Psychology is devoted to the study of individuals, particularly of their behavior and mental processes. In studying individuals, psychologists employ scientific methods and gather empirical evidence. Students of psychology learn to employ these methods to think critically and creatively about human behavior, develop strong problem-solving skills, and learn to apply new knowledge to social and individual problems.
The Department of Psychological Sciences offers students a representative and balanced exposure to the theories, methods, findings, and issues in psychology. Through their coursework, students are introduced to the major perspectives that predominate in psychology today, including the neurological, cognitive, developmental, sociocultural, and clinical perspectives. Students have the opportunity to work with faculty on their research, to conduct their own independent research projects and to complete supervised field experiences and internships.
Saint Mary’s has a long history of providing quality international programs as an essential part of our educational mission—forming women leaders who will make a difference in the world. As this world becomes increasingly interdependent, the College offers an expanding range of semester, year, semester break, and summer study and service programs in a wide variety of countries, and encourages students to take advantage of them. Learn more about the various Study Abroad opportunities.
The Psychology Department in conjunction with the Education Department offers courses leading to Indiana licensing in social studies secondary education.
326W Spes Unica Hall
T. Aubele-Futch, C. Pittman, A. O’Rear A. Russell, M. Scheaffer, B. Spencer
An introductory survey of theories, topics, and applications in psychology. Course covers a wide range of classic and contemporary topics in psychology, including brain and behavior, thinking and intelligence, and psychological disorders. The 156 course is organized around systems of thought and social science concepts that identify biological, psychodynamic, cognitive, behavioral, and sociocultural approaches to psychological topics. Students will recognize the impact of human diversity, and learn that psychological explanations vary across populations and contexts. A student cannot earn credit for both PSYC 156 and PSYC 157.
An introductory survey of theories, topics and applications in psychology. Courses cover a wide range of classic and contemporary topics in psychology, including brain and behavior, thinking and intelligence, and psychological disorders. The 157 course emphasizes social science methodology and, therefore, students will conduct basic studies to address psychological questions using appropriate research methods. A student cannot earn credit for both PSYC 156 and PSYC 157.
This course is designed to give Psychology majors the knowledge and tools they need to get the most out of the major and assist them in making informed decisions about future choices in Psychology. It also fits with the college’s mission to help, “women develop their talents and prepare to make a difference in the world” and the APA goal of establishing on accurate self- assessment and professional development. During the course of the semester we will discuss the sub disciplines of Psychology, research opportunities, and career options with varying levels of education. You will learn about Psychology at Saint Mary’s, including course requirements and opportunities available outside the classroom, and learn to plan out your academic and professional career. Additionally, you will learn about writing in American Psychological Association (APA) format and have opportunities to practice writing in this style.
A study of the psychological development of the normal individual from conception through adolescence. Consideration is given to topics such as heredity and environment, learning, perception, cognition, and neurological, social, and emotional development using an ecological systems perspective. In labs, students are introduced to the research and assessment methods used by psychologists who work with and study children. Prerequisite: PSYC 156 or PSYC 157. Corequisite: PSYC 201L.
Because the best way to learn about development is to spend time with children, students enrolled in PSYC 201 will observe and interact with children at the Early Childhood Development Center. Once per week, students will complete course-related experiences at the ECDC and you will complete written assignments on specific topics. Through this process, students will gain experience using observational methods and gather hands-on information about children’s development. Prerequisite: PSYC 156 or 157. Corequisite: PSYC 201 or permission of the instructor.
This course serves as an introduction to the intersection between the nervous system and psychology, with a special focus on human and animal brain-behavior relationships. This course is meant to provide a “systems” approach to brain function and to help you understand the ways in which the nervous system produces behavior and thought, and how it allows us to interact with our environment. There will be some discussion of the biological basis of behavior (the action potential and neurotransmitters), but special emphasis will be placed on common methodological approaches in the assessment and measurement of behavior, and how the human brain is responsible for things such as learning and memory, sensation and perception of the environment, emotion, personality, and brain organization. We will also closely examine the physiological basis of psychological and behavior disorders, neuroplasticity, and the organization of the brain (neuroanatomy). Discussion of individual differences versus general commonalities in behavior will be a theme. Weekly labs will be used for mini-experiments or to evaluate literature in neuropsychological topics. Evaluation will be based on exams, quizzes, article discussions, experimental worksheets, and writing assignments. Prerequisite: PSYC 156 or PSYC 157.
An introduction to methods and techniques employed in neuroscience. Corequisite: PSYC 234
In this course we will investigate nine major points of cultural conflict. Together we will work to better understand how and why these cultural clashes emerge, and how we ourselves are shaped by our own cultural worldviews. Throughout the course students will come to learn about cultural psychology, the basis of many cultural conflicts, and how to approach cultural divides. This course is intended for students who are interested in learning more about cultural psychology, but also for those who are interested in learning how to think about and discuss culture. Students will read primary texts that identifies and explains many of the major cultural clashes of our time, and will also watch documentaries and take field trips to gain a deeper understanding of the material. Prerequisite: PSYC 156 or PSYC 157; optional co-req ICS/JUST 310 for lab requirement.
In this course we will explore psychological topics through watching and analyzing a range of contemporary films. Topics will include Remembering & Forgetting, Emotions, Development & Environment, Personality, Intersections of Identity, Disorders, and Social & Cultural Influences. The course will be a mix of lecture, viewings, and discussion. Students will be expected to use an understanding of psychological methods and theory to better understand and analyze the films’ content, while also using the films’ content to better understand psychological theories. Prerequisite: PSYC 156 or PSYC 157.
In this course students will immerse themselves in a faculty-led study abroad trip that focuses on the unique cultural landscape of various locations. Students will travel through all or part of a country, meet with local community members, tour historical sights, visit contemporary museums and institutions, learn about the country’s distinct culture cycle, and apply psychological theory to increase their own intercultural competence. Students are expected to respectfully engage with the local surroundings and people, while analyzing and reflecting on the current cultural climate. Prerequisites: PSYC 237 or permission of the instructor.
This course focuses on emerging family structures, their effect on children, and ways of supporting children’s development in contemporary society. Topics include historical transformations in definitions of families; divorced, single-parent and blended families; lesbian and gay families, cultural and ethnic diversity in families; working women and dual-career families; family stressors; daycare; and government policies about families. Prerequisites: PSYC 156 or PSYC 157 and PSYC 201 or permission of the instructor.
A study of the basic sequences and processes of human development from the prenatal period through death. Emphasis is on the unique nature of the Lifespan approach to studying development, examining continuities and discontinuities, the interaction of nature and nurture, and age-related and nonnormative influences on development. Prerequisite: PSYC 156 or PSYC 157.
Students are introduced to the design, replication, analysis, and reporting of research, using both experimental and correlational methods. Students acquire skills in critical thinking and experience with computer programs in statistics. Prerequisite: PSYC 324. Completion of at least one 300-level Psychology class is recommended.
An introduction to the major questions, issues, perspectives, and findings in contemporary abnormal psychology. Major disorders and their classification in DSM-V are discussed. Causes and treatment of disorders from psychological, biological, and sociocultural models are reviewed. Prerequisites: PSYC 156 or PSYC 157 and PSYC 201 or PSYC 223 or permission of the instructor.
Social psychology critically studies how certain situations and the presence of others can influence our everyday lives. The course examines how our self-perceptions, attitudes, and impressions are affected by society; how and why we stereotype others; the phenomena of conformity, obedience, and group think; aggression and altruism; and finally, how we are influenced by our culture and the media. Prerequisite: PSYC 156 or PSYC 157.
Students are introduced to research methods in social psychology. Groups will engage in a variety of predesigned projects and will complete a project of their own design. Corequisite: PSYC 337.
This course examines how psychology has impacted and informed the law, as well as how psychological opinion differs from the law. Law and legal practice may have as much to do with the people who are interpreting or administering the laws as with the legal doctrines under consideration. This fact constitutes one of the compelling reasons to examine psychological aspects of law. Prerequisite: PSYC 156 or PSYC 157.
A survey of contemporary theories and research on the acquisition, retention, and use of knowledge as well as processes involved in thinking. Topics include perception, attention, memory, language, imagery, cognitive development, reasoning, problem solving, creativity, and artificial intelligence. Prerequisite: PSYC 156 or PSYC 157.
This course complements Intro to Cognitive Psychology (Psych 364) and is intended to give the student a hands-on experience of the topics covered in cognitive psychology. The major topics of study will be attention, knowledge representation, memory, reasoning, problem solving and language. Throughout the laboratory, our emphasis will be on scientific reasoning, process and method. After taking this course, you should (1) demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the theory and research in major subfields of cognitive psychology, (2) apply cognitive psychology concepts to everyday life, (3) based on the cognitive psychology literature, learn to approach problems effectively and use principles of reasoning to recognize, defend and criticize arguments. Corequisite: PSYC 364.
An experimental, student or faculty initiated course on a topic not covered in detail in the regular curriculum. Students of demonstrated academic ability and maturity may initiate a course on a topic of their choice provided that they have secured a faculty sponsor in advance who will act as an advisor for and participant in the course. Student-initiated courses require the submission of an acceptable proposal prior to registration. Recent PSYC 390 topics have included: Anxiety Disorders, Psychology of Prejudice, and Science and the Self. Prerequisites: PSYC 156 or PSYC 157 and permission of the instructor. May be repeated.
A seminar course that focuses on personality development from late adolescence through old age. Emphasis is placed on the changing personal growth issues which the developing adult faces. The course follows Erikson’s stages, and includes the following topics: identity development, Jung’s individuation theory of adult personality development, midlife crises, intergenerational relationships, and an examination of similarities and differences in men’s and women’s development. Prerequisites: PSYC 156 or PSYC 157 and PSYC 201 or permission of the instructor.
An examination of the experience of women from various psychological perspectives. Topics include the biological, social, interpersonal, and cognitive factors involved in gender identity, gender roles, and gender differences. Students reflect on and discuss the material from an objective and analytical point of view in addition to a personal point of view reflecting personal values and experience. Prerequisites: junior standing, PSYC 223 or permission of the instructor.
The purpose of this course is to study stress and resilience across the lifespan. Theorists and researchers have different ideas about what stress is, what qualifies as a stressor, and what factors make one resilient to stress. We will discuss the various perspectives and read evidence for a variety of these approaches. This will be done within a developmental framework, considering factors across the lifespan that are relevant to these topics. You will be asked to apply concepts to your life or the lives of those you care about, and connecting resilience resources to consider how you can respond better in the face of your own adversity. Prerequisite: PSYC 201.
This course will cover many aspects of the psychology of violence. Students will read classic and modern psychological journal articles, paired with memoirs and films, in order to better understand the processes that contribute to, or reduce, violence from the individual to the larger scale. Prerequisite: PSYC 337 and junior or senior standing or permission of instructor.
This course will examine issues of stereotyping and prejudice from a social psychological perspective. Using a mix of quantitative journal articles, novels, and films, students will identify and explore why people stereotype, how prejudices form, the effects of prejudice, how to combat stereotyping, and how members of disadvantaged groups can psychologically protect themselves against the negative effects of stigma. Students should have an understanding of social psychology or have taken a course in research methods. Prerequisite: PSYC 337 and junior or senior standing or permission of instructor.
A seminar devoted to discussion of persistent issues in psychology, with an emphasis on connections between contemporary questions and both their historical roots and continuing philosophical dimensions. Readings will emphasize original source material. Prerequisites: PSYC 156 or PSYC 157 and junior or senior standing.
A look into the process by which we understand and interpret the world around us through our senses. Our nervous system then interprets and alters this information, given our experience, surroundings, and attention or biases, in the process called perception. Prerequisite: PSYC 234.
Psychology has much to say about the impact of poverty on individuals. How does the stress of housing and food insecurity affect the family and children of those in poverty? Why are people resistant to supporting social programs that might result in a better life for those now living in poverty? This course will examine the problem through academic discussion and through conversations with those living in and fighting poverty with the goal of creating a broader understanding of this social problem. Prerequisite: Sophia Program Social Science I.
An introduction to clinical psychology as a helping profession, with a focus on interviewing skills and on facilitating the development of a supportive, nondirective relationship. Topics include: a client-oriented model of helping, identifying and clarifying problems, and formulating strategies for change. Prerequisites: PSYC 326 or permission of the instructor.
Students receive supervised experience in a community setting and meet once a week as a group to discuss and evaluate their experiences and to relate them to topics in clinical psychology. Prerequisites: PSYC 481 and permission of the instructor.
The student designs and conducts an empirical study on a problem of her choice and writes up her research in a standard research report format. Prerequisites: PSYC 156 and PSYC 324, submission of an acceptable proposal prior to registration, and permission of the instructor. May be repeated for a maximum of six hours.
TA required seminar course for senior psychology majors designed as a capstone experience and an opportunity for students to contribute to the discourse of psychology. In this section students focus on an empirical study. Over one semester students develop an empirical study and write a report which demonstrates their ability to conduct and present research on a psychological topic of interest. Students present their projects both to their class, and to the psychology faculty and other students. Successful completion of the seminar project and the formal presentation satisfies the comprehensive examination for the B.A. in Psychology.
A required seminar course for senior psychology majors designed as a capstone experience and an opportunity for students to contribute to the discourse of psychology. In this section students focus on an empirical study. Over half a semester students develop an empirical study and write a report which demonstrates their ability to conduct and present research on a psychological topic of interest. Students present their projects both to their class, and to the psychology faculty and other students. Successful completion of the seminar project and the formal presentation satisfies the comprehensive examination for the B.A. in Psychology. Prerequisites: PSYC 493 and permission of the instructor.
A required seminar course for senior psychology majors designed as a capstone experience and an opportunity for students to contribute to the discourse of psychology. Two sections of the course are offered, focusing on either an empirical study or a comprehensive literature review. In addition to seminar readings and discussion, students either develop an empirical study and write a report which demonstrates their ability to conduct and present research on a psychological topic of interest; or examine a topic from a psychological standpoint and write a comprehensive literature review that persuasively presents their own perspective on the topic. Students present their projects both to their class, and to the psychology faculty and other students. Successful completion of the seminar project and the formal presentation satisfies the comprehensive examination requirement for the B.A. in Psychology. Prerequisites: Senior psychology major status, PSYC 324/325, and three other 300-level PSYC classes.
Intensive and critical reading culminating in a paper in an area that supplements regular course offerings. Alternatively, students can complete an internship, provided that they are prepared by previous relevant course completion. Prerequisites: PSYC 156 or PSYC 157, submission of an acceptable proposal prior to registration, and permission of the instructor. May be repeated.
This course is designed to give students hands- on experience in psychology. Before the start of the semester, students are expected to already be placed in a pre-approved internship in psychology; this course will run in conjunction with that experience. Students will use this course to reflect on their internship experience in real time, work through any problems or difficulties as they arise, and provide feedback to one another on professional skills, such as communication and CV writing. Credits will be determined by number of hours worked at the internship site. May be repeated.