Apr 18, 2019  
2009-2010 University Catalog 
    
2009-2010 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Psychology – Major


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Psychology is the scientific study of the mind, emotion, and behavior. The important component of this definition is that psychology is a science, and its basic tools are rigorous methodology and mathematical analysis.

Psychology studies how we perceive information in the world. It focuses on how we process information, how we respond to information emotionally and behaviorally, how we learn, and how our mental processes change over time. Psychology studies these intra-person mechanisms in both animals and humans. It deals with the study of the mind-emotion-behavior system using a variety of methodologies, including observation, experimentation, quantitative modeling, and the biological bases for these systems. Because of the breadth of its content and its methodology, psychology is an interdisciplinary science. For this reason, it forms an important part of a science education that can complement any scientific or health profession that attends to information processing, emotion, and behavior. It provides the kind of analytic and conceptual skills that are relevant to becoming a thinking person and scientist. It also can serve as the foundation for a variety of careers. The overarching consideration, when considering psychology as a major or minor, is to realize that it is a quantitative, empirical science. As such, the development of quantitative research skills and penetrating reasoning and problem-solving skills are the focal points of an education in psychology.

American Psychological Association Task Force on Undergraduate Psychology Major Competencies (2000) as Adopted by USP Psychology Program

Knowledge, Skills, and Values Consistent with the Science and Application of Psychology

  • Students will demonstrate familiarity with the major concepts, theoretical perspective, empirical findings, and historical trends in psychology.
  • Students will understand and apply basic research methods in psychology, including research design, data analysis, and interpretation.
  • Students will respect and use critical and creative thinking, skeptical inquiry, and, when possible, the scientific approach to solve problems related to behavior and mental processes.
  • Students will understand and apply psychological principles to personal, social, and organizational issues.
  • Students will be able to weigh evidence, tolerate ambiguity, act ethically, and reflect other values that are the underpinnings of psychology as a discipline.
  • Students will develop insight into their own and others’ behavior and mental processes and apply effective strategies for self-management and self-improvement.
  • Students will emerge from the major with realistic ideas about how to implement their Psychological knowledge, skills, and values in occupational pursuits in a variety of settings.

Knowledge, Skills, and Values Consistent with Both a Science and Liberal Arts Education That Are Further Developed in Psychology

A. Liberal Arts

  • Students will demonstrate information competence and the ability to use computers and other technology for many purposes.
  • Students will be able to communicate effectively in a variety of formats.
  • Students will recognize, understand, and respect the complexity of sociocultural and international diversity.

B. Science

  • Students will understand and apply biological principles to fundamental problems in psychology and larger social issues.
  • Students will understand and apply mathematical principles to fundamental problems in psychology and larger societal issues.
  • Students will understand and apply principles of physics, chemistry, or other natural sciences to fundamental problems in psychology and larger societal issues.

Psychology Degree Requirements


Students entering in Catalog Year 2007 and earlier (graduating classes of 2009–2011)


The Department of Social Sciences offers the bachelor of science degree in psychology and a combined BS/MS degree program that leads to a master of science in health psychology in as few as five years. Students begin to take psychology courses in their first year. By the third year, they begin focusing their program toward a specialty. There are 42 required psychology core credits in the major beyond PS 101 - Introduction to Psychology. These 42 credits are broken down into Substantive areas and Research Methods and Statistics.

Additional Information


Beyond these 42 psychology core credits, students in the BS program take 15 credits of psychology program electives, which are specialty courses in a psychology subdiscipline of the student’s choosing.

During their senior year, psychology majors have the option of taking 6 credit hours of senior thesis research.

Passing the writing proficiency examination is a graduation requirement for students who entered in Catalog Year 2008 or earlier (see Catalog Year for Degree Requirements). Students who have failed the examination are urged to seek assistance from the Writing Center. Students who entered in Catalog Year 2006 or earlier must also pass the computer competency requirement.

Students select either the four-year psychology BS degree option or the five-year MS health psychology degree option at the end of their second semester. Both thesis and non-thesis MS degrees are offered.

Please refer to the College of Graduate Studies section for further information on the graduate degree programs in health psychology.

Students entering in Catalog Year 2008 and beyond (graduating classes of 2012 and beyond)


Psychology Professional & Career Development Requirements (8 credits)


  • PS 1XX - Psychology Orientation II Credit: 1

Advanced Skills Electives: 4-Year BS Degree Program (minimum of 9 credits)


To be used by students to prepare for a specialization in an area of psychology for career or graduate school. Can be used for independent study, independent research, or thesis. The courses in this area can be used for prerequisites for medical school, nursing school, public health, or any legitimate career area with the approval of a psychology advisor.

Advanced Skills Electives: 5-Year BS/MS Degree Program (minimum of 9 credits)


To be used by students to begin to develop clinical and assessment skills in preparation for the MS degree in health psychology. Choose any three from:

Advanced Program Electives (6 credits)


Choose any two courses at the 300-level or above in any discipline for a total of six credits.

General Education Discipline Requirements (42 credits)


  • General Education Humanities Requirement Credits: 6
  • General Education Social Sciences Requirement Credits: 6
    Choose any two courses with prefix AN, CO (except CO 101 and CO 204), EC, PO, SO, and SS (except SS 221 and SS 222).
  • BS 103/BS 104 - General Biology I and II Credits: 8

Intellectual Heritage I & II Credits: 6


(Choose two)

General Education Distribution Electives (minimum of 12–14 credits)


  • History Elective Credits: 3
  • Free Elective Credits: 3

Additional Information


Passing the writing proficiency examination is a graduation requirement for students who entered in Catalog Year 2008 or earlier (see Catalog Year for Degree Requirements). Students who failed the examination are urged to seek assistance from the Writing Center.

Minimum Total Credits Required for Psychology BS degree: 121


Sample Psychology Curriculum Plan


Students entering in Catalog Year 2006 and earlier (graduating classes of 2009–2010)—with core curriculum.

First Year


Credits/Semester: 18


Spring Semester


  • Social Science Fundamental Requirement Credits: 3

Credits/Semester: 17


Second Year


Intellectual Heritage I Credits: 3


(Choose one)

Credits/Semester: 17


Intellectual Heritage II Credits: 3


(Choose one)

Credits/Semester: 17


Third Year


Fall Semester


  • Core Distribution Requirement Credits: 3
  • Core Elective Credits: 3

Credits/Semester: 15


Spring Semester


  • Core Distribution Requirement Credits: 3
  • Psychology Program Elective I Credits: 3

Credits/Semester: 15


Fourth Year


Fall Semester


  • Free Elective Credits: 3
  • Psychology Program Electives II, III Credits: 6
  • PS 498 - Directed Research in Psychology or
    Psychology Program Elective Credits: 3
  • PS 723 - Graduate Statistics and Experimental Design I Credits: 3

Credits/Semester: 15


Spring Semester


  • Free Elective Credits: 3
  • Psychology Program Elective IV, V Credits: 6
  • PS 498 - Directed Research in Psychology
    or Psychology Program Elective Credits: 3
  • PS 726 - Graduate Statistics and Experimental Design II Credits: 3

Credits/Semester: 15


Total Credits: 129


Sample Psychology Curriculum Plan


Students entering in Catalog Year 2007 (graduating class of 2011)—with general education.

First Year


Second Year


Intellectual Heritage I Credits: 3


(Choose one)

Credits/Semester: 17


Intellectual Heritage II Credits: 3


(Choose One)

Credits/Semester: 17


Third Year


Fall Semester


  • General Education Requirement Credits: 3
  • Elective Credits: 3

Credits/Semester: 15


Spring Semester


  • General Education Requirement Credits: 3
  • Psychology Program Elective I Credits: 3

Credits/Semester: 15


Fourth Year


Fall Semester


  • Electives Credits: 3
  • Psychology Program Electives II, III Credits: 6
  • PS 498 - Directed Research in Psychology or
    Psychology Program Elective Credits: 3
  • PS 723 - Graduate Statistics and Experimental Design I Credits: 3

Credits/Semester: 15


Spring Semester


  • Elective Credits: 3
  • Psychology Program Elective IV, V Credits: 6
  • PS 498 - Directed Research in Psychology or
    Psychology Program Elective Credits: 3
  • PS 726 - Graduate Statistics and Experimental Design II Credits: 3

Credits/Semester: 15


Total Credits: 129


Sample Psychology Curriculum Plan


Students entering in Catalog Year 2008 (graduating class of 2012)—with general education.

First Year


Second Year


Fall Semester


  • Natural Sciences Elective Credits: 3–4

Intellectual Heritage I Credits: 3


(Choose one)

Credits/Semester: 15-16


Spring Semester


  • General Education Humanities Requirement Credits: 3
  • Natural Sciences Elective Credits: 3–4

Intellectual Heritage II Credits: 3


(Choose one)

Credits/Semester: 15-16


Third Year


Fall Semester


  • General Education Social Sciences Requirement Credits: 3
  • History Elective Credits: 3

Credits/Semester: 16


Spring Semester


  • Psychology Core Elective Credits: 3
  • General Education Social Sciences Requirement Credits: 3

Credits/Semester: 16


Fourth Year


Fall Semester


  • Psychology Core Elective Credits: 3
  • Psychology Advanced Skills Elective Credits: 3
  • General Education Humanities Requirement Credits: 3
  • Advanced Program Elective Credits: 3

Credits/Semester: 15


Spring Semester


  • Psychology Core Elective Credits: 3
  • Psychology Advanced Skills Elective Credits: 3
  • Psychology Advanced Skills Elective Credits: 3
  • Free Elective Credits: 3
  • Advanced Program Elective Credits: 3

Credits/Semester: 15


Total Credit Hours for BS Degree in Psychology: 121–123


Sample Psychology Curriculum Plan


Students entering in Catalog Year 2009 and beyond (graduating classes of 2013 and beyond)—with general education.

First Year


Credits/Semester: 14


Spring Semester


  •  PS 1XX - Psychology Orientation II Credit: 1

Credits/Semester: 15


Second Year


Fall Semester


  • Natural Sciences Electives Credits: 3–4

Intellectual Heritage I Credits: 3


(Choose one)

Credits/Semester: 15-16


Spring Semester


  • General Education Humanities Requirement Credits: 3
  • Natural Sciences Elective Credits: 3–4

Intellectual Heritage II Credits: 3


(Choose one)

Credits/Semester: 15-16


Third Year


Fall Semester


  • General Education Social Science Requirement Credits: 3
  • History Elective Credits: 3

Credits/Semester: 16


Spring Semester


  • Psychology Core Elective Credits: 3
  • General Education Social Sciences Requirement Credits: 3

Credits/Semester: 16


Fourth Year


Fall Semester


  • Psychology Core Elective Credits: 3
  • Psychology Advanced Skills Elective Credits: 3
  • General Education Humanities Requirement Credits: 3
  • Advanced Program Elective Credits: 3

Credits/Semester: 16


Spring Semester


  • Psychology Core Elective Credits: 3
  • Psychology Advanced Skills Elective Credits: 3
  • Psychology Advanced Skills Elective Credits: 3
  • Free Elective Credits: 3
  • Advanced Program Elective Credits: 3

Credits/Semester: 15


Total Credit Hours for BS Degree in Psychology: 121–123


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