Majors and Courses

The psychology major at Presbyterian College provides students with knowledge and skills useful for many career options or graduate studies. Through the psychology major, students gain insight into the major sub-fields of psychology and develop valuable skills including technical and scientific writing, data analysis, and speaking/presenting. In addition, students gain an understanding of human behavior and interaction.

The psychology minor is highly flexible, allowing students to complete courses that would be most beneficial to their individual career and life goals. Since human interaction is an important component in most areas of life, the psychology minor may enhance many different majors and provide the student with valuable knowledge and skills. Full details about our major and minor requirements are provided below and in the Presbyterian College catalog.

Psychology Major Requirements

Students must take the required courses, one course from each of the three content areas, and four psychology electives. In addition, PSYC 444 and 448 are highly recommended for students who qualify.

Required Courses

  • PSYC  201 Introductory Psychology
  • PSYC  205 Experimental Study of Behavior
  • PSYC  307 Tests and Measurements
  • PSYC  316 Systems and Theories of Psychology
  • STAT  320 Research Statistics
  • PSYC  440 Psychology Capstone

Area I.  Developmental Psychology

  • PSYC  212 Child Psychology
  • PSYC  213 Adolescent Psychology
  • PSYC  214 Adulthood and Aging
  • PSYC  217 Lifespan Development*

Area II.  Personality/Social

  • PSYC  301 Abnormal Psychology
  • PSYC  310 Personality Psychology
  • PSYC  312 Social Psychology

Area III.  Experimental Psychology (all with a lab)

  • PSYC   318 Physiological Psychology
  • PSYC   403 Principles of Learning and Behavior
  • PSYC   406 Cognition
  • PSYC   407 Sensation and Perception

Psychology Electives
After taking one course in a content area, the remaining courses may serve as electives.  *Psyc 217: Lifespan Development may fulfill the Area I requirement, but the remaining developmental courses cannot be used as psychology electives. Additional electives are listed below.

  • PSYC    303 Educational Psychology
  • PSYC    311 Personality Development in Young Adulthood
  • PSYC    315 Psychology of Religion
  • PSYC    322 Industrial/Organizational Psychology
  • PSYC    324 Sport Psychology
  • PSYC    326 Criminal Behavior
  • PSYC    330 Human Sexuality
  • PSYC    361 Drugs and Behavior
  • PSYC    402 Principles and Procedures of Counseling
  • PSYC    404 Group Dynamics
  • PSYC    458 Special Topics

Psychology Minor Requirements
The minor in psychology consists of eighteen hours, including PSYC 201 and fifteen hours of PSYC electives taught at or above the 200-level. STAT 320 is not required but may count as one of the elective courses.

Psychology (PSYC) Course Descriptions
CO = Co-requisite ● POI = Permission of Instructor ● PR = Prerequisite ● RE = Recommended ● XL = Cross-listed

201 Introductory Psychology (3) Survey of the various topics of study in modern psychology and the different approaches to understanding these areas. Topics include sensation, perception, learning, memory, motivation, emotion,behavior pathology, social interaction, and personality.

205 Experimental Study of Behavior (4) (3 hrs lecture, 3 hr lab weekly ● PR: PSYC 201) Experimental, survey, and observational methods of data collection. Emphasis on the role of theories, the logic of hypothesis testing, control of variables, correlational techniques, and data description and interpretation. Includes student participation in research projects covering a variety of content areas.

212 Child Psychology (3) (PR: PSYC 201) A study of developmental psychology from conception to adolescence, including theories of child psychology and descriptive characteristics marking physical,  social, and cognitive growth at each period of development. Special attention is given to the cultural and social forces that influence children and their development. Field experiences with children are available

213 Adolescent Psychology (3) (PR: PSYC 201) Principles and theories of adolescent psychology, including biological, cognitive, social, identity, and moral development. Attention to topics of current interest and opportunities for field experience with adolescents.

214 Psychology of Adulthood and Aging (3) (PR: PSYC 201; SO status) A study of the theoretical and research knowledge about physical, intellectual, social and personality development that takes place from adulthood until death. Several specific issues of adulthood and aging such as marriage, parenthood, family, vocations, retirement, and death are discussed.

217 Lifespan Development (3) (PR: PSYC 201) Human development from birth to old age will be explored through the study of developmental processes and theories. Emphasis is placed on development as a life-long process and how these processes affect human behavior. This course will include an examination of all forms of development across the lifespan: physical, cognitive, social, psychological, moral, and linguistic.

258 Special Topics (1-6) Special topics courses are those that cover subject matter that is not part of the regular curriculum. A special topics course must have the prior approval of the department and the Provost and may be offered twice. Students may enroll in and receive credit for an unlimited number of special topic courses as long as any prerequisites or other requirements are met.

301 Abnormal Psychology (3) (PR: PSYC 201) Integrative and multidimensional study of abnormal behavior. Disorders studied according to diagnostic classification, etiology, and treatment. Includes case studies presented by persons with disorders.

303 Educational Psychology (3) (PR: PSYC 201) The principles and procedures of learning psychology applied to education with study of such topics as variables that affect learning, planning, directing, and evaluating learning. Attention is directed to contrasting theories of human learning as applied in educational settings.

307 Tests and Measurements (3) (PR: PSYC 201) A study of the basic theory of testing as it relates to the practices of test construction, evaluation, and interpretation. Emphasis on a thorough treatment of the principles of achievement, aptitude, intelligence, and personality assessment.

310 Theories of Personality (3) (PR: PSYC 201) A detailed study of classical and contemporary theories of personality. Theories studied according to classification, place in history of psychology, key concepts, personality development and dynamics, research methods and findings, application, and evaluation.

311 Personality Development in Young Adulthood (3) (PR: PSYC 201 ● RE: PSYC 310) An applied course in personality derived from personality theories explaining young adulthood. Topics and issues of relevancy in this life stage are studied in-depth. Increased self-understanding is the objective.

312 Social Psychology (3) (PR: PSYC 201 or SOC 201 ● XL: SOC 312) A study of the relation of the individual to the social group. Topics include conformity, obedience, attitudes and persuasion, aggression, prejudice, and attraction.

315 Psychology of Religion (3) (PR: PSYC 201 or POI ● XL: RELG 315) This course focuses on religious beliefs, religious feelings, and behavior from a psychological perspective. Issues of interest include: religious development, conversion, the role of religious faith in promoting health and well-being in the individual and compassion for others. The secular value of religion within a society and religion from an evolutionary perspective will also be explored.

316 Systems and Theories of Psychology (3) (PR: PSYC 201) A study of the history of psychology and its development as a science. Emphasis on the major schools of thought of the past century including structuralism, functionalism, behaviorism, and Gestalt psychology. The effect of these movements on approaches to contemporary problems is stressed.

318 Physiological Psychology (4) (3 hrs lecture, 3 hrs lab weekly ● PR: PSYC 201 ● RE: BIOL 105 and 106 and minimum of 6 hrs in psychology) Examines the biological bases of human behavior with primary emphasis upon the anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry of the nervous system. The biological substrates of motivation, sensation perception, emotion, and learning are investigated. Also designed to acquaint student with research techniques and subsequent theories that comprise physiological explanations of behavior.

322 Industrial/Organizational Psychology (3) (PR: PSYC 201 or ECON 201 ● XL: BADM 322) The application of psychology to workplace settings, including not only business and industry but also non-profit organizations such as hospitals, government, and social agencies. Topics include employment recruitment and selection, organizational communication, motivation of workers, and performance evaluation. Topics are of special relevance to students who at some point in their careers expect to be in managerial or administrative positions within an organization, be it a business or non-profit organization.

324 Sport Psychology (3) (PR: PSYC 201 ● XL: PHED 324) Application of psychological principles to various aspects of sport. Topics include behavioral principles, motor learning, anxiety and arousal, mental preparation, leadership, team cohesion, audience effects, aggression, personality, assessment, gender roles, youth sport, coaching, and exercise psychology.

326 Criminal Behavior (3) (PR: PSYC 201) A study of the antecedents of criminal behavior and its expression in various forms. Students will be asked to adopt a systems approach in which evidence from psychological, sociological, neurological, cognitive, and behavior genetics research is considered.

330 Human Sexuality (3) (PR: PSYC 201) Sexuality is studied as a component of human behavior including such topics as biologically based behaviors, psychosocial influences, and communication within relationships. Informed decisionmaking is addressed within the contexts of respect, responsibility, and reality with sensitivity to diversity, moral values, and ethics.

361 Drugs and Behavior (3) (PR: PSYC 201 and JR status) This course examines basic pharmacological principles and the physiological responses and behavioral effects of drugs on humans. Considered are the psychological effects, brain mode of action, and patterns of use of psychoactive agents, including stimulants, sedative/hypnotics, hallucinogens, marijuana, alcohol, over-the-counter drugs, cognitive enhancers, anti-anxiety agents, antidepressants, and antipsychotics.

398 Honors Research (3-6) Departmental Honors: Students with a 3.20 GPA in all courses and a 3.40 GPA in all courses in the major field may, with the approval of departmental faculty, undertake an honors research program during the junior and/or senior years. This program must include a senior thesis or project of exceptional quality and an oral defense of the paper or project before departmental members. This defense is to be open to the College community, and honors students will participate in all other defenses within their discipline. Students who successfully complete the departmental honors research program will graduate “with honors” in the major field.

402 Principles and Procedures of Counseling (3) (PR: PSYC 201 and JR or SR status ● RE: PSYC 310) Study of theories, principles, and procedures of counseling. Emphasis on dynamics of behavior and communication skills. Application to human services professions.

403 Experimental Psychology: Principles of Learning and Behavior (4) (3 hrs lecture, 3 hrs lab weekly ● PR: PSYC 201 and 205) Theoretical and atheoretical approaches to the study of classical and instrumental conditioning, discrimination learning, and reinforcement. Includes discussion of the practical applications of these principles and an opportunity for individual investigation.

404 Group Dynamics (3) (2 hrs lecture, 2 hrs lab weekly ● PR: PSYC 201 ● Recommended: PSYC 402) Integrates theories and techniques for leading groups in human service settings. Students participate in experiential learning.

406 Experimental Psychology: Cognition (4) (3 hrs lecture, 3 hrs lab weekly ● PR: PSYC 201 and 205) A study of human information processing, including a critical examination of attention, pattern recognition, memory, thinking, and problem solving. Emphasis on the evaluation of theoretical approaches both in discussion and in laboratory work.

407 Experimental Psychology: Sensation and Perception (4) (3 hrs. lecture, 3 hrs lab weekly ● PR: PSYC 201 and 205) Survey of the various sensory modalities and principles of perception that contribute to conscious experience. Topics include perception of depth, color, motion, objects, and illusions as well as clinical deficiencies and psychophysics. Lecture supplemented by lab experiments and demonstrations.

440 Psychology Capstone (1) (PR: SR status and PSYC major) Part of the capstone requirement for all majors who have not completed independent or honors research in psychology. Students might expand upon a topic on which they have done a term paper for another psychology class or a paper integrating courses from the major with field experience in an internship. A formal oral presentation on the topic will be made to the entire psychology faculty after an acceptable paper on the topic has been accepted.

442 Directed Studies in Psychology (1-3) (PR: JR or SR status and PSYC major) In-depth study of the literature in an assigned area of psychology closely directed and supervised by instructor. A directed study requires a minimum GPA of 2.25 with course approval by the Provost. A maximum of nine hours credit may be counted towards graduation. Each directed study will culminate in a research paper or its equivalent. A department may, at its option, allow the hours earned in a directed study to count toward its major.

444 Internship in Psychology (3-6) (PR: JR or SR status and PSYC major) Student observation and participation in a psychological field setting approved by the department. Required hours are based on college requirements and include regular class meetings.  Internships require a minimum GPA of 2.00 at the time of application (or higher if specified by the department in which the internship is taken). A maximum of six hours credit may be counted towards graduation. Internships are graded on a pass/fail basis only. A department may, at its option, allow the hours earned in an internship to count toward its major.

446 Readings (1-9) Selected readings are open to students with sophomore, junior, or senior standing. Hours earned in these readings cannot be used to meet requirements for the major. A maximum of nine hours credit may be counted towards graduation.

448 Research in Psychology (3-6) (PR: JR or SR status and PSYC major) Empirical research in some assigned area in psychology.  Research requires a minimum GPA of 2.50 (or higher if specified). A maximum of nine hours credit may be counted towards graduation. A department may, at its option, allow the hours earned in a research to count toward its major.

450 Seminar (1-9) Seminars are regularly offered by various departments of the College. The requirements for these courses are individually listed.

452 Special Projects (1-9).  Special Projects are open to sophomore, junior, or senior students who have a GPA of 2.25 and approval by the Provost. A maximum of nine hours credit may be counted towards graduation.

458 Special Topics (1-9) Special topics courses are those that cover subject matter that is not part of the regular curriculum. A special topics course must have the prior approval of the department and the Provost and may be offered twice. Students may enroll in and receive credit for an unlimited number of special topic courses as long as any prerequisites or other requirements are met.

If you have any questions about the major or minor requirements or about the courses we offer, please feel free to contact one of our faculty members. We will be glad to provide you with more detailed information and answer any questions you may have.