the major theories of and influences on human development from conception through death, including the biological, cognitive, emotional, social and cultural dimensions of development. Prerequisite: Psychology 1.

141 Infancy and Childhood

In this course students study in depth the development of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. Topics covered include the importance of infant-caregiver attachment in brain development as well as in early social-emotional development. Cognitive, language, and personality development are examined from multiple perspectives. Recent research on autism, early trauma, and effective interventions are also addressed. Prerequisite: Psychology 140.

142 Adolescent Development

An examination of development from late childhood through adolescence, including the biological, cognitive, emotional, social and cultural dimensions of development, with discussion of special topics, e.g., identity issues, cross-cultural issues and high-risk behaviors. Prerequisite: Psychology 140.

143 Adult Development

A study of the major psychological, social and cultural factors that influence development from early adulthood through old age. Students examine in depth a public policy that affects adults or families. Prerequisite: Psychology 140.

144 Middle Childhood

The purpose of this course is to examine the key developmental tasks of middle childhood, including the development of achievement motivation, positive peer relationships, moral responsibility, self-regulation and initial mastery of the skills important to one’s culture. Students will observe children in a school setting. Prerequisite: Psychology 140. This course satisfies the Community Engagement requirement of the Core Curriculum.

147 Psychology of Gender

A critical review of the theory and research on gender from the biological, psychological and sociological perspectives. The course explores the social construction of gender and how it impacts human development and social behavior. Throughout the course, the interaction between gender and the complexities of race, culture and sexual orientation is considered. Prerequisite: Psychology 1.

148 The Exceptional Individual

Examines individuals with special needs, be they physical, cognitive or social/emotional. Causes, consequences and treatment approaches are covered, as well as implications for development issues. Students will be required to visit facilities and interview individuals. Prerequisite: Psychology 140.

150 Personality Psychology

A critical review of the traditional and modern theories of personality, including the psychoanalytic, neoanalytic, trait, behavioristic and humanistic perspectives, with a focus on personality development, assessment techniques and application of theory to everyday life. Prerequisite: Psychology 1. This course satisfies the Social, Historical, and Cultural Understanding requirement of the Core Curriculum.

152 Psychopathology

An exploration of major psychological disorders in childhood and adulthood. Topics include anxiety, mood, personality, psychotic, and neurodevelopmental disorders. Treatment, etiology, and the influences of culture and social context are also considered. Prerequisites: Psychology 1 and junior standing.

156 Personal and Professional Adjustment

A research-oriented treatment of personal and vocational adjustment, including: stress and stress tolerance, defensive and constructive coping, social and job satisfaction, behavior modification and interpersonal communication. Prerequisites: Psychology 1.

157 Human Sexualities

A review of the empirical evidence on human sexuality, with a focus on historical and cultural perspectives as well as the physiological, psychological and sociological basis for sexual behavior and sexual identity. Prerequisite: Psychology 1.

160 Social Psychology

An introduction to social psychology including the study of attitude formation and change, social interaction, social norms and cultural influences on personality formation. Prerequisite: Psychology 1. This course satisfies the Social, Historical, and Cultural Understanding requirement of the Core Curriculum. 

163 Prejudice and Stereotyping

An investigation of theories of prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination. Students will explore how stigmatized individuals are impacted by prejudice in American society. Methods to reduce prejudice will be considered, and the inevitability of prejudice will be addressed. Prerequisites: Psychology 1 and any one of the following: Psychology 3, Psychology 160 or Ethnic Studies 1. This course satisfies the American Diversity requirement of the Core Curriculum.

165 Cross-Cultural Psychology

An analysis of cultural influences on human behavior. Topics include cross-cultural methodology, perception, cognition, motivation, development, attitudes and prejudice, gender, adaptive and maladaptive patterns, and the construction of self. This course includes a community service learning component with CILSA. Prerequisites: Psychology 1 and sophomore standing. This course satisfies the American Diversity requirement and the Community Engagement requirement of the Core Curriculum.

168 Topics on Culture, Race, and Ethnicity in Psychology

An examination of the social construction of ethnicity and race, as well as the values, assumptions, and biases we hold regarding race, ethnicity, and related issues. The course will also explore how race, ethnicity, and culture intersect with mental health. Topics may include African American Psychology, Chicano/a Psychology, Asian American Psychology, etc. Prerequisite: Psychology 1, or Sociology 2 or 4, or Ethnic Studies 1. This course satisfies the American Diversity requirement of the Core Curriculum.

169 Attitudes and Attitude Change

This course will examine the nature and structure of attitudes as well as the forces involved in attitude change. Applied topics such as stereotypes, group influence, marketing, and job interviews will be examined. Prerequisites: Psychology 1.

170 Theories of Counseling

A critical review of traditional and modern theories of counseling and psychotherapy. Prerequisites: Psychology 1.

172 Groups, Organizations and Societies

A discussion of organizational theory and group dynamics, always presented within a broader societal context. Topics include leadership, teamwork and productivity, group decision making, conflict resolution, culture, diversity, and globalization. Prerequisites: Psychology 1 or junior standing in psychology, business administration or sociology.

174 Psychology of the Family

A study of family dynamics and the influences which contribute to family dysfunction. Examination includes relationships between family patterns and childhood disorders. Prerequisites: Psychology 1 and sophomore standing.

 

180 Organizational Psychology

Examines the major theoretical findings in the field concerning the relationship between the individual and the organization, including the study of motivation, leadership, training, selection, performance management, corporate culture and organizational development. Prerequisites: Psychology 1, 3 or equivalent.

195 Field Placement

Students work 80 hours at a field placement site of their choosing and attend weekly class sessions. A series of papers/assignments address career and personal goals as well as the relationship between the field placement work and concepts learned in the psychology major. Prerequisites: Psychology 103, senior standing, and approval of the course instructor. This course satisfies the Community Engagement requirement of the Core Curriculum.

197 Special Study

An independent study or research course for students whose needs are not met by the regular course offerings of the department. Permission of the sponsoring faculty member and department chair is required.

199 Special Study – Honors

Independent study and research on campus in an area of interest to the student culminating in a written presentation of the problem, method of analysis and findings. Prerequisites: upper-division standing as a psychology major, B average in upper-division psychology courses already taken, consent of the instructor and department chair. May be repeated for credit if content varies.