Department Website:


  • Professor Phillip Dunwoody - ext. 5333
  • Professor Mark McKellop (Chair)- ext. 3647
  • Professor Ron McLaughlin - ext. 3681
  • Professor Kathy Westcott - ext. 3656
  • Professor David Widman - ext. 3576

Background Information:

The department’s purpose is to provide exposure to the content, methodology, and 
theoretical developments associated with the “study of behavior.” The department is oriented toward the empirical, scientific study of both human and non-human organisms. Courses in psychology are intended both for students desiring a general background and for those considering graduate work in the area. The offerings deal with behavior at all levels of analysis, from the smallest unit to the largest units of psychology. The department supports student research and encourages interdisciplinary study and internship experiences.

Special programs, facilities, or equipment:

  • Human and Rodent behavioral research laboratories
  • Discipline specific software for psychological research
  • Human interaction lab
  • Human physiological recording equipment
  • Virtual V-CAVE environment

Programs of Emphasis:

  • Psychology

Individualized Programs of Emphasis:

  • Adolescent Behavioral Services
  • Biopsychology
  • Studies in Human Behavior
  • Neuroscience
  • Group and Individual Behavior
  • Animal Behavior
  • Cognitive Science
  • Individual & Organizational Behavior

Secondary Emphasis:

  • PY 101 Introduction to Psychology
  • ND.SS.214 Statistics for Social Sciences ( or equivalent)
  • Four other psychology courses, two of which must be at the 300 or 400 level.

Internship/Research Experiences:

  • Outpatient Clinics
  • Developmental services
  • Youth camps
  • Correctional institutes
  • Hospice
  • High schools
  • Institutional research
  • Behavioral Health Services
  • Laboratory based experiments in rat learning and conditioning
  • Laboratory based experiments in human evolutionary psychology
  • Laboratory based experiments in priming and working memory
  • Survey based research into political attitudes and decision making
  • Survey based research into organizational healthcare and worker attitudes and perceived access to programs.

Specific department policy:

Awarding credit for AP Exam scores: Awarding credit for AP Exam scores: If a student has a score of 4 or 5 on the AP Psychology exam, he/she will be awarded credit for PY 101. Introduction to Psychology. This course is worth 3 PY credits and carries the “S” designation. The student is free to enroll in other departmental courses that have PY 101 as a prerequisite.


PY-101   Introduction to Psychology (Fall & Spring; Yearly; 3.00 Credits; S) An overview of the content and methodology in the field. Topics such as the history of psychology, physiological psychology, learning and memory, perception, motivation, child development, personality and social foundations are considered

PY-199   Special Topics (Variable; Variable; 1.00-4.00 Credits) Allows the department to offer special topics not normally offered. Departments may offer more than one special topic. Prerequisites and fees vary by title.

PY-202   Personality (Fall; Yearly; 3.00 Credits; S) A consideration of representative approaches to the study of human personality, beginning with standard theoretical approaches and their applications. This is followed by a consideration of selected topics within the field of personality, e.g. aggression, sexuality, dependency, and competence. Prerequisite: PY 101

PY-203   Abnormal Psychology (Spring; Yearly; 3.00 Credits; S) A brief consideration is given to the historical approaches to " mental illness, " followed by a consideration of present day classification, diagnostic measures, and therapy. Emphasis throughout is upon experimental data as applied to the various disorders. Prerequisite: PY101.

PY-205   Social Psychology (Spring; Yearly; 3.00 Credits; S) The study of human interaction and interpersonal relationships, including selected areas of current research and theory such as social perception, interpersonal communication, attitude formation and change, conformity, aggression, and interpersonal attraction. Prerequisite: PY101.

PY-207   Human Sexuality (Fall; Yearly; 3.00 Credits; S) Examines human sexuality from psychological and cultural perspectives. Topics include the physiology of sexual functions, conception and contraception, sexual behavior through the life span, sexual intercourse, sex and society, sex and the law, and sex and morality. Prerequisite: PY101.

PY-238   Biopsychology (Fall & Spring; Yearly; 3.00 Credits; S,N) Focuses on neurobiology and neuroanatomy as they relate to sensory processes, motivation, reinforcement, learning, and memory. Prerequisites: PY101 or BI105 or permission.

PY-270   Cognitive Neuroscience (Fall & Spring; Yearly; 3.00 Credits; S,N) Focuses on the neural mechanisms of mental processes including sensation and perception, attention, memory, reasoning, and decision making. Topics include basic neuroanatomy, functional imaging techniques, and evidence from neurotypical and clinical populations. Prerequisites: PY101.

PY-299   Special Topics (Variable; Variable; 1.00-4.00 Credits) Allows the department to offer special topics not normally offered. Departments may offer more than one special topic. Prerequisites vary by title.

PY-302   Moral Judgment (Spring; Yearly; 3.00 Credits; S) This course will cover basic issues relevant to understanding and evaluating moral judgment. We will compare prescriptive models of human judgment (how people ought to make moral judgments) with descriptive models of human judgment (how people actually make moral judgments). Prescriptive models will be rooted in moral philosophy (e.g., utilitarianism). Descriptive models will be rooted in psychology and will focus on the relative roles of automaticity, intuition, and conscious reasoning. Descriptive accounts of morality will also address how intuitive moral foundations differ as a function of political ideology and the implications for public policy formation. Applications of prescriptive and descriptive moral theories will include a variety of applications, including genomics and bioethi.

PY-303   Learning & Conditioning (Fall; Yearly; 3.00 Credits; S) Explores the issue of how we are changed by experience, using primarily a behaviorist perspective, applied to animal and human data. Both theory and applied applications of theory will be considered. Prerequisite: PY101.

PY-304   Cognitive Psychology (Fall; Yearly; 3.00 Credits; S) Explores an array of issues in human memory, primarily from a cognitive/information processing point of view. Major emphasis is on using research data to formulate answers to both theoretical and applied questions. Prerequisite: PY101.

PY-305   Measurement Theory (Fall; Even Years; 3.00 Credits; S) Emphasizes the theory, design, and evaluation of psychological tests. Special attention is paid to topics such as validity and reliability, practical issues involved in administration, scoring and interpreting selected psychological tests. Prerequisite: PY101 and ND.SS214.

PY-309   Research Methods in Psychology (Fall & Spring; Yearly; 4.00 Credits; S,CW) Examines issues in research design. A variety of topics are used to provide students experience with the design and execution of experiments as well as with the interpretation of research findings and the written presentation of research. Prerequisites: Take PY101 and ND.SS214 or MA220.

PY-321   Health Psychology (Spring; Yearly; 3.00 Credits; S) Course will examine empirical findings from disciplines of psychology, medicine, and public health. Course topics include research methods, stress and social support, health behavior and primary prevention, management of chronic/terminal illnesses, gender and cultural issues in health, and psychoneuroimmunology. An underlying theme will be to dispel health-related myths and fads that are so prevalent in the popular media. Prerequisites: PY101.

PY-340   Research in Psychology (Fall; Yearly; 2.00 Credits; S) Allows students to become involved in an ongoing research program. Students will be required to read primary literature from the specific field of investigation and become involved in execution of an ongoing experiment. Students will be expected to perform the activities relevant to the experiment, assist in the analysis of the data, and write an APA style paper based on the results of the experiment. Prerequisites: PY101 and permission. Repeatable up to 3 times.

PY-341   Research in Psychology (Spring; Yearly; 2.00 Credits; S) =See PY340 description.

PY-350   Developmental Psychology (Fall; Yearly; 3.00 Credits; S) This course is designed to integrate core topics in the discipline of developmental psychology with current key issues in society. Consequently, students will have the opportunity to analyze scientific literature and make connections to current, everyday life issues. Additionally, students will have the opportunity to explore developmental theory and its connection to public policy, known as " best practices " in parenting and education and consider developmental theory's influence on current trends in our broader society. Prerequisites: PY101 or ED120 or ED130.

PY-399   Special Topics (Variable; Variable; 1.00-4.00 Credits) This course is intended to introduce students to the scientific study of emotion, also known as affective science. The course will provide a brief examination of the historical and philosophical origins of emotion, but will focus primarily on reviewing contemporary theories, concepts, and methods of study in emotion science; examining the relationship between emotion, cognition and the brain; exploring the function, expression, and regulation of emotions; delving into variation in emotion phenomena related to gender, culture, and group processes; and considering the impact of emotions in everyday life. The course will also briefly cover disorders related to emotions.

PY-401   Comparative Psychology (Spring; Odd Years; 3.00 Credits; S,N,CS) Comparative Psychology examines the continuity of behavioral and psychological mechanisms between nonhuman animals and humans suggested by evolutionary theory. Attention is paid to the comparison between human and nonhuman animals on traditionally human characteristics, including self-recognition, language, culture, tool use, and several other characteristics. Prerequisites: PY101 or BI105 and Junior or Senior standing or permission of the instructor.

PY-402   Evolutionary Psychology (Spring; Even Years; 3.00 Credits; S,N,CS) This course uses the lens of modern evolutionary theory to understand human behavior. We will look for the influence of human evolutionary history on several modern human behaviors including, among others, dating and marriage, aggression, altruism, child-rearing, and behavioral differences between the sexes. Prerequisites: PY101 or BI105 and Junior or Senior standing or permission of the instructor.

PY-403   Judgment & Decision Making (Spring; Yearly; 3.00 Credits; S) This course is designed to provide students with an introduction to the methodological skills and topics necessary for conducting, understanding, and applying research in judgment and decision making. Assignments include written and oral reports. You should gain a better understanding of the capabilities and limitations of human judgment through this course. Prerequisites: PY101.

PY-404   School Psychology (Spring; Yearly; 3.00 Credits; S) This course serves as in introduction to the discipline of school psychology. Specifically, our primary focus will be on the application of psychological principles to improve learning for all students. Emphasis will be placed on research-based models of prevention that help to improve outcomes for individual students and classrooms as well as overall schools and schools districts. Core topics will include systems-based service delivery, assessment, learning theory, effective interventions, culturally competent practice, effective instruction, data-based decision making, and collaborative consultation. Prerequisites: PY101.

PY-406   Advanced Stats for Psychology (Fall; Odd Years; 4.00 Credits; S,Q) An examination of statistics useful in social science research that builds on the base provided by Statistics for Social Science. Techniques that are examined include factorial analysis of variance, multiple correlation and regression. Students not already acquainted with the computer are introduced to SPSS. Prerequisite: ND.SS214.

PY-409   Clinical Psychology (Fall; Yearly; 3.00 Credits; S) Provides an overview of the scientific discipline of clinical psychology. This course examines the historical foundations of clinical psychology and scientific methodologies utilized by behavioral scientists. In addition, this course examines the process of psycological assessment and the major theoretical models of psychological therapy: behavioral/cognitive, psychodynamic/psychoanalytic, and existential/humanistic. Discussion of legal and ethical issues will occur throughout the course. Prerequisites: PY203 and PY309.

PY-410   Agression and Prejudice (Spring; Yearly; 3.00 Credits; S,CS) This is an upper level seminar course limited to juniors and seniors. The course focus is on primary source readings from social psychology and political psychology that address the breadth of the human condition from compassion and empathy to political extremism and genocide. Topics include prejudice (racism, sexism, etc.), authoritarianism, social dominance, compassion, humanitarianism and human values.

PY-411   Psychology and the Law (Spring; Yearly; 3.00 Credits; S) This course explores the interface between psychology and the legal system. Students will be given an introduction to the legal decision-making process and how it differs from scientific methods of inquiry. Following the introduction, this course will emphasize how psychological theories can enhance our understanding of the legal system and how the legal system can be informed by psychological science. Prerequisites: PY101.

PY-415   Capstone in Psychology (Fall; Yearly; 3.00 Credits; S,CS) The purpose of this course is to assess the skills students acquire during their undergraduate career in the Psychology Department. Students will be expected to produce a written professional work. Prerequisites: PY101 and PY309 and ND.SS214 and Senior standing.

PY-450   Senior Research in Psychology I (Fall; Yearly; 2.00 Credits; S) Emphasizes the design and execution of an individual research project on a topic chosen in consultation with faculty. Students are expected to become conversant with the relevant primary literature, design and conduct the research, perform appropriate statistical analyses and present a final paper in APA style. Prerequisite: PY309 and permission.

PY-451   Senior Research in Psychology II (Spring; Yearly; 2.00 Credits; S) See PY450.

PY-490   Psychology Internship (Fall & Spring; Yearly; 2.00-9.00 Credits; S) See the chapter, " Special Programs " under Internships in the catalog. Corequisite: PY495. Prerequisite: permission and Jr. or Sr. standing.

PY-495   Psychology Int. Sem. (Fall & Spring; Yearly; 2.00-6.00 Credits; S) Requires students to reflect on the internship experience and /or pursue research related to the placement. Corequisite: PY490. Prerequisite: permission.

PY-499   Special Topics (Variable; Variable; 1.00-4.00 Credits) Allows the department to offer special topics not normally offered. Departmentsmay offer more than one special topic. Prerequisites vary by title.

PY-TUT   Psychology Teaching Assistant (Variable; Variable; 1.00-5.00 Credits) See catalog.