Psychology

Scope and Objectives

Psychology is a subject of considerable interest to most people — we all tend to practice some form of intuitive psychology in an attempt to understand ourselves and the people and groups with whom we interact. The curriculum offered by the Department of Psychology presents psychology as a scientific discipline that employs systematic methods of inquiry to study and explain human and animal behavior — both normal and abnormal — in terms of a variety of underlying variables, including neural, physiological, and cognitive processes; developmental factors and individual differences; and social and interpersonal influences and contexts. According to recent surveys, the Psychology Department is ranked as one of the top departments in the country.

The undergraduate curriculum has been designed to reflect the extensive breadth of psychology — both the range of behavioral phenomena studied and the variety of methods and theoretical approaches employed — while allowing students to pursue in greater depth those areas in which they become most interested. Beyond basic core courses, students can take many specialized courses in areas such as behavioral neuroscience, animal behavior, learning and memory, motivation, perception, cognition, measurement, personality, and clinical, social, developmental, community, and health psychology. The curriculum also provides excellent opportunities for research experience — either in the form of laboratory courses or by participation with faculty members and graduate students in a wide variety of research projects.

A choice of three undergraduate majors is offered: a BA degree in Psychology and BS degrees in Cognitive Science and in Psychobiology. While the majors overlap in certain fundamental and basic knowledge bases, they differ considerably in their focus (i.e., the extent to which certain areas of psychology and related disciplines are studied) and in terms of the different student interests and needs they satisfy. For nonmajors, the department offers many courses that provide students with new and valuable insights into the understanding of human behavior, including their own.

At the graduate level, the department offers training leading to the PhD degree with emphases in the areas of behavioral neuroscience, clinical, cognitive, cognitive neuroscience, developmental, health, learning and behavior, social, and quantitative psychology. The graduate program is designed to prepare future psychologists for careers as scientific investigators, college and university teachers, and clinical scientists.