Psychology students at Westminster College engage in the scientific exploration of how humans and animals act, think, and feel through project-based learning activities. Solving problems is key to understanding complex issues, and the psychology department’s unique hands-on approach puts the power into students’ hands. From their first year onward, students participate in individually designed experiments, hands-on work in computerized laboratories, use of professional journals, and practice in communicating results. By their senior year students have completed a two-term Capstone project where they design an individualized research study, collect and analyze data, write a polished report, and make an oral presentation to the department and at a regional or national conference. Students also complete a 160 hour internship in a psychological setting. The program’s advanced level focus on professionalism enables students to enter into careers with confidence and intelligence. Many of the program’s graduates have gone on to Masters or Ph.D. programs. Others have chosen medical school, law school or M.B.A. programs.
Requirements for the Major
PSY 101 Introduction to General Psychology
PSY 201 Statistical Methods and Analysis
PSY 590-594 Field Experience/Internship
PSY 601 Psychology Capstone: Senior Studies I
PSY 602 Psychology Capstone: Senior Studies II
MTH 131 Applied Calculus OR MTH 150 Calculus I
In addition, students select from the following lists of elective psychology and supporting courses:
Note: the psychology faculty have developed advising tracks to help students select appropriate elective courses based on their career aspirations. The program offers tracks in Developmental Psychology, Clinical/Counseling Psychology, Social/Organizational Psychology, and Research/General Psychology. For more information, contact any psychology faculty member.
At least one of the following courses:
PSY 281 Principles of Learning and Memory
PSY 351 Cognition
And at least one of the following courses:
PSY 301 Psychological Assessment
PSY 321 Social Psychology
And one of the following:
PSY 631-640 Advanced Research Seminar
PSY 650 Research Scholars
And four or five of the following psychology elective courses:
PSY 211 Motivation
PSY 212 Psychology of Personality
PSY 213 Psychology of Prejudice
PSY 215 Psychology of Sex
PSY 219 Early Childhood Development
PSY 221 Childhood and Adolescence
PSY 241 Organizational Psychology
PSY 251 The Internet: Psychology
PSY 261 Neural Networks: The Biopsychological Perspective
PSY 262 Neuropsychology of Mind
PSY 271 Behavior Modification
PSY 275 Forensic Psychology
PSY 281 Principles of Learning and Memory
PSY 291 Adulthood and Aging
PSY 301 Psychological Assessment
PSY 315 Animal Behavior
PSY 321 Social Psychology
PSY 331 Psychology of Women
PSY 341 Behavioral Neuroscience
PSY 351 Cognition
PSY 401 Abnormal Psychology
PSY 411 Exceptional Children
PSY 421 Clinical Psychology: Theory and Practice
PSY 431 Developmental Psychopathology
PSY 610, 611 Advanced Topics
And two of the following supporting courses:
BIO 201 Cell Biology and Genetics
BIO 202 Evolution, Form and Function
CHE 117 Principles of Chemistry
CHE 180 Inorganic Chemistry
PHY 141 Foundations of Physics I OR PHY 151 Principles of Physics I
PHY 142 Foundations of Physics II OR PHY 152 Principles of Physics II
PSY 341 Behavioral Neuroscience
Requirements for the Minor
PSY 101 Introduction to General Psychology
PSY 201 Statistical Methods and Analysis
16 additional semester hours of Psychology courses, 4 hours of which must be in a course numbered 300 or higher.
See Course Descriptions for a complete list of PSY courses.
PSY 101 Introduction to General Psychology (4 SH). Principles of human and animal behavior. The study of individual, group and institutional behavior in context. Offered every semester.
PSY 201 Statistical Methods and Analysis (formerly Research Methods and Analysis) (4 SH). An introduction to the experimental methodology, descriptive data analysis, statistical inference, and philosophy of science that are most germane to psychology. A laboratory is included. Prerequisites: PSY 101, MTH 131 (or permission of instructor).
PSY 211 Motivation (4 SH). Examination of the ultimate and proximal factors that arouse, sustain and direct behavior.
PSY 212 Psychology of Personality (4 SH). A critical survey of the major theories of personality structure, dynamics, and development.
PSY 213 Psychology of Prejudice (4 SH). This class will apply social psychological theory and research to understand the psychological underpinnings of prejudice. Students will explore the impact of prejudice on members of targeted groups with a particular emphasis on understanding the experience of racism. Grounded in psychological theory and research, students will explore current social issues related to prejudice as well as specific ways to reduce stereotyping and prejudice on both a personal and societal level.
PSY 215 Psychology of Sex (4 SH). This course explores the psychological processes that underlie human sexual behavior. With an eye toward historical and cultural variations, students will explore such topics as sexual attraction, motivation, attitudes, decision making, behavior, and disorders. This course is based on a scientific exploration of sexuality; thus students will learn how psychologists study sexuality empirically, and how the results of sexuality research are perceived by the public.
PSY 219 Early Childhood Development (4 SH). A chronological approach to the principles and theories of child development from birth-11 years of age. This course fulfills the developmental psychology requirement for early childhood education majors.
PSY 221 Childhood and Adolescence (4 SH). A topical approach to principles of human growth and development, with an emphasis on both childhood and adolescence.
PSY 241 Organizational Psychology (4 SH). A study of the interaction of individual and structural characteristics which influence productivity and human dignity in all organizational settings. Primarily utilizing case-study methods.
PSY 251 The Internet: Psychology (4 SH). An application of psychology to the Internet. Topics to be covered include: human/computer interaction, dyadic interaction via the Net, group dynamics in communication networks and cross-culturalCyberspace. A cluster course. Must also register for CS 252.
PSY 261 Neural Networks: The Biopsychological Perspective (4 SH). An introduction to how biologically-oriented psychology analyzes such topics as memory, intelligence and consciousness as emerging from principles of neurocomputation. A cluster course. Must also register for CS 271.
PSY 262 Neuropsychology of Mind (4 SH). This course surveys the contributions of psychology and neuroscience to understanding human thought and human nature. Particular attention is paid to scientific approaches in studying consciousness and the field of clinical neuropsychology. A cluster course. Must also register for PHI 218.
PSY 271 Behavior Modification (4 SH). An examination of the fundamental principles involved in learning, with an emphasis on applying those principles to understanding and changing human behavior within a variety of contexts (e.g., education, mental health, parenting, business).
PSY 275 Forensic Psychology (4 SH). The course provides a survey of key areas of relevance in forensic psychology. As an introduction to forensic psychology, the course tackles the fundamental goals and applications of psychological practice in the legal system including custody evaluation, criminal profiling, and competency assessment.
PSY 281 Principles of Learning and Memory (4 SH). Analysis of the variety of mechanisms by which our behavior and our representations develop from experience. Prerequisite: PSY 101.
PSY 291 Adulthood and Aging (4 SH). An examination of the theories and research regarding development and change from young adulthood through old age.
PSY 301 Psychological Assessment (4 SH). This course explores issues related to the assessment of human functioning within a variety of areas, including intelligence, academic achievement, personality and other dimensions of psychological adjustment. The course will focus on major assessment strategies and instruments within each of these areas, as well as principles underlying the construction and effective use of assessment instruments. Alaboratory is included. Prerequisite: PSY 201.
PSY 315 Animal Behavior (4 SH). An introduction to the fascinating fields of animal behavior and cultural learning. This course focuses on the relationships between animals and their environments through adaptation, communication and social organization. It also explores other exciting issues such as, what animal behavior can teach us about ourselves, how economic game theory has been used to explain evolution of behavior, and how our understanding of animal behavior is changing the way we treat them. There will be field work in the form of animal observations and a possible field trip to Pittsburgh Zoo or another wild animal facility. Prerequisites: C- or better in BIO 203 or permission of instructor, willingness to spend a lot of time watching animals. (Also listed as BIO 363.)
PSY 321 Social Psychology (4 SH). Descriptive and experimental examination of the interaction of individuals, small groups and large groups focusing on topics such as attitude formation, conformity, aggression, cooperation, and intergroup relations. A laboratory is included. Prerequisite: PSY 201.
PSY 331 Psychology of Women (4 SH). This course challenges students to question their existing beliefs about what it means to be male and female in today’s society. We will explore traditional and changing gender roles and their impact. Course topics include an in-depth look at issues related to gender stereotypes, violence against women, interpersonal relationships, childcare and employment. Students will also explore global issues related to gender roles and culture by examining women’s lives in other countries. (Also listed as GS 331.)
PSY 341 Behavioral Neuroscience (4 SH). Analysis of how nervous system activity underlies sensory, perceptual and higher cognitive activities including motivation, memory, language, thought, and mental illness. A laboratory is included. Prerequisite: PSY 101 or BIO 201. (Also listed as NS 341 and BIO 433.)
PSY 351 Cognition (4 SH). Memory, problem solving, language and intelligence considered from information processing and alternative views. Prerequisite: PSY 101.
PSY 401 Abnormal Psychology (4 SH). An examination of the theoretical and empirical approaches to understanding abnormal human behavior with an introduction to the nature, causes and treatment of various psychological disorders. Prerequisite: PSY 101.
PSY 411 Exceptional Children (4 SH). An exploration of the etiologies, characteristics, treatment and outcomes in adulthood for the exceptionalities of childhood and adolescence. These include intellectual giftedness, mental retardation, neurological and sensory impairment, emotional/ behavioral disorders and autism. Prerequisite: PSY 221 or consent of instructor.
PSY 421 Clinical Psychology: Theory and Practice (4 SH). This course provides an in-depth exploration of the field of clinical psychology and the treatment of psychological disorders. Prerequisite: PSY 101.
PSY 431 Developmental Psychopathology (4 SH). An overview of problems and processes that lead to abnormal development in childhood and adolescence. Included is an in-depth examination of early psychological disorders. Prerequisites: PSY 101 or 221.
PSY 590-594 Field Experience/Internship (1-4 SH). Working in a psychology related field under the supervision of a person with at least a master’s degree in psychology or a related discipline. Regular contact with the Westminster College internship instructor is required. A reading list developed prior to actual internship activities, a journal and a paper integrating the readings, internship experience and other college course work are required. Prerequisite: junior level standing.
PSY 601 Psychology Capstone: Senior Studies I (2 SH). Senior Capstone seminar which addresses psychological research, its strengths, weaknesses and applications beyond psychology. Students must register for Senior Studies I concurrently with Advanced Research I (611, 621, 631, 641, or 651). Students will prepare and review proposals for senior theses and begin preliminary research. Prerequisites: PSY 201 and junior level standing. Offered Spring Semester.
PSY 602 Psychology Capstone: Senior Studies II (2 SH). Continuation of Senior Studies I. Students must register for Senior Studies II concurrently with Advanced Research II (612, 622, 632, 642, or 652). Students will conduct, revise, review and formally present senior theses. Prerequisite: PSY 601. Offered Fall Semester. Successful completion of this course and the Advanced Research II course satisfies the Liberal Studies Capstone requirement.
PSY 610, 611 Advanced Topics (4 SH). Specialized topics usually offered only once or twice to explore cutting-edge issues, methods, and creative needs of instructors and students. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.
PSY 620-624 Independent Study (1-4 SH). Supervised, individual investigation of a topic of special interest, generally in the form of an experimental project. However, any activity which affords an opportunity for learning not usually provided by the classroom situation is seriously considered. Prerequisite: written approval of the department after submission of an application, including a prospectus, to the department at least two weeks before preregistration.
PSY 631-640 Advanced Research Seminar (2 SH). When registering for PSY 601 and 602 students must co-registerin one of the following two-course sequences:
PSY 631, 632 General Experimental Research I and II.
PSY 633, 634 Developmental Research I and II.
PSY 635, 636 Social Psychology Research I and II.
PSY 637, 638 Applied Psychological Research I and II.
PSY 639, 640 Experimental and Personality Research I and II.
PSY 650 Research Scholars (2 SH). The research scholars program is for those exceptionalvstudents who choose to do a more extensive, two to three semester capstone research projectvin psychology. Students eligible for this program must have a 3.5 GPA overall, a 3.5 GPA invpsychology, have taken at least three psychology courses, obtained a letter of reference fromva faculty member, and must submit a writing sample to the chair of the department. Studentsvaccepted into the program begin their projects in the spring of their junior year and defend a thesisvin the spring of their senior year. Students must show concurrent enrollment in PSY 601 and 602.
PSY 660, 670, 680, 690 Honors Research (1-4 SH). Students enrolled in Honors Research participate in PSY 601, 602, and PSY 631-640. Students must have a 3.5 GPA in three or more psychology courses and complete a departmental application for admission to the program.
BIO 201 Cell Biology and Genetics (4 SH). This course serves as an introduction for students who have chosen biology or molecular biology as a major or minor. A combination of lectures, laboratory exercises, and assignments will introduce students to ways of observing and thinking about fundamental concepts and processes in the following areas of biology—biochemistry, cell structure and function, metabolism, genetics, and biotechnology. Various resources will be utilized to reinforce biological concepts, learn new laboratory skills, and improve critical thinking skills. Multiple sections offered every Fall Semester; one section offered every Spring Semester.
BIO 202 Evolution, Form and Function (4 SH). BIO 202 is the second in a series of three foundational courses in biology, designed to serve as an introduction for students who are taking a biology or molecular biology major or minor. Using explorative lectures coupled with investigative laboratories, BIO 202 will focus on evolution, the structure and physiology of plants and animals, and animal development. Concepts and practices of experimental design, data analysis, and interpretation of results will be reinforced and extended through integrated laboratory activities. Prerequisite: completion of BIO 201. Offered Spring Semester.
CHE 117 Principles of Chemistry (4 SH). Acourse emphasizing stoichiometry, chemical equilibria, acids and bases, chemical kinetics, thermodynamics, electrochemistry, nuclear phenomena, and interactions of science and society. In the laboratory program students will investigate chemical systems, analyze observations and data, devise explanations, and communicate results. Prerequisites : High school chemistry and an acceptable score on a placement test or completion of CHE 111 or ES 160 with a grade of C- or better. Offered Fall and Spring semesters.
CHE 180 Inorganic Chemistry (4 SH). A study of the energetics of the bonding and reactions of inorganic compounds. Emphasis is given to the periodicity of the chemical and physical properties of the elements. Major themes of the course include effective nuclear charge, lattice energy, charge density, acid/base theories, and the descriptive chemistry of all of the elements. The laboratory includes the investigation of the energetics of reactions, the synthesis and analysis of coordination compounds, qualitative chemistry, and the communication of results. Prerequisite: CHE 117 with a grade of C- or better. Offered Fall and Spring semesters.
MTH 131 Applied Calculus (4 SH). A one-semesterstudy of applications of differential and integral calculus with emphasis on polynomials, exponential functions, logarithmic functions, business and economics applications. This course is for individuals with a good high school background in mathematics. This course does not provide the background for a student to continue on to Calculus II. Not available to students who have credit for MTH 150, MTH 152, or MTH250. Prerequisites : Cor better in MTH130 or permission of the instructor or department chair.
MTH 150 Calculus I (4 SH). This course will focus on the fundamentals of differential calculus. Topics considered include functions, limits, continuous functions, differentiation and integration of functions with one real variable, applications of differentiation and the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus. Students will be introduced to some basic calculus proofs. This course is suggested for all students who expect to continue for any advanced degree including finance, law, and medicine.
PHY 141 Foundations of Physics I (4 SH). The first semester of an introductory study of physics (mechanics, heat, electricity, magnetism, waves, light and modern physics) without calculus. Basic principles used in both semesters are introduced in the first semester. Some emphasis will be given to applications of physics to biological systems. A laboratory is included. Prerequisite: a good background in high school mathematics including algebra and trigonometry. Offered Fall Semester.
PHY 142 Foundations of Physics II (4 SH). The second semester of an introductory study of physics (mechanics, heat, electricity, magnetism, waves, light and modern physics) without calculus. Some emphasis will be given to applications of physics to biological systems. A laboratory is included. Prerequisite: PHY 141 or PHY 151. Offered Spring Semester.
PHY 151 Principles of Physics I (4 SH). The first semester of an introductory study of physics (mechanics, heat, electricity, magnetism, waves, light and modern physics). Basic principles used in both semesters are introduced in the first semester. Some basic concepts of calculus may be introduced as needed. A laboratory is included. Co-requisite: MTH 150 or higher. Offered Fall Semester.
PHY 152 Principles of Physics II (4 SH). The second semester of an introductory study of physics (mechanics, heat, electricity, magnetism, waves, light and modern physics). Calculus methods will be used. A laboratory is included. Prerequisite: PHY 151; Co-requisite: MTH 152 or higher. Offered Spring Semester.
Internships are an excellent opportunity to see psychology in action in mental health, educational and research settings. Internships may be conducted during any term. There is a separate fee for summer internships. The department recommends at least a junior standing at the time of registration. Participation in the internship program is required. Following the guidelines will help you plan your internships and get the most out of them.
Students have the sole responsibility for the planning of their internships. The organization which sponsors you should be chosen after careful investigation. Internships should not be afterthoughts. Although the internship officially begins during the semester you have chosen, you should have a fairly good idea of what you would like to do at the beginning of the previous semester. Often the summer between your sophomore and junior year is a good time to track down possibilities, particularly if you would like to do an internship close to your hometown. If you need some inspiration to come up with possibilities, or the dates of internship day, Mrs. DeMedal in the Career Center (top floor of the McKelvey Campus Center) maintains a data base of all past internships. She is very eager to share this information with you. Also, in mid-February there is an 'internship day' where you can interview with potential agencies for internship positions. There is often someone there from a psychology-related organization. Be sure to choose a semester in which you have sufficient time to schedule a quality internship.
Internships are a way to learn from professionals and to "network." Students sometimes choose internships that put them in a setting similar to one they envision for their own careers. You may become enthused by your experiences, or you may decide that you do not enjoy a type of work as much as you thought. Both are valuable outcomes. Internships can also provide opportunities for research experiences. For example, work in a graduate lab may provide an inspiration for a senior thesis or provide an invaluable contact for admission into a graduate program.
One important criterion in the selection of a sponsoring agency is the availability of professional staff, preferably a psychologist, with at least a master's degree. A sponsor should be someone willing to spend some time with you in explaining what his or her job entails, the pros and cons of the occupation, his or her career path and what you might need to know about graduate or professional training. Make sure this individual approves your internship and is willing to serve as a contact person with the Westminster psychology faculty.
Prior to the beginning of any registration paperwork, make an appointment with a member of the psychology faculty to discuss your general plans. At that point, a faculty member can tell you if your plans seem appropriate, can go over the grading options and will also suggest who the best faculty instructor for the field experience might be. One of the first things you should do after obtaining a faculty instructor is to develop a reading list. Material on this list should be part of what you pack for the internship. The list must be completed and have the approval of your instructor by the end of the semester prior to your internship.
Initiate the paperwork for registration no later than two weeks before the registration time. You need to obtain the "Westminster College Application for Internship" form and a "Approval for Field Experience" card both of which will be included in a packet of materials you obtain from Mrs. DeMedal in the Career Center.
The following information must be provided on the application form:
The application form requires the signatures of your faculty instructor, your on-the-job supervisor and the department chair. Therefore, the form should be obtained and completed in ample time so that it may be sent to your sponsoring agency and returned to you in time for registration. When the form is completed, take it to Mrs. DeMedal's office. Occasionally, although you sent the form off in time to your supervisor, it may not get signed and returned promptly. If this occurs, the career center will fax the form to the supervisor for his or her signature.
Prior to registration have your faculty instructor and the department chair sign the "Approval for Field Experience" card which must be presented at the time of registration.
If appropriately planned, you should be involved in experiences which are educational and worthy of college credit. Regard your internship as an apprenticeship. You should not be doing work which is primarily clerical. To guarantee things are going as they should, it is required that you contact by phone (or e-mail) your faculty instructor after the first week of your internship. Through your discussion, it can be determined if your activities are appropriate or some changes need to be made. If the internship appears unsatisfactory in any way let your Westminster instructor know. It may be more appropriate for us to attempt to rectify things for you.
On-site supervisors will vary quite a bit in how much time they are willing or able to spend with you directly. Sometimes they are concerned that they need to prepare special activities for you. You can assure them that they need not, although, many will voluntarily take special interest in you. However, it is your responsibility to arrange at least a small amount of time with the supervisor to ask questions relevant to his/her professional training and responsibilities.
Since the experience is an apprenticeship, it is essential that you understand "the psychology" of what you are doing. For example, in some cases you will be working on a day-in day-out basis with teaching staff or perhaps a lab technician. This is O.K., but such people may not be knowledgeable enough to teach you why they do what they do. It is your responsibility to seek out professional staff who can explain this to you. Such an understanding is an essential component of your internship.
As a way to help you understand what you are doing:
Regular or S/U grading is available for internships. Regardless of grading type, the same course requirements apply. They are:
|1. Explore possibilities for an internship||
|2. Obtain paperwork||
Go to Career Center for paperwork and registration card
|3. Find a faculty internship advisor||
|4. Arrange for 160-hour internship||
|5. Obtain signatures||
|6. Bring paperwork to Career Center||
|7. After internship||
Clubs & Activities
Psi Chi is the National Honor Society in Psychology, founded in 1929 for the purposes of encouraging, stimulating, and maintaining excellence in scholarship, and advancing the science of psychology. Membership is open to graduate and undergraduate men and women who are making the study of psychology one of their major interests and who meet the minimum qualifications. Psi Chi is a member of the Association of College Honor Societies and is an affiliate of the American Psychological Association (APA) and the American Psychological Society (APS). Psi Chi serves two major goals--one immediate and visibly rewarding to the individual member, the other slower and more difficult to accomplish, but offering greater rewards in the long run. The first of these is the Society’s obligation to provide academic recognition to its inductees by the mere fact of membership. The second goal is the obligation of each of the Society’s local chapters to nurture the spark of that accomplishment by offering a climate congenial to its creative development. For example, the chapters make active attempts to nourish and stimulate professional growth through programs designed to augment and enhance the regular curriculum and to provide practical experience and fellowship through affiliation with the chapter. In addition, the national organization provides programs to help achieve these goals, including national and regional conventions held annually in conjunction with the psychological associations, research award competitions, and certificate recognition programs. Also, the Society publishes a quarterly Psi Chi Newsletter, which helps to unite the members as well as to inform and recognize their contributions and accomplishments.
Imagine yourself in the human services field, in a research position, in a school system, as a forensic scientist, or holding a position in an industrial or corporate setting.
Bachelor of Arts